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John Plumtree concedes his Sharks side are already playing catch-up and admits that victory over the Force in Durban on Saturday is essential if they want to make the Super Rugby playoffs.
The coastal side defeated the in-form Highlanders 28-16 last week for only their fifth victory in 10 games this season.
That win was described as “ugly” by the Sharks boss, but he was nonetheless pleased as they held on to seventh place in the overall standings, within range of the teams immediately above them.
It came without a bonus-point, though, and Plumtree will be keen for a full compliment of five against a struggling Force side, who sit third from bottom with just two wins all year.
“These next five games are crucial for us, so we’re sort of into finals rugby already,” Plumtree said.
“The key is to get winning because winning breeds that confidence.
“If we can have a bit of extra belief and confidence in our ability and we’re training with smiles on our faces because we got the points, then that helps unbelievably.”
The Sharks’ cause was aided this week when Plumtree was able to name the same team for the first time all season.
“With continuity in player personnel, those combinations get a little better and build,” he said.
“And some players don’t make the 22 which creates competition you want in training, so it’s definitely a positive.”
Plumtree also conceded there was no point playing good rugby if they were not getting the results.
“We obviously want to play a brand of rugby that’s exciting and that’s what we’ve always done at the Sharks,” he said.
“If we’re not playing that at the moment, but we’re winning, then that’s what will happen.
“I think it’s important to remember that winning at the moment is what we need to be doing, and it's not really about how we are doing that.” – Sapa