While the Sharks again failed to fire on the hard fields of Kimberley, there were a few encouraging signs and the fact that the young side managed to restrict Griquas to just a single try this time around does show progress indeed, even though the end result was rather disappointing.
Last year’s team got hammed to the tune of 43-24 when they played Griquas away and with the 2010 result also resulting in plenty of tries for the home side (40-34) a worrying pattern had started to emerge; the Kwas, in short, seem to know how to get properly on top of the inexperienced Sharks sides they invariably face in this competition. Typically, they’ll win the forward battle early and then proceed to run riot in the second half. While Saturday’s contest certainly appeared to start in the same vein, much credit must go to a youthful Sharks pack for weathering the early storm and emerging with some level of parity on the day.
There were definitely some rabbit-in-the-headlights moments for the Sharks, though and the coaching staff would do well to get to the bottom of whatever it is that tends to turn Sharks teams into poor shadows of themselves whenever they’re asked to make the trip to this north-cape hellhole. In between all that, though, there were a few quite promising moments and we need to give the team credit for the way they never allowed themselves to get much more than a score behind and even, for just a few brief moments, appeared to have actually won the game after Louis Ludik’s try, which was promptly disallowed for an innocuous bit of crossing umpteen phases back.
The Sharks will have a lot of work to do ahead of this weekend’s game against Province at Kings Park, though, but the coaches will have taken enough from this latest Kimberley setback to save them from too many sleepless nights in the week ahead. One feels that Meyer Bosman really does need to be given a chance to play flyhalf for 80 minutes, this week, but with a lack of midfield options, there may be little option but to persevere with Riaan Viljoen in the hope that he finds the form that got him through his first three games of the campaign, rather than the last two.
Defensively, though, the side is looking pretty solid. Those structures will be given a proper work out on Saturday, though, as Western Province bring their new and improved running game to town. You’ve got to love the Currie Cup!Tweet