Sharks coach Dick Muir admitted to huge frustration and disappointment at the result of the match between the Sharks and Brumbies on Saturday night in Canberra.
Mike Marnewick reports for www.sharksrugby.co.za.
A small but vociferous crowd of 13 000 alternatively booed and cheered the game along as the Brumbies clawed their way back from a game they were well and truly out of as they turned in a stunning second half performance that saw the Sharks enjoy virtually no ball possession whatsoever.
“That was bad luck,” explained the coach. “It was also stupid play on our behalf; we gave away too many penalties, got underneath the ref’s skin and the game changed.”
It all seemed to fall apart in the second half as the pendulum swung in the Brumbies’ favour. The Sharks were 18-7 up at half time but the Brumbies hit back, the Sharks lost a couple of players to injury, and the two cards exacerbated the situation.
Muir admitted that being denied ball possession was one of the toughest challenges the Sharks were up against in the second half. “Especially against the Brumbies, they hold onto the ball so well and they probably managed to get some momentum going because we were a man short twice, and that gave them confidence.
“It’s a simple game, if you have the ball you can do things, without it you can’t. We certainly didn’t have the ball in the second half.
“Where in the first half we had them dead and buried in the set pieces, we probably didn’t capitalise on the advantage we had, but needless to say, the discipline was the area that cost us the most, and that’s no excuse.”
With the Sharks being heavily penalised in the second half, the Brumbies were able to get their momentum going, and sustain it for long periods of time. “It’s something that we were well aware of that Bryce Lawrence is a referee who likes to have control and I felt that we allowed him to turn against us. I am disappointed in the team’s discipline.”
Muir also refused to blame early setbacks caused by injuries to Steven Sykes (ankle) and Bradley Barritt (shoulder). “We had a couple of early injuries but that’s not an excuse, we have a really good bench that have come in and rescued us at times and we relied on them again, but they came in on a defensive rather than attacking role.”
The Sharks take on the Waratahs this Saturday and it’s a case of ‘where to now?’ for the Sharks. “It’s most definitely not a train smash for us,” explained Muir. “It’s a case of us having lost our way in the second half, but we are a side that can rekindle ourselves. We enjoy touring so just have to bounce back. We know how to play, if we do the way we can, we shouldn’t have any problems.”Tweet