Sharks aim to finish tour on a high
Brisbane - The Sharks should be able to name pretty much the same side for their tour-finale against the Reds this weekend as they look to close off their four-match Super Rugby trip to Australasia on a winning note.
"The Waratahs match was an improvement on the week before, although it was a poor start conceding a relatively soft try early on," Director of Rugby Gary Gold told Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick.
"But we showed massive character for the rest of the game and to get back into a position where we could have won the game.
"For the second week in a row we crossed the line a couple of times, unfortunately it wasn’t to be; you can’t fault the effort of the players.
"It’s not going for us at the moment but there was a huge amount of character shown, some cracking tries and some really good rugby. But from our point of view, obviously bitterly disappointed not to be getting the results."
Despite playing in an extremely physical game, Gold confirmed that by and large, the squad is in a good position, although the players are feeling the effects.
"Willem Alberts is sore, Beast (Mtawarira) is still sore and Dale (Chadwick) received a cut above his eye at training on Tuesday, so we’ll have to see how everyone is on Wednesday.
"But we’re hoping for more or less a clean bill of health."
Finishing off the tour with a win against the Reds on Friday is the team’s focus.
"It’s critically important for us," Gold admitted.
"We had a shocking first week against the Highlanders then two good performances where we weren’t on the right side of the scoreboard.
"On other days, they might have gone our way, but the fact of the matter now is that the Reds seemed to have turned the corner and it’s important for us to do the same thing."
The Reds are in a pretty similar place to the Sharks and in both cases, expectations have exceeded the results.
"It’s a big factor that they are at home and we’re away from home for this game and we saw how well they pitched up against the Rebels at their own stadium last week.
"It’s important for us to worry about ourselves at the moment.
"We know we have a good team, we’re trying to play a brand of rugby that asks questions with ball in hand but by the same token, we can’t compromise ourselves from a defensive point of view; and we have done, so we recognise the areas we need to improve on.
"A really good performance and a win this weekend against the Reds is critically important for our campaign, and confidence.
"We understand that there’s a huge amount of pressure that we’re under, but I have to say, the guys are up for the task.
"The training has been very good this week and everyone is really looking forward to finishing off the tour on a high and giving our supporters a little to cheer about."
Friday’s clash in Brisbane kicks off at 11:40 (SA time).