Sharks made early statement

GAVIN RICH, writing for says the opening weekend of Vodacom Super Rugby reinforced the pre-season view that the Sharks will be the team to beat in the South African conference.

Rich said the other three SA sides in action 'were light years behind the Sharks', based on Saturday's games, and that the Bulls are 'several rungs down from the side of previous years'.

'There were times in the Durban match where it was possible to wonder whether the two sides had swopped jerseys, such was the emphatic way in which the Sharks beat them at their own game,' he added. 'Whereas in the past it was the Bulls who forced opponents into errors and then feasted on those mistakes by scoring off them, this time it was the other way around.

'The Bulls’ kicking game was abysmal, with both halfbacks buckling under the pressure that was forced on them. A large percentage of the Sharks’ points were the result of mistakes made by their opponents, which included a hoisted kick that put players offside, a step into touch, a charge-down and failure to exit, a missed tackle … and the list goes on.'

Rich said the Sharks were excellent despite not hitting top gear.

'Their finishing was clinical and impressive, and the high level of organisation that was the product of Jake White’s hard work with the players on game-plan during the off-season was clearly evident.'

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Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

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Simon Borchardt