AUDIO: 'This team will go a long way'
However, coach Robert du Preez believes the Durban-based outfit is going places.
The Sharks, able to comfortably beat New Zealand teams, lost 33-39 to the Bulls in Pretoria at the weekend – after having had to come back from gifting their opponents a 17-0 lead.
The defeat left them in a three-way tie for eighth place – the last play-off spot – with just five league matches remaining.
The Jaguares officially occupy eighth place (with six wins), followed by the Bulls (five wins) and the Sharks (four victories).
All three have 24 points, with two struggling Australian teams the – Waratahs (26 points, with six matches remaining) and the Rebels (25 points with five matches remaining) – just ahead of them.
"We have two games left before the June break – against the Chiefs at home, then the Jaguares away – and we're very much in the race," Du Preez said.
"It's all to play for and I have every confidence in this team.
"To come back from a 17-point deficit showed massive fighting spirit.
"This is a great team and we're going to go a long way."
Du Preez pointed to the Sharks' fighting as the reason for his optimism.
"I thought the boys, to have come back from a huge deficit, and be in the game right to the death, I have to commend them on that," he said.
He admitted discipline, or rather a lack of it, cost them dearly – with two players, Curwin Bosch in the ninth minute and Lukhanyo Am in the 67th minute, receiving yellow cards.
"That [first] card [to Bosch] was very costly," Du Preez said.
"Discipline let us down, at 17 points down, a deficit like that was always going to be hard to come back from."
"I also thought our exits weren't great early on, not kicking the ball into touch three times put us under pressure. Those two issues weren't great ways to start the game."