Sharks gear up for 'make or break' run

    2018-06-27 10:17

    Cape Town - Sharks captain Ruan Botha acknowledges that this is a make or break period for his side in Super Rugby.

    The Durbanites, who host the Lions in Durban on Saturday, are right in the playoff mix but they cannot afford any more slip-ups between now and the end of the season.

    The Sharks are currently 3rd in the South African Conference and 9th overall, six points behind both the Jaguares and the Rebels, who occupy the last two wildcard playoff spots. 

    It means that, in all likelihood, the Sharks will have to win all three of their remaining fixtures to stand a chance of reaching the quarter-finals. 

    After this weekend, the Sharks travel to Cape Town for an always tricky date with the Stormers before returning to Durban to host the Jaguares in what could be a potentially be a match to decide who makes the knockouts.

    Botha, though, is quite happy with the run-in his side has been given.

    "You have to think of paths to get to the knockout stages and this is actually the ideal path," he said from Durban on Tuesday.

    "We have two home games and one away game that is still in South Africa. The focus is on the Lions this weekend, but these three games are make or break for us."

    When the Lions and Sharks meet, it is almost always a memorable affair. 

    The Lions emerged as 26-19 winners in the first round of fixtures back in February, while they remain the South African team to beat. 

    "This Lions side is a very difficult side to play against, but we're just glad we're back as a brotherhood," said Botha.

    "They're getting back a few big names: Warren Whiteley, Malcolm Marx, Ruan Combrinck ... that's a big boost for them.

    "South African derbies are always big games. It doesn't matter if it's a semi-final, final or a normal pool game."

    Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:15

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    Friday, 31 January 2020
    • Blues v Chiefs, Eden Park 08:05
    • Brumbies v Reds, GIO Stadium 10:15
    • Sharks v Bulls, Jonsson Kings Park Stadium 19:10
    Saturday, 01 February 2020
    • Sunwolves v Rebels, Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium 05:45
    • Crusaders v Waratahs, Trafalgar Park 08:05
    • Stormers v Hurricanes, Cape Town 15:05
    • Jaguares v Lions, Estadio Jose Amalfitani 23:40
    Friday, 07 February 2020
    • Highlanders v Sharks, Forsyth Barr Stadium 08:05
    • Brumbies v Rebels, GIO Stadium 10:15


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