Durban - Sharks assistant coach Paul Anthony believes the team's players need to "man up" and take responsibility for the way they have gone about defending their Currie Cup title, following a second successive loss over the past weekend.
The Durbanites have dropped to fourth on the table at the halfway stage of the competition with plenty of questions raised, particularly after defeats to smaller unions like the Pumas and Griquas.
"Without showing any disrespect, we have to be winning games that we're losing at the moment," Anthony said on Tuesday.
"You have to be saying we're defending the title and we have to get out there and win the games.
"I'm the sort of guy that I don't want excuses. We need to man up, management and players, and we need to go out there and play.
"We need to start winning games. The players are good enough and I'm convinced we can do it."
The Sharks still need to play teams like the Lions, Bulls and leaders Western Province -- the last two away from home -- in the coming weeks, while they have a tricky trip away to the Free State Cheetahs that needs to be negotiated first.
Anthony believes they cannot lose any of those games if they want to have any chance of defending the title.
"We can't afford any more losses," he said. "Realistically speaking, I think we have to get between 16 and 18 points, but at the moment we have to win all our games now.
"I really believe we can. I think we've got a very good set-piece and we've got good players out there.
"I know there's been talk about a shortage of players... but the players we have are good enough.
"We just have to take a much more responsible (approach) and we have to be positive.
"We have to believe we can win the next five games, whether we're playing the Bulls away or Western Province away.
"I think they've all got flaws. We're just making more mistakes and let's just cut that out."
Last weekend, the Sharks conceded 16 penalties in the 21-18 defeat to Griquas, while they also committed 25 unforced errors.
"For me, without a doubt, it's unforced errors (that are the main problem)," Anthony added.
"You definitely can deal with unforced errors. ... We need to cut that out and we've got to be more accurate.
"We've got to be more clinical."
There was further bad news for the Sharks with props Wiehahn Herbst and Matt Stevens likely to be sidelined through injury.