Johannesburg - After securing only two log points in their penultimate league match in the Super Rugby competition, John Plumtree's Sharks are in a position where nothing less than victory against the Bulls at Loftus will be good enough to see them qualify for the play-offs.
"We have to win at Loftus," Plumtree said after his team's 30-30 draw with the Lions in Johannesburg.
"But we always thought that might be the case," he added.
"It is a tough competition and you have to be able to win away from home."
For the second week in a row the Sharks failed to make an impression in the first 40 minutes and were trailing 30-9 as the match entered the 50 minute mark.
Plumtree and skipper John Smit were full of praise for the character shown by the team in coming back, but also expressed some concern.
"We've been talking about starting a lot better but that hasn't happened - both times at altitude as well so we will have to look at that," said Plumtree. "I have to credit Pat Lambie for his kicking - his kicking under that kind of pressure was outstanding."
For Smit, who started at hooker to the delight of the Springbok coaching staff, the draw was simply not good enough.
"We've blown hot and cold again and we can both sit here and answer questions, but it is not the result we wanted," said Smit.
"We didn't come here to draw, we came here to win."
Asked where things went wrong Smit said that the Sharks forwards weren't functioning well as a unit during the opening exchanges.
"We admitted it last week and we do need to play better rugby and play more together as a pack and we didn't get that right in the first 40 minutes," said Smit.
"We are going to have to work a little harder and be more accurate, and tighten up on defence."