Positive Performance

The Cell C Sharks 45-10 Carling Currie Cup victory over the Phakisa Pumas on Friday evening showed the team’s class and fighting spirit against a side that never let off themselves and brought the battle to the home side.

The Cell C Sharks Head Coach Sean Everitt acknowledged that it was a game of two halves, one in which his team asserted their dominance in the first 40 while the Pumas, as is their style, fought back well in the second half.

“We were very happy with the way the guys played in the first half and ecstatic with the seven tries we were able to score,” he admitted after the game.

“The forwards set a really good platform in the first half for the rest of the game with their three maul tries. I thought they scrummed well and stuck to the plan very well in the first half.

“Credit to the Pumas in the second half, they put us under pressure at set-piece, in the scrums mainly, and they also gained a couple of turnovers when we were on attack, so yes, credit to them for that.

“But we feel that we could have been better in the second half and obviously put a lot of pressure on ourselves. But for the team to finish with a 45-10 victory deserves credit; not many teams have been able to put 40 points on the Pumas.”

With rain making handling difficult, Everitt said how proud he was of how the players stood up. The old adage ‘fortune favours the brave’ comes to mind. “In the first half the conditions weren’t easy but the guys were still brave enough to move the ball around. Fortunately for us, we managed to score some good tries through some good defence and went into half-time with a strong lead.

“The challenge for the guys in the second half was to stick to the plan, stick to the processes, but we unfortunately came under the pump in the set-pieces in the second half.”

His hope was that the five points earned in this game help towards gaining momentum and catching the Bulls at the top of the log.

While it was a good team effort, Everitt paid tribute to Man of the Match Sbu Nkosi who stole the limelight in the closing minutes of the game with two world class tries. It wasn’t the first time he had played such a pivotal role for the Cell C Sharks and Everitt acknowledged his valuable contribution to the team’s cause.

“Sbu’s performance in the second half was definitely the highlight. Those two tries he scored were great, catching the ball out the air was phenomenal and that’s why he’s a World Cup winning Springbok. So I’m really proud of him. He did well for us when he came on against Griquas to help us win that game in Kimberley and he certainly helped the team again against the Pumas. What a difference he made when he came on; we’re very happy with his performance.”

Although the Cell C Sharks enjoy a bye week ahead of the next Currie Cup clash against the Vodacom Bulls in Durban next Saturday, there won’t be much of a break for the players but it does give those who have missed out for health reasons time to work their way back into fitness and contention against the log leaders.

“We’re very fortunate to have a bye right now because it gives us time for the other guys to come back and put themselves up for selection,” the coach explained.

“They have a couple of days off before regrouping and we’ll certainly want to put in a match-winning performance against the Bulls in our next fixture.”