Sharks wear 'favourites' tag well

Fri, 21 Feb 2014 12:10
Large jake white against post

Jake White gave his Sharks just an 'average' mark and admitted there will be enormous pressure on them, given the star-studded nature of the side.

Jake White gave his Sharks just an 'average' mark for their win over the Bulls and admitted there will be enormous pressure on them, given the star-studded nature of the side.

The World Cup-winning former Springbok coach said they are always going to have that pressure of expectation, because they have a very talented squad.

"We are not going to make excuses for the fact that we have great players and we have a great squad," White told this website in an interview ahead of their Round Two encounter with the Hurricanes in Durban on Saturday.

"The challenge now is with all the things we have been given, we must make sure we use those opportunities.

"To get a good start will give us a lot of confidence as well, because you get the players to understand that with the pressure and with that tag of being favourites you have to produce.

"That is another tick in the box for us, to understand that we got out there and played well."

Asked what areas of their game concerned him most, White said discipline is top of that list.

"We gave ourselves and average mark for that game," he said of the 31-16 win over the Bulls.

"All the things we wanted to get right we probably got a three-and-a-half out of five score, which is 75 percent.

"There wasn't one area we thought we were really good at."

He said the one area they have to be sharper on is their discipline.

"We conceded too many [14] penalties and gave them too much field position," White told this website.

"That would be one area, to make sure we cut down our penalty count.

"Overall, as a coach, you have to be happy if you can stop the Bulls from scoring more than one try and score four of your own.

"Also, the things we wanted to do and planned to do in the pre-season, we got those right 75 percent of the time - that is not a bad start when you know you can improve as the season gets longer."

By Jan de Koning

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
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Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26