Disappointed coach Sean Everitt praised his Sharks team for a courageous effort in the Currie Cup final against the Bulls but said a piling up of mistakes in the final stages ultimately cost his side as they lost to a try right at the end of extra time.
The Sharks were leading 19-9 with 15 minutes of regular time remaining, but the Bulls scored a converted try and then a penalty in the 79th minute to draw level. Replacement flank Arno Botha’s try with 72 seconds of extra time left then gave the Bulls a thrilling 26-19 win and the famous trophy for the first time since 2009.
“It was very disappointing. The players are gutted and I am gutted for them,” Everitt said.
“They played their hearts out for 100 minutes and to be able to push the Bulls for that long, to keep them out for so long, made me really proud. But at the end of the day we let it slip.
“It wasn’t an isolated moment, just an accumulation of many mistakes.”
Flyhalf Curwin Bosch also missed five of his 10 kicks at goal, but a large number of those were from a long way out.
“Curwin has done it time and again for us this season, but today he was maybe not up to the standard we are used to,” Everitt said.
“It was not his day, but all the kickers struggled. Morne Steyn and Chris Smith missed kicks too. Curwin is a great rugby player, and missed kicks don’t make him a bad player.
“He has been outstanding for us this season and his game-management was generally excellent today.”
With a large financial injection now on the way from equity partners MVM Holdings, the future looks exciting for the Sharks and Everitt said the 2020/21 season had been a big success despite having no trophies to show for it.
“You can’t base the success of a season on one game and a helluva lot happened in 2020/21,” he said.
“We’ve also given a large number of players opportunities and they have grown and matured. The culture and leadership of the team has also grown, so the season was definitely a success.”