Sharks land decisive punch
Sharks land decisive punchSHARE
The Sharks beat the Stormers 12-6 in what can only be described as a heavyweight bout as the teams went toe-to-toe for a gruelling 80 minutes.
"It was a huge win for us," said Sharks assistant coach Grant Bashford.
"We always knew that we would be up against a very strong defensive side and that it would be a tough night to actually score tries.
"We knew it would be exactly what we saw in that game: a war of attrition with guys smashing each other defensively," Bashford explained.
Throughout the game there was not an inch given by each team and it ultimately came down to the boot of Patrick Lambie that separated the sides.
"It possibly wasn’t a great spectacle in terms of tries," he admits, "but from a physical encounter, it was right up there, with both sides then trying to find space behind the line with their kicking game. I think both sides were after that same space."
Conditions were always going to play a part in the fixture but Bashford felt that they were not as much of a factor on Saturday as they usually are at this time of the year.
"There is always going to be humidity in Durban at this time of year and as it goes, it actually wasn’t so bad in this game, for us, although they probably found the ball a little more greasy."
"Both sides have respect for the opposition’s defence, these are two really good defensive sides and when both sides carried the ball to the line, they were getting belted.
"The Stormers are a side you generally don’t score a lot of tries against and no tries in this match wasn’t from lack of trying; we knew they would have a good defensive line in front of us and we decided to try and break it down and go through it," the assistant coach said.
Both sides used their big men to try and unsettle the defensive lines but there was no budging from either team which meant that the little chips and tactical kicks became more and more prevalent.
"Guys like Jean Deysel and Marcell Coetzee carried the ball fantastically but the Stormers stood up to that," Bashford mentioned.
Man-of-the-match Jean Deysel showed what he is capable of not only with ball in hand as he was instrumental in a number of turnovers as well as massive on defence.
"It was both sides having a full crack at each other," added Bashford.
The Sharks will be glad that they came out the other side of such a bruising encounter with a fairly clean bill of health.
"It’s nice after two weeks not to have any more injuries, we had our fair share in the pre-season and going into the campaign.
"There are a few niggles obviously with the intensity of the game but at this stage, no-one has been ruled out," Bashford said.