Repairing battered morale would also be high on the menu for the Sharks over the next three weeks
THE Sharks’ Super Rugby tour of the Antipodes could not have come at a better time for the struggling Durbanites, according to larger than life prop Coenie Oosthuizen.
The Sharks have lost five of their nine matches this season, four of them at Jonsson Kings Park, and the last two defeats have been particularly disappointing. Speaking yesterday from Sydney, Oosthuizen (pictured) said the Sharks were enjoying some good, old fashioned male bonding.
“Being on tour is a whole different ball game,” the 30-year-old said. “You are in a constant team environment, so you spend a lot of quality time with teammates that you might not do in Durban. It is phenomenal for team morale. So the tour came at the right time. We can get stuck in and find out a lot more about each other. Being on tour we have the tools and the time to fix things. We will work, live and stick together.”
One of the things the Sharks undoubtedly have to fix is their failure to keep the ball in contact and the shocking handling that dogged their performances against the Jaguares and the Reds.
Earlier this week coach Robert du Preez said that these problems would be rectified if the players were more patient with ball-in-hand and curbed their over-eagerness. Oosthuizen adds that individuals also need to be more accountable for handling mistakes.
“No player goes onto the field to make handling errors,” he said. “Mistakes are going to be made, but if you make consecutive mistakes you have to address it. We have spoken about it, and going forward there is a bigger emphasis on keeping the ball in certain situations and being accountable for handling errors.
“Sometimes there is just no way you can catch a ball The pass has to be good, you can’t just blame the catcher. There is a two-way responsibility when it comes to handling,” Oosthuizen said.
Repairing battered morale would also be high on the menu for the Sharks over the next three weeks, although Shrek (as his teammates have colourfully nicknamed him) says morale is already on the up.
“When you lose two consecutive home games, morale is something you have to work extremely hard on. It will get worse if you start doubting yourself,” he said. “Our morale on tour is already high. We hate losing but sometimes things just don’t go your way. We had numerous opportunities to finish the Reds.
“Come Saturday against the Waratahs it will be a heck of a battle and hopefully this time things will go our way.”