Marco Wentzel, the Sharks captain, was a dejected man after his Springbok-laden team were run into the ground in a 7-try thrashing.
“It’s quite hard to see any positives at this stage,” Wentzel said after the match. “We have to look at the negatives first and fix the problems, then take it from there.”
“It’s a tough tour; it doesn’t get any easier.”
Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph said he was pleased by how the improved performance of the pack helped to raise the energy levels of the team.
“Both teams were under a bit of pressure going into the game after last week, but I’m really proud of our forward pack,” said Joseph. “Last week we really got outplayed. But if we did not give silly penalties away, it would have been a perfect performance for me.”
“We have done a lot of work on our scrum. It was a real Achilles heel for us last year in the dying stages of the competition, but we have come through some really big scrums this year against some really big teams this year, so I’m real proud of the tight five.”
“Some of our starting tight five are not even playing, so that means we are starting to grow some depth in the tight five.”
The Highlanders’ next match will be in South Africa, and Joseph was pleased his team would be flying out on a feel-good note.
“It was a good win for us, but we have a hell of a long trip. The Lions are the form team in Africa, a real sticky team to play, so we are going to have to work hard when we get over there,” said Joseph.
Highlanders lock Mark Reddish said the game plan was aimed at running the Sharks into the ground.
“It was a bit helter-skelter, but that was the plan – to run their big boys around,” said Reddish.