Sharks coach Sean Everitt says his team will just have to take their Currie Cup final defeat by the Bulls on the chin because they failed to do the small things right.
The Sharks slumped a record 34-point-margin loss against the Bulls this past Saturday, their second consecutive Currie Cup final defeat by the same opposition.
The Sharks had performed admirably during the pool stages of a disrupted season to finish in the top two, but the final obstacle proved just a little too far yet again.
Reflecting on his side’s abysmal performance, Everitt said: “We had opportunities in the first half but didn’t nail them, all credit to the Bulls.
“I said during the week that the team that has the better of the first 30 minutes would win the game and that’s exactly what happened, we just didn’t get the start we wanted and the small things we didn’t get right had massive consequences.”
Everitt added that this was a learning experience that “we will have to take on the chin”.
He further explained that while the team had trained well in the lead-up to the title-deciding match, there were some disruptions which played a role in their sub-standard performance.
“From a preparation point of view, we prepared well leading into the game, although we had a few guys going down with a tummy bug during the week and Marius Louw was affected. He grew tired in the warm-up so we had to replace him late which wasn’t ideal, but it’s no excuse for the loss.”
Ahead of the start of the United Rugby Championship, which presents little time for rest, Everitt said that they would take a lot out of the final to use for improvement for the next challenge.
“Every game you play is a learning experience and every final is a massive learning experience, we have quite a few youngsters in this group and they will learn from this. We will use this as learning before we go overseas on Friday.”
Playing in Europe offers so many different challenges for the team, from new venues to new opposition, different styles of play, and a variety of conditions.
“It’s going to be difficult challenge for all the South African teams, but we’re looking forward to it,” said Everitt.
“There will be new energy, it’s a different competition and the Sharks travel well.”
The Sharks start their campaign against Munster in Ireland next Saturday (25 September), followed by matches against Glasgow Warriors (Scotland) and then Ospreys and Cardiff Blues (both Wales) during their first four weeks on European soil.
Photo: The Sharks