Cape Town - There are still four rounds of Currie Cup fixtures remaining, but Sharks coach Gary Gold knows that his side might have to settle for fourth place on the log.
The Sharks lost 37-27 at home to Western Province on Saturday in a match that gave both sides the opportunity to solidify their positions in the playoff places.
Now Gold’s charges are just a point above the Free State Cheetahs in fifth with fixtures against the Golden Lions, Blue Bulls, Griquas and Cheetahs remaining.
It is a tough run-in for the Durban lads, but Gold says that they will never give up.
“We’re not going to give up, that’s for sure. Today (Saturday) was a massive disappointment. I think it’s a good yardstick as to where we are at the moment … next week (Lions away) is going to be another one,” the coach said after the match.
“If anything, we’re going to keep fighting harder now. It’s time for us to show some character. I know you guys are probably tired of hearing this but I’m going to continue to back this group of players. I know that when it does click I think we’ve got some great rugby players and I think we can play a good brand of rugby and we can do a lot better than what we’re doing at the moment.”
Gold acknowledged that his side would in all likelihood be fighting for fourth place and an away semi-final for the rest of the group stages, and he conceded that there needed to be vast improvement if they were to achieve that.
“This competition is wide open. It does look like the first three positions are probably a little bit out of our reach now but that just means the fight is even tougher now for that fourth place,” he said.
“We’re way off where I was hoping and anticipating us to be … particularly defensively. I think we let in a couple of soft tries. There are a lot of things we are doing well. The one thing I can’t point a finger at is that I don’t think this group of players is not pitching up. They’re trying their hardest … their giving an effort every week but we’re way off where we need to be at the moment if we’re going to compete in this competition.”