Sharks defence heroic, but unsustainable

Date published: March 13 2016

Sharks director of rugby Gary Gold was proud of his side's defensive effort in their win over the Stormers, although he admitted such a shift wouldn't be sustainable throughout the year.

The Stormers dominated possession and territory at Newlands as the Sharks finished with 164 tackles to the Stormers' 101.

“We did substantially more defending, it was just wave after wave of Stormers attack… a really good attack, as well,” Gold said.

“I thought we did work incredibly hard from a defensive point of view and showed a lot of character which I’m very proud of.

“It’s fair to say that we’re not going to be able to go through a season like that… we’re going to have to look after the ball better when we do have the ball and we’re going to have to exit our 22 a little bit better than we did in the first half.”

The foundation for the Sharks' success was build around their competitiveness in the set-piece, holding their own in the scrum and keeping the international combination of Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit quiet at the lineout.

Gold revealed the respect the Sharks had for the Etzebeth-Du Toit combination had been a driving factor for his pack in the build-up to Saturday's derby.

“Respect is a hell of a thing and it brings things out of you, and we respect these two guys,” Gold added.

“Obviously we know Pieter-Steph very well and Eben is colossal.

“One of the things that the Stormers have been so good at in recent weeks is contesting. We had to go to the drawing board.

“Pieter-Steph knows our mentality and Eben is ferocious. We had to think a little bit out of the box. We weren’t pretty, but that’s what you have to do when you’re playing a good team … you need to win possession.

“If they had got the upper hand to on us from a line-out point of view that result would have been very different.”