Why can’t the Sharks win constantly? Again, this is a question that must be asked and hopefully at some point answered by the coaching powers at Kings Park after their team went down to the Hurricanes on Saturday.
It was the Sharks seventh home defeat in eight matches and one they should have won.
The score was 30-17 to the Hurricanes in a match the Sharks dominated on the field with a bigger share of territory but lost because of their more mistakes and weaknesses – both because of technical and skills shortcomings.
By halftime the Sharks turnover count stood at eight; after the full 80 minutes this had grown to 17. The Hurricanes only turned over possessions five times.
For this they can blame the breakdown dominance of Ardie Savea, who turned over possession six times.
And speaking of turnovers, the Sharks won 68 rucks but lost five; the Hurricanes won 51 but lost only one.
The Sharks missed 24 of their 103 tackles, the Hurricanes 21 from their 136 attempts.
The Sharks were the better side at scrum time, and they put the visitors under pressure in this facet. But very little attack came from this facet.
Yes, the old, old South African inability to strike from first-phase possession was further underlined by the Sharks. But in a lesson to SA backs, one could and should mention especially the two Barretts Beauden and Jordie, and especially three-quarters Ben Lam and Laumape who were always a threat and made the breaches.
♦ With most of the ball in the Sharks hands, most of the territory theirs and a near Springbok-backline, this is another match that should have been won but wasn’t.
♦ For the record: The Sharks won only one of their eight home matches this season, and that was when they beat the Lions 27-17 at Kings Park. Outplayed, their three tries came from two long distance intercept tries and from a driving maul.
There is something wrong at Kings Park, and it isn’t only the players who should be blamed. Game plan? Skills levels? Decision-making?
Robert du Preez and his team must get that right, or the trend will continue.
Good positions on the field were not converted into points, mainly because of the above turnovers when it mattered and gaps that the Hurricanes gleefully took from their own 22 or just beyond to turn defence into attack.
With most of the ball in their hands, most of the territory theirs and a near Springbok-backline, this is another match that should have been won but wasn’t.
Sharks (10) 17: Tries: Aphelele Fassi, Juan Schoeman. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (2). Penalty: Bosch.
Hurricanes (20) 30: Tries: Jordie Barrett, Ngani Laumape, Wes Goosen. Conversions: Beauden Barrett (3). Penalty: Barrett (3).