Johannesburg - Assistant coach Grant Bashford has warned the Sharks cannot afford any more slip-ups over the final three rounds if they want to guarantee themselves top spot on the Currie Cup log.
The Durbanites were beaten by the Lions in their latest outing, going down 28-22 in Johannesburg on Saturday night.
That left them in second spot on the standings ahead of their match-up with the Blue Bulls in Durban this Friday.
“I think the side that wins all three matches will finish top of the log,” Bashford said on Tuesday.
“The top three sides will be playing each other, so it’s really important to keep that focus.
“The nice thing for us is two of the three games are at home and we’ve only lost one at home this year. So we really back ourselves at home against anyone and provided we get it right, we’ll be tough to beat at home.”
Apart from the Bulls, John Plumtree’s side also host Griquas at Kings Park, with their only remaining away match being against Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
The shortened six-team competition this year has left just four points separating the top three, with the Lions (24) currently top, followed by the Sharks (21) and Western Province (20).
The top team is also guaranteed a home final provided they get there. “The margins for error are very small because there are only six sides in the competition.
“I mean one week you can be in the bottom two and the next in the top four. So it’s really important to keep winning because in a shorter competition like this one, because there’s not much time to come back.” He also admitted that the Sharks would have little chance of ending in the No 1 position if they continued making as many errors as they did on the weekend.
“The frustration was that it’s repeated mistakes,” he added.
“We’re turning over far too much ball and are not being accurate when we get into the 22.
“We certainly had enough opportunity to win that game on the weekend, I guess we blew those chances and if you’re going to do that often enough, you’re not going to win.”
There were no fresh injuries for the Sharks against the Lions and the wounded list continues to be cut with forward Kyle Cooper the latest player set for a return this week after being sidelined for most of the season with a neck problem.
However, hooker Craig Burden and wing Lwazi Mvovo are unavailable again due to Springbok duty.
The clash at Kings Park kicks off at 19:10 on Friday.