Gold : Sharks results have built character

Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold says that his South African Conference leaders despite their shaky form the team has built a lot of character this season.

The Sharks have played seven matches, won four and have moved up to third place overall overtaking the Bulls and the Stormers on the weekend.

The Durban Super Rugby side have had discipline problems and started the season in the worst possible way as they lost to the Cheetahs at home but there are signs that things are coming together.

The Sharks have now won three matches in a row and this weekend they face a Crusaders side still trying to find it’s game.

“We must take cognisance of the fact that all three of those wins were character-building, ” said Gold on the Sharks site.

“Nobody gave us a chance of winning in Bloem after losing to them at home, then we had last week’s debacle against the Chiefs, then coming back from 6-0 down and getting a few tries to beat the Western Force. The players get a lot out of these character tests – learning that if we apply our minds and are disciplined, we can get back into games.”

“It would be wonderful if we could apply the character to playing well at the same time, then we would be a very good team. ”

Gold said that having won just over half of their matches the Sharks are still grateful for wins however they come.

“I just feel we should not be in close ones. It feels like the penny has to drop and we must understand that we can’t be putting ourselves in these pressure situations. But I am happy with the character and one or two aspects of the game, including courageous defence and the scrumming improving week in and week out.

“But we created enough in first half to have really capitalised, and I say that with respect to the Force because they have so much fight; we should have been out of sight at half-time, but weren’t. ”

Gold admitted that there is still plenty of work to be done if they are to start playing the way they want to play.

“We must be honest about that, we can’t fool ourselves. We are not playing well enough by our standards and we know what is coming this week, and our improvement is going to have to be incredibly vast.

“I just know this group of players can play much better than this. If we have this kind of character and our set-piece is functioning, then we can be up there with the top teams, but we have a lot of improving to do. ”

“I have been honest enough to say we were poor in this game, ” he said, “but it really was a disruptive week with the cards and hearings, and having to rest players. We took our 9/10 axis away, moved Frans from centre to flyhalf…

“On Thursday we were scurrying around pulling Lionel Cronje out of the Vodacom Cup team to train with us because there was a chance Frans would not play, so Fred and Lionel were running plays that Frans had been running the whole week.

“But I think when we get a run of games where we can pick the same team, you will see genuine improvement.

“Look, we will take the points and be thankful but we know that we are nowhere near where we have to be to challenge for the title. “

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