Sharks not far off - Bashford
Grant Bashford (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Sharks assistant coach Grant Bashford believes they're not far from winning a major final after a heartbreaking loss to Western Province in the Currie Cup last weekend.
The Durbanites were stunned 25-18 on their home Kings Park turf, which was their third final loss in a row after ending runners-up in the Super Rugby final earlier this year as well as 2011's Currie Cup.
But Bashford believes to reach two finals in 2012 suggests they're not all that bad.
“I don’t think we are far off,” he told the Sharks website
“We played in two finals this year and you have to do a whole lot of things right to get to finals. We put the Super Rugby final loss (to the Chiefs) down to travel - it was simply a bridge too far - it was probably that one game against the Lions in Joburg that could have cost us. If we had win, we could have had a home playoff.
“And we were pretty consistent during the Currie Cup, although we battled to win away from home at times, but we were able to beat the Cheetahs away as well as Western Province.
"So we did enough in the latter stages to force a home final. We played pretty well in the semi so there was good momentum going into the final and we thought we integrated the Boks pretty well, but on the day… it showed that underdogs can win finals, nothing is a given, you need to perform on the day and that’s pretty much what happened to us.”
Bashford also shunned the belief that Western Province, who broke an 11-year Currie Cup drought, were more hungry on the day.
“I don’t think we weren’t hungry. Looking back at our preparation for the game, we had a really good build-up and everyone was really confident going into the match without being overconfident.
"We believed that if we played well, we would have the better of them. Unfortunately, we didn’t play well enough. It was a frustrating afternoon."
The Sharks now shift their focus towards next year's Super Rugby competition. They open their campaign against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on February 23 and the following week they'll get a change at revenge over the men from Cape Town when they host the Stormers.