Sharks want to maximise second opportunity
Johannesburg - The Sharks know that they missed out on an opportunity last weekend, but believe the sniff they still have of Super Rugby silverware is just enough to galvanise their quest not only to make the playoffs, but to keep their season going for another few weeks.
Fullback Curwin Bosch echoed the sentiments of assistant coach Dick Muir when, in looking ahead to the must win final league game against the Jaguares at Kings Park on Saturday, he spoke about how the Sharks had failed to take the opportunity that other teams had offered them last weekend, according to SuperSport.com.
Wins for the Bulls against the Jaguares and the Reds against the Rebels opened the way for the Sharks to wriggle their way into the top eight with a game to go, but they blew it with a 27-16 defeat to the Stormers in their penultimate fixture in Cape Town.
“We definitely shot ourselves in the foot last week. Everyone else did us favours except ourselves,” said Bosch.
“But we also realise that (last week’s results) gives us a second opportunity, and you don’t usually get a second opportunity in a competition like this. We are looking forward to the challenge this week. It is a nice challenge for this group of players. There is a little bit of pressure on us but we have always done well when the pressure is on.”
According to Bosch, the main area that the Sharks need to work on ahead of the Jaguares game is patience when they have the ball in hand, and to fix the basics.
“First and foremost we need to fix the basics, we need to fix the stuff that is in our control. We mustn’t force the offload. We must rather wait one more phase,” he said.
“Our strength is our offloading game but that must come in later in the game. Offloads are something that you start doing when the opposition are tired. We must do our basics well first and try wear the opposition down.
“We had plenty of opportunities in Cape Town. We could have put the Stormers away but our execution went wrong. There would be a final pass that wouldn’t go to hand, a kick that wouldn’t reach target. We knew the Stormers wouldn’t be able to live with us if we got our game right. We must just get it right on Saturday.”
Bosch said that definite areas of potential Jaguares vulnerability had been identified in watching the video of their loss to the Bulls and the Sharks would be going out to play on those in the Durban match.
“We know what we need to do and if we execute our plan properly we will be okay. Each player must just focus on executing efficiently and accurately.”
Bosch appears to have gained confidence as a fullback this year, and his time with Rassie Erasmus’ Springboks appears to have gone some way towards alerting him to the benefits of playing in the last line of defence.
“I have definitely learnt a lot playing fullback this year and I am beginning to get a much better understanding of space and time on the field,” said Bosch.
“At the Boks I took a bit of time to work on my running game, and that feels like it is coming together. The match I played against Wales was a reminder of how tough international rugby is but hopefully later in the year I will get an opportunity to build further on my international experience.”