Relieved coach Sean Everitt admitted his Sharks team were “fortunate to survive” after delivering a mixed performance at the weekend.
The Sharks, who were pacesetters earlier this year, scraped home with a 19-16 win over the Lions in the opening Super Rugby Unlocked match of the relaunched campaign at Kings Park in Durban.
Areas which pleased Everitt
The rugby they played in the first quarter:
“I asked for a fast start, especially after the slow start to the Bulls game two weeks ago, and I was happy with that. We could have scored a couple more tries, but we played some amazing rugby in the first 20 minutes. Our contestable kicks – we had some really good ones, similar to in Super Rugby – and defence were outstanding.”
“The defence shows this team works for each other and it was a team effort to get the result despite not playing as well as we would have liked. We were fortunate to survive, but we finished strongly. We had some massive turnovers, but this team lives for those and they work really hard on that. The Lions came with a power game and we did really well to keep them out. We stopped their momentum and did very well to not give them the gain-line.”
Areas which needed work
The error count of his team:
“We made quite a few mistakes, which let us down, and we were pretty much responsible for our own demise. It was not a polished performance and getting that cohesion takes time. We let it slip on the scoreboard because of our own mistakes and we put ourselves under pressure. At the end of both halves we were really under the pump.”
“We need to sort our set-pieces out, and I wasn’t happy with the lineout, but this pack have only played 40 minutes together at Loftus and it was never going to be a complete performance. Dylan Richardson is a young hooker who is transitioning from loose forward, but he’s a great rugby player – a future Springbok in my mind – so I’m not worried. We will sort it out.”
The number of turnovers when they were on attack:
“The attacking breakdown is all about reaction and ball-placement, otherwise there’s always the risk of losing the ball on the ground, and I thought Jaco Kriel was outstanding for the Lions. We’ve got to work harder on that dynamic. The referees have said they’re going to reward the jackal and AJ Jacobs certainly did.”