On Track

While the Cell C Sharks may have been pipped by just two points in our Superhero Sunday clash with the DHL Stormers, there were many highlights to take positives out of.

“We’re happy with the outcome of the game and what it produced,” explained Cell C Sharks head coach Sean Everitt after the match. “This was a warm-up game for us – a practice match – and there were a lot of positives to take out.”

In particular, the Stormers pack, so highly-rated, was never able to exert pressure on the Cell C forwards who in fact managed a scrum penalty. The lineout work in training bore fruit and the driving maul delivered gains.

“I thought our set-piece functioned really well in the first half,” Everitt said. “As well as from an attack and defence point of view. Unfortunately from some really good maul defence we leaked a soft try and an opportunistic try in the second half.

“But I thought our defence was really good, we got off the line well.”

The art of fetching, where a player, often a flank, competes for the ball on the ground, hasn’t always received a lot of attention, but it is an area the Cell C Sharks have worked on, and the gains made proved invaluable in this match.

“The breakdown work that we’ve put a lot of work into during the off-season came to fruition.

“So we are happy, I don’t think we will take anything out of the result, it was three tries apiece and hopefully the spectators enjoyed it.”

The coach also agreed that the intensity from the players was commendable.

“We were very happy with the intensity shown, the conditions weren’t easy, to play at one o’clock up on the highveld coming from Durban is tough, but I thought our guys did well. When we changed the team and brought the guys off the bench, they also lifted the energy.

“As the game wore on we made a few mistakes, but there is no excuse for that because the guys were fresh.”

Assessing the squad available, he gave this a big thumbs up. In particular the returning Springboks who have added huge amounts of value, both at training and in this match.

“I’m very happy with the personnel we have and very happy with the individual performances out there. There is always a lot to work on when it comes to games, but certainly there were a lot more positives than negatives. The individuals put their hands up and we can see why certain players were in the World Cup Final – they shone out there and showed why they are World Cup champions.

“So we are very happy with that and the way the Springboks have come back and been so positive.” With this match being the last hit-out before the Cell C Sharks host the Vodacom Bulls in the opening Vodacom Super Rugby match of the 2020 season, Everitt added that, “Yes, I think we’re just about ready to go. We just need to polish a few things before the match, but we have two weeks for that.”