Best yet to come from Sharks — Teichmann

2014-07-03 00:00

SHARKS legend Gary Teichmann believes the best is yet to come from his former team as they brace themselves for two massive Super Rugby derbies over the coming two weekends.

With the competition play-offs now within sight, the destiny of the Southern Hemisphere’s premier club trophy could become a lot clearer after the Durban side faces the Cheetahs and Stormers, both away from home, in the remaining two rounds.

“They’ve played with an enormous amount of character,” former captain Teichmann said. “The good news is I still don’t think they’ve played their best game of the season. I think that’s still to come.”

The Sharks currently lie second on the log and will be looking to at least consolidate their position with victories in Bloemfontein and Cape Town. That will give them the luxury of a King’s Park semi-final, and pending the outcome of the log-leading Waratahs’ results, may even give them a chance of finishing top.

Home advantage in the play-offs cannot be underestimated. Only once in the competition’s 18-year history has a team won a final overseas — the Crusaders won the 2000 final in Canberra against the Brumbies.

However, Teichmann insists that the focus should not be so far ahead.

“The main goal is to get that home semi at this stage,” he said. “They will need the Waratahs to slip up if they want the home final, but that’s all irrelevant if you don’t do the job that needs to be done at the moment.”

The ex-Springbok skipper, who played close to 150 games for the Sharks in an eight-year stint during the 1990s, has also been impressed with the way the director of rugby Jake White has coped in his first season at the helm.

The union also have a new chief executive in John Smit, and Teichmann said: “John and Jake realised that with all the changes, it was essential that they kept winning.

“It didn’t matter how, but in order for this era to kick start, they had to win. I think they’ve done that. People can criticise the game they play, the approach, the amount of kicking or whatever it may be, but I can tell you if they played an expansive game and lost, a large number of supporters would have been complaining.

“So they’ve done the critical thing, which is to win, and they can now build on this.”

Teichmann, a former loose forward, was particularly pleased with the way White had managed a lengthy injury list.

Springboks Patrick Lambie and Pieter-Steph du Toit have missed most of the season through injury, while others like Anton Bresler, Cobus Reinach and Fred Zeilinga have spent a substantial amount of time on the sidelines.

“He [White] has worked well with what he’s had at his disposal in terms of players,” Teichmann added. “He lost two top players in a critical position fairly early in the season, but he worked with what he had.

“He moved players around, brought [S’bura] Sithole in at centre and gave others opportunities too, so I don’t think we can complain.”

Lambie was expected to return after more than three months out with a bicep injury this week, although it appears the Sharks may give him another week to recover, having only taken part in limited training.

Zeilinga, who has also missed stages of the season due to a troubled hamstring, and Tim Swiel are in line to start at number 10 when the team are announced today.

Bresler could also return after a shoulder problem has seen him out since week five.

Ryan Kankowski, Tendai Mtawarira and Willem Alberts are all doubtful.

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