James Mortimer and sharksrugby.co.za 10.Apr.2013Getty Images
“When the final whistle went and we saw the celebrations by the players, that showed just how much the win meant to them all, a huge amount,” admits Sharks assistant coach Hugh Reece-Edwards.
“The youngsters who haven’t played the Crusaders before realise what they’ve achieved and only a handful of players had beaten them before, and that was back in 2007. So for the majority of the players, this was a feat new to them and getting that sort of gain is a huge thing and for these players, a tremendous result.”
A lot of belief would have been taken out of the result - belief in themselves, belief in the structures – and going into a tough period now, it has an important confidence-boosting element about it.
“The previous stat was two wins in 16 outings, so it was a game we had to win,” he adds. “It was a home win and looking to where we want to go in this competition, it was a vital win for us. We were taught a lesson in the game against the Brumbies and we couldn’t have that again, this side is good enough to go a long way. To prove that to themselves, the players needed to come out and perform and certainly in the second half we did.
“It was winning a home game against one of the sides that will probably end up in the top six, we now play another team that should end up in the top 6 [the Stormers], albeit they haven’t started off as well as they would have liked. It meant it was a vital win, a win we don’t normally get and mentally it was massive.
“Whichever way you look at it, it was a great result for us.”