Director of rugby Gary Gold is satisfied with the Sharks’ impressive performance against Toulouse.
The Sharks secured a comfortable 31-17 win, but it was the intensity and desire displayed on both attack and defence that would have been even more pleasing than the result.
Also of real encouragement would have been the performance of young flyhalf Garth April, who impressed as a replacement for the injured Pat Lambie, while Marcell Coetzee and Willie le Roux were two other star performers.
‘I am a proud coach because of the fight the guys showed,’ Gold told ECR.co.za. ‘That’s what we wanted to achieve on this tour. It may sound strange when I say that the wins were important but that they weren’t our main objective. To put up a performance like that and beat a star-studded team like Toulouse just shows that when we apply ourselves, we have the ability to play as well as we did.’
With Lambie, Francois Kleinhans, Ruan Botha and Giant Mtyanda having all picked up injuries in the Sharks’ first pre-season game against Toulon last week, Gold also expressed relief at coming through Thursday’s game without any real worries.
‘I’m just really pleased with the way the tour has gone, it was a bit of a bitter-sweet feeling after the Toulon game, because while it was a good result, to lose Patrick was a devastating blow for us. So we’re just happy with the performance and to come away with no serious injuries.’
Gold said he had been extremely pleased with the performances of a young squad, but also sought to temper expectations after their impressive displays in France, with the Sharks set to kick off their Super Rugby campaign against the Kings on 27 February.
‘I am excited more than confident. I still think that there are things that we have to be really hard on ourselves about improving. We really haven’t won anything yet and I think it’s important that we stay humble and put the hard yards in when we get back to Durban. The Kings are going to be formidable at home in their first game. They’ve got a lot to prove and there is no way we’re going to take them lightly.’
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