Sharks must go back to basics

Jannie du Plessis says the Sharks need to play their own game if they are to rediscover their form.

Last weekend the Sharks suffered defeat in Bloemfontein despite a late fightback and they now find themselves on the brink of missing out on a home semi-final. The Springbok front ranker was open when speaking about the morale in the camp following the loss.

'The feeling is not good,' he said. 'We played against the Stormers the week before the international break and we really wanted to capitalise on the hard work we’d done on tour. But we made a few irrational choices on the field, and it came back to bite us. Then we were really keen to turn that around against the Cheetahs, and if you look at the game we really showed some intent, we carried the ball a lot more than they did, and we tried to play with a bit more ingenuity and ball-in-hand. They were just too good on the day, they capitalised on our mistakes and I think we couldn’t build pressure.'

Having lead the competition for a majority of the tournament, the Sharks could finish the regular season as low as fourth if results don't go their way, something that seemed impossible just two months ago.

'I think we need to go back to what’s worked for us in the past. We’re going to defend hard, play in the right areas and we’re going to play the rugby that worked for us. We have to try make a plan from here to dig ourselves out of this hole. We need to remind ourselves of what worked for us at the beginning of the season.'

The match against the Stormers at Newlands this weekend will provide the Sharks with their last opportunity to return to winning ways before the play-offs.

'If we have opportunities this weekend, we have to take the chances as they present themselves, whether by kicking goals or by keeping ball-in-hand after 12 phases. We need to have a clinical game and deliver an all-round performance. If we get opportunities, we must capitalise when in the right places on the field. That is what wins you championships. The teams that take their chances and deny opportunities for the opposition go through.'

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