Sharks take little for granted
Durban - Interim coach Hugh Reece-Edwards wants the Sharks to avoid repeating their mistakes against the Kings, insisting they will be on their toes for the final match of their Super Rugby campaign in Durban on Saturday.
When the sides met at the start of the year, the KwaZulu-Natal franchise battled to a 21-12 win in Port Elizabeth.
This time around, things were expected to be slightly easier in the dead rubber clash, although Reece-Edwards was taking little for granted.
“If you look at the Kings, they've played pretty well this season and they gave the Stormers a bit of a fright last Saturday (when they lost 24-12),” he said ahead of the game.
“When we played them last, we thought it might have been a bit easier and we were perhaps a bit too conservative and made too many mistakes.
“They've proven that they are a tough side to beat, they don't give up and have the best tackle percentage in the competition.”
The 10th-placed hosts were counting the costs of an injury-plagued season which put them out of contention for a top-six finish.
However, they still had plenty of pride on the line and could finish as high as seventh in the overall standings.
“We really just want to go out and play some good rugby,” Reece-Edwards said.
“The bottom line is to come out and perform. The players know they are coming off a good performance against the Bulls.
“We want to finish off the season well and perhaps end in seventh place. That’s not good enough, but it’s far better than the 10th place we’re in now.”
The match will also be the last for Reece-Edwards and fellow assistant Grant Bashford as they follow former head coach John Plumtree out the back door of the union.
“There is a bit of emotion. I don’t like it to be a case of ‘let’s play for this guy or that guy’. That can take away from the rugby itself," he said.
"There are players and coaches leaving, but at the end of the day it’s really just about the 80 minutes that’s going to count to whether it’s a good send-off or not, so it’s about the rugby.”
For the bottom-placed Kings, the match represents a final chance to claim a maiden derby success, which would add to their three other victories this season.
A win, added to the Highlanders and Force losing, could also see them lift themselves from the bottom of the log.
Their focus, though, appeared to be on the looming promotion/relegation playoffs against the Lions, with the Eastern Cape side announcing 12 changes to their team this week.