Sharks coach Sean Everitt is pleased with how his side dealt with the humid conditions in their victory over the Cheetahs in Durban on Friday evening.
The Sharks leapfrogged the Cheetahs into second place on the Super Rugby Unlocked table after claiming a narrow 19-13 win over their previously unbeaten opponents.
However, humid conditions meant that both sides struggled to build any kind of continuity on attack, with a large number of handling errors contributing to the stop-start nature of the contest.
It was the Sharks who possibly dealt with the conditions better as they turned to flyhalf Curwin Bosch, who along with kicking 14 points, also put the Cheetahs outside backs under huge pressure with his contestable kicks, which were well chased by wings Yaw Penxe and Werner Kok.
The 23-year-old also played an influential role in the Sharks’ only try of the match, producing an accurate cross-field kick which was gathered by scorer Madosh Tambwe.
Speaking to the media after the match, Everitt explained that his side was left with no choice but to turn to their kicking game and praised Bosch for his man-of-the-match performance.
‘It was difficult conditions out there and it was a physical contest as you can see by the scoreline,’ Everitt said. ‘There are different ways that you can combat humidity. We felt that kicking contestable kicks would be the way to do it.
‘Trying to hold the ball in close quarters in high humidity is extremely difficult. If you go back and look at the game we played against the [Vodacom] Bulls before we went overseas at the beginning of the year, it was very similar to that. It is extremely difficult to hold on to the ball.
‘When you have a flyhalf like Curwin, the team looks at him for direction and to control the play. Tonight, in these difficult conditions, he did an excellent job and that’s why he got man of the match. His kicking was pinpoint. I don’t want to take anything away from the wings because Werner and Yaw, as well as Madosh when he came on, chased really well and put the Cheetahs under a lot of pressure. Curwin is playing with a lot of confidence and when we get our contestable kicks right, we are a difficult team to play against.’
The win was the Sharks’ second in a row after they were humbled by a heavy defeat by the Bulls in Pretoria a couple of weeks ago.
Everitt added that it was clear that the Sharks pack had learned its lessons from that loss.
‘It is hats off to them. They have worked extremely hard and learned hard lessons against the Bulls. There is nothing better than just working hard at something you are not good at. You saw the huge improvement last week and I was so happy that they were able to bring it against the Cheetahs, who offered a different challenge to the Pumas. I am really proud of how the boys have reacted.’
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