Sharks captain Johann Muller lamented a lack of motivation as his team went down 25-13 to the Reds.
The Sharks missed an opportunity to go top of the table and continued their dismal record in Australia, and Muller admitted his team were never up for the match they were expected to dominate.
“Tonight we came up against a side who were just more hungry than us,” said Muller. “They were outstanding in the tackle fight, which slowed our progression on attack. We turned over too much ball and credit to them.”
An honest Muller also highlighted a poor defensive showing, while losing Ruan Pienaar to injury meant the territorial battle was lost. Centre Berrick Barnes repeatedly moved into flyhalf to pin the visitors back with his deft use of the boot.
“Our defence was poor again, we missed too many one-on-one tackles. In the kicking game they outplayed us, and their defence kept us in our own half.”
Surprisingly the Sharks were dominated at the contact points with the Reds exhibiting a hunger the visitors couldn’t match.
“Physically they were impressive,” said Muller.
Although the Reds move up the log, their play-off hopes remain bleak. However, captain Barnes and coach Phil Mooney remain buoyed by the shock win.
“We gave a gutsy effort in that second half,” said Barnes. “Thta provides us with a good platform for the rest of the competition.”
“That sets us up nicely,” said Mooney. “That means so much to the team, and we dedicate the win to the McMeniman family [lock Hugh McMeniman's father passed away last week].”
By Grant Ball