How Sharks 'cashed in'

Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:46
Large keegan daniel sharks ball

Sharks flank Keegan Daniel believes the men from Durban cashed in fully on the favourable Super Rugby draw.

Sharks flank Keegan Daniel believes the men from Durban cashed in fully on the favourable Super Rugby draw.

The Sharks have played six of their eight Super Rugby matches in Durban - the other two being in Pretoria and Johannesburg.

It has allowed them to record seven wins, their only loss being against the Bulls in Pretoria - as they sit pretty at the top of the table ahead of their final home game, before their four-match trip to Australasia.

The coastal franchise host the Highlanders in Durban on Friday and will be hoping to make it eight wins out of nine matches this season.

A victory could see them pull further away from the Brumbies or Chiefs, who clash in a second versus third encounter in Canberra on the same day.

"I think every team sets out at the start of the season to win the competition," Daniel told a media briefing in Durban.

"That certainly was ours as well and I think we've had a very good start.

"We knew we had a favourable draw starting off with a number of home games and it was crucial for us to win as many of those games as we could.

"We're still trying to find our feet in terms of the way [coach] Jake [White] wants us to play."

After facing New Zealand's fourth-placed side, the Highlanders (eighth overall) at Kings Park on Friday, the Sharks will play the Rebels, Brumbies, Crusaders and Blues on their Australasian trip.

They will also be attempting to do something that no other South African side had done on tour so far in 2014, which is to win overseas.

"Going on tour, it's important to keep picking up wins," Daniel said.

"South African sides, we've let ourselves down with not one winning a game yet.

"But we've got a different approach, we've generally travelled quite well and hopefully will be successful. We're here to win the competition and to do that, you've got to win games."

Daniel, who made his first start of the season in the 19-8 win over the Cheetahs over the weekend, is in his final season in South Africa and will quit the Sharks after 10 years when he joins Japanese outfit Kubota at the conclusion of the current campaign.

Despite losing the captaincy to Bismarck du Plessis this year, the 29-year-old insisted he still saw himself as a leader within the squad due to his vast experience, which would be taken to an even greater level this weekend when he wins his 100th cap.

"I always see myself as a leader within this team," he said.

"You don't have to have name badges or titles attached to it to be able to do that, I wanted to and always have.

"Bismarck knows I support him in any event and it's all about working together and creating a partnership.

"So it's been different [not being captain], I've learnt quite a lot about myself and it's been good for me."

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