Sharks need to make good on turnaround vows

2010-03-03 00:00

SPRINGBOK lock Johann Muller has promised an improved performance by the Sharks in their tough Super 14 outing against the NSW Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.

Muller, who captained the Sharks in the two previous seasons, said yesterday the players are “very disappointed at the way they had let down themselves, the coaching staff and their supporters” in losing their first three games.

“That’s not what the Sharks brand is about and we’ve been very tough on ourselves. I can promise one thing: it will be a much improved performance on the weekend against the Waratahs,” he told the Sharks website.

He said the hours of analysis and video sessions “had resulted in an unbelievable day of training yesterday, probably our best training session of the entire year, and it was great to see the character of the guys come out”.

He said it was no time for excuses and looking to the past.

“You can’t dwell on negatives, if you think about the past too much, you’re never going to go forward. “

The Sharks are up against a Waratahs team far stronger than their joint ninth spot — one win from three — would suggest. They have returned home from South Africa for their first home game and they looked a polished outfit in losing narrowly to the Bulls at Loftus at the weekend.

Muller conceded the Waratahs will be difficult to beat, but said the Sharks’ focus will be on playing their own game well and placing the opposition under pressure. And, he added, a win on Saturday will take them to mid-table and place them back in contention for a play-off spot.

Fullback Stefan Terblanche, who captained the Sharks in last year’s Currie Cup, said the team’s attacking failures — one try in three games — is a concern. He told reporters that the Sharks’ basics have been weak and they need to create more openings by getting over the gainline.

“We know the Waratahs are a very good side and they’re traditionally well organised. We’re at the stage where we will have to go balls to the wall if we want to turn it around. We have the players, but our team on paper counts for nothing if we don’t produce.”

Meanwhile, Waratahs coach Chris Hickey is confident hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, with a slight hamstring strain, will be available for the clash and said he is responding well to treatment.

The Waratahs are heavily favoured, but Hickey said he is wary of the Sharks, adding that “they’ve got a very strong line-up and they’d be very disappointed with their start”.

“They’ll target this game to get their campaign back on track.

“They have lost three, but it was only just in the last 20 minutes that the games got away from them.

”It’s good to be home but that doesn’t mean you’re going to win. You’ve still got to perform,” the Waratahs coach said.

The match kicks off at 10.40 am on Saturday (M-Net and SS1).

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