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Taking the Bulls by the horns

Wed, 28 Aug 2013 07:53
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We have just put ourselves under pressure by having slow starts
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Having had to fight back in all three of their games this season, the Sharks are determined to take the early initiative against the Blue Bulls at Kings Park.

The Durban side have shown good character to fight back in each of their Currie Cup matches thus far, securing two wins out three, but assistant coach Sean Everitt would like to see them make the running on Saturday against a Bulls side coming off a demoralising thumping at the hands of the Golden Lions.

Everitt and new Sharks coach Brad McLeod-Henderson have been satisfied with the way the team has adapted to the new set-up, but they feel that it is time that they started dictating matters from the start.

Everitt told this website: "I think the team as a whole has improved over the last two weeks and they are getting better as they become more familiar with the roles and structures that they play in.

"We have just put ourselves under pressure by having slow starts - all three games we have had to come back. Against Griquas we were 17-3 down, then 17-6 down against the Lions and 15-6 down against the Cheetahs.

"The guys have shown tremendous character in coming back, but your starts are important so obviously we want to start better without having to put ourselves under pressure to come back from behind," he added.

The Sharks assistant is expecting a major response from the Bulls after their capitulation at home last week, and said that the key for his side will be to match the visitors physically and show more accuracy when they have possession.

"The Bulls will be really upset with the way that they went down against the Lions, I think there were a lot of soft tries that were conceded in that game and the Bulls are a helluva lot better side than what they showed on Saturday.

"We are certainly expecting a backlash from them, they have got some very good players, we know that they have got the strongest junior set-up in the country so the youngsters like Jono Ross and those guys have all won junior competitions so they are going to come here and give it a good go I'm sure.

"When you play the Bulls you have got to make sure that you are physically up for the battle because that is where their battle is won so we will need to really defend well and stop their momentum.

"From our side we need to put the ball through phases and be a little more clinical when we have ball in hand," he said.

Both SP Marais and Odwa Ndungane should be fit, with Ndungane likely to shift to the wing, but loose forwards Terra Mthembu and Brynard Stander will not be available due to injury.

"SP Marais came through training today and so did Odwa Ndungane.

"We have considered moving Odwa to wing, and that was just from a continuity point of view because SP played at 15 last weekend.

"Terra Mthembu pulled up yesterday with a groin injury and Brynard Stander is still out with that ligament injury so they won't be playing this weekend," said Everitt.

By Michael de Vries

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