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Saturday, June 15, 2024

‘Not good enough’ … Sharks played as a bunch of individuals in Scarlets defeat

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Durban – Sharks director Neil Powell has blamed a lack of team cohesion for the shock 32-20 defeat to the Scarlets in Wales and added that in every facet of the game, the Sharks were “not good enough.”

Last week the Sharks had described this game as “massively important” to them and they said five log points were non-negotiable, yet on the night the Scarlets showed greater determination and hunger.

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Moreover, the Sharks displayed little structure to their game and the lineout maul appeared to be their sole weapon for scoring points.

I saw no interplay between backs and forwards as part of a plan to build attacks. The forwards did their thing and the backs did theirs, only very badly.

“I think it was a very individualistic performance by us. It felt like the guys tried hard individually but we didn’t try hard as a team,” Powell said.

“We will have to come together as a team over the next three or four days and make sure we bring a team performance against Munster (in Saturday’s Heineken Cup match in Durban) and not an individualistic one.”

There are two weeks of Heineken Cup rugby now and then the Sharks complete their United Rugby Championship fixtures with home games against Benetton and Munster once more.

They have to get 10 points out of the latter two games to move to at least seventh place on the table to ensure a quarter-final berth

“It was obviously a disappointing performance from us,” Powell added.

“Once more it was a game where we let ourselves down because of our ill-discipline. We conceded too many penalties that put ourselves under pressure (the Scarlets’ flyhalf Sam Costelow banged over six penalties).

“We also made unforced errors. We knew coming into this game that the Scarlets were feeding off those opportunities, and unfortunately, we gave them those scraps and they scored two of their tries off our mistakes.

“All-round, it was not good enough, not clinical enough and we’ve only got ourselves to blame.”

The Sharks have now lost five of the seven URC games they have played this year. A number of those losses occurred when they were without their eight front-line Springboks and while those players were present against the Scarlets, rustiness was evident.

But this week against Munster there can be no excuses and I expect the Irish side to suffer a backlash.

IOL Sport

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