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Ken Borland

Gaps in defensive matrix also a concern for Sharks

Posted on April 28, 2022 by Ken

While most of the attention around the Sharks has been focused on the lack of clinical finishing in their attack, the gaps in their defensive matrix are also a concern as they go into their vital United Rugby Championship match against the Dragons at Kings Park on Friday night.

As coach Sean Everitt has pointed out, while the Sharks were extremely wasteful of their opportunities in last weekend’s loss against Edinburgh, they also leaked three tries in sodden conditions, so it’s not as if their defence was faultless either. And the Dragons scored three tries against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld to show that they have the weaponry to hurt the home side if they lose their shape in defence.

“In the last week everyone obviously looks at the opportunities we created on attack and were not converted, but we also need to look at the tries we conceded,” Everitt said.

“We let in three tries, so that means we need to score four to win the game, but that’s very difficult in these conditions.

“There were small details we fell short on in terms of taking our opportunities, but it’s a massive issue that we conceded three soft tries that we could have handled normally,” Everitt said.

The Sharks coach seldom volunteers much comment on individual performances, but given the spotlight on Curwin Bosch, Everitt felt the need to set the record straight on his starting flyhalf.

“There’s been a lot of talk about Curwin and we need to be factual,” Everitt said. “His kicking has been really good until last week and his kicking stats are the best we have.

“Against Zebre Parma he controlled the game and attacked much better than he had before. In terms of game-management, he did really well against Edinburgh.

“He showed his class in tough conditions and we were able to win 65% territory. Plus no-one sees the leadership he puts in through the week, how he performs well in training,” Everitt said.

Victory against the Dragons is crucial for the eighth-placed Sharks because they host the in-form Lions in their next match, before closing the round-robin campaign with games against top sides in Leinster, Connacht and Ulster.

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