Sharks coach Sean Everitt says he expects a completely different challenge from the Highlanders when the two teams clash in Dunedin on Friday. DYLAN JACK reports.
The Sharks begin their overseas tour against the Highlanders on Friday, having enjoyed a successful start to their campaign with a win over the Vodacom Bulls in Durban last weekend.
A swirling wind and lack of light had both the Sharks and Bulls putting boot to ball at Kings Park, with the Bulls utilising the experience of veteran flyhalf Morne Steyn excellently in this regard.
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) February 5, 2020
However, speaking from the team’s base in New Zealand, Everitt said that the Sharks can expect a very different approach from the Highlanders, who possess plenty of threats in their backline, including scrumhalf Aaron Smith and debutant former sevens star Jona Nareki.
‘Our focus is on what we could have done better against the Bulls on Friday night,’ Everitt said. ‘We had a look at our kicking game and some of the weaknesses we showed. The Highlanders have had two games, they played against the Crusaders and the Waratahs. So, we had a look at them and they are no different from other Kiwi teams. They like to play at high intensity, direct and they move the ball around a lot.
‘The Highlanders and the Bulls are going to be two different teams. I think both teams went into the game on Friday night with a kicking plan. We wanted to kick, but we also wanted to take advantage of their poor kicks and at times we didn’t.’
While analysing the game against the Bulls, Everitt says he was really impressed by the efforts of flyhalf Curwin Bosch and debutant flank James Venter, who both look set to retain their places in the team this weekend.
‘We made no secret of our breakdown work prior to the start of Super Rugby. That is why we brought James into the set-up. I thought James was outstanding on Friday night. Likewise with Curwin. He is improving from week to week, at training as well as in the game. I thought that he struck the ball really well with his left foot and attacked the gainline well. He has also improved his defence, so we are happy where we are with him, too.’
Everitt added that young scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba is in the conversation to earn a starting role sometime in the future, after his excellent impact from the bench against the Bulls.
‘He is definitely in consideration to start. But I believe in continuity in the team. I know that Sanele played really, really well and had a good Currie Cup. It is definitely one that we are discussing at the moment.’
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