Cape Town - Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold has ensured the franchise’s supporters that he and the players are "hurting" following what has been close to a dismal season so far.
The Sharks have won just four of their 11 matches this Super Rugby campaign and are now in danger of being overhauled by the Cheetahs and slipping into last place in the South African conference.
The latest disappointment came on Friday when a spirited Highlanders side pummelled the Durban outfit 48-15.
It doesn’t get much easier for the Sharks, who still have three matches (Hurricanes, Waratahs, Reds) left on their Australasian tour.
"It’s about gaining pride," said Gold.
"Letting the supporters realise that we are hurting in this matter; for us, this is far from what we expect.
"We have three games to go and nowhere to hide – no-one wants to hide – and it’s about showing some incredible courage," he said from New Zealand on Tuesday ahead of this weekend’s showdown against John Plumtree’s Hurricanes.
"We want to show, as players, and to the supporters, that we have a lot of fight still in us.
"In the next two weeks, we’re playing two of the top teams in the competition, so we have our work cut out for us, but that's what this sport does for us; it provides challenges that normal day-to-day life doesn’t.
"I have absolutely no doubt that we are going to learn a lot of lessons in the next few weeks and there are going to be some huge challenges awaiting us.
"From my point of view, this is a group that has to show that we want to fight for our pride and to show everyone what it means to us to be involved in the Sharks.”
Kick-off for Saturday's encounter in Wellington is scheduled for 09:35 (SA time).