Wed 8 Feb 2023 | 08:00

VIDEO: Powell has a plan for 'bumpy road to the play-offs'

VIDEO: Powell has a plan for 'bumpy road to the play-offs'
Wed 8 Feb 2023 | 08:00
VIDEO: Powell has a plan for 'bumpy road to the play-offs'

The Sharks’ apathetic performance in their 19-46 United Rugby Championship loss to a fired-up Stormers team this past weekend has left them with a bumpy road to the play-offs.


As Director of Rugby Neil Powell said in his post-match assessment, they just ‘did not pitch’ in the Shark Tank.

Powell also spoke of the need for some “brutally host introspection”.

It is a result that left the Durban-based franchise perilously parked in eighth place in the play-off race, with 33 points from 12 games.

There are four teams hovering within one win from the Sharks – with Edinburgh (31 points), Connacht (30), Cardiff (29) and Ospreys (29) breathing down their proverbial necks.

And with no ‘Springbok experience’ to fall back on for their next three matches – the Lions at Ellis Park next Saturday (February 18), Ulster in Durban (February 25) and the Stormers in Cape Town (March 4) – it will require a massive mental shift, rather than any personnel pick-ups.

The Boks will return from their seven-week rest, cum World Cup training camp in time for the Round 16 URC encounter with Scarlets in Llanelli.


That is followed by a last-16 European Cup clash with Munster in Durban and a possible Euro quarterfinal, if they win.

Then follows the last two rounds of URC league action – Benetton in Durban (April 14) and Munster against (April 22) – before the play-offs.

It is the next three rounds – when they are without their international stars – that could prove to be the most problematic.

The Sharks boss made it clear they are not going to place emphasis on a particular game, but would rather focus on their overall progress in terms of their playing standards.

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“There is still a long way to go,” Powell said of the six remaining URC matches.

He said their focus now is on the Lions at Ellis Park next week.

“We will have a hard look at ourselves,” he said – adding that after a few hard training sessions in the first half of this week they will give the players a break.

“We will regroup when we come back on Monday [February 13] and prepare for the [encounter with] the Lions.

“We have to be brutally honest with ourselves and ensure we don’t repeat those mistakes.

“However, I do believe we can make the play-offs.”


* Picture credit: @SharksRugby


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