Gold: ‘Boks alone won’t win games’

Date published: March 8 2015

Sharks director of rugby Gary Gold was honest about his side's shortcomings after their third loss of the season at Newlands.

Outperformed by their hosts in Cape Town, Gold called on his squad to pick themselves up while ensuring they make progress on the areas where their game is falling short.

"Having eleven Springboks in the team doesn't mean you're going to win a game. Teams know we have those players and will raise their levels," said Gold.

"Their first try was well executed, slightly lucky but credit to them on that, and it gave them the confidence to come back into the game. Trailing 13-10 at half-time probably wasn't fair reward for us but I thought they played the territory game well in the second half, and when our set-piece faltered they had us by the throat.

"It was a difficult night for us, certainly not the start we wanted in the competition, but we have to man up and carry on the fight. It's a long competition and we've got some work to do, no doubt.

"We need to temper the positive signs by being honest about the areas that aren't functioning well.

"I'm excited by the challenge, because I feel we're a good group of guys and we're going to stick together and that will gel us for when the table turns, which I have no doubt it will."

Gold defended his side's scrum, saying they drove well even despite losing three against the head in the first half, while having no complaints about the technicality that resulted in his team conceding an unusual penalty try.

"My understanding is that when Ndungane knocks the ball on we can't play it, and the referee may have said that by Cobus [Reinach] falling on the ball he prevented the Stormers player from scoring. That was his call and I respect his call.

"Those are soft moments and when you're playing against a side like the Stormers who are full of confidence, they're going to hurt you. 

"I'm apprehensive to throw the baby out with the bath water. Our results haven't been there, but there have been elements of our game where we've shown good signs and we just need to be tough on ourselves to take those opportunities."

The Sharks boss also defended Francois Steyn after the Springbok came under close attention from the officials following three hits on first Demetri Catrakilis and then twice with Cheslin Kolbe after the two Stormers players kicked the ball away. 

Steyn wasn't punished for the second incident but the third saw him head to the bin in the final ten minutes of his first game back in Super Rugby since playing in Japan.

"I'm not too sure he was doing anything wrong. We have an intense chase and there was nothing the first time, or with the second one on half-time. With the first one I thought that was tough, I'm not sure what to tell him on Monday. How do you tell a player to pull out in the middle of the air?

"It's unfortunate but I understand they're clamping down on collisions like that. I must stress, I don't want to moan about the referee. I thought Jaco had a great game and I've got no problem with it."

Gold concluded by stating that the Sharks would rally around each other to get back on track. They now trail the Stormers by ten points in the South African Conference.

"We fix it by not stabbing each other in the back. We've lost three games. We stick together and being honest about what we're getting wrong and then making some tweaks, realising that there's a huge expectation."