Victor Matfield hit out at the Sharks for producing “one of the worst performances from a South African team” in their historic loss to Vodacom URC minnows Zebre.
The Sharks finished their four-week season-opening tour on a low after slipping to a 12-10 defeat to Zebre in Parma on Friday night.
It was Zebre’s first win in 18 months, ending a 28-game losing streak for the Italians in all competitions, while it saw the Sharks continue their worst start to a Vodacom URC season.
The Sharks will return to Durban rooted to the bottom of the table, having only got the single losing bonus point from their opening four fixtures.
Following the match in Parma, Springbok legend Matfield slammed the performance from John Plumtree’s side.
“That’s probably one of the worst performances I’ve seen from a South African team in a long time,” Matfield told the SuperSport studio. “If you look at this team on paper, playing against Zebre that hasn’t won in 18 months, you expect them to win it quite easily.
“They lost the scrum battle, they lost the maul battle. The only thing that went right was the defence, and the character they showed on defence. I think Joey Mongalo will be happy with the defence.
“On attack, too many mistakes. In the second half, their discipline went.
“Tactically I thought they were very poor. Even the coaches, with the subs, I thought we’d see a guy like Lionel Cronje pretty quickly after half time. Boeta Chamberlain didn’t have a great game, struggled to give direction in the game, why not put Lionel with all his experience, why not use him?
“So a few decisions from the coaches that I didn’t understand, and then from the players just too many errors.
“If you have a team that’s struggling, the first thing you have to sort out is your error-rate – you can’t afford so many errors in the game and unfortunately they just kept making errors.”
The Sharks, sporting a lengthy injury list, will have eight days to pick themselves up off the canvas before hosting Irish side Connacht in their first home game of the season next Saturday.
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