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Ken Borland

Sharks stumble as if in a trance in 1st half, but show character to snatch victory

Posted on December 05, 2022 by Ken

The Sharks stumbled through the first half of their United Rugby Championship match against the Dragons in Newport as if in a trance, turning over possession and making basic handling errors, so coach Sean Everitt was delighted that they showed the character to still snatch victory in the end.

The Sharks were 12-6 down at halftime and then conceded the opening try to go 19-6 down seven minutes into the second half, but they roused themselves in the final quarter to snatch a fortuitous 20-19 win.

“I’m very happy with the result and very proud of the character the team showed. The discipline in the second half, when we were under pressure, was really good and I thought we thoroughly deserved the win in the end,” Everitt said.

“The first half was disappointing and we just couldn’t get our attack flowing because the Dragons put us under a lot of pressure at the breakdown. Their international loose trio really hurt us and forced us into errors.

“But after a chat at halftime, the guys came out firing and stuck to their task very well,” Everitt said.

The Sharks coach credited scrumhalf Grant Williams’ 62nd-minute intercept try with giving the team the belief to come back, and also praised the bench for taking their play to another level.

“Grant’s intercept try midway through the second half was a game-changer because it gave us belief,” Everitt said.

“And I must also credit the subs for changing the game, particularly Sikhumbuzo Notshe, who set up the try for us to go ahead.”

Replacement flank Notshe made the line-break that allowed backline substitute Marnus Potgieter to send wing Thaakir Abrahams speeding over for the try that lifted the Sharks into a 20-19 lead after flyhalf Boeta Chamberlain managed to slot an excellent conversion, his fourth consecutive successful kick.

The Sharks now travel to Dublin to take on log-leaders Leinster on Saturday, very happy and relieved to have come away from Newport with a win, but they are clearly going to have to be much more accurate against the Irish powerhouses, who are looking for revenge after a shock silverware-less 2021/22 season.

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