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Be it Super Rugby or a domestic competition, Sharks will be ready to go

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The Sharks are currently top of the Super Rugby pile with the competition just short of the halfway mark, and with the form they are in they are/were heavyweight contenders for the title.

DURBAN – The completion of Super Rugby is a fading reality for Sharks coach Sean Everitt but when rugby in some form resumes, the Sharks will be ready for action.

Everitt, speaking from home (where else?) where he had just completed a session on a wattbike, reckons the only feasible provincial rugby for the rest of the year will be a domestic competition, along the lines of an expanded Currie Cup.

“Everything is unclear at the moment – nobody knows how long it will take for the pandemic to lift but I suppose when we do have rugby, the natural thing would be for each (Super Rugby) country to have domestic competitions. Personally I can’t see Super Rugby being finished from a logistical point of view – there are too many games (still to be played) and too much travel. But who knows …”

The Sharks are currently top of the Super Rugby pile with the competition just short of the halfway mark, and with the form they are in they are/were heavyweight contenders for the title.

“We were in a good spot and would have liked to carry on playing but the correct decisions have been made – with every passing day the world is seeing how real this virus is and how measures have to be taken to prevent it spreading. And with the reality staring you in the face, it makes it easy to be philosophical – the disease is real and health comes first.”

Everitt said all that can be done is to make sure the players will be as close as possible to peak fitness when rugby is given the green light.

“We were a little fortunate in that just prior to the announcement of the lockdown we were entering our bye week, so the players had a been given personal programmes, so when the lockdown came our conditioning guys only had to modify those programmes.

“We are also able to get barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells, exercise mats and wattbikes to the players. So they are able to get stuck in,” Everitt said. “The only slight issue is that some guys have to manufacture their programmes according to their living space (some are in apartments).”

The coach added that the entire squad has been kept in Durban for the lockdown so that there won’t be the issue of players flying back later and having to enter isolation – some players have homes in the Eastern Cape, Pretoria and Bloemfontein.

It is not only the players that are sweating during the lockdown. The coaching staff is using the time to run a fine tooth comb over the season thus far.

“We have the opportunity now to do the type of analysis we would usually do at the end of a campaign,” Everitt said. “Every section of our game is getting a thorough examination. For example, we would look at which of our line-outs succeeded better and which were problems; in what situations was our scrum success not that great, and so on.

“And we can also see where we have been really good. For instance, our success rate at winning back contestable kicks is the best in Super Rugby, and that is great because it is an area we worked very hard in the pre-season.

“Our mauls have also improved dramatically, so it is pleasing to see the fruits of hard labour.”

@MikeGreenaway67