Durban - Sharks coach John Plumtree has begun this week by drumming into his players that they need to "tidy up" their game if they want to beat the tougher teams in the Currie Cup and go on to mount a serious defence of their title.
The Durban team were beaten by the Golden Lions over the weekend - the 28-19 loss at Ellis Park representing their second defeat in a stop-start campaign.
Plumtree admits the performance was a disappointing one and is aiming for a swift turnaround ahead of their return to Gauteng this week to play the Blue Bulls.
"Our discipline was a major factor," the Sharks boss said on Tuesday.
"We conceded penalties, and we felt like we were going backwards the whole day.
"I guess it (the the penalties we conceded) were partly because of the pressure they applied and some of it was just silly play and certainly we've got to tidy up.
"When we’ve been at our most disciplined this year, we’ve played very well, when we’ve conceded a lot of penalties we haven’t played well.
"Discipline is a real problem for us at the moment and we have to make sure we tidy it up, that’s been one of the messages for the boys this week."
Apart from the defeat, the loss also took its toll on some of the players with Ryan Kankowski ruled out for four weeks with a broken thumb, while captain Keegan Daniel rolled his ankle at training on Tuesday.
"It's a big blow for us," Plumtree said of the Springbok number eight.
Daniel should be available for the trip to Loftus Versfeld.
Another problem for the Sharks has been their attack.
Plumtree felt his players were involved in too much of defensive play, which was hampering their potential to attack.
"We’ve made something like 300 more tackles than the Lions this year and that gives a slight indication of how much defensive work we’re doing than attacking work.
"So we have got to get our attack game going."
However, he conceded there was no need to be pushing any panic buttons as he tries to bring through the next generation of players at Kings Park.
"We aren’t happy with the way things are going, we think we need to change, not wholesale changes, but we’re looking to do different things," he added.
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