Sharks coach Sean Everitt believes that his team didn’t played badly against the Bulls, saying it was just a lack of execution that saw them slump to a 41-14 defeat at Loftus.
The Vodacom Bulls outscored the Sharks six tries to one, with outside centre Stedman Gans and openside flank Marco van Staden bagging two tries each.
Commenting on his team’s overall performance, Everitt explained that a lack of game-time and poor execution is what led to the Sharks’ demise.
‘For us it wasn’t perfect to have a bye after the first round, particularly because we didn’t play that week after Super Fan Saturday,’ he said. ‘But let’s be honest, that’s not an excuse for our performance tonight. I think we started off really well even though we leaked two soft tries in the first half. We felt we were still in the game at half-time. But the Bulls have got a formidable pack and a good bench, which ultimately turned the game on its head. Well done to them.
‘There were defensive lapses, but you’ve got to give credit to the Bulls. They handled out contestable kicks really well and they managed to get behind us which put pressure on our defence and we just couldn’t set properly and realign. I actually thought we defended really well in the first 30 minutes. There was no lack of effort; the guys tried really hard, we were just a little bit inaccurate in our execution of the plan that we had.’
Another setback that might have contributed to the Sharks’ error-strewn display was the loss of prop Thomas du Toit, who was forced off early in the game due to a calf injury.
‘It was hard to lose a Springbok tighthead in a game like this, especially when you’re up against a massive Bulls pack that was clearly motivated tonight. It was a big loss for us, but Johnny when came on and scrummed with Ox [Nche] and Dylan [Richardson] late in the first half he did really well and we earned a scrum penalty while he was on the field as well.
Everitt went on to lament his team’s lack of control at the breakdowns and the poor tactically kicking by his halfbacks and the fullback. However, he also lauded Van Staden’s impact on the game, saying the Bulls flank’s pilfering set them back big time.
‘What happened was when the breakdowns were going well was when we had forward dominance in our carries, and as the game wore on and became physical, the Bulls outmuscled us a little bit and then our reaction to the breakdown wasn’t good enough. But Marco van Staden is a great fetcher and he was responsible for most of those turnovers.
‘I mentioned earlier that we weren’t accurate enough in our execution and our contestable kicking was definitely an area of concern. Those individuals [tasked with kicking] have done a job for us in the past and they’ve done it really well. Our kicking against the Lions a fortnight ago was tops. We regained 10 of our 11 contestables, but against the Bulls they were just a little off the mark and that put us under pressure.’
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