The character shown by this brave and courageous Cell C Sharks side in defeating the Scarletts in Friday night’s Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash at Hollywoodbets Kings Park was in full evidence for their bonus-point victory.
Cell C Sharks head coach Sean Everitt, providing his thoughts on the game afterwards, explained, “I think there were moments in the game when we performed really well, we did well in the first half to keep them out when they were camped in our 22, I thought the guys were really good defensively and we dominated the collisions in that area of the field. Obviously, it was also pleasing to see how our set-piece dominated them in the last 25 minutes; credit to the bench that came on.
“I think we did really well at times to be able to win this game and especially to get the bonus point. The character shown by the team in the last 10 minutes to score those two tries and get the bonus point was absolutely amazing.
“The camaraderie amongst this group, the determination and the fight that they have were certainly demonstrated in the last eight minutes.”
Scarletts certainly came to Durban to play and for long periods threatened to upset the apple cart. But slow poison wore them down to the extent that their early efforts were nullified by the pressure game from the Cell C Sharks.
“It was never going to be easy against a side admittedly missing players, but also including a number of Welsh internationals,” said Everitt. “And that’s the same for us, if we lose players we have enough players to come in and compete.
“I thought the Scarletts possibly executed their kicking game better – our kick accuracy wasn’t good and that put us under pressure, particularly in the first 20 minutes. When we started kicking better in the second half, we made it easier for ourselves. That’s a work-on for us, but the conditions aren’t easy in Durban and it was certainly difficult to hold on to the ball.
“So I’m happy with the result, but there’s always room for improvement.”
Looking at the intensity, the coach pointed out, “We all know that teams will fight fire with fire in the first part of the game, sometimes it can take as long as 70 minutes to crack them. A team coming from Wales to Durban doesn’t mean they’re going to be a walk-over, but there is a massive challenge for them to turn us over at Hollywoodbets Kings Park.
“Credit to how Scarletts played, they certainly did put us under the pump. I think it was more a case of our own undoing, but fortunately, we were able to hold them out defensively.”
Looking at the result in the context of the season, Everitt admitted that it was a hugely important one for his side.
“This was a massive win for us as far as the log is concerned, we know that the other South African sides are going to be picking up points and we’d like to stay ahead of the pack. As long as we are getting five points every week, we’ll stay ahead in the South African shield.”
Talking about the sublime performance of Vodacom Man of the Match winner Aphelele Fassi, Everitt said, “He was fantastic under the high ball, in fact, it was a world-class performance from him. He’s playing great rugby at the moment, he’s just got his second man of the match in succession, so well done to him.
“He did turn the game on its head when Jaden Hendrikse put that little kick through for him.”
The Cell C Sharks are back in URC action on Saturday when they host Zebre at Hollywoodbets Kings Park.
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