Sharks in search of much-needed momentum
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: If the Sharks want to build any momentum ahead of the play-offs they will have to beat a powerful Lions side, who are aiming for top spot in the overall standings.
The Sharks have been inconsistent with their performances throughout the 2017 Super Rugby season and their recent 17-30 loss to the Bulls in Durban has left many wondering whether they will put up any significant challenge in the play-offs.
As it stands, if the Crusaders beat the Hurricanes this weekend, the Sharks will be heading to Christchurch for their quarterfinal, regardless of the result at Kings Park.
If the Crusaders lose and the Lions beat the Sharks on Saturday, then the Durban side will make the short trip to Johannesburg for the first round of play-offs
However, a win against the Lions could just be the boost the Durban side needs to challenge the tournament's big teams going forward.
"That's what we're focused on – for us, it's all about improving and getting better so that we can take momentum into the quarterfinals," Sharks assistant coach Sean Everitt said in an interview on the team's website. "Losing is not a discussion for us.
"We're hoping for an improved performance this week after our last match against the Bulls when we weren't accurate enough and there were a few things we had to sort out.
"Regardless of the result of this match, we're going to have to travel for our knock-out match, but we need to build some momentum going into the quarterfinals."
Everitt acknowledged that his team has a problem with putting together good consistent performances.
"We identified aspects of the game we weren’t happy with, where there were shortcomings from the individuals, and the players need to know there is a consequence for a lack of effort or urgency.
"Once they've seen those things, it’s something for them to work on and hopefully a lesson learned. As the saying goes: ‘successful people don't make the same mistake twice'.
"Our problem all year has been our consistency; we play weak opposition and struggle and play the top teams and win.
"It has been frustrating for us and perhaps a learning curve for the youngsters – and something we talk about all the time – that there are no easy games in Super Rugby. Yet sometimes we come out of the blocks a bit slowly," Everitt added.