The Sharks XV were unfortunate to go down to the SWD Eagles in George on Saturday, tby 10 points to 16. A second away loss in four starts leaves the team with a lot of work to do in order to claim a home semi-final.
Details are still sketchy, but it sounds as though the XV managed to get themselves sucked into playing the home team’s game and despite two tries from centre Jerome Pretorius in the first half, never managed to get on top the tenacious Eagles. I’ve heard that the Sharks boys battled to come to terms with the referee’s interpretations and the fact that no points were scored at all in the second half is a pretty good indication that the game was a scrappy affair in which the XV battled to find any rhythm.
Sean Everitt made some changes this week and while the loss of Wiehahn Herbst and Andries Strauss wasn’t something that he had any say in, perhaps this wasn’t the time to tinker with the side more than was necessary. I’m sure Strauss’s calm head and Herbst’s huge presence in the tight were missed. Stalwarts in the form of Justin Downey and Charl McLeod were also on the bench this week and it may just be that the team took too long to find each other this week, with so many new faces in the ranks.
All is not lost, though, but the task of beating second-place Boland in Durban this coming Friday suddenly became far more important. The Fifteen are only 3 points off the pace at this stage, but with Western Province (third) and Free State (first) both facing easier games this weekend, the Durbanites really cannot afford to slip up again, lest the log leaders get even further away. A bonus-point win – something that hasn’t been achieved since a first-round rout of the outclassed Border – is starting to shape up as non-negotiable for the Sharks XV.Tweet