Sharks were distracted by Bok selections


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The Sharks’ poor showing against the Waratahs in Saturday’s Super 14 semifinal may have been the result of players’ anxiety over Springbok selection.

That was the view of Springbok coach Peter de Villiers on Monday when he reflected on the Sharks’ sloppy performance which resulted in a 28-13 hammering in Sydney on Saturday.

“Maybe I am the cause of their (Sharks) performance,” said De Villiers.

“Maybe what we did wrong was to fill the gaps that were left after their names were withdrawn because they reached the semifinal.

“What happened then was that at the back of their minds they would have been asking themselves: ‘where do I fit in, and if I fit in (the Springbok picture)at all’. Stuff like that.

“We will never know but we’ll have to sit down so that if the same situation plays itself out again next year, we’ll be able to do the right thing for the players.”

De Villiers said the decision to omit the names of the semifinal-bound players was taken by the Super 14 coaches and himself, mainly because it was feared that the matter of Springbok selection could affect the mindset of the players and equally, prove distracting.

“Next time we will definitely ask the players for their views on the matter. How the players feel on this subject is what should really count, they are the most important.

De Villiers said it was quite possible that if players had known that they were in the Springbok training squad they might have lifted their personal performances to prove that they were worthy selections.

He added that on the flip side, players who had failed to make the training squad would also have gone out to prove that the selectors had erred.

Both scenarios he felt would have enhanced the Sharks’ performances on the day.

Sapa –

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