Alistair Hargreaves

Shooting for a birdie

2011-06-17 07:38
Sport24 columnist Alistair Hargreaves (File)
Alistair Hargreaves

I’ve struggled to put pen to paper this week. The reason being, there simply isn’t much left to say. With everything taken into account after 17 gruelling weeks of rugby, it all comes down to one fixture.

Looking back at the season, it’s easy to identify our shortcomings as a team. I get the same regrettable feeling that often creeps up on me whilst I mark my scorecard at the Country Club: Frustration.

Ruing missed putts, lamenting poor club selection, and cursing my ability (or lack thereof) to turn birdies into bogeys. Unfortunately, it’s not hard to draw parallels when looking at our last four months of rugby. There is an overriding feeling of frustration due to missed opportunities.

The question we have to ask ourselves is whether we can overcome the disappointment of the last few weeks, and bring a focused, collective effort into this week’s fixture against the Bulls?

The inner sanctum of Kings Park this week has been filled with a feeling of intensity, nerves and yet a strange sense of calm.

You see, the thing is there’s not much that can be changed in five days of training at the end of four months worth of hard work, and there isn’t a lot left to say. So pick your cliché… It's 'do or die', 'win at all costs', 'sink or swim'. Whatever works for you.

One thing that won’t work is time wasted on regrets, excuses, and finger pointing.

The wind may have suddenly changed on my backswing, the caddy may have given me the wrong putting line, and Keegan Daniel’s scorecard might have to be audited by KPMG at the end of the round, but the reality is, there is still one hole left to play, and all that matters is to win. You see what I’m getting at? Sure you do.

The remainder of this week sees us heading back up to Rustenburg, the venue where we all met for our pre-season camp.

It’s a place where we planned and plotted our Super Rugby path, where we bled and sweated and vowed to be our best at all costs. So it’s rather fitting that we revisit our old hunting ground in this, our most important of weeks.

This week will hardly be dissimilar to any other: Training as usual, meetings as always and maybe an opportunity to take Stefan Terblanche’s money at the poker table.

However, the only significant difference is that this time there is no room for error. It’s our last chance, our 18th hole, and the time where we finally have to produce the 80-minute performance that has proved far too elusive this season.

We are passionate about our fans, proud of our traditions, and the jersey we wear means everything to us. Come Saturday night we will do all in our power to be true ambassadors of the Black and White.

As players, we believe in and trust each other implicitly. We have put too much into this tournament to fall short at the final hurdle.

That said, I can guarantee that whatever the result on Saturday, we will be content with our efforts when the final whistle blows.

Alistair Hargreaves was educated at Durban High School and captained the SA Schools side in 2004. Besides being a stalwart in the Sharks' second row, he's also played two Tests for the Springboks.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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