Unbeaten Sharks still seek more
The Sharks are using the build-up to the Brumbies game this weekend as an opportunity to take a good, hard look at what is going on at the Shark Tank.
Assistant Coach Hugh Reece-Edwards is aware that the side is not playing their best rugby despite winning their first three games of the season.
"The word ‘conservative’ has also been used, that we’re not on top of our game; there are a few things that are being suggested and bandied about," Reece-Edwards said.
The coach knows that there is not that same accuracy as the latter stages of last season but this is a long tournament and most of the top sides won't be hitting their straps this early in the competition.
"We’re not really doing what we can do, what we have been able to do in the past.
"When we played our pre-season warm-up games, we let the ball really move around a bit," he explained.
The Sharks two pre-season fixtures saw them play the Leopards and the Pumas which are not the strongest sides to have a hit-out against. These games would not have given them the same match practice as the Bulls, Stormers or Cheetahs.
The Sharks, although not happy with their performance, are not taking anything away from what was an incredibly good performance from the Kings.
"We as a whole group aren’t really happy with the way we have performed, but we must give the Kings credit, there is no doubt about it, that was a really gutsy performance from them," the assistant-coach admitted.
He added: "There has been a lot of hard talk already and going forward, we know what we have to work on, we know where we’ve been poor and everything is geared now to correcting that this week."
It seems that the coaching staff are just waiting for that one performance that will help the side click into attack mode. With so many exciting players in the squad Reece-Edwards has no doubt that the Sharks will be able to return to their try-scoring ways.
"It’s not that we can’t play, we certainly can. We have plenty of x-factor in this team and a great mix of junior and senior players, it’s a great squad.
"We’re in for a massive match this weekend and so are they," he explains.
Looking forward to their game against the Brumbies, Reece-Edwards knows the importance of winning when you play at home.
"It’s a home match for us, that’s the most important thing: the result is what it’s all about playing at home.
"The guys also enjoy playing international opposition and the fact that they’re on top of their conference means that we have to really focus," Reece-Edwards said.
The Brumbies are coming off an impressive win against the battling Waratahs last weekend and, although it is a long flight, will be full of confidence when they hit the East Coast of South Africa.
Reece-Edwards mentioned a few areas of the Brumbies game that mirror that of a few of the South African franchises.
"The Brumbies show some South African styles with their driving mentality, they drive quite a bit.
"Yet they also maintain their running patterns that they do so well.
"They’re the leading Australian side which shows in their log position," he said.
The Sharks are aware of the importance of this first game against overseas opposition as a way for them to gauge their standing in the overall competition.
If one looks at the previous results, the Sharks are in a healthy position with wins against the Cheetahs who won in New Zealand this weekend, the Stormers who beat defending champions the Chiefs, and the Southern Kings – who had passion and a partisan crowd behind them.
The Sharks have proven on numerous occasions that they have been able to adapt their game-plan at different stages of the season and with three wins, the early pressure might be subsiding a little.
"We know we have a lot of work to do, in all departments, but we’re excited, we’re playing an overseas side and we’re really looking forward to it," Reece-Edwards concluded.