Sharks win will be valued in years to come
REACTION: Sharks coach Neil Powell said the victory over Bordeaux Bègles in the Champions Cup on Friday will probably only be understood in years to come.
Powell was generous in his praise of his charges, especially as it is always a tough ask to play in France in front of passionate spectators.
“We will probably only understand how important this win was in a few years from now, when we come back to France to play French teams,” Powell said.
“It was a great win for us, especially knowing we’d have to come to Bordeaux – everyone told us how difficult it would be winning away in France against a French team.
“We also saw how much of an impact on the performance the crowd there has on the home team.”
Despite trailing at half-time, the Sharks came out invigorated and focused in the second half, setting up the coup de grâce that delivered a second successive victory in the tournament and kept them unbeaten – one of only four teams with a 100% success rate.
“I’m really proud of the boys, especially in the second half. At half-time we spoke about being in control of the game more after there were too many basic errors in the first half and maybe playing too much in certain areas of the field where we could have been better in pinning them in their half.
“Credit to the guys, they were a lot more accurate in the second half, more clinical and definitely showed a lot more control in terms of how we wanted to play and what we wanted to achieve.
“The turning point for me was that first defensive set in the second half where we really got some good, positive hits, where we were really physical on defence and then got the turn-over.
“How the guys reacted to what was said at half-time was really amazing and they showed it in their actions. We must also pay credit to the coaching and medical staff who prepared the players, this was a massive system effort that got us the reward.
With Champions Cup rugby now taking a brief respite to allow for the continuation of United Rugby Championship commitments, the Sharks take on the Lions at Kings Park on Friday night.
“This win was important and adds to the confidence we will take from the last few performances into the URC. But we have to shift focus, put this win behind us and start focusing on the Lions. We need to ensure that we prepare well and step up our performance.”