Cape Town - The Sharks may have won three out of three in Super Rugby this season, including an impressive 18-13 win away to the Stormers on Saturday, but coach Gary Gold does not consider his side favourites to win the South African group.
The Durbanites currently top their conference and the South African group while they sit behind only the Brumbies on the overall combined log.
Gold's charges put in a Herculean defensive performance against the Stormers on Saturday and held on to record a victory that makes a serious statement this Super Rugby season.
A controversial penalty try may have played a major role in the Sharks win, but Gold was still made to field questions about his side taking on the 'favourites' tag among the South African sides this early in the competition.
But the Sharks mentor was having none of it.
"You guys are ignoring the Lions," he said.
"They started off travelling away from home and they haven’t exactly been shabby. They’re coming home and they have a great run at home.
"I definitely don’t think that we’re favourites at all … I think the Lions are favourites for the conference."
Gold also expected the Stormers, last year's South African conference champions, to bounce back.
Stormers are not going to lie down after this tonight," Gold said on Saturday.
"They’re going to come back and they have Australian teams so I think there’s a long way to go … no predictions yet."
The Sharks take on the Bulls at Loftus this Friday while the Stormers host the Brumbies on Saturday.