Tough tour has brought Sharks closer together, says coach Mongalo
The Durban-based side lost all four matches on tour overseas and will be hoping to put things right against Connacht in Durban.
Sharks defence coach Joey Mongalo. Picture: Steve Haag Sports/Gallo Images
The Sharks’ new era under coach John Plumtree has started on a rather disappointing note on the field, with results not coming their way in the United Rugby Championship.
The team started the season with a four-week overseas tour that saw them lose four games in a row, leaving them anchoring the URC points table. Those harsh results, plus being away from home, must have been heavy on the team.
Touring is one of the most difficult things in professional rugby; it can take its toll on a team for many reasons or bring the players together.
‘Together under adversity’
One of Plumtree’s lieutenants at the Sharks, defence coach Joey Mongalo, elaborated on how the adversity they faced on tour has helped to galvanise the group.
“For us as a new team under a new coach and coaching staff, to have been away for four weeks gave us some much-needed time to get together,” Mongalo said when addressing the media before their URC clash against Connacht on Saturday at Kings Park (5pm).
“And better than being together is being together under adversity because adversity has a way of revealing character in people and groups. I must give it to this group; adversity can separate you or bring you together, and it has galvanised this group.
“There are positives that came from us being away. It was tough, but it was good for us as a team that’s forming, it helped us form a lot quicker,” he said.
The standard of play by the Sharks so far has been subpar; they looked disjointed in defence, were not clinical in attack and lacked discipline.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom in the eyes of Mongalo; he’s optimistic that their system is coming along well.
“We have shown on both sides of the ball really good moments and patches, if you look at the defensive sets we had against all the teams, there were good moments that show you a system is building, and similar in attack.
“I think our challenge is piecing patches together long enough to create a good patch over a period that will lead us to putting points on the other side and not conceding points on our side. The consistency and regularity of those patches is what we are after,” Mongalo said.