Press Pass: Ready for Sharks showdown

Press Pass: Ready for Sharks showdown

Get the latest from Head Coach Sean Everitt ahead of Saturday’s EPCR Challenge Cup Quarter-Final against Hollywoodbets Sharks with this week’s Press Pass.

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On travelling back to Durban

“We knew there was a chance we could be going back. For us it’s a great opportunity to go and challenge ourselves again against the Sharks in Durban. What will be easier for us this time around is that we’re familiar with what we’re going to face.

“They won’t make many changes to the team that played us two weeks ago. So we know what’s coming. We also know what our shortfalls were the last time we played them and have worked hard on that. We obviously believe we can get a result in Durban.”


On the win vs Bayonne giving the squad belief

“Yes, it was a good win on Saturday night against a good Bayonne team. People say they made 13 changes but it was the same team that beat Munster and Exeter.

“You can’t underestimate that. It was a good building block for us going forward, not only in the EPCR and in the URC as well.

“The logs are tight and congested but once again it’s just another game for us that we have to win. This weekend for us, with that win behind us, will certainly bring a lot of confidence to the group in what we can deliver.”


On what it takes to beat the Sharks

“If you look at the games that the Sharks have played over the last three weeks, they’ve had their Springbok front-row back. That’s something John Plumtree has been wanting that was lacking for them earlier on.

“We all know their set-piece is a big contribution to winning rugby games. That would have given them a boost. And behind the pack you’ve got an all-Springbok back line apart from Siya Masuku at 10.

“It was always a matter of time before they were going to fire. But we’ve got Scottish internationals in our group and we believe we can go to South African win and that’s the most important thing for us.”


On the logistics of travelling to South Africa

“The logistics have been really well organised by EPCR. We fly out tonight (Tuesday) on a charter and will arrive in Durban in the morning at 8 o’clock.

“The guys are flying business class so they’ll have a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow (Wednesday) is an off day as normal, our preparations will follow the same procedure as here by having our final prep day and then the team run on Friday.”


On South African teams competing in EPCR

“From a travel perspective it makes things trickier but it’s good to have the best teams involved in these competitions. The fact that we have to come back home and get struck right into the URC again with Scarlets does make it a bit trick.

“But it’s professional sport and sometimes it does require that. The travel arrangements this time leaves us with no excuses as the guys will be fresh. There are no time zones to travel across. We don’t look at that as any excuse at all, rather a great challenge and opportunity to win a rugby game.”


On Pierre Schoeman’s return 

“Yes. Pierre will be back and we’ll have Ewan Ashman, Dave Cherry and Boan Venter is back from injury as well as WP sticking up his hand again in the tighthead position.

“It will make for a good contest, especially when you look at our second row where we’ve got Sam Skinner, Jamie Hodgson, Marshall Sykes and Grant Gilchrist to choose from. We have to believe we can turn them over.”


On using the Bayonne win to beat the Sharks

“We’ve got to look back and see what worked for us last week. I thought the guys were spot on with their preparation. Grant Gilchrist and Ben Vellacott led the team very well during the week and the players took ownership of their individual roles and preparation.

“Our emphasis post the Sharks game was that we can prepare well as a team and do everything right on the training field but it’s the individual stuff that needs to take care of itself and that’s probably what let us down against the Sharks and the Stormers, more so than the team collectively.

“So the guys really pulled it together and it was a much improved performance and I’m hoping we will learn from that and take it into the Sharks game.”


On collective belief

“Yes, very much so and the win against Bayonne on Saturday night helped that.

“I said to the team through the week that we’ve got to believe we can win away from home, and we’ve had good wins away from home this season, but we all know important this one is and I don’t think the guys would have any mental issues around going out to Duban to beat the Sharks, especially with the magnitude of this competition.”

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