Cell C Sharks head coach Robert du Preez was disappointed in the wake of his team’s 50-28 Currie Cup defeat to Western Province in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon but felt there was a time when the game was ours to win.
The game was taken away during a helter-skelter first 30 minutes when we scored an early try, only for Province to hit back with four to build up a sizable lead. Although we pulled our way back into the game heroically, Province turned on the screws later to wrestle control back and with it, the win.
“It was disappointing but we need to give Province credit, they deserve it because they were outstanding,” said the coach afterwards.
“I thought we did really well to come back into the match but there were lapses in our game while they really executed well.”
Early in the second half we had scored a total of three tries either side of half time to come back into the game and threaten to upset the applecart. At the time, the game was poised on a knife’s edge and despite the hosts earning the bonus point for four tries in the latter stages of the first half and building up a sizable lead, we were back in the game.
At 31-28 and just three points in it, Province were by no means in command of the scoreboard.
“I thought the game hung in the balance at that point,” du Preez admitted. “I thought we had a great opportunity when we had that nine man lineout but with the overthrow, that changed the game completely.
“We were definitely in with a chance there, we had our opportunities but just made too many mistakes. We became impatient again and Province were just outstanding, using their opportunities a lot better than we did.”
Despite a first minute try, the Cell C Sharks were unable to add pressure on the scoreboard and it was the hosts instead who dictated the run of play. Du Preez admitted that his team were probably sucked into Province’s loose style of play.
“Maybe we did, it certainly didn’t go our way in that first 30 minutes,” he said.
There were positives to take out of the game though and the coach cited the brave fightback from a position when the cell C Sharks appeared to be dead and buried.
“I was very happy with the character the boys showed to come back into the game and still be in it to potentially set up a win. That showed a lot of guts and lots of character.”
He added that the team will need to be honest with themselves in the aftermath and analysis of the result at this stage of the competition – with just one round remaining.
“It’s probably a wake-up call for us. We’ll have to go back to the drawing board and work a lot harder.”
The Cell C Sharks travel to Kimberley for our final pool match of the Currie Cup competition this weekend as we take on Griquas looking to secure a home semi-final.
Du Preez confirmed that there were no major injury concerns; “Kobus van Wyk pulled his hamstring, that’s pretty much it. But it was a very tough, physical encounter. Lots of running, big collisions; hopefully the crowd feel that they got their money’s worth.”