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Gold upbeat ahead of Currie Cup

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 17 Jul 2015 at 15:28
Tagged with : , , , ,

I was lucky enough to catch up with Gary Gold for a quick chat yesterday and managed to get some of his thoughts ahead of the Currie Cup campaign that kicks off next month.

Gary was in the middle of catching some of the Craven Week action, a key part of his role that involves overseeing rugby at all levels in the province and ensuring a steady pipeline of talent from the junior teams all the way through to the Super Rugby side. “Wonderful talent here,” he tells me – “all quite young, though”, an indication that immediate solutions to Currie Cup problems will need to be found elsewhere!

Talking about the Currie Cup, there’s been a lot said about style of play. Gold is perhaps a little more cautious, having been burned by this sort of pre-season talk before. “First and foremost the fans have an expectation that we’re going to win”, he tells me. “We’ve realised that we need to get the Sharks back on track in a big way and we need to be winning and I don’t really want to be making too many comments on styles of play at this stage – although you know enough about my philosophy to make assumptions!

“The style of play cannot come at the expense of getting results and we didn’t really get that right in Super Rugby – basics suffered, like our defence. The Sharks need to get back to a brand of rugby that’s allowing us to be winning predominantly. That said, if you look back at Super Rugby for the last ten years, the team that’s won it has been the team that’s scored the most tries and that’s definitely going to be a focus point of ours.

“Our focus in this season is on working incredibly hard on those basics and ensuring that we always put in an effort of which our fans can be proud.”

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. “While Super Rugby wasn’t a successful campaign for us and we’re certainly not expecting any pats on the back, I do genuinely believe that on tour and in the last four games we started to turn the corner,” says Gary, “so there’s something positive to build on from that. We’re going to put in a lot of effort to get a lot better.”

Is he concerned about the amount of talent that’s been lost ahead of the campaign, whether to the Boks or elsewhere? Not overly: “I think we need to look at where our strengths, are, not where they aren’t,”he tells me. “If we’re lucky with injuries, we’ve got some very exciting backs and that unit is pretty much unchanged from Super Rugby. We’ve got a pretty good backline and it’s the same combination that we’ve had for the latter half of Super Rugby. If we can get the ball into their hands, we’re going to create some problems for opposing teams. That’s going to be our focus, but we definitely don’t have a bad pack, with guys like Lourens, Kyle, Dale, Etienne, Jean and so on all very experienced players.”

Gary confirmed that Etienne Oosthuizen will operate at lock, given that there’s no shortage of back row options. “We’re very excited about Etienne as an athletic 4-lock with the work rate of a back row!”

“In fact, I have to say I’m just really excited about the upcoming campaign,” he tells me. “This is my first pre-season with the Sharks and the enthusiasm and energy is amazing. I couldn’t have asked the players to work harder – for the first time I feel like I’ve had a proper start with the Sharks and I just hope we can follow that up with decent results for you guys.”

Thanks to Gary for his time. I’ll share a few more of his thoughts next week.


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