Head coach Robert du Preez has high standards as far as coaching the Cell C Sharks goes, and if his post-match comments are anything to go by, there is more to come from our team.
The commanding 37-14 win was as emphatic a victory over the Waratahs as we have probably ever enjoyed. This is not a poor Waratahs side – and for many they were the pick of the Australian franchises – but they will look back at their fortnight in South Africa with some disbelief at how disappointingly (by their own standards) they performed.
“It’s great to win at home, especially after coming back from the tour,” said du Preez after the game. “Having said that, I think there were quite a few opportunities out there to be taken. That’s something we’d like to work on.”
That he believed a bigger scoreline was possible is testament to what our team is doing, and this after only three weeks of Vodacom Super Rugby.
“We created turnover opportunities on defence, we’re happy with our offensive defence. But there were a lot of opportunities out there that we should have converted.”
Having led 31-7 at half-time, anything was possible, but the second half was a much tighter affair.
“I think we lost a bit of our grip in the second half, there too many mistake, too many balls kicked away,” he admitted. “But there were disruptions. Pat hurt his back in a tackle. It wasn’t great, his coming off, but he’s a tough guy and hopefully it’s not too serious. Curwin is a talent and had a good game.
“We obviously practice Curwin at 10, but it’s not the same, he’s been playing fullback since last year. When Cleremont came off, we had to move Lukhanyo to the wing, where he played really well.”
Du Preez’s general assessment after three games was very positive.
“There is a really good vibe in the camp, the boys have really worked hard. We were very disappointed after the game against the Reds. We weren’t at our best and if we’d played them the way we’d played against the Brumbies, we would have won that game.
“There has been good improvement every game.”
At this stage, there is uncertainty over the availability of certain players who left the field injured, and given the need to give Springbok players limited game time, this week could see some changes for the Kings game (also at Growthpoint KINGS PARK).
“At some stage we’re going to have to give the Boks a rest, not that we want to take the Kings lightly. But after that, we have the Cheetahs and Lions, both away, so we’re going to have to box clever.
“The guys in the bigger squad and the guys sitting on the bench need to be played and I really believe they will do well, they’ll step in fine. We have young guns like Bernhard Janse van Rensburg and Inny Radebe, we’re going to have to test them.
“This competition requires that you do test your depth, we’ll have to do that at some time.”