Durban - The Sharks will not be chasing targets when they play against the Stormers on Saturday, says coach Jake White.
Instead of a reckless, high-scoring match in an effort to overhaul the second-placed Crusaders on points differential, they will simply do what they can to win the very last game of the Super Rugby round robin stage.
The Sharks are level on 46 points with the Crusaders, but the Christchurch team have a better points differential (eight) and that could stretch to an unreasonable total for the Sharks if the Crusaders beat the visiting Highlanders.
“We spoke about that, and, by subconsciously looking at the log, it’s possibly been a fault of ours to not have scored more points,” said coach Jake White.
“We’ve decided this week that it doesn’t matter what happens on Friday or Saturday morning in the other games, we must just get a win on the weekend.
“If it means we’ve fallen short by points difference or log points, then so be it, but we’re not going to be influenced by what we think we need to do. The bottom line is we want to win in Cape Town,” White said.
“We want to win again. We haven’t won in a while.”
On Monday night, the coach was still awaiting the results of scans on the injured Tendai Mtawarira, Patrick Lambie and Paul Jordaan.
“I’ll know how they are by this [Tuesday] morning,” the coach said. “They are all going for scans, and I’m waiting for the yay or nay from the specialists.
“Positively, they all look like they’re recovering, it’s just a question of whether they’ve recovered enough to start playing. If they are passed fit, they will be considered for selection.”
On the loss to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein at the weekend, White said the team was disappointed because they had a chance to salvage a win in the last quarter, but had left it too late.
“We showed a lot of character to come back and lead 13-10 after being 10-0 down, but there are no excuses,” he said.
“We just let ourselves down, especially the way the rest of the game unfolded. We had the high road and the low road, now we’re on the dirt road.
“In saying that, it’s not all doom and gloom,” he said.
“The June break came, we’ve had a disjointed couple of weeks and lost a few players. We had to rotate players because we could have had a tough road in - which could still be the case.”
White said he did not think the players were tired.
“I think they have had enough rest, I gave them a week off, they went home for two days, and they’re all fired up and want to be a part of it now, and that’s a good sign,” the coach said.
“The main thing is that we’re not making excuses. We as a group know we didn’t play as well as we can, we were a bit soft at times, and now we need to get it right.”
White said the team’s approach to the Stormers game would take the pressure off the players.
“It’s nice when you go into a game knowing you have nothing to gain. It’s not so much that they have nothing to lose, because I think everyone knows that in derby games you still have lots to lose,” White said.
“(The Stormers) have won five of their last six games and won a lot of games at home.
“They’ve lost big players along the way, but their squad wasn’t bad at the beginning of the year. So it’s not how they’re doing or how they’re playing, there is no surprise that they’ve won games.
“And they kept the Cheetahs and Bulls scoreless - that’s always been a trend of their game.”