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Ken Borland

Powell not happy with untidy 1st quarter, but Sharks immaculate thereafter 0

Posted on September 21, 2023 by Ken

Sharks director of rugby Neil Powell was not happy with an untidy first quarter from his team, but thereafter they were immaculate as they cleaned up the Bulls 47-20 in their United Rugby Championship derby at Kings Park at the weekend.

The Sharks were trailing 6-13 after 20 minutes, but then they focused themselves, they lifted the intensity of their game and they were ruthless in punishing the Bulls’ ill-discipline. By halftime they were leading 30-13.

“We hurt ourselves in the first 20 minutes, we weren’t clinical enough in our exits and we conceded silly penalties, we did some things that were out of character,” Powell said.

“But we definitely stepped things up in the last 10 minutes of the first half, we were more clinical and played in the right areas. A lot of credit must go to our forwards for the way they scrummed and mauled them.

“We could have managed the game better in the first quarter, but in the last 10 minutes of the first half we played really well. We don’t want to be predictable and we took quick-taps and played.

“It is a big win for us, if you look at the log, we needed those five points. This will go a long way for us and it’s especially important winning your home games,” Powell said.

While such a good win would certainly not have warranted the players copping a spray from their coach, Powell pointed out that the continued challenge for the Sharks is consistency – both within the game and from match-to-match.

“As the season goes on, hopefully we will perform like we did at the end of the first half for the whole 80 minutes. We’re trying to get consistent performance right through the 80 minutes,” he said.

One thing in common with all the local URC coaches is how they are painting a picture of how tough January is going to be, and Powell stressed the importance of player-management.

“It’s going to be very important to manage the squad so they are fresh for the knockouts at the end of the season. We will have to give players opportunity and squad rotation will be crucial.

“One player cannot play the whole 11 games in this block of fixtures,” Powell said.

Everitt pleased with attacking play of Sharks, but obviously not the defence 0

Posted on December 19, 2022 by Ken

Sharks coach Sean Everitt was pleased with the attacking play of his team against Leinster, but obviously not happy with the defensive lapses that saw them go down 54-34 to the United Rugby Championship log-leaders at the weekend.

In a dazzling game of rugby, the Sharks contributed five tries and more than held their own until the final quarter. That’s when their defence out wide was exposed and Leinster turned a narrow 28-27 lead on the hour mark into a convincing, impressive victory.

”I was pleased with the five really good tries we scored, not many teams score 34 points against Leinster, let alone five tries and especially not here,” Everitt said after the match.

“So there were aspects of our game that improved from the last two weeks and our goal on this tour was to get 10 log points and we achieved that.

“But I’m not happy that we conceded fifty points. There were unfortunate individual errors that cost us dearly against a class outfit. Jonny Sexton was world-class in the second half and put us under huge pressure.

“But the boys tried really hard, the effort was there and the energy to fight to the end was displayed. We will continue to grow with this young group of players,” Everitt said.

Leinster coach Leo Cullen said the Sharks’ physicality was a fresh challenge for his team, knocking his players back sometimes, although he suggested some of their efforts were over-robust and he would be re-examining the footage, possibly with a view to making a citing.

“That game had a bit of everything, we had three players go off for Head Impact Assessments. The Sharks are big, physical men and it was a totally different ball-game for us,” Cullen said.

“The Sharks had nothing to lose, they flew into everything. There were a lot of things that happened in the game and I will need to look at some incidents again.

“They were circling, they went after our defence and we were done a bit on the edge, or when we over-chased we got done on the inside. They certainly tested us out,” Cullen said.

Having begun their campaign on tour, the Sharks now have two matches at home, against Glasgow Warriors and Ulster, before ending October by travelling to Pretoria to take on the Bulls.

Marais not happy that bonus point eludes Bulls 0

Posted on April 20, 2016 by Ken


Bulls coach Nollis Marais said he was not happy about the bonus point which eluded his team despite their convincing 41-22 victory over the Reds at Loftus Versfeld at the weekend.

The Bulls were leading 27-8 after 50 minutes, but conceded two quick tries to powerful Reds centre Samu Kerevi, and, although they finished with five tries, they ended one short of the bonus point, losing the throw at a lineout five metres from the opposition tryline after the final hooter.

“I wasn’t happy that we didn’t get the bonus point, we should have used that lineout at the end. We got back in the game after they scored an excellent try up front, but at certain stages there was too much individual play. At halftime we said we must stick to the structures and let the ball do the work, not the man. We weren’t accurate enough,” Marais said after the win, which kept them up with the leaders in the South African Group.

“But we are getting better every week. We played for seven years with the same style here and now we’re trying something different, even though it might not always look like it. Previously guys would just tuck the ball under the arm and go straight for the opposition, but guys like Jan Serfontein and Jesse Kriel are now moving the ball.

“It’s a game plan which the Lions are a couple of years down the line with, but we must stick to that – it’s important to see the space,” Marais said.

The Bulls now have a bye before going on tour to Australia and both Marais and captain Adriaan Strauss warned that it is not going to get any easier as they try to nail down a playoff spot.

“We are a process-driven team and we’re not where we want to be, but we’ll take a win any day. It was a good win, but we are chasing high standards, the perfect game, so we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves.

“It’s definitely not going to get any easier, especially on tour. We’ll enjoy the win and the week off, but then we need to focus 100% on the Force, which will be a tough challenge,” Strauss said.

“To have our two byes so early is a challenge, I would have liked one after the tour. But now the weekend after we come back from tour, we play the Stormers here. So that’s going to be a big challenge and we need to make sure the guys are rested enough,” Marais added.

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