Powell reveals the real heroes of Newport win
REACTION: Sharks Director of Rugby Neil Powell made it clear that it was his big bruisers in the pack that laid the foundation for his team’s success against the Dragons.
The Durban-based side ended the pool phase of the Challenge Cup as top seeds following their 29-9 victory in Newport on Sunday.
They will face Italian side Zebre Parma in the Round of 16 in Durban in early April.
After a slow start at Rodney Parade, the Sharks gained the ascendancy against the Dragons with their forwards.
Lock Gerbrandt Grobler was at the forefront of a powerful display in the set pieces and he won a whopping 12 line-outs in the match.
He was a key figure in the mauls as well and was one of his team’s five try-scorers. Therefore, it came as no surprise when he won the man-of-the-match award.
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“There were really good tries and good moments in the game. The forwards stood up and gave the backs some good ball to play with,” said Powell.
“They [forwards] gave us good gainline momentum and in the mauls.
“It was a good defensive performance again in terms of not conceding any tries in an away game, so I am proud of the boys.”
The win in Newport also helped the Sharks achieve a few goals.
“To get our first back-to-back win and first away win of the season is great.
“The guys were really good the whole week in the preparation.
“It was a tough first 30 minutes. It felt like the game didn’t go our way at times.
“Credit to the boys for the composure to turn it around and score twice in the last 10 minutes of the first half to give us a good foundation to build on for the second half.”
Powell added: “They fought for a home Round of 16 tie and a home quarterfinal.
“It was a good performance out in difficult conditions at Newport so I am very happy with the five points we got.”