Aphelele Fassi says the Sharks will be focused on improved ball retention in Saturday’s clash against the Rebels in Durban, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Fassi has enjoyed a dream start to his Sharks career, with the talented 21-year-old featuring prominently as the Durban-based side claimed the Currie Cup title last season.
The Dale College product was also entrusted with the Sharks’ No 15 jersey at the start of this Vodacom Super Rugby season, but missed the recent match against the Vodacom Bulls due to a concussion.
It was during this clash that the Sharks conceded a whopping 20 turnovers, a number of which came from basic handling errors, with their ball retention in contact particularly proving to be problematic.
After a bye last week, it’s clear that the Sharks have returned to training with a clear determination to clean up their act, and make an accurate return to action this Saturday.
‘We need to limit our handling errors, and cut out any turnovers,’ Fassi told SARugbymag.co.za. ‘Those are two things we’ve been focused on rectifying, and I think if we can do that, then we will put ourselves in a much better position this weekend.’
Fassi has overcome the concussion that prevented his involvement against the Bulls, and he confirmed that there had been a high-intensity approach in training after a bye week.
‘We’ve come back and had a few great sessions. It’s always tough to lose a couple of games, but we are very focused on our processes, and ensuring we rise to the challenge against the Rebels at home.
‘We have been looking to promote playing a bit more with ball in hand this season, and it will great to hopefully have some front-foot ball so that the backs can come into the game and show what they can do,’ he added.
The Rebels are coming off an agonising loss to the Lions, but they have already proven to be one of the more well-polished sides in the competition this season.
Sharks assistant coach Ricardo Loubscher said they would need to learn from the mistakes that they had made against the Stormers and Bulls in order to overcome the Australian outfit.
‘The Stormers and Bulls put us under a lot of pressure and then played off our mistakes. So we as the coaches have come up with a plan on fixing that. That’s why this week is all about ourselves; we want to get back to winning ways.
‘Looking back at those two games, it was the big moments when we were under the pump, not clinical enough, and the small mistakes put us under pressure.
‘They have huge experience at 9 and 10 with Will Genia and Quade Cooper, but we won’t be focusing on individuals. As a team they will be a handful on attack, so we’re going to have to make sure we bring our A-game defensively, and then come up with a plan on attack how we will look to exploit them.’
Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix