Sharks shift focus to scrums

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 10:32
Large robert du preez senior 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Sharks head coach Robert du Preez admits that his team's scrum was in a shambles during their 30-38 defeat to the Free State Cheetahs last week.

The Sharks started their Currie Cup campaign in noteworthy fashion, but that quickly took a turn for the worst as the side from Durban suffered two consecutive defeats against Western Province in Cape Town and then against the Cheetahs in Durban.

However, Du Preez believes he has spotted the faults and feels that his side will put on a much better performance in their crucial encounter against the resilient Eastern Province Kings this weekend.

"After what happened to our scrum during the match against Cheetahs it has really become our focus for this week. We did learn a lot from last week and we feel confident in our set pieces, especially our scrum," Du Preez said.

"The match against the EP Kings is a very important game. We know what EP have done to the Bulls up in Loftus - that game was up in the air up until the end – so we are not taking them lightly.

"Despite what EP Kings challenges as a Union the group of players are really passionate. They have a great coach [Barend Pieterse] so it is going to be tough match,"

The return of Springbok flyhalf Patrick Lambie has cast some good fortunes over the Sharks camp and the 25-year-old could be pivotal on Saturday.

"[Lambie] is ready to go. He has had a great two weeks and we are very pleased that he is back - not only for us but for him. He will cover [the flyhalf position] and will definitely get some game time on Saturday," Du Preez added.  

The Sharks have been struggling with injuries in recently. They have lost the services of senior players like Keegan Daniels, Philip van der Walt and Odwa Ndungane, which left a lot of responsibility with some of the younger players in the squad.

"It is not easy losing most of the senior players and leaders in the beginning of a match [against the Cheetahs] and I think we didn't step up to the plate," said Sharks lock Ruan Botha.  

"Last week was a learning experience for the young guys in the team. The Cheetahs scored 21 points from our own mistakes like knock-ons or holding onto the ball

"If we look at all the games we have lost we fell into that trap of playing their kind of rugby, so for this week we have to focus on our game and achieve our goals that we have set."

Botha was part of the tight five whose scrum crumbled under pressure against the Cheetahs.

"As part of the tight five it was an embarrassing performance last week against the Cheetahs, and you just have to look at yourself, take the hit on the chin and move on from that and just work harder.

"A lot of people look at us and say we are quite a young pack, but if you look at how the individual players performed in Super Rugby, we can see that there is experience in the pack. We just have to focus on our own strengths," he added.

@rugby365com

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
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