Sharks eyeing the high road

Wed, 16 Jan 2013 07:02
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The Sharks are determined to make a more convincing start to the Super Rugby season after having to fight their way into the play-offs last year.

The Sharks are determined to make a more convincing start to the Super Rugby season after having to fight their way into the play-offs last year.

The Durban outfit struggled to find enough early season consistency in 2012 and found themselves scraping into the knock-out phase which resulted in a taxing travel schedule during the play-offs that saw them fall at the final hurdle against the Chiefs in Hamilton.

Captain Keegan Daniel is adamant that his side have learnt a valuable lesson from that experience, and has called on them to start the competition on the front foot despite the notoriously humid and slippery conditions in Durban early in the year.

"We were consistent in the fact that we made finals, but in terms of our performances we probably weren't as consistent as we would have liked," the skipper said.

"We slipped up at times in the last competition, which put us under pressure towards the end. We want to be a lot more consistent in the way we perform in the games early on this season," he explained.

A notable absentee from full training was Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis, who remains sidelined after undergoing surgery to fix ligament damage in his right knee.

However, Frans Steyn is easing his way back to full swing after missing the last three months of the year through an ankle injury.

"Frans has started running again and is doing pretty well, he's right on schedule," Daniel said. "But Bismarck will take a bit longer, he had a big injury, but the medical team is working hard with him."

The Sharks also have two new experienced faces in their ranks in the shape of veteran flyhalf Butch James and lock Franco van der Merwe.

Daniel feels that the pair will add huge value to a side already filled with talent.

"Butch has been around, he's been here before and will fit back in easily and will add a lot of value. It's also good to have Franco here, he will add invaluable experience to the second row.

"You know we struggled a little there in the past. He's captained the Lions and has been in the Springbok squad recently, so it's good to have someone like that in the tight five," he added.

Despite the considerable talent pool in Durban, Daniel refuses to take anything for granted and knows his team will have to work hard to gain some early momentum this year.

"You can look at any squad and say it's a great squad with good depth, but at the end of the day you've got to put it all together on the field.

"But we do have some good young players who've come through nicely and spent one or two seasons playing Currie Cup or Super Rugby. Then the likes of Butch and Franco are just going to add to that," he said.

Coach John Plumtree's men play pre-campaign warm-up matches against the Leopards in Pietermaritzburg on February 8 and the Pumas in Nelspruit on February 15, before launching their Super Rugby season against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on February 23.

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 8 5 1 2 24
Rebels 87 4 0 4 21
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 15
Reds 8 3 0 5 13
Sunwolves 8 0 0 8 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 6 0 2 29
Hurricanes 7 6 0 1 27
Chiefs 8 6 0 2 26
Highlanders 7 5 0 2 24
Blues 8 2 0 6 12
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 30
Bulls 8 4 0 4 19
Sharks 9 3 1 5 18
Jaguares 9 4 0 5 16
Stormers 9 3 0 6 14
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