Why the Sharks find themselves in a difficult Super Rugby play-off position

11 July 2018 - 14:46 By Khanyiso Tshwaku
Robert Du Preez of the Cell C Sharks celebrates the try of Lwazi Mvovo of the Cell C Sharks during 2018 Super Rugby game between the Sharks and the Lions at Kings Park, Durban on 30 June 2018.
Robert Du Preez of the Cell C Sharks celebrates the try of Lwazi Mvovo of the Cell C Sharks during 2018 Super Rugby game between the Sharks and the Lions at Kings Park, Durban on 30 June 2018.
Image: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

The Sharks haven't quite been the masters of their own destiny this season and that partly explains why they find themselves in a difficult Super Rugby play-off position.

The Durban side have to beat the Jaguares at home on Saturday but even if they do‚ they have to hope the Highlanders beat the Rebels in the day's first game.

This scenario could have been avoided if they had won in Cape Town last week.

If the Sharks (32) had beaten the Stormers‚ they wouldn't have worried about the Rebels (35) as winning in Dunedin isn't the easiest of tasks.

The Jaguares (38)‚ who gave up a 19-0 lead to lose to the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld‚ also have their eyes on a home play-off‚ which could materialise if the Bulls beat the Lions (41) at Ellis Park.

When the Reds beat the Rebels‚ a favour was done for the Sharks but they couldn't capitalise on the advantage handed to them by the Reds.

Sharks fullback Curwin Bosch said they're accustomed to playing under pressure and he trusts his teammates to deliver despite their dummy spitting act at Newlands.

“There's definitely a fair bit of pressure but this team has always done well under pressure.

"We shot ourselves in the foot on the weekend and everyone did us a favour on the weekend except for ourselves.

"The team realises that we have a second opportunity and that doesn't happen very often in a competition of this nature‚” Bosch said.

“We created plenty of opportunities to put the Stormers away and that was a simple thing that let us down.

"The execution also let us down and the final pass didn't go to hand.

"It comes down to execution and patience because if we stuck to our game plan‚ they weren't going to live with us.

"We were impatient.”

The Sharks have the serious matter of Daniel du Preez's impending injury-related absence to deal with but there's also the significant matter of a Jaguares team whose seven-match winning streak was snapped in Tshwane.

Bosch said both teams should have won their respective matches on the weekend but Bosch knows the Sharks cannot afford another off day at King's Park.

However‚ unexpected off-days have been a trending theme regardless of where they play.

“The Jaguares are coming off a loss and they're hurting.

"It's the same for us because we're coming off a game we should have won and they believe they should have beaten the Bulls.

"It's going to be a tough challenge but we know how important this game is for us and hopefully we can pull it through‚” Bosch said.

“If we don't win‚ we know we're done in this competition.

"We are treating every game like a final and Saturday's game is no different. We need to fix our basics and also make sure we do the things that are in our control very well.”

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