Sharks have to adopt ‘win at all costs’ attitude
REACTION: Sharks Director of Rugby Niel Powell admitted his team is in a very ‘tricky’ predicament after their 23-29 defeat to the Stormers at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
The defeat means the Sharks are in seventh place with 43 points and will have to win their last three matches if they want to finish in the top eight.
The Sharks are just three points clear of ninth-placed Benetton.
The Durban-based franchise’s final three fixtures see them travel to Wales to face Scarlets on March 25, before hosting Benetton and Munster at the Kings Park Stadium.
“It does become a case of a win at all costs,” Sharks Director of Rugby Neil Powell told reporters when asked about their remaining fixtures.
“Our next game is against Scarlets and we looked at their game against Munster [on Friday] and how they came back and almost won. Therefore, going to Wales and getting results will definitely be tough.
“Luckily we will have the services of the Springboks, but it does make it tricky because we will have to play away and then return to Durban to play against Munster.
“We will have a break and plan properly on how we will approach these two games and make sure we get it right on the day.”
#REPORT: @THESTORMERS survived @SharksRugby‘s late attack #rugby #news #Sports #STOvSHA https://t.co/yJMrqvr0qX
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) March 4, 2023
The missed opportunity
The Sharks could have produced a major upset at the Cape Town Stadium as they fought back from 26-6 down.
They scored three late tries to trail 23-26, however individual errors in the final stages of the match proved costly.
And despite having the numeral advantage with the Stormers being reduced to 13 men, the Sharks were just not clinical enough.
“The guys showed a lot of confidence out there but yet again individual inaccuracy in the last eight minutes and ill-discipline in the first half put us on the back foot,” Powell said.
“We know the Stormers is a team that feeds off your mistakes and that is how they scored the first few tries.
“It is very difficult when you play catch-up against them.
“At half-time, we [coaches] tried to change the guys’ [the players’] mindset and urged them to stick to our plan and be disciplined and they did and it showed in the second half.
“So I do think the players are starting to believe they are good enough as a team to come to Cape Town and get a win.”
The Sharks will be sweating over the injury of Aphelele Fassi. The Springbok left the field in the 43rd minute with what appeared to be a leg injury. He was replaced by Yaw Penxe, who scored two tries for the Durbanites.
“[Fassi’s injury] is unfortunate, the doctor will still do a medical on him and only after that we will know the severity.”
The Sharks have a two-week break before their away match against Scarlets on March 25.