Wide-running Bulls worry Sharks

Thu, 03 Oct 2013 07:24
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The Sharks may be sitting pretty at the top of the Currie Cup table, but they are not about to rest on their proverbial laurels.

The Sharks may be sitting pretty at the top of the Currie Cup table, but they are not about to rest on their proverbial laurels.

It is the Blue Bulls' newfound attacking form that caused a few flutters in Durban this week, ahead of the two teams' Round Nine encounter at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.

The Sharks beat the Golden Lions 31-25 last week, when the Bulls thrashed Griquas 52-10 in Kimberley.

Apart from the fact that no team has been able to put that kind of score on Griquas in Kimberley this season, the Bulls also showed a willingness to play a more expansive game.

Given that the Lions, another team keen on taking the ball wide at every opportunity, scored three tries against the Sharks, the men from Durban felt they needed to tighten up their defence a bit.

Sharks backline coach Sean Everitt feels his team's defence has been good this season, given that they have conceded just 19 tries in eight matches. Only Western Province's 18 tries are better.

"We have worked hard on our defence," Everitt told this website.

"However, when we got that lead in the first half [against the Lions] we let ourselves down defensively. We have worked on that this week, to ensure it doesn't happen again.

"You have to give credit to the Lions - they do score lots of tries and score in every game. They do play an exciting brand of rugby," he said of a Lions team that has scored 34 tries in eight starts.

Everitt admitted that against these teams that run from everywhere, if you don't concentrate for the full 80 minutes then you are going to leak tries.

"The Bulls played with a lot of width against Griquas [last week], so the challenge will be the same for us this week."

The Sharks mentor said their defensive lapses last week were the result of a lack of concentration, rather than issues with the system.

"The Lions put you under pressure by going wide," he said, adding: "If you don't adjust accordingly, you tend to make mistakes and everyone looks at the last pass, rather than where the mistake happened at the beginning, which is at the ruck."

By Jan de Koning

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Team P W D L Pts
Golden Lions 10 10 0 0 48
Blue Bulls 10 8 0 2 39
Western Province 10 7 0 3 35
Free State Cheetahs 10 3 2 5 24
Sharks 10 4 1 5 22
Pumas 10 3 1 6 17
EP Kings 10 2 0 8 12
Griquas 10 1 0 9 8