The Sharks won’t be the complacent bunch who turned up at Newlands when they face Boland, says assistant coach Grant Bashford.
The Sharks were a shadow of the polished side we’ve seen for the majority of the Currie Cup, looking unstructured on attack and uncharacteristically vulnerable defensively.
Bashford attributed the poor performance to an attitude problem rather than any technical flaws but insisted there would be no trace of that when they face Boland in Durban this weekend.
“We really took the guys to task about their attitude coming into the Province game,” Bashford told keo.co.za. “That had an adverse effect on the game and we were very disappointed to have been dominated at the set phases and breakdown, where we’re usually very good.
“But the guys have had a good look at themselves and I’m confident that we’ll get back on track this weekend.”
Bashford said Boland would pose different challenges to Province, adding that while they were confident of victory they knew the Wellington union were capable of punishing inaccurate execution.
“They’re one of those sides you would expect to beat but I know that if we don’t turn up on the evening they could beat us,” he said. “They have a couple of gamebreakers in their backline like John Daniels and Jongi Nokwe. I hear they’re out injured but we’ll believe that when we see it.
“On paper their pack shouldn’t be good but they showed against the Cheetahs and Lions how competent they can be under pressure. Even going backwards for most of those matches they were able to be creative with the scraps they had to work with.”
The Sharks have some serious injury concerns coming into the match. Flyhalf Brad Barritt and lock Steven Sykes are both almost certain to miss the match, while Johan Ackermann and Henno Mentz are deemed very doubtful. Bashford said the fact that those were experienced players was a concern but refused to take a pessimistic view on the situation.
“We’ve got 19 of our Super 14 players out either on Bok duty or injured. But We’ve got wonderful depth at the Sharks,” he said.
“We’re not viewing this [the injuries] as a huge blow but seeing it as an opportunity to give some of our promising young players a run.”
By Ryan Vrede