Sharks coach Dick Muir has conceded that his team’s conservative approach in the Super 14 rugby competition this season cost them dearly.
“If we played more positively since the start of the season, we would not have been in this position,” Muir said after the 33-14 victory over the Cheetahs here on Saturday.
Liam Del Carme writes in Beeld that the Sharks, who have a battle on their hands to qualify for the semi-finals, shot themselves in the foot by not adopting a more attacking strategy earlier.
Muir said they had been too concerned about the wet and humid conditions they had encountered in Durban at the start of their campaign
“Things could have been different if one takes bonus points into consideration,” he acknowledged.
The Sharks, runners-up last year, earned only three bonus points in scoring 25 tries in 12 matches this season. Now they have to go on a scoring spree against the Chiefs on Saturday to get into the playoffs.
And to make it even more difficult, they are almost certain to be without their game-breaking star, Frans Steyn.
“Frans has a rib injury. I don’t know how serious it is. Maybe he will have to rest for a week; maybe two weeks,” Muir said.
Should have Johann Muller back
Steyn was injured when he was tackled into touch during the match against the Cheetahs but he continued playing.
However, the Sharks should have their captain, Springbok lock Johann Muller, back this week.
“Johann should play and we can also retain Johan Ackermann if he takes his Salusa 45,” Muir joked after the recall of the 37-year-old retired Springbok.
Muir realises all to well that the Chiefs will present a different proposition to his team than the Cheetahs did.
“It’s a huge challenge. They have some superstars and game breakers. We will approach the game as if it is a knock-out match,” he said.
“Earlier it was about playing for a semi-final at home; now it’s about survival,” he added.
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské believes the Sharks will do well if they reach the playoff stage.
“I think the Sharks, along with the Waratahs, have the best defence system. It’s hard to score tries against them.
“They needed a spark to score four tries (against the Cheetahs) and it will do a lot for their confidence that they succeeded,” Drotské said.
“Any team in the competition can beat any of the other teams. If they get into the playoffs, they will, with their defence system, have a good chance.”Tweet