Sharks happy with brilliant start to tour of New Zealand
The Sharks are understandably happy with their brilliant start to their New Zealand tour‚ but they’ll have to up the ante this week when they visit the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.
By crushing the Highlanders 42-20 in Dunedin on Friday‚ they’ve put themselves in a neat position on tour. The Hurricanes‚ who played the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on Sunday morning‚ will be a tougher task.
Jason Holland’s side though may be feeling the effects of the flight from Argentina while the Sharks are well rested and critically‚ acclimatised to the time zones that are often the undoing of South African touring teams.
The Sharks have generally toured well in New Zealand‚ but that’s often come on the back of a two-week stay in Australia. Sharks coach Sean Everitt said his side always look forward to touring and there’s a positive energy in the team.
“We’re really happy with where we are at the moment. This team is new and is starting to learn very quickly and that’s the sign of a successful team. There’s a lot of energy in the group‚ the guys have toured well in the past and they are enjoying themselves. We’re looking to improve from week to week‚” Everitt said.
The Sharks haven’t won in Wellington in 10 years‚ but with the tactical smarts they displayed in Dunedin‚ the Hurricanes’ impressive home streak against the Sharks could be under serious threat.
The Sharks forwards asked serious questions of the Highlanders and against the Stormers‚ the New Zelanders’ forwards were found wanting.
A rinse and repeat kind of performance is one the Sharks could do with‚ but no two weeks are the same on tour.
It’ll also be the Hurricanes’ first home game and they’ll desperate to fall behind in the New Zealand conference where a dogfight is already developing between the Chiefs‚ the Crusaders and the Blues.
That said‚ Everitt said their showing against the Highlanders was an impressive one from an all-round tactical perspective.
“We’re very happy with the performance. The guys showed a lot of courage and guts in the first half. We were in an arm-wrestle in the first 20 minutes. The game managed to open up late in the first half and we were able to score some points and have a good lead at half-time‚” Everitt said.
“I think our defence in the first half was outstanding‚ even though we let them beat us at times on the outside. The energy in this team is as such‚ we were able to scramble‚ closed them down and we managed to prevent them from scoring tries.”