Slow starts plaguing Sharks

Sun, 08 Sep 2013 14:29
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Another sluggish start saw the Sharks come up short against Western Province at Newlands despite a second-half fight back.

Another sluggish start saw the Sharks come up short against Western Province at Newlands despite a second-half fight back.

The Durban side have trailed at half-time in all but one of their matches this season, and it was no different in Cape Town on Saturday as they surrendered a 15-0 lead in the opening 40 minutes.

The defending champions were all over the visitors who were bullied in the scrums and line-outs and forwards coach Brad McLeod-Henderson admitted that they had been caught on the back foot again.

"I think in the first half I thought our set-pieces were very poor, and we got physically outmuscled a bit," he said.

The silver lining for the visitors was the way they fought back in the second half to secure a bonus point after being outplayed so comprehensively before half-time.

"In the second half we were a lot better, I think our set-pieces functioned a lot better, we stood up physically and got a bonus point which was a pleasing aspect.

"In the first half we weren't really in the game so it was good to see us stand up in the second half and come away with one bonus point," said McLeod-Henderson.

The forwards coach said that the way his team was dominated at scrum-time is a major concern, but dismissed suggestions that their rotation policy is having a negative effect on their performance.

"Our scrums didn't go how we wanted them to go so that is something that we will have to look at and sort out this week.

"We are running on a rotation basis so we are giving everyone a chance, we had a few young guys out there and I am sure they would have learned a lot," he said.

McLeod-Henderson said that while it was frustrating to be in that position in the first place, he was impressed with the spirit his team had shown in the second half and added that the younger players would have taken much from the experience.

"It was a very disappointing outing for us but in the second half it was encouraging to see a few of the young guys like Danie Mienie, Peet Marais, Fred Zeilinga and Sizo Maseko all sort of putting their hands up and getting a taste of top level rugby.

"It was great to see us come back in the second half and for them to stand up and put their hand up to actually win the second half and get a bonus point," he said.

The Sharks look set to be without the services of experienced lock Marco Wentzel who dislocated his shoulder at Newlands, whilst scrumhalf Cobus Reinach also injured his hip.

By Michael de Vries

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Team P W D L Pts
Free State Cheetahs 8 8 0 0 39
Blue Bulls 8 6 0 2 30
Western Province 8 5 0 3 27
Golden Lions 8 5 0 3 26
Sharks 8 5 0 3 25
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EP Kings 8 0 0 8 1