Cape Town - The Sharks are eager to go one step further and finally shed their "chokers' tag by going all the way in this year's Super Rugby competition.
The Durbanites have contested the final of the last three tournaments they've played in but lost them all - the 2011 and 2012 Currie Cup finals as well as last year's Super Rugby final.
“We’ve reached three finals in a row now and haven’t nailed any of them, and the guys are getting a bit annoyed about that," assistant coach Hugh Reece-Edwards told the Sharks website
The Sharks have also been Super Rugby runners up on no less than five occasions [1994 (in the old Super 10), 1996, 2001, 2007 and 2012] - a record they are adamant to put right.
"We know what we have to do, we know where we’ve made mistakes and that’s a good thing. It’s often those little failures that direct you as to where you need to do better and we’ve identified that, the players know it. The mental preparation we need to put into this is massive," said Reece-Edwards.
The former Sharks fullback stressed what needs to be done in order to realise their dream in 2013, taking note of last year’s campaign which was built off a solid finish rather than a spectacular beginning.
“We can’t start by losing the first few games and then playing catch-up, we have to start by playing positive, winning rugby. And we have to maintain that. We have to look after the players, we have to manage each player. We’re in a situation this year where we have a certain amount of depth and we can do that. The ball is in our court at the moment, we’ve got to use it, and use it well.”
Fortunately for the Sharks, their pre-season is not only on track, but according to Reece-Edwards, one of the better ones they have had in recent years, if not the best.
“We’re happy with where we are. If I look back two years at this time, we were really just starting out in terms of the way we were going to play and trying a few things out. Now the squad is quite settled and there is a good understanding of what we want to do.”
They start their Super Rugby campaign away to the Cheetahs on Saturday, February 23.HAVE YOUR SAY:
Can the Sharks finally take the next step and break their Super Rugby duck this year? Or do they lack that killer instinct when it really matters? Send your thoughts to Sport24