Sharks reflect on bittersweet season

Thu, 01 Nov 2012 14:03
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It was a case of close but no cigar for the Durban-based Sharks in 2012 as assistant coach Grant Bashford assesses the season.

It was a case of close but no cigar for the Durban-based Sharks in 2012 as assistant coach Grant Bashford assesses the season.

The Sharks overcame a number of obstacles to progress to the Super Rugby and Currie Cup Finals but tripped over the last hurdle on both occasions to finish the season empty handed.  

Bashford, in the wake of the team’s 25-18 home loss to Western Province in the Currie Cup decider, admitted the disappointment is hard to swallow.  

“We are absolutely shattered, we’re gutted,” Bashford said. “You get one shot at it and on the day we weren’t good enough.”  

He explained that the team had more than a misfiring line-out to blame for loss against Province.

“Obviously everyone has spoken about the line-out not functioning, which was a big problem in the game because every time we got an opportunity, we ended up defending again and couldn’t get any momentum going.

“That was part of it, but we turned over a number of balls and committed handling errors as well. So, although the line-out was a major cause of concern, it wasn’t the only issue. They just played better than us on the day.”

Having acknowledged the side’s shortcomings, Bashford ruled out suggestions that it were the team who wanted it more who lifted the Currie Cup.

“I don’t think we weren’t hungry. Looking back at our preparation for the game, we had a really good build-up and everyone was really confident going into the match without being overconfident.

“We believed that if we played well, we would have the better of them. Unfortunately, we didn’t play well enough. It was a frustrating afternoon.

“And despite not playing well, had we scored in the last minute and gone into extra time, anything could have happened. Pat kicked well so every time we had opportunities to put points on the board, we did.

“Defensively we were at 93%, so it wasn’t like we defended badly, but one defensive error and they were under the poles which cost us seven points.

“It was one of those days when the little mistakes cost us and because of that we couldn’t get going because we were turning ball over, and the ball we were getting from our set-piece was getting turned over.”

Looking at the bigger picture, Bashford believes the Sharks are on the right track and are destined for silverware.

“I don’t think we are far off,” he said. “We played in two finals this year and you have to do a whole lot of things right to get to finals.

“We put the Super Rugby Final loss down to travel – it was simply a bridge too far – it was probably that one game against the Lions in Joburg that could have cost us. If we had win, we could have had a home play-off.

“And we were pretty consistent during the Currie Cup, although we battled to win away from home at times, but we were able to beat the Cheetahs away as well as Western Province. So we did enough in the latter stages to force a home Final.

“We played pretty well in the semi so there was good momentum going into the final and we thought we integrated the Boks pretty well, but on the day… it showed that underdogs can win finals, nothing is a given, you need to perform on the day and that’s pretty much what happened to us.”

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
Fri, 22 December 2017
Wasps v Gloucester 22h00 Ricoh Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Harlequins 22h00 Kingston Park
Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs 22h00 Franklin's Gardens
Leicester Tigers v Saracens 22h00 Welford Road
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 22h00 Sixways
Sale Sharks v Bath 22h00 AJ Bell Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
CURRIE CUP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Sharks 12 10 0 2 47
Western Province 12 7 0 5 37
Golden Lions 12 6 0 6 35
Blue Bulls 12 5 0 7 32
Free State Cheetahs 12 6 0 6 31
Pumas 12 4 0 8 27
Griquas 12 4 0 8 26