Neil Powell. (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)
- The Sharks laboured over the line to defeat Ospreys on
Friday night in the immediate game following the Cardiff humiliation.
- Director of rugby Neil Powell acknowledged it was a tough
week at Kings Park and was glad to close it off with a victory over the
- Powell said they’d learn from their mistakes ahead Harlequins’
visit to Durban in the European Champions Cup next week.
Like a Durban North rickshaw carrying far too many people
too pull, the Sharks laboured over the line to defeat the Ospreys on Friday night
in the immediate game following the Cardiff humiliation.
But director of rugby Neil Powell, who took over the head
coaching duties after Sunday’s 35-0 loss saw Sean Everitt exit Kings Park,
cared only that they won and could breathe following a tumultuous week.
Everitt’s tenure, which coincided with CEO Eduard Coetzee
taking over from Gary Teichmann, was meant to herald the stability that
characterised the former head coach after years of Robert du Preez turmoil.
AS IT HAPPENED | Sharks 25-10 Ospreys
But this week showed that no one is insulated from the
pressures of professional sporting ambition, least of all well-stocked squads
like the Sharks’.
“If you know me, then you’ll know I’m not about the
result but this one was about the result for us. It will give us a bit of a
breather,” said Powell, letting out a sigh that could be heard all over
the Indian Ocean.
“We all know it wasn’t an easy week. This game was
never going to be easy because of the week and that it was a short week as
“We played Sunday and we had to get the guys recovered
and get good preparation to play Friday again. That turnaround also made it
“It was a tough week and a much-needed result for us,
especially looking forward to next week and what we want to achieve.
“It’s good that we got a bit of confidence and a good
result from this game.”
Makazole Mapimpi (L) and Sikhumbuzo Notshe. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
On the field, the Sharks looked scarcely different than they
had all season – bar their most complete performance to date, the 40-12 win
over Glasgow in which Eben Etzebeth made his Sharks debut.
They looked like players who met up accidentally to play
rugby at times, rather than a cohesive, coordinate unit, especially when
invited to attack by the Ospreys.
Their scrum dominance, aided by Springboks Ox Nche and Bongi
Mbonambi returning to their front row, was the biggest indication of the kind
of quality they still possessed.
Still, they found a way through with three tries by
reinvigorated loose-forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe, who looks to have found his mojo
after a long-term knee injury, Curwin Bosch, who returned with confidence from
his spell out, and substitute James Venter.
Powell, though, with Harlequins in the European Champions
Cup coming to Durban next weekend, said they’d learn from their mistakes.
“It’s not just about the result for me,” he said.
“It’s also about the way we play, the effort that we
put in and how we execute the plan and how well we do in our individual roles
“We can definitely make a step up there. We will learn
from our mistakes but there was some good dominance in that game as well,
especially in the first half.
“There were a lot of positives as well but we do need
to make sure that we get it right for next weekend.”