Sharks coach Sean Everitt says Phepsi Buthelezi’s Man-of-the-Match heroics in Saturday’s win over the Lions has shown that his team are hitting all the right notes at the “perfect” time this season, reports DEVIN HERMANUS.
Buthelezi scored one of four tries in inclement conditions at Kings Park, while Curwin Bosch delivered a flawless goal-kicking display as Everitt’s men won 37-10 to climb to sixth in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship with the playoffs drawing nearer.
The Lions, who arrived in Durban with four successive wins built on a reputation for running opponents ragged, were no match for the Sharks, who have a bye next weekend before hosting Irish sides Leinster and Connacht on 23 and 30 April, respectively.
Speaking post-match on Saturday, Everitt said: “We tried [Sikhumbuzo] Notshe but Phepsi is our No 1 eighthman in the URC. I don’t think he made a mistake, he carried well with intent, defended well and got himself involved in many battles. He was outstanding, really proud of him in difficult conditions, and he’s also improved his lineout skills.”
The coach added: “We’re getting our all-round game right – we scored six tries last week [against Dragons], got a bonus point this week and only conceded one try… so, yes, it’s a perfect buildup [to the playoffs].
“We had a plan in place against the Lions, and we knew that if we got into a kicking duel with them, we’d come out on top, but we also knew that if we got the chance to use the ball, we could do that, too.
“The Lions have been playing in the dry [in Johannesburg] and at a higher intensity, and we’ve become good at managing the conditions at Kings Park. We relied on your power game and, thankfully, that worked for us.”
Bosch nailed seven out of seven kicks on goal on Saturday, while fellow halfback Jaden Hendrikse was prominent in the buildup to two tries, and Everitt hailed the duo’s performances.
The Sharks boss continued: “Jaden played well last week, he’s starting to reach the form that saw him playing for the Boks last year. Curwin managed the game exceptionally well. We had a three-point kicking plan and it worked superbly.”
In further good news, the Sharks will hope to welcome back Aphelele Fassi from injury ahead of Leinster’s visit.
— vodacomrugby (@VodacomRugga) April 9, 2022