Sharks must be brutal

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Mouneimne says his charges achieved a pass mark against the Kings at the weekend in conceding just one try (early in the game), but says they will have to be even more punishing against the abrasive Jaguares at Kings Park on Saturday night.

The Argentinians showed against the Cheetahs on Friday night that they are up for a scrap, and referee Stuart Berry had his hands full in keeping the visitors within the laws and had to speak earnestly with captain Agustin Creevy about over-robust play.

Two of their players were sin-binned and a third, Tomas Lavanini, was later cited for lunging knee-first at a Cheetah’s player who was in the process of scoring.

On Monday the lock pleaded guilty before a judicial hearing and has been suspended for a week.

“Going into the Jaguares game, we need to be absolutely spot on with our defence because they will be at a very high level physically,” Mouneimne said.

“We need to be brutally physical and ruthless for the whole 80. We showed it for periods against the Kings, but we can be better.”

The former Italy defence coach (under Nick Mallett) said in mitigation of the players that they were unsure of what to expect in the opening game, with a number of players either new to the Sharks or to Super Rugby.

“It perhaps wasn’t our best defensive effort. For a first game though, nerves and adrenaline can contribute to that,” he said.

“We hadn’t had physical contact for two weeks, so we needed a physical hit-out in a real game to get the nerves bled out, to feel like we’re really in the tournament.”

In 2013 Mouneimne was defence coach of the Kings under Alan Solomons, and the Eastern Province team were excellent in that department in their debut season.

The Kings could have done with him this year, but found themselves on the other side of the Mouneimne fence.

“The Kings were motivated and gave us what we needed in a first game,” he conceded before colourfully adding: “We needed real bullets fired under real pressure after two warm-up games.”

The Sharks’ nerves were apparent in that first 40, and they struggled to a 15-8 half-time lead.

“We made it very difficult for ourselves in the first half,” Mouneimne said.

“We did not adapt quickly enough to what was happening at the breakdown. We were also a bit messy and have to lift the accuracy this week. But in saying that, I think it was down to uncertainty.

“You’re not going to do things perfectly in your first match, and at half-time the talk was about lifting the intensity, about playing at another level and to outpace and outmuscle them, and there were signs of that.

“Everyone said the Kings would be at their most dangerous in the first few games, especially at home,” he added.

“They had everything to play for in wanting to prove everyone wrong, and that passion gave them the recipe to hold us out.

“Credit to them, they were physical, they took it to us and had the flow of the game in the first half. But we showed character and absorbed the pressure well before cutting loose.” – The Mercury

Original source: Sharks must be brutal

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