Sharks gear up for 'make or break' run
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
"South African derbies are
always big games. It doesn't matter if it's a semi-final, final or a normal
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:15.