DURBAN – Never mind the Super Rugby quarter-finals in just over a month’s time, the Sharks are already in play-off mode, according to their combative lock Ruan Botha.
Botha has been the catalyst of the Sharks’ impressive forward effort of late following his comeback from a foot injury, and he says he will be doing everything in his considerable power to spearhead his team’s forward effort against the dangerous Hurricanes at Jonsson Kings Park on Saturday (3pm).
“When you have been laid off for a while with injury, the hunger for physicality is there because of the desire to get on the field and make a difference,” the 27-year-old former captain of the Sharks said.
“Physicality is something that really ignites the Sharks and the dominance in the pack we have now is key to our whole game,” Botha continued.
“We need to build on that now each week with the games being so important in our conference. And if I have to lead the way up front, I will - anything to get this team through.”
The escalation in physicality in the Sharks was evident in their massive defensive effort to beat the Lions last week. The Sharks played as if it was do-or-die, which each game pretty much is given the congestion on the log.
“For us, the play-offs have already started,” Botha said. “Every single game coming up for us is a must-win. The guys have showed a lot of character defending the tryline, and it is a proud moment when you turn the opposition over after multiple phases and score at the other end.
“That has built a lot of confidence, although we know the Hurricanes pose an even bigger danger with ball in hand, so we have to stop their possession of the ball as quickly as possible.”
The Hurricanes are in a similar position to the Sharks in that they want to win their conference and need to go unbeaten from now on if they want to overhaul the Crusaders.
“They won’t care who is in front of them as long as they win, and the same counts for us,” Botha said. “So we are expecting a running game, with both teams looking to maintain possession. It is going to be a battle of who can convert that possession into points.
“It doesn’t matter if we win by one point or 10. We just need to win every single game and the guys in this team are willing to do anything that is required to get the wins,” Botha concluded.@MikeGreenaway67