Sharks coach says : We can beat them



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The Sharks were barely settled back in Durban before having to fly back to Australia to contest the Super 14 semi-finals, taking on the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday and they say that they are most certainly not daunted by the task that lies ahead of them.

Sharks Skills Coach Grant Bashford says that all is on track as far as the Sharks go.

‘I was very happy with our performance against the Chiefs,’ he says on the Sharks website.

‘It’s been coming for a while; we’ve been brewing but not finishing and the guys played like they have the potential to play.

‘Obviously there are a couple of bits and pieces we want to improve upon, but the nice thing is that the last two matches have been finals for us and the guys have stood up both times.

‘The semi-final against the Waratahs will be no different – it’s a progression of the last two weeks.’

The Sharks say that they are now able to cut loose from the conservative game plan earlier in the season and then in wet conditions.

‘It’s always a hindsight kind of thing,’ Bashford explains.

‘The conditions in February were hugely different to those for the Chiefs’ match, and you can never underestimate that. Possibly we made too much of a thing about the weather in February, but the fact that we left here unbeaten, perhaps we didn’t make too much of the weather.

‘But when we got back from overseas the conditions were totally different. Even at practice, there were no balls going down. But in hindsight if we look at it, maybe we were a bit conservative, but if we had tried to play more flash rugby and lost a few times, it would have been a different story now.’

So, considering the fact that the Waratahs beat the Sharks in their last meeting, just how confident is he? ‘In the Waratahs game, we were in the fourth week of our five week tour and if anything is going to go wrong, it’s normally around about there,’ he explains.

‘We also lost Fred Michalak early in that game when he injured his knee and there were a number of disruptions going into the game. Johann Muller and Bradley Barritt couldn’t play, Steven Sykes got injured the week before and went home – there were just little funny things that happened in that game.

‘We were dominated, they played better than us and we got smashed at the breakdown and certainly that’s the one game of the year that we feel we didn’t lose, we got beaten. They were better than us and deserved the victory.’

‘We’ll be different this time and we believe absolutely that we can beat them,’ he adds emphatically.

He also believes that it is possible for the Hurricanes to win the other semi against the Crusaders. ‘They lost to the Highlanders this past week, the Reds nearly upset them, we could have won tour game so the Crusaders will look at the last month of their rugby and ask a few questions. The New Zealand sides know how to play each other, it’s a local derby and anything can happen.

‘Hopefully the Hurricane can do it, and if we play our part, we’ll be back in Durban for the final.’

‘We underperformed against the Waratahs but we’re starting to hit our straps now, peaking at the right time and that’s exciting.’

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