Sharks seek redemption in crucial coastal derby

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For the Sharks, this week’s preparations and the weekend’s game against the Stormers present the perfect opportunity to right certain wrongs they feel they made as the Super Rugby competition draws towards its climax.

“There are so many things we did wrong in the past two games [against the Cheetahs and Stormers] and these next few days will be about fixing them and then going down to Cape Town, get back to our game plan and just play,” explains wing Lwazi Mvovo.

“We want to get back to the standards and goals we set for ourselves at the start of the season.

“The Stormers are a quality side, we just want to take a step back and look at what we can do, the mistakes we made, and then rectify that and move forward.”

Losing to the Cheetahs wasn’t part of the plan, considering the successful start to the season and the outstanding results they earned on tour, and winning this weekend against a Stormers’ side that has found some good form of late will no doubt ease some of the pain and disappointment that the defeat brought on the team.

“We played very well overseas, I’m sure if we put our minds to it, we can get back to those winning ways.”

The Stormers boast one of the most miserly defensive structures in the competition, with two recent matches seeing the opposition held scoreless.

In fact, of all 15 teams, only the Waratahs and Sharks have a better ‘points against’ figure in that column, which contradicts their log position (11th).

“Their defence is very good, they’ve been one of the top defensive sides for the past three or four years,” he explains, “but there have been teams who have gone down there and won.

“Their defence is not something we’re focussing on, we’re paying attention to our own game. We want to go down to Cape Town and do our best.”

Having analysed their game against the Cheetahs and on what facets of their game went wrong, there are no major changes on the cards, rather just little tweaks and making sure what they do, they do right.

“We need to get back to the basics and stick to the game plan. Last week, we let ourselves down with those last passes and our defence. We need to get back to tackling low and train for that and move on from the disappointment of last week’s loss.”

He admits that despite the massive challenge that lies ahead of them, it’s not one they allow to be overbearing. Psychologically, losing the game before it’s played is half the battle lost, but being positive about it is half the battle won.

“It’s not easy playing in Cape Town, they can win here in Durban and we’ve won down there, so it’s not a train smash going to Cape Town because we know we can come back with the result.”

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