Rugby | Du Preez happy with improving Sharks

Durban – Robert du Preez, the former Springbok scrumhalf and now Gary Gold’s assistant at King’s Park, says he is satisfied with the progress the Sharks are making in Super Rugby and is confident they will improve during the extended season.

Du Preez, who is the Sharks’ attack coach, said that the weekend game against the Jaguares at King’s Park, was played in difficult conditions and this had contributed to the stop-start nature of the contest.

The Sharks dominated the first half but their finishing was poor and they eventually had had to grind out a 19-15 win over an experienced Argentine outfit.

“It wasn’t easy for the players,” said Du Preez.

“The ball is slippery but that is what you get with the humidity in Durban at this time of the year. Our intention was good and we created quite a few opportunities but we coughed up far too much ball. We certainly should have converted more of our chances.”

Du Preez echoed head coach Gold’s weekend comments that the Sharks are still work in progress.

“We will keep getting better during a very long season. We do have four wins out of four, if we count the two pre-season friendlies in France, so that is good and the players will take confidence out of this start.”

The Sharks now travel to Cape Town to face the unbeaten Stormers at Newlands on Saturday evening.

“They will be very difficult,” said the 52-year-old Du Preez.

“They are similar to us in the way they want to play and they do have a formidable pack and one we respect.

“We are under no illusions about what is waiting for us at Newlands but we are confident and we will give it our best shot.”

The Sharks backline coach said the team were gelling into a happy squad.

“We have that right balance between the young and the very experienced. Gary and the management team have worked hard to create something special and there is an excellent vibe in the camp.”

Du Preez has his 20-year-old twin sons, Jean-Luc and Daniel, with him in the Sharks team and they were all looking forward to something of a family reunion at Newlands.

His first son, the 22-year-old Robert, has been the Stormers’ first-choice flyhalf this season and his brothers were expecting to be marking him “in a proper game” for the first time on Saturday.

But injury has put paid to that possibility, at least for the foreseeable future, with Robert junior going down with a knee injury during the Stormers’ weekend game against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

The details of the injury are not yet known but word from the Stormers camp yesterday was that Du Preez was “not looking good” and he could be sidelined for six weeks.

Du Preez, who scored 23 points, was man of the match in the Stormers’ 33-9 win over the Bulls in the opening round while younger brother Jean-Luc took the award on successive weekends as the Sharks beat the Southern Kings and Jaguares.

Saturday’s game at Newlands kicks off at 17:15.

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