The captain has to communicate with refs
The Sharks are sitting on the crest of the Super Rugby wave and the driving force behind their success is the Jake White-inspired passion.
Captain Bismarck du Plessis, speaking to this website ahead of the tricky Round 10 encounter with the Cheetahs in Durban on Saturday, pointed the World Cup-winning former Springbok coach's appetite for success as the key to their improved form this year.
Now the Director of Rugby at the Durban-based franchise, White has lived up to the reputation that saw him take South Africa to World Cup glory and the Brumbies to a Super Rugby Final.
"His record speaks for itself and he has the full backing of the team," Du Plessis said, when asked about White's influence since he moved to Durban from Canberra in the off-season.
"He is very passionate about the game and he is somebody that loves doing analysis.
"Jake always looks at aspects on which we should work and that becomes out focus."
However, White's presence alone is not going to gift the Sharks the win they require to cement their place at the summit of the tournament standings.
The Cheetahs, despite having a nightmare season and hovering just one place above last on the table, have at times been a bogey team for the Sharks.
"They are always a dangerous team, especially when facing the Sharks in Durban," Du Plessis told this website.
And he has a point.
Of their six Super Rugby meetings at Kings Park the Cheetahs have won three, including a 12-6 win last year.
"They have tripped us up in the past, but this weekend we must focus on our own game," the Sharks skipper said, adding that their goal remains to win all their home games to ensure they stay in first place give themselves that vital home ground advantage in the play-offs.
Du Plessis, who has had some interesting debates with referees this season, sees it as part of his job to ensure his teammates always have a clear understanding of what the match officials require.
There has been suggestions that perhaps Du Plessis could tone down some of his exchanges, but he is only concerned with the 'terms' of his job description.
"The captain has to communicate with the referees, it is his job to understand what they are unhappy with," he said.
By Jan de Koning