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Powell breathes sigh of relief after turbulent week

REACTION: It was not pretty, but the Sharks’ win on Friday was much-needed a relieved Director of Rugby Neil Powell admitted.


The Sharks secured a 25-10 win over the Ospreys in Round Nine of the United Rugby Championship in Durban on Friday.

The match was Director of Rugby Powell’s first game in charge of the team after Sean Everitt was given the boot after last weekend’s humiliating 0-35 defeat to Cardiff.

“We all know it was not an easy week. This game was never going to be easy because of the very difficult week and it was a short week as well,” Powell said in the wake of the 25-10 win over in Durban on Friday.

“We played on Sunday, had to get the guys recovered and get good preparation to play Friday again. So that turnaround really made it difficult.

“It was a tough week and a much-needed result, especially looking forward to next week [against the Harlquins] and what we want to achieve.

“We got a little bit of confidence and a positive result from this game.”


The Sharks outscored their opponents by three tries to two.

However, the team loaded with stars like Makazole Mapimpi, Jaden Hendrikse, Mbongeni Mbonambi and Retshegofaditswe Nche again were well below their best and rattled at times.

It is certainly clear that the Durbanites need to make a big ‘step up’ ahead of their first European Championship Cup match against Harlequins next week.

“Everybody that knows me knows it’s not just about the result for me,” Powell said.


“It’s also about the way we play, the effort that we put in and how we execute the plan and how well we do in our individual roles and responsibilities.

“We can definitely make a step up there. We will learn from our mistakes, but there was some good dominance in that game as well, especially in the first half, scrum dominance as well.

“There were a lot of positives as well, but we do need to make sure that we get it right for next weekend.”

He added: “Think if we can get that on-field confidence early in the game, and get it right, I do think we will be a lot more accurate and a lot more successful in the future.

“But it’s a small step at the time and hopefully we can build on this.”

The side will be boosted with the return of Springbok stars Siya Kolisi and Eben Etzebeth in what will be their debut in the European Champions Cup.

“It is always good to get those big names back, but again one of the factors that made the game a little bit stop-and-start and a little bit too many mistakes was due to the changes to the team.

“And we all know if you make that many changes to a team they might not have the synergy you would like.

“So hopefully heading to next week we will try to keep the changes to the minimal.”


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