Sharks wary of WP set-piece in Newlands showdown
Coach Everitt believes if his side can counteract the Cape Town team’s strong point, ‘then we are in with a good shout’
Sharks coach Sean Everitt says his charges will have a good chance of reaching the Currie Cup final if they manage to nullify Western Province’s potent set-piece in Saturday’s semifinal.
All eyes will be on Newlands at 4.30pm when these giants of SA rugby clash in what should be a titanic battle. The side that prevails in Cape Town will face the winners of the Bulls versus Lions showdown‚ which kicks off at 2pm the same day.
“We all know WP have a good set-piece and the challenge for us is to go out and combat that‚” said Everitt. “If we can do that‚ then we are in with a good shout.
“They will be looking to their strength to try and dominate us‚ so I don’t think we will be seeing anything different from either side.
“Our two scheduled games in the regular season were cancelled because of Covid‚ so this is the first time we play each other. But we’ve analysed each other a lot so I don’t think there will be any secrets.
“Going to altitude is particularly challenging at this time of the year‚ so for us it will be a lot more comfortable playing at a coastal venue,” said Everitt.
“We felt that individual errors cost us the games against the Lions and Cheetahs. In our most recent game against Griquas‚ we eliminated those errors and everything fell into place. So we know what to do and what we need to get right.”
Everitt has also rushed to the defence of his players after critics slammed the standard of play in the Currie Cup.
“You have to look at the conditions we are playing in at the moment‚” Everitt said. “We are playing some games in extreme heat and naturally‚ in that instance‚ we will be wanting to slow the game down.
“We train in heat every day so we know what it is like. It is not easy. The players are really trying hard‚ but these conditions do make it difficult to go out and play fast‚ crowd-pleasing rugby.
“Individual errors have let us down in some of our games‚ and that obviously detracts from the quality of the game‚ but it is not a case of the players wanting to play negatively or the coaches wanting to coach negatively.
“It’s just that we are encountering weather we have to adjust to. There has been 32°C heat here in Durban‚ sometimes at 9am in the morning. We train in that and we know what kind of rugby it is conducive to.
“You have to play the conditions. And you also have to take into account that all these games are SA derbies‚ and derbies have tended to be set-piece battles,” the Sharks coach said.
“Generally‚ that has been what this Currie Cup has been about.”
Western Province coach John Dobson said his team will give it a full crack in what should be a closely contested semifinal.
“Last week we were working on conditioning and technical analysis so that we can give it a full crack this week for the semifinal‚” he said.
“Our players and coaches cannot wait to get stuck in and ensure the team that runs out at Newlands is as well prepared as possible.”
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