After extensive analysis of that game, the coach is convinced that it was not all doom and gloom and that matters are eminently fixable.
DURBAN – Watching the Sharks lose 37-10 to the Cheetahs was excruciating for their supporters but spare a thought for their coach, Sean Everitt, who experienced the disappointment from his bedroom at home where he was in Covid-enforced isolation.
The coach and three key players in Marius Louw, Hyron Andrews and Thomas du Toit were excluded from the trip to Bloemfontein because of Covid protocols — and they will remain in isolation for Saturday’s home match against Griquas — but the upside for Everitt is that he has had all the time in the world for deep introspection.
And after extensive analysis of that game, the coach is convinced that it was not all doom and gloom and that matters are eminently fixable.
“We are disappointed with the performance, as everyone is, but on doing an in-depth review, there are so many positives,” Everitt said. “I know it is difficult for people to see that, but the fact is we dominated territory and possession; we created more attacking opportunities than the Cheetahs and double their line-breaks …”
Of course, the only statistic that ultimately matters is the scoreboard, and Everitt says that the problem was that having done a lot right, inaccuracy and clumsy execution was the undoing.
“Looking at the set piece … we had nine attacking scrums and won seven of them, but the problem is that when they put the ball in we conceded five penalties.
“We lost because of set piece execution (that includes kick-off receipts of which two were fumbled leading to 14 points), but this is fixable,” Everitt said. “We did a lot to win that game…”
The weekly Covid-testing can only take place 48 hours after match has been played, so the Sharks will be tested on Wednesday morning and by the evening Everitt (from his bedroom!) will know which players he has available for the Griquas game.
This penultimate match before the semi-finals has taken on must-win status for the Sharks, not only because of the vital log points at stake in the battle for the top four spots, but also for a needed injection of morale after the deflating defeat.
“We need a reaction from the players in terms of accuracy and execution,” Everitt said. “As always, the guys are putting in the effort but we have to be more efficient in our performance to get the result. I have no doubt the guys will bounce back.”
The Sharks conclude their Currie Cup campaign next week against Western Province at Newlands. The top four finishers go into the semi-finals (January 16), with the final on January 23.