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Everitt: 'I am gutted'

REACTION: Edinburgh head coach Sean Everitt expressed his disappointment with his side’s second-half capitulation against his former team the Sharks in their Challenge Cup quarterfinal in Durban.

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The team from Scotland dominated territory and possession in the first half and were in front 16-14 at the break.

However, Everitt’s side crumbled under pressure in the second half on their way to a 30-36 defeat, especially after the Sharks’ pack stamped their authority at set-piece time.

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“I thought we handled the set-piece battle well in the first half,” said Everitt.

“We struggled a little with the aerial battle in the first 15 minutes of the game and then we got into it nicely by winning some of those battles.

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“At half-time, we were confident that we could pull it through and then the set-piece came under the pump and we gave away penalties there and I think the penalty count in the second half was 8-1, which tells you the story.

“We didn’t get the territory that we got in the first half. I thought we were clinical when we got into the opposition 22, but unfortunately, we let ourselves down in the second half.”

‘No excuses’

After what was described as a great build-up to the quarterfinal, Everitt admitted that it was hard to see his team fall short at this stage of the competition.

“I am gutted. So much went into the preparation and the logistics and the travel was made easy, so we got no excuses with regards to that,” the former Sharks coach explained.

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“It was just about us staying focussed for the entire 80.

“We were up against four Springboks in the tight five. I’ve never made excuses for that because we got our own [internationals] as well, so to capitulate like that in the second half is extremely disappointing.”

Everitt will now turn his attention back to the United Rugby Championship, where his team is currently in ninth position.

“There were a lot of positives that we can take out of this game,” he said.

“After 40 minutes it was a game we knew we could win and we need to take the positives out of the game into the URC.

“We got five URC games left. We’ve got a very good opportunity to finish in the top four because that will give you a home quarterfinal and I think the guys are really keen to do as well as they can in that competition.

“This is a lesson learnt for us. It’s never easy travelling away, so it’s more motivation for us to win those five games and to cement ourselves in the top four of the competition.”

@rugby365com

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