It was a warm up game on a very warm balmy evening in Durban. If you went expecting more than a warm up game, you would have been sorely disappointed. The game was a mess and it was obvious that both teams were having a run on the park to try some ideas out, with no secret moves or game plans let out the bag.
The Lions showed that they have a few quick backs that can make breaks, but are weak when tackled. The Sharks showed that their forward pack was formidable and even with 7-8 men in the scrum they could still push the Lions backwards. As can be seen by the score line the Sharks defence, even though unorganised, was strong and even with the Lions camped in their half during the first forty, they never leaked points.
The Sharks seemed to get the rough side of the cards as there was plenty of off the ball stuff going on from both sides, but it was a nice reminder to the players that this behaviour won’t be accepted during the Super 14. A number of players are going to need to reign in their tempers before next weekend.
There is no need to give player ratings as this game had no structure and was more about throwing the ball around and seeing what happened. But what needs to be looked at is how the referee dealt with the new ELV’s. The game is a lot cleaner now and a lot less time is wasted making it a lot nicer to watch, but Craig Joubert highlighted a problem with free kicks. Whenever quick taps were taken, opposition players were not penalised for not getting back ten. This will need to be sorted out before next week as it will soon lead to heated exchanges and the negative play the ELV’s were introduced to eliminate.
So what was the score? The Sharks defence made sure that the Lions only got away with a consolation 5 pointer, while the Sharks showed that when they kept the ball tight they could easily score and they won with a comfortable 33-5.
Overall the result reflected the attitude of the two squads. Before the game started the Sharks were put through their paces by the entire coaching staff, with every player getting attention and assistance. In contrast the Lions had one drill sergeant getting the players warming up with basic exercises, while the coaches were chatting to people on the side of the field. The professionalism and teamwork of the Sharks is what got them the result and if the Lions expect to do well this season, they are going to need more direction in their game.Tweet