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Ken Borland

Vital Sharks don’t miss the chance to move up the log 0

Posted on May 30, 2022 by Ken

Having done all the hard work to get themselves into the top four of the United Rugby Championship, Sharks coach Sean Everitt says it is vital his unchanged team don’t miss the chance to move further up the log when they host Connacht at Kings Park on Saturday.

Connacht are out of the running for a quarterfinal place, but they have shown they will be a tough proposition who never miss a chance to slow down and frustrate their opposition.

“Like the other South African teams, we were under the pump right from the start in this competition because we dropped points away,” Everitt said. “We’ve had to build our performance.

“The guys know winning every game is important, but this is a really big game and it’s very important for us to go up the log. We don’t want to get on the plane for our last match under pressure to qualify.

“Connacht are a difficult side to play against, as they showed in beating the other three South African teams. They are certainly gutsy and they have a good defence that flies off the line.

“One of their main attributes is the way they attack the breakdown, they tend to spoil at the breakdown and set-piece and try not to let you get into any rhythm. They come with unbelievable speed and energy,” Everitt said.

With the URC now at the sharp end of the season, Everitt says it is the soft moments, the errors that often come after a period of good rugby, that you cannot afford against the likes of Connacht.

“Things are coming together nicely for us, but what has let us down is our alertness on the field and you can’t afford to give away soft opportunities.

“Against Leinster it was two moments we lacked concentration on defence, not closing down the space, and the top teams are ready for any opportunity like that – around the ruck or a quick tap on the 22 or a crosskick.

“Connacht are also a massive threat on the floor, so you obviously have to focus on that. But our breakdown has improved a lot, both in defence and attack.

“We have a good blend of attack and kicking and we had some very good counter-attacks against Leinster, with Aphelele Fassi having a wonderful game. Hopefully it’s dry and we’ll have more time on the ball to get it to the edge where our dangermen are,” Everitt said.

Sharks: Aphelele Fassi, Werner Kok, Ben Tapuai, Marius Louw, Makazole Mapimpi, Curwin Bosch, Jaden Hendrikse, Phepsi Buthelezi, Henco Venter, Siya Kolisi, Gerbrandt Grobler, Le Roux Roets, Thomas du Toit (CAPT), Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche. Replacements – Kerron van Vuuren, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Khutha Mchunu, Reniel Hugo, Jeandre Labuschagne, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Grant Williams, Boeta Chamberlain.

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