The Cell C Sharks will look back at the result of Saturday’s Carling Currie Cup clash with Tafel Lager Griquas with a measure of frustration, knowing that they will need a return to success when they host the Vodacom Bulls in a top of the table clash this weekend.
While the Cell C Sharks will feel that they missed an opportunity to go top of the log and put some daylight between themselves (together with the Bulls) and the chasing pack, their loss to Tafel Lager Griquas at Jonsson Kings Park should be seen in the context of the visitors’ recent form.
On a weekend of home losses in all three Currie Cup fixtures, Griquas added a third consecutive away win over the traditionally bigger unions, adding to their victories over the Sigma Lions in Johannesburg and DHL Western Province in Cape Town.
“This was extremely disappointing,” admitted head coach Sean Everitt after the match.
“We were at home, we’ve been dying to play at Jonsson Kings Park for the last few weeks after the cancellation of a couple of games scheduled to be played in Durban. But that’s the nature of the game, sport can be cruel: one week you’re right up there and get a five pointer in Bloem and then you come home and put in a disappointing performance.”
In a match filled with drama, Everitt pointed to an area where the Griquas somehow managed to withstand everything the Cell C Sharks threw at them.
“When I say ‘disappointing performance’ I’m talking about all the opportunities we created that we couldn’t finish,” he pointed out. “So yes, it was extremely disappointing, last week we didn’t have as many but managed to finish them.
“We need to go have a look at ourselves, coaches as well as the players, and see if we could have done any better from a preparation point of view. For me, the team prepared well, we knew the plan and the fact that we created opportunities means we were on song. But I think we need to look at our mental approach. We can’t have an opposition team getting five yellow cards and we’re unable to convert that pressure.
“When we had ascendancy from a numbers point of view, I hoped we might dominate at the set-piece, but we didn’t. We had a few opportunities to maul close to the tryline but weren’t able to convert them.”
Despite the disappointments, Everitt explained that the team must shift focus to the next challenge.
“We need to move on, take out the positives from this game and the learnings – and there is always something to learn.”
The Cell C Sharks face a massive challenge in the next week and a half, facing the Bulls on Friday night and then the New Nation Pumas at Mbombela Stadium next Wednesday.
“We need to get back on track as soon as possible,” said the coach.
“This result was disappointing, as a team, and we don’t want to feel like this again. There was no problem with the energy, the boys were up for this game, it was just the mistakes that let us down.
“The log is now quite congested and we have a lot of hard work ahead of us.”