Tue, 13 Apr 2021

  • Sharks head coach Sean Everitt was cock-a-hoop about his spring chickens that produced the goods against a plucky Griquas side in Durban.
  • Murray Koster earned his debut start while Khuthuzani Mchunu made his first senior appearance off the bench.
  • Young enforcer JJ van der Mescht was the focal point of the Sharks ball-carries, a role he'll grow further into.

Sharks head coach Sean Everitt was cock-a-hoop about his spring chickens, who produced the goods against a plucky Griquas side in Durban on Sunday.

Everitt notably rested majority of his regular starters that took them to the Currie Cup final, including overhauling the front row as well as giving Murray Koster his debut start and Khuthuzani Mchunu his first senior appearance off the bench.

Although he has played a chunk of minutes, former SA Under-20 star JJ van der Mescht became the focal point of their ball-carrying, a role the 21-year-old will assume some more as he grows.

"I'm very happy for the youngsters," said Everitt after the 35-10 victory.

"They only had two full days' preparation and I thought the intent to play with ball in hand tonight was there.

"The weather allowed it and that's the route we wanted to go. But we did turn over a lot of ball, and if we were playing better teams they would have punished us.

"But I was very happy with the positivity shown and the energy after being on a three-week break.

"Ntuthuko Mchunu is a convert [from eighthman] and it was his first senior game at prop.

"He came on and won us a scrum penalty, so I thought he was outstanding in the energy that he displayed, not only in the scrum but in the ball-carries and defence.

"There was also a good performance from Murray Koster, who made his debut tonight and young Thaakir Abrahams who came on and scored a nice try."

The Sharks scored five tries in their opening preparation series match but it took them a while to get into gear on their home patch.

Griquas held them scoreless for almost the entire first half before Anthony Volmink broke the shackles in the 38th minute.

But after Griquas scrumhalf and former Sharks boyhood product Stefan Ungerer was sin-binned in the 56th minute the Sharks ran riot.

Manie Libbok and Aphelele Fassi, who had threatened all evening, put their feet on the visitors' throats with some dazzling attacking displays.

Fassie took full advantage with a score for himself but so did Abrahams, replacement No 10 Jordan Chait and Volmink late on.

Everitt expects the youngsters to grow through the preparation matches. However, he also acknowledged that the fight for playing minutes will be fierce when the regulars return.

"On the whole we are happy with the performance and this team will grow," he said.

"We know if a team stays together for a period of time they will only get better.

"They would all have liked more opportunities in the Currie Cup. And when they got it, you could see why they were so energised on the field.

"They are now fighting for positions for the latter part of this preparation cup. Competition is going to be fierce when we start selecting our better team at the end."

Source: News24

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