Sharks coach Dick Muir believes Ruan Pienaar’s best is yet to come.
The Sharks No 9 scored one of the best scrumhalf tries in the history of Super Rugby, when he broke through the Chiefs defence from inside the Sharks half and bamboozled three defenders, including All Black fullback Mils Muliaina, on his way to the tryline. It was remarkably similar to his try that ripped the heart out of the Brumbies’ challenge in last year’s Vodacom Super 12.
“Ruan is a special player who always gives 140%,” said Muir after the game. “This is just a small taste of what he is capable of.”
Muir was delighted to kick the season off with a win, but said his side would have to learn from their mistakes ahead of their game against the Cheetahs in Durban.
“The guys were desperate to start with a win,” he said. “We know there are still a lot of matches left, so we aren’t getting too excited. I was pleased to see how the guys played with courage and recovered from the early set back [when the Chiefs went ahead 7-0].”
The Sharks scored three tries in a commanding first-half display, but couldn’t cross the line again to collect the bonus point. The way the Sharks sat back and defended their lead was a concern to Muir.
“It’s probably because we have so many inexperienced players in the team,” he said. “We should have tried to keep on attacking and run them off their feet.”
Sharks captained AJ Venter confirmed that only JP Pietersen (hamstring tear) and Warren Britz (thigh) were on the casualty list.
“We are in pretty good shape,” he said. “Sure there were a lot of scrapes and scratches that benefited from a good dousing in the salt water, but we are fine and planning and preparing for the Cheetahs started immediately.
“Apart from the physical side of things, the win has obviously done wonders for our confidence and that is a big positive we take into this week.”