Durban - Sharks wing Lwazi Mvovo believes a shift in mindset has been key to the dramatic turnaround of the defending Currie Cup champions as momentum begins to build in Durban.
The coastal side are on a four-game unbeaten streak, after a sombre few weeks prior to the halfway stage when they were stunned by underdogs, the Pumas and Griquas.
"I think we realised that if we kept on going like that, we weren't going to get to the semi-finals, so there was a mind-shift from the players and the coaching staff," Mvovo said on Tuesday.
"The guys weren't doing well at the time and they obviously didn't like it so the whole squad had to change their mentality and work hard on the goal of reaching the semi-finals. And I think it has worked out very well."
Since that tough period, the Sharks have drawn with the Free State Cheetahs and gone on to beat the Blue Bulls in Pretoria, followed by Kings Park wins over the Eastern Province Kings and the in-form Golden Lions.
The latter victory enabled them to secure a semi-final place, although they were unlikely to be at home again in the competition.
They play Western Province at Newlands in Cape Town this weekend -- the scene of last year's Currie Cup final triumph.
Mvovo said it was important to get a positive result from the game in order to carry forward the momentum.
"We're taking it a week at a time. You want to get those results away from home to build your confidence," he said.
"So if we can do that against Western Province in Cape Town this weekend, it will be very good for us going into the semi-finals.
"We really want to keep this momentum going, it's very important, and we want to keep playing as well as we have been recently."
Should the Lions beat the Cheetahs in an earlier kick-off on Saturday, the Sharks-Province game will be a dead rubber.
"There's pride in both Province and us and there will be a lot of expression on the field.
"Both sides want to win, and we're very motivated to win our last pool game. It's going to be a crazy game."
The Sharks were dealt a major blow on Monday when two of their season regulars were ruled out of the Cape Town trip.
Centre Paul Jordaan had undergone surgery on a fractured hip and had been ruled out for six months, while hooker Kyle Cooper was out for a week with an ankle problem.
"It's a big blow for the team, but there are obviously other guys waiting for the opportunity to play for the Sharks," Mvovo said.
"There's no doubt in my mind that whoever comes in will do a good job."
However, the Sharks would likely be boosted by the return of Cobus Reinach from Springbok duty.