The pressures associated with knockout matches will probably result in the Sharks adopting a more conservative approach when they meet the Waratahs in their Super 14 semi-final here on Saturday.
Liam Del Carme writes in Beeld that the Sharks have delighted their supporters by scoring 12 tries in their previous two matches.
However, backline coach Grant Bashford pointed out on Tuesday that it was no longer necessary to chase bonus points by scoring tries.
Bashford said the momentum that the Durban outfit had built up by playing attacking rugby over the past couple of weeks was no longer an issue.
“We had to score a lot of tries to qualify for the semi-final but in knockout matches things work differently,” Bashford explained.
“We don’t have to try to increase the tempo of the game. Now it’s all about how to win in the knockout rounds.”
It can be argued that their attacking instincts enabled the Sharks to reach the semi-finals after their campaign had nearly been derailed by a too conservative approach early in the competition.
Little time to prepare
Coach Dick Muir conceded after the victories over the Cheetahs and the Chiefs that the Sharks had found themselves in trouble because of their earlier tactics.
The Sharks, who arrived here on Monday, will play in their sixth Super rugby semi-final on Saturday.
They have little time to prepare for the match but won’t make the mistake of over-training. The players will have a rest day on Wednesday.
“Strangely enough, the players do not feel as if they have reached the final stretch of the competition,” Bashford said.
“We feel we underachieved during the first three quarters of the competition. Now we play better rugby and the players do not feel as if they are out on their feet after 15 weeks.”
Also working in their favour is that the Sharks are enjoying much better conditions than the extremely wet weather they experienced here earlier this season.
“Sydney is almost unrecognisable from what it was when we were here last,” Bashford said.
“We were here for two weeks during the league phase and it rained all the time. It’s a lot more pleasant now and there’s a good feeling in the squad.
“The guys are very energetic. They’re happy to be here.”Tweet