Cell C Sharks’ Focus Set On Blue Bulls In Two Weeks At Loftus

Photo Credit: Gallo Images

The Cell C Sharks achieved the dual goal of starting both the Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked competition on a positive note as well as the opening match against the Emirates Lions on Friday night.

Cell C Sharks head coach Sean Everitt admitted that there is still a lot of work to do before they travel to Pretoria in two weeks. The Cell C Sharks have a bye this week.

Everitt said that although there were periods of dominance from both sides, it was the Cell C Sharks who enjoyed the early advantage and then finished the stronger of the two to wrestle an important win.

“We asked the players for a fast start, it was our theme for the week after the poor start we had against the Bulls, so we’re happy with the way we started,” explained head coach Sean Everitt in his observations of the match.

“We probably could have scored one or two more tries in those first 20 minutes, but that wasn’t the case and then from there we made quite a few mistakes, discipline let us down and it was pretty much our own demise really.

“The start was amazing and we played some really good rugby in the first 20 minutes, our contestable kicking was good and our defence outstanding. We might not have won as many turnovers as we would have liked, but the kicks were really good and similar to what we did in Super Rugby earlier in the year. Curwin’s kicking game was outstanding. This is a team that lives for turnovers, they work very hard at that, and the reward we got was a massive boost for us.”

Despite the fightback from the Lions, Everitt praised his team’s own effort, one that was good enough to come away with victory while not playing at their best.

“We are performance-driven and will praise performance, but it shows you when a team works for each other and shows a tremendous amount of effort, what can happen even though you didn’t play as well as you would have like to have.”

“They came with a power game which we expected, but I thought we did really well to keep them out and stop their momentum. Our guys were exceptional in preventing them from getting gain-line advantage.”

“We’re happy with where the guys are from a fitness and conditioning point of view. We finished the match strongly and I don’t think letting it slip on the scoreboard had anything to do with conditioning, it was more the mistakes we made and the pressure we put on ourselves. I’m happy with where we are.
“It wasn’t a polished performance but we know cohesion, as far as building a team performance goes, takes a bit of time.”

“Our set-piece struggled, that’s no secret, but it won us the game at the end, so we can’t be too harsh on the players,” Everitt admitted.

“We aren’t too happy with our lineout, it’s something we need to work on but we must remember that these guys only played 40 minutes of rugby together [at Loftus] before this game so it was never going to be the complete performance.