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Sharks ‘desperately want’ to win against Connacht to secure play-off spot

The Sharks will need a win against Connacht, if they want ot secure their play-off place. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

The Sharks will need a win against Connacht, if they want ot secure their play-off place. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Published Apr 30, 2022

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Cape Town - If the Sharks needed any further boost as they head towards the United Rugby Championship play-offs, it came in the news that Springbok Lukhanyo Am will be back in their midst from next week. That means that following today’s encounter with Connacht at Hollywoodbets Kings Park, regular captain Am will be back in Durban and in two weeks’ time will travel to Belfast for their final pool game, against Ulster.

As it is, the Sharks are in fine form and won four in a row since their hiccup in the rain against Edinburgh and overall have won seven of their last eight games, a sequence that has propelled them up the points table to fourth.

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The Sharks surely will finish in the top eight and now their motivation is to ensure they have home ground advantage for as long as possible in the play-offs. A victory today will go a long way to booking a home quarter and possibly a home semi, and with Am back in their ranks, they will throw everything at Ulster in the final round.

ALSO READ: No big changes for Sharks ahead of Connacht clash

Coach Sean Everitt confirmed yesterday that Am, who has been away for two months playing for the Kubota Spears in Japan, is on his way home.

“Lukhanyo will be returning from Japan next week and he will be available to travel with us to Belfast,” said Everitt.

“I haven’t seen Lukhanyo play in Japan but I have been in contact with him, and he says everything has been going well and he is fit and ready to play for us in our remaining games.”

ALSO READ: South African teams are surfing URC wave after turning the side, says Sharks’ Thomas du Toit

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First the Sharks must get past Connacht who have enjoyed a 100% record against the other South African teams. “We desperately want to win against Connacht as it will mean we don’t have to go to Belfast with qualification for the play-offs and next year’s Champions Cup hanging on the result,” said Everitt. If they win today, they will then be playing for a spot somewhere between two and four, with Leinster having already nailed the No 1 spot.

“We do have everything to play for and if results go our way, we can still finish second. I think we are in a situation now where all the South African teams are aiming for home ground advantage in the play-offs,” Everitt added. Everitt has named an unchanged team and matchday 23 for the game and while he is happy with his team’s momentum, he is not underestimating Connacht.

“They are a difficult team to play against, as indicated by their results against the Stormers, Bulls and the Lions. I’m sure they will come to Durban determined to complete a fourmatch clean sweep over South African teams and we know we will need to be at our best.”

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@MikeGreenaway67

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