The last time the Sharks hosted Griquas at Kings Park was at the end of July when their own indifferent finishing saw them lose an extraordinary match 37-27, and coach Sean Everitt has blared out the lessons from that upset all week ahead of their Currie Cup semi-final against the same opposition in Durban on Saturday.
Griquas received five yellow cards in that match and the Sharks were almost always playing with extra men. But they wasted numerous scoring opportunities, rather aimlessly bashing away at close quarters when varying the point of attack would have surely seen the incredibly brave Griquas defence crack open.
Maybe it was because they had just come back from Covid-enforced inactivity and the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal, but all in all, it was probably the Sharks’ most bleh performance of the season.
“A lot of lessons were learnt that day, especially how to deal with the opposition getting yellow cards and how to break down defences on the tryline,” said Everitt this week. “And we have built some momentum since then, I think we are a better team now and that result has had a lot to do with it.
“Everyone wants to be in a Currie Cup final, so motivation won’t be an issue and there’ll be no questions over energy. Our lineouts and scrums have also improved since we played Griquas the last time.”
In order to get the better of Griquas this time, Everitt said his team are going to have to bring a mixture of their ruthless counter-attacking ability and forward grunt that ensures the Sharks can get some fluency with ball-in-hand.
“Griquas have kicked the most in the competition, mostly through Stefan Ungerer, who is an accomplished scrumhalf, and George Whitehead, an experienced flyhalf,” said Everitt. “They manage the game well, they strangle and squeeze you and I’m sure they will come here and try and disrupt our style of play.
“I hope we can match their physicality and the breakdown is a massive area we have worked hard on.
“Our flyhalf (Lionel Cronje) and fullback (Curwin Bosch) need to function well, they complement each other, they’ve produced some really good kicking and they can attack too, especially when we split the flyhalf channel on either side. Hopefully we can get the phases going to be able to do that.”
Kick-off is 5pm.