Everitt: Lions players commended Sharks for ‘fight’

Sharks head coach Sean Everitt has commended his side for the fight they showed in their heavy loss to the British & Irish Lions but added that they have to show more patience with their attacking opportunities.

The British & Irish Lions claimed a comfortable 54-7 victory over the Sharks in Johannesburg on Wednesday night, despite being forced into a total of eight late changes to their match-day squad after their camp was impacted by Covid-19.

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Wing Duhan van der Merwe and fullback Josh Adams both scored hat-tricks as the Lions profited from an error-filled performance by the Sharks.

The Durban outfit simply didn’t help themselves as whenever they did get into promising positions, making basic errors and trying to offload when it wasn’t on.

Speaking after the match, Everitt said his youthful team will learn from their mistakes but, most importantly, have to understand that they need to be more patient with their opportunities.

“We were a bit disappointed with the error rate from some of the individuals in the team. In saying that, I think there is a lot of good to take out of the game. We did put them under pressure, but we just don’t have enough patience with the ball. We got to respect the ball. At this level, when you are playing against international rugby players, there will be consequences for the mistakes that you make.

“One just has to go to the start of the game when we had one or two try-scoring opportunities where the passes were inaccurate. Maybe we could have had 14 points on the board. Holding on to the ball in the opposition half in the second half, we just got a little bit clumsy and paid the price with long-range tries from the turnovers we gave away.

“It’s about us being patient with ball in hand,” Everitt added. “I think at times, when we put the opposition under pressure, we feel like we need to try something a little bit different. We need to wear them down a little bit more and have a bit more patience with ball in hand and keep exerting pressure so that we can earn penalties, if not score tries.

“I do think where we were caught out defensively was in our work rate from set pieces and getting around to corner to set up defensively.”

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Everitt added that he was pleased with the courage his side had showed to keep playing at a high tempo, despite going into the break 26-0 down.

“The Lions will know that they were in a game tonight. I spoke to some of the Lions players after the game and they said we put up one hell of a fight. I am not questioning my players’ work rate, effort or physicality. I suppose the errors that they made, they will learn from. At the same time, I have to commend them for the fight they put up for 80 minutes.’

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Photo: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

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Dylan Jack