Sharks coach: We've reached season-defining moment
Durban - Sharks coach Robert du Preez acknowledges that his players have reached a season-defining stage of their Super Rugby season.
The Sharks host the Lions in Durban on Saturday knowing that defeat will, in all likelihood, extinguish their chances of making the tournament playoffs.
READ: Sharks v Lions - 5 key head-to-heads
Du Preez's men are currently third in the South African Conference and ninth overall, six points behind the Jaguares and Rebels, who occupy the last two wildcard playoff spots.
After the Lions match, the Sharks travel to Cape Town to take on the Stormers before hosting the Jaguares in their final pool match of the season.
Du Preez knows that there is no room left for error.
"We're going into the defining part of our season. This is it and every game is of great importance," he said from Durban on Thursday.
"We've got to win every game. We're not looking any further than Saturday ... that's obviously the big one."
One of the biggest problems with the Sharks this season has been their inconsistency. On their day, they look good enough to challenge any team in the competition, but there have also been some seriously poor displays.
"We know that through the season there has been a lack of consistency," said Du Preez.
"We've played some great games and then there have been some games where we were mediocre.
"That's all in the past now ... this is finals rugby for us now."
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:15.
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Phillip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Lwazi Mvovo
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith
Substitutes: 16 Corne Fourie, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19, Lourens Erasmus, 20 Hacjivah Dayimani, 21 Marnus Schoeman, 22 Nic Groom, 23 Courtnall Skosan