Sharks defence coach Omar Mouneimne believes their 43-8 win over the Kings on Saturday has settled their nerves ahead of their clash with the Jaguares at Kings Park.
The men from Durban endured somewhat rusty spells and could have put the Kings to bed much earlier. Instead the home side got the first five-pointer, but their decent start wasn't enough to stop the Sharks from securing a six-try victory.
“We made it very difficult for ourselves in the first half,” Sharks defence coach Omar Mouneimne told sharksrugby.co.za.
“We needed to adapt quicker to what was happening at the breakdown.
"We were also a bit messy and could have been a little more accurate.”
Having been the Kings' defence coach in 2013 when they beat the Force in round one, Mouneimne is equipped with experience and knows very well that the underdog tag can be a driving force, especially early on in the competition, and gave the Kings credit for their brave performance.
“Everyone said the Kings would be at their most dangerous in the first few games, and at home, with all the hype and passion and wanting to prove everyone wrong, they had the recipe to hold us out,” he added.
“Credit to them, they were physical, they brought it to us and had the flow of the game, everything was going their way.
"But we showed character, absorbed the pressure and went into half-time in the lead.”
The Sharks will host a Los Pumas-packed Jaguares line-up in Durban on Saturday, but Mouneimne believes that his team have shaken off the nerves that hindered an all-out perfomance in the opening round.
“I put it down to nerves – we hadn’t had physical contact for two weeks, so we needed a physical hit-out in a real game to get the nerves bled out, to feel like we’re really in the tournament," he said.
"We needed real bullets fired under real pressure after two warm-up games.
“Going into the Jaguares game, we need to be absolutely spot on because they will be at a very high level physically.”