Sharks coach Muir reflects on Super 14



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At a Media Conference at The Absa Stadium Durban on Monday afternoon, Dick Muir provided his thoughts on the five match tour of Australia and New Zealand in the Vodacom Super 14:

I felt the luck was against us at times, but you do make your own. We’re a youngish side trying a few things, and it didn’t always happen for us.  We let games slip when we were well up, so you can’t blame the referees.

Hats off to the personnel, players and coaches; they all made the tour enjoyable for everyone; there was a real positive attitude. Everyone says what an incredibly enjoyable tour it was. There was even a comment made by one player who said he was sorry it was over. We have lots of individuals to thanks for that. The rugby was tough, and we must give lots of credit to the leaders in the side.

We had planned to use a large squad this tournament, that’s the nature of the competition, it is tough. We knew that getting back from five weeks away on tour, we would have to make some changes to the team to play the Reds, and we will bring in guys from the Wildebeest.  But we won’t make as many changes as originally anticipated, the squad is in good shape.

We will take the rest of the tournament week by week, starting with the Reds, which will be a tough game.  Once we have crossed that bridge, we will look at the next one.  We are probably in the same process overall as the Reds; there are lots of changes, coaches have come and gone, both of us are still blending youth and experience, and have some youngsters coming along.  Certainly with the Sharks, there is plenty of depth. The Wildebeest are in outstanding form, so that makes the selection process that much harder.

Tony Brown’s experience was invaluable on tour, you can see that the side has grown in confidence; he’s certainly a player that leads from the front. 

Monty is over his injury, so he will obviously be in the reckoning for Saturday. Andries Strauss has played the entire tournament so he will take a break this week. This opens the door of opportunity for someone like Brad Barritt or Waylon Murray.  Craig Davidson hasn’t had too much game time, so he will play for Wildebeest, and that gives Scott Matthie an opportunity to come onto the Sharks’ bench.  Keegan Daniel has been exceptional for the Wildebeest and will come onto the bench as well, while Braam Immelman and Daniel Farani will get game time for the Wildebeest.

There is an injury concern over John Smit, but it seems positive.  We are concerned a bit about Solly, he didn’t perform as well as we would have liked for the Wildebeest, hopefully he will pick up on his form but won’t be considered for the Sharks.

There are a number of young players showing great promise, and although a guy like Keegan is lighter, he makes up for it in mobility and anticipation on the field.  There are a lot of players in the Wildebeest side that have shown the competitive spirit and what they’re worth, Keegan is one of them.  We would like him to bulk up for next year, but because he’s come on in leaps and bounds, he will certainly get a look in on the weekend.

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