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Sharks benefit from Rassie Erasmus, Jacques Nienaber’s ’special Springboks environment’

The Sharks thank the crowd for attending their United Rugby Championship match against the Bulls. Picture: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

The Sharks thank the crowd for attending their United Rugby Championship match against the Bulls. Picture: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Published Dec 4, 2021

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Durban - A host of Springboks made a telling contribution to the Sharks’ emphatic 30-16 URC victory over the Bulls on Friday night and coach Sean Everitt says the excellent attitude of his Boks is in part due to a “special” environment created by the national rugby coaches.

Siya Kolisi, Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi, Sbu Nkosi and Bongi Mbonambi started for the Sharks and they were a much-improved team, and the Bulls never looked like winning the game, particularly after halftime when there was only one team in it.

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“I have been with the Sharks for a long time and sometimes it was a worry when the Boks came back (because their attitude wasn’t right), so it is really pleasing to see the commitment for our guys,” Everitt said.

“Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber have created something special at the Boks and we just look forward to our Boks rubbing shoulders with our youngsters and showing then the right way.

Am returned to the Sharks after having played 80 minutes of almost all of the Boks’ games but gave his all for the Sharks and was the Man of the Match.

“Most pleasing has been the attitude of the Boks,” Everitt added. “When they were overseas we sent them material to study and they came back well prepared, so it was an easy transition to have them back in the fold.”

ALSO READ: Referee, TMO must pick up ’things’, says Bulls’ Jake White after Sharks defeat

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The stand-out feature of the game was the Sharks’annihilation of the Bulls at scrum time — almost every scrum ended with a penalty to the Sharks and eventually referee Jaco Peyper yellow-carded Lizo Gqoboka because of multiple infringements by the Bulls front row.

“Scrums are always very important but especially in Durban conditions in the summer (the slippery ball leads to plenty of scrums),” Everitt said. “We all know that set pieces are one of the cornerstones of winning a rugby match and our set-piece certainly functioned very well, and we also got a nice maul try.

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“We are very happy with how it went because we have been under the pump in our set-pieces for the last 18 months, so it is a good turnaround.”

As helpful as it was to have the Springbok reinforcements, the other Sharks players also performed commendably, notably the second-row pairing of Ruben van Heerden and Hyron Andrews, and young flank Jeandre Labuschagne had a stormer.

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The former Maritzburg College pupil was recently loaned to the Cheetahs and was given an opportunity because of the unavailability of a number of loose forwards for undisclosed health reasons.

Flyhalf Boeta Chamberlain was generally good and the more he plays, the fewer errors he will make, hopefully.

The Sharks had a difficult first half in which they enjoyed territory dominance but could not get points on the board, and the Bulls led at halftime.

“It was very pleasing that the guys stuck to it even when they were not getting reward,” Everitt said. “Sometimes when it is not going your way, you can go off on your own individual plan, but the guys stuck to the task and the reward eventually came.”

The Sharks’ next scheduled game is against Benetton in Italy on January 8 but obviously there is a question mark over that fixture.

IOL Sport

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