While a draw isn’t a loss, it isn’t a win either and Cell C sharks head coach Robert du Preez showed his frustrations after his team’s 24-all draw with the Waratahs in the Vodacom Super Rugby clash on Saturday.
It was a game of missed opportunities, one which could so easily have swung in our favour, the result going our way but for chances created but not finished. There are always positives to take out of that – the fact that opportunities were being created, but ultimately they need to be finished off if the team is to live up to its huge potential.
There were hugely exciting moments and some wonderful passages of play the Cell C Sharks put together, while the scrums showed massive improvement from the week one match against the Lions.
But the coach would have preferred the win.
“The draw feels exactly like kissing your cousin,” he said with reference to the well-known analogy. “It was very frustrating.”
The scrumming was hugely improved from week one and du Preez admitted as much. “The Lions scrum is a formidable unit, they have two very good props, but our performance in the scrum against the Waratahs will give us a lot of confidence.”
Neither team had everything go their own way with the Waratahs uncharacteristically failing as far as ball retention goes in the tackle and in open play.
“The conditions were humid so the ball was very difficult to handle,” du Preez admitted of a condition that would have perplexed both sets of coaching staff when numerous phases of attacking ball had been accomplished before a final pass or catch went wayward.
The Cell C Sharks did put the Waratahs under immense pressure at times, forcing mistakes which the coach was pleased about, but he rued opportunities missed through impatience.
“Even after applying the pressure, we just let them off the hook too many times. The game was there for the taking but we were just impatient at times, right to the death. We were trying to play too much rugby instead of slowing it down.”
Looking to identify where he felt the Cell C Sharks had let themselves down, he pointed out that: “I think we’ve had quite a few opportunities, we didn’t take those. And our game management was poor.”
It wasn’t all doom and gloom and he did feel there was some cause to feel optimistic.
“There was some really positive stuff out there: the tries we scored were really good and I was very happy with the scrums, that was a huge improvement. But we just need to learn to show more patience.”
He concluded that the message to his team before we host the Sunwolves this weekend is simple: “To be more patient.”