Dick Muir says Sharks have made it hard for themselves
Sharks assistant coach Dick Muir admitted that his side had ‘shot itself in the foot’ after losing 27-16 to the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday.
Had the Sharks won‚ they would have moved into eighth on the standings and in a play-off position.
But they are now three points behind the Melbourne Rebels and face the Jaguares in Durban next week.
“We did shoot ourselves in the foot a bit as our destiny was in our own hands and now it is not‚” said Muir.
“Maybe we can still get through but we have work to do and the way I see it we need to bank on beating the Jaguares with a bonus point.”
A bonus point win might not be required if the Rebels don’t earn a point at all when they take on the Highlanders in Dunedin in their final match.
But if the Sharks do scrape through the back door and into the play-offs‚ they will come up against the Crusaders in Christchurch‚ which is a daunting prospect.
Beating the Jaguares next week is their first objective though.
Of course‚ if the Rebels cause a major upset and beat the Highlanders earlier in the day‚ the Sharks are out of it regardless of what happens against the Jaguares.
Since 2015‚ the Rebels are the only Australia team to have beaten a New Zealand team away from home.
That happened in early June when the Rebels beat the Blues 20-10 in Auckland.
The Sharks will also go into next week’s clash against the Jaguares without Jean-Luc and Danuel du Preez.
The Bok back row twins are both injured with Daniel stretchered off against the Stormers at the weekend with what Muir described as a ‘neck injury.’
That was the reason Muir did post-match media duty‚ as head coach Robert du Preez went to hospital to be with Daniel‚ suggesting the injury might be serious.
Muir was cagey about whether he felt the Sharks had grown this season‚ particularly as they have only won six of 15 matches this season‚ with eight losses and a draw.
Against the Stormers they started slowly‚ conceding three first half tries and trailing 21-9 at the break before producing a better second half.
“We have one good game and then one bad one‚ we have one good half and then a poor half‚” Muir said about the season.
“There is some work to be done to find out what is contributing to that.
“We went alright up front today‚ it was just a combination of errors. We made 14 handling errors‚ which was uncharacteristic.
"We had no real front-foot ball and we couldn’t get our offloading game going. The Stormers deserve credit for defending really well.
“We had decided to play wide to wide as we felt there were areas in the Stormers game that we could exploit.
“Maybe we tried to play a bit too much rugby. Maybe we should instead have been a little more direct.
“They were up for it and instead of us putting them under pressure it was they who reversed that pressure and we didn’t respond as well as we should have.”