Young fullback Curwin Bosch says the Sharks are determined to demonstrate what they are capable of in Saturday’s clash against the Jaguares, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
The Sharks’ disappointing loss to the Stormers last weekend has seen them remain just outside a quarter-final qualifying position, and they will now need to hope that the Highlanders claim a victory over the eighth-placed Rebels in Dunedin on Saturday.
Should the Highlanders do the Sharks a favour, the onus will then fall on the Durban-based side to finish the regular season with a win over the Jaguares that would enable them to sneak into the knockout stage.
The Sharks may wonder how they got themselves into this precarious position, but it’s an indication of a season that has been blighted by erratic results, as reflected by six losses, one draw and eight defeats.
Speaking to SARugbymag.co.za on Tuesday, Bosch emphasised that the Sharks had reflected on where things had gone wrong, and had now set their sights on making the most of any opportunity that comes their way this weekend.
‘We are all fully aware of the situation we are in after slipping up last weekend. It has been a very inconsistent season, but we are desperately hoping to get a second chance of making it into the playoffs.
‘It’s been quite obvious to see that when things haven’t gone well, it’s been a result of us not sticking to our game plan and strengths. In this regard, I think we are a team that needs momentum to perform. We have some dangerous backs, and we’ve seen how we can strike when there’s a nice platform laid up front at the set pieces. We also need our ball-carriers to establish momentum, and then the backs can come into play.’
There are also a number of permutations that could influence where the Jaguares finish on the log. Should the Lions slip up against the Bulls, the Argentinian side could still finish at the top of the SA conference, but if not, there may be a temptation for them to rest some battle-weary players ahead of the playoffs.
The Jaguares will certainly be lamenting a 43-34 loss against the Bulls last weekend, which ended a seven-match winning streak that would have caught the attention of the Sharks.
‘There is no doubt that the Jaguares have been playing brilliant rugby this year, and we know how dangerous they can be,’ Bosch commented. ‘We experienced what they can do when we went to Argentina [and suffered a 29-13 defeat] earlier this season.
‘They are an international-quality side, but like any other team, they are beatable, and I really believe if we stick to our plans and strengths then we can put them away. We are creating opportunities, but we need to start converting those into points.’
It remains to be seen whether or not the Sharks will still be in the running for a playoff place by the time kick-off arrives at 5.15pm this Saturday, but the one benefit is that their match is the final one of the weekend, and so they will know exactly where they stand.
‘Unfortunately, it’s no longer in our hands,’ Bosch said. ‘We need the Highlanders to beat the Rebels, and so we will obviously be keeping an eye on that game … If you look at it on paper, though, I don’t think our results this season have accurately reflected just how much work the team has put in. So hopefully things will fall in to place for us.’
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images