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Du Preez proud, but Sharks need to mature

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They have been building a team for a number of years now, with their players being the foundation

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Sharks coach Robert du Preez was asked about a potential try-scoring situation in the 40-10 loss against the Crusaders that dumped his team out of the competition after the match.

It had to do with an overlap, on advantage, that the Sharks had for what looked a certain try. The try did not come, and it seemingly summed up the Sharks’ season.

Throughout the season, when the Sharks have been beaten, it has often come down to them not taking their chances, and by extension, not being patient enough to hold onto the ball to work it over the line.

Du Preez called that the ‘story of their season’.

“Not quite there,” Du Preez mused about the Crusaders game.

“It has been the story of our season, we just can’t keep the patience going, but that is a sign of a young, growing team but I am proud of the boys, they put in a good effort here tonight and for that I am really proud of them.”

Indeed, looking at the positives for the season, the Sharks have put a lot of work and effort into cultivating their youngsters, with many of them going on to pick up Springbok honours.

They have been building a team for a number of years now, with their players being the foundation.

However, on the negative side, as Du Preez notes, the foundation needs some time to mature.

The team dynamic of the Sharks was one marred by inconsistencies all season. The bigger the game, the bigger the performance for the Durban-based side – this was often the mantra through 2018.

Of course, their biggest game, against the Crusaders, was a bridge too far.

“No, I don’t think anyone will beat this team,” Du Preez said of the Crusaders who marched into the semi-finals against the Hurricanes and will host the final should they get through as expected. They attack well, defensively they are good.”

It leaves the Sharks in an interesting position heading into the next season. They will hold on to a lot of their players thanks to their wave of contract extensions this year, and they will have blooded these youngsters through a season of ups and downs.

They also have the Currie Cup coming up which will allow some of the fringe players to boost their game and add to the depth of the squad in Durban.

But, results will need to be more forthcoming from the KwaZulu-Natal side in 2019. Building cannot be a continuous process in professional rugby, especially for a team with so many gifted individuals.