Sharks were 'in the gutter' during tour
Cape Town - Midway through their Australian tour, the Sharks looked down and out.
Tipped as possible title contenders at the start of the season, the Durbanites went down 24-17 to the Brumbies in Canberra and then 46-14 to the Rebels in Melbourne.
Those two results hurt, and it looked like coach Robert du Preez and his men were headed for a season of disappointment.
The performances over the next two weeks, though, have restored hope to Kings Park.
The Sharks thrashed the Blues 63-40 and then, last week, they came within seconds of beating the Hurricanes in Wellington, eventually falling to a 38-37 loss after the hooter.
With regular season approaching the half-way mark, the Sharks believe again.
According to wing Kobus van Wyk, there was a shift in mindset after the Rebels loss.
"We were down in the gutters after that game. We got 50 points or something. After that the guys just got together in a room and talked a bit and we turned it around after that," he said.
"Four weeks away from home is always tough on the body and the mind. In the first two games we struggled a bit, but after that we stuck to our guns and turned it around for the season, I think. The guys have been playing well."
The aim for the Sharks is simple.
"We want to go to the quarter-finals and take it from there and the guys are ready to play now," said Van Wyk.
"We want to finish on top of the SA conference ... that's our goal."
Next up is a crucial clash against the Bulls in Durban on Saturday.
"I think they've been playing very well, throwing the ball out wide. It's a new-look Bulls side," Van Wyk said of John Mitchell's men.
"They have flair and I think we can expect anything from them."
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:15.