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Du Preez slams 'lack of effort'

After the Cell C Sharks lost to the Rebels a few weeks ago their coach said he couldn’t fault his team for effort but Robert du Preez was in a much less charitable mood after his team was dominated by the Vodacom Bulls at the weekend.

After beating the Blues on Easter Saturday and then doing everything but win against the Super Rugby form team, the Hurricanes, in Napier last week, the Sharks would have had high hopes of being able to build momentum in their sequence of home matches that started with the Bulls game. However, from the moment the flags were raised to signal a successful Robert du Preez junior penalty in the third minute it was clear that this wasn’t going to be the Sharks’ day.

The Bulls struck quickly with a brace of well executed tries from their talented fullback Warrick Gelant and then mastered the tactical requirements of a wet weather game to run out comprehensive 40-10 victors at Jonnson Kings Park.

While the Bulls continue to grow under the coaching of John Mitchell, who was able to look back on a near perfect performance afterwards, a glum Du Preez had to face facts – as good as the Sharks are on one day, and let’s not forget that there was talk not long ago of them growing into South Africa’s best team, so they can be abjectly poor the next.

To be fair, the flat start made by the Sharks could have been a result of the well prepared Bulls not allowing them to get into the game. Mitchell read the Sharks like a book and blunted all their potential weapons. That though didn’t make Du Preez any happier afterwards, and he was blunt about the passion, or lack thereof, shown by his men.

“We spoke beforehand about the Bulls scoring points in the first 20 minutes of every single game they have played this year. It has been a trend for them throughout Super Rugby this year, but we got put onto the back foot early and we just never recovered,” said Du Preez.

“I thought the Bulls played the perfect game. There was a good mix from them of running rugby and kicking the ball into space. But after two good games for us in New Zealand where the team showed their capabilities, to come back and turn in an absolute embarrassment at home, because that is what it was and we cannot hide from it, was just very disappointing.

“There was a complete lack of effort. Yes, the Bulls hit us hard early and we were down after 10 minutes. But that meant we had to fight for every remaining minute and there was enough time for us to come back into the game from there but we just didn’t do that. There was a lack of effort. I can’t say if the guys were jetlagged because our practices went well during the week.”

Jetlag doesn’t sound like much of an excuse if you consider that the Stormers smashed the Blues the week after they returned from New Zealand and then in turn the Bulls beat the Stormers at Loftus a week after their tour of Australasia ended. And to his credit, Du Preez wasn’t looking for excuses.

“These are the same guys who played last week (against the Hurricanes). It is the inconsistency that is bothering. One week we play really well and then we follow up with a performance like this,” lamented the gutted Sharks coach.

The Sharks play the Stormers next week and will have to hit a sharp upward swing on their see-saw season if they want to remain in the competition, as this was a home defeat for them and it goes with the draw against the Waratahs near the start of the season.


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