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Everitt praises Pumas defence


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 19 Aug 2014 at 15:54
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We caught up with Cell C Sharks backline coach Sean Everitt after this weekend’s bonus point win against the Pumas at Kings Park, and put some questions to him.

Sharksworld: Hi Sean, nice to chat again. You guys must be feeling pretty good after two wins from two?

Sean Everitt: We set ourselves a goal for the first two games. They were always going to be difficult, because they’re not easy teams to play against; we don’t know too much about them. We’re very happy with our new squad, coming away with two wins. We’re looking forward to this weekend which will be a great test for us.

SW: With so many forwards lost to the Boks, you’ve had to change the game a bit for this campaing? Can you elaborate on that for us?

SE: We don’t have the big ball carriers that we had in Super Rugby; the composition of the forward pack has changed somewhat. The tight five are all good players in the set piece but from a ball carrying perspective we haven’t got the big guys coming around the corner so we’ve had to adapt to the composition of our team. We’re trying to play a bit more expansively because we feel the backs are a strength in our team and they’ve really done well in Super Rugby when they’ve had the opportunity. Obviously it’s a process and we’re going to get better and better each week.

SW: While we can certainly see the intention to play a more open game, it looks as though it’s not quite come together yet. There were times against the Pumas where we really battled to score, despite having plenty of possession in their half.

SE: Credit must go to the Pumas for the way they defended. They obviously knew where our strengths were out wide; they got off the line really early and they tackled really well; their tackle percentage was right up their with the best we’ve played against this year. For us it was frustrating; I think the area we need to work on there is that we’re creating opportunities when we have numbers on the outside, but we’re not finishing them off. We’ve worked very hard this week on trying to rectify that, so that when we put ourselves into positions to score tries, with numbers up on the outside, we actually finish them off and don’t become too lateral in our attack.

SW: How do you see the move to inside centre for Paul Jordaan working out? He started the season at 13 – how is he handling the move inside?

SE: Paul is a really versatile player, we could play him anywhere in the backline if we had to. His positions at school were flyhalf and inside centre and the games that we really played well in Super Rugby were those where we played Paul and S’bura at 12 and 13; they’re forming a really good partnership and obviously the longer they play together the better. Regarding Paul’s skill set, we’re really fortunate to have a guy like that, who can also kick and has great distributional skills. And like we saw in the close contact situations, such as when he broke through and almost put Tonderai [Chavhanga] away on the left wing – he can beat the heavy artillery when they’re coming at him.

SW: It’s got to be tough at the moment for guys like Heimar Williams and Jaco van Tonder, who played well last year but haven’t had a run yet in this Currie Cup campaign. How close are they to getting in?

SE: They certainly will get an opportunity at some point, it’s just that at the moment we’re looking for some continuity with all the changes in the side. We’re trying to stick with the guys who have played together and then later in the competition we can give these guys a run. As for Heimar and Jaco, we know what they can do and they’ve done well for us in the past, but they’re just not making the starting selection at the moment; in our first game we had a 5/2 bench and then last week we had Pat Lambie coming back, so it limited the bench opportunities as well for those guys, but they could come into the frame on the bench this week.

SW: What about a guy like Lionel Cronje? What sort of ting does he bring to the party?

SE: Lionel for us brings a wealth of experience, having played Super Rugby for the Stormers, Lions and Brumbies. He’s also a versatile player who covers 10, 12 and 15 and if need be we could also play him at outside centre. What also counts in his favour is that he’s an accomplished goal kicker, which is why it helps us a bit having him on the bench.

SW: How much of a concern is goal-kicking? Fred Zeilinga has missed a couple over the last two weeks.

SE: Fred was really good last year in the Currie Cup, kicking at 91 % which is right up there with the best in the world. We know what he can do for us and we don’t think there’s any problem there. He’s also had some trouble with injuries and hasn’t had the time that he’d like on the field this season.

SW: We all saw what a difference it made having a guy like Pat Lambie on the field. What are the chances we might get him back again towards the business end?

SE: The way it stands at the moment, none of the contracted Springboks are available and Pat’s one of them. They felt he needed game time which is why he was released to us as a special concession, but we’re not expecting to have him available again; the guys that we have now are the guys we’re going to follow through with.

SW: And how about Cameron Wright? A big step up for the youngster and he’s done well, coming virtually from nowhere.

SE: It wasn’t easy for Cameron to step up – the last games he played were in the Varsity Shield, which is not quite the same level as the Currie Cup. We knew that he had the potential, which is why we started him and the more time he gets in the Currie Cup the better he’s going to get; he’s a bright prospect for the future.

SW: Lastly, how are we looking in terms of injuries this week?

SE: Marco Wentzel’s been cleared to play this weekend; there was an injury concern with him over a facial fracture but he’s been cleared, and then we’re still waiting on JC Astle and Stephan Lewies. In the backs we’ve got a full squad to choose from.

A big thanks to Sean and Novashni at the Sharks for arranging this for us! Best of luck for the weekend, Sharks.



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