Rugby | Well-earned break for Sharks

Cape Town – Despite their defeat to the Crusaders, Sharks director of rugby Gary Gold has lauded the character shown by his side.

A late try from skipper Kieran Read gave the Crusaders a 19-14 win at Kings Park but it was a game they dominated throughout.

The Crusaders enjoyed 56% possession and 67% territory and bossed almost all facets of play but struggled to assert themselves on the scoreboard.

Despite his team’s struggles, Gold is happy with fight they showed.

“I must give huge credit to our guys for the character they’ve shown,” Gold told the Sharks’ official website. “We came out after half-time and gave ourselves the opportunity to win the game. We will learn from this.”

Gold admitted that there is a need to go back to the drawing board. “I think our basics are pretty good, we’ve come quite a long way in a short space of time. But they set the bar high and we have to acknowledge that there is some work for us to look after the ball. We have great outside backs, we want to get the ball into their hands; we have to be hard on ourselves about that.

“It’s all about the momentum of the game and wrestling it into your favour, so that when you get the chance, and you’re in the right area of the field, you’re in the right state of mind. And looking back, particularly in the second half, there were quite a few opportunities and we didn’t take them.”

The Sharks now take a well-earned bye this week and will have some work in the medical room before a home match against the Lions and then their overseas tour.

Gold confirmed that Philip van der Walt and Etienne Oosthuizen took rather bad knocks, Daniel du Preez sustained a hip pointer injury and Lwazi Mvovo took a knock to his lower back and will all be assessed and treated accordingly.

Next week’s match against the Lions is an opportunity to correct their performance against the Crusaders, Gold admitted. “We’ll be really up for it, it will be a huge game for us against a team playing really good rugby at the moment.

“Five games down and it’s not going to get any easier, so there were big lessons from this game. But I choose to focus on the positives, I have to give this team a lot of credit for the character they showed.”

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