Higginbotham: Poor handling let Rebels down

Rebels captain Scott Higginbotham has blamed his team’s poor handling for their 16-22 loss to the Sharks in Melbourne.

The first half of the match was a kicking contest between Rebels fullback Jason Woodward and Sharks flyhalf Frans Steyn as neither side were able to score a try.

Steyn kicked five out of five penalties for the Sharks giving them a 6-15 lead at half time.

The Sharks went ahead in the second half with a try by Springbok winger JP Pietersen but the Rebels kept the pressure on and Pat Leafa scored the hosts only try.

The Rebels finished strongly and put the Sharks under pressure after the siren for full time had sounded but then conceded a penalty which ended the contest.

Higginbotham said that they had the winning of Friday’s match but constant handling errors and turnovers at breakdowns cost them a major scalp.

“You can’t go into a game with that many knock-ons and expect to win, simple,” Rebels captain Scott Higginbotham said.

“We did play with the right gameplan – get in behind them and keep moving – but we’d get in behind them and knock the ball on.”

Sharks captain Bismarck du Plessis said that they were happy to have won away from home after losing to the Highlanders in Durban last week.

“We’re very happy to win our first match on tour and happy to win away from home,” Sharks captain Bismarck du Plessis said.

“There’s a lot of talk from other sides (about the difficulty of winning away from home) but it’s our first game and our first win and we only worry about ourselves.”

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