Sharks head coach John Plumtree said his team failed to deliver a polished performance in their 25-18 Currie Cup final defeat against WP.
The Sharks enjoyed the ascendancy during the opening stages of the first and second half. They also had the upper hand at the collisions and scrums for most parts of the match.
However, they failed to capitalise on this dominance, and WP fought back to clinch an unlikely victory.
Plumtree lamented his team’s efficiency at the lineouts and failing to score points when they were on offer.
‘It was Western Province’s night,’ said Plumtree. ‘We dominated the scrums, as I expected us to. We knew what we had to do to win, it just didn’t come off for us. It wasn’t a polished performance.
‘Our lineout execution was very poor. We also didn’t get quality service from the breakdowns. I think the tackle release was very slow in this match, and that denied us quality ball.’
Plumtree acknowledged his team’s successful season, but said losing two finals (Super Rugby and the Currie Cup) was heartbreaking.
‘I’m a tough coach to please because I want to win all the time,’ he said. ‘This team has done very well this season, and we also qualified for last year’s Currie Cup final. But we didn’t win any trophies. That’s tough to accept.’
Skipper Keegan Daniel believed Province beat his team as they capitalised on key moments.
‘We knew WP were going to be a tough challenge for us,’ said Daniel. ‘I’m disappointed because we had plans in place to counter WP’s strengths, but things didn’t always go our way. WP did well to turn pressure into points.
‘Our players will look back to this and learn from this experience. Many of the younger guys have matured so much over the last two years.’
By Gareth Duncan, in Durban