Sharks aim to follow German example

Date published: July 19 2014

Sharks head coach Jake White has drawn inspiration from FIFA World Cup champions Germany in his team's quest for glory.

Sharks coach Jake White has drawn inspiration from FIFA World Cup champions Germany in his team's quest to claim the Super Rugby crown.

The Durban side host a play-off clash against the Highlanders in Durban on Saturday having missed out on automatic qualification for the semi-finals after ending in third position in the overall standings.

They have to beat the New Zealanders at Kings Park, before heading overseas to try and upstage the Crusaders in the semi-finals in Christchurch to reach the final.

The competition's history does not favour travelling sides in the title chase.

“You guys write that 12 out of 18 games have been won by teams that have hosted the final, well Brazil lost 7-1 at home to Germany,” White said ahead of the game.

“If I told people that before the World Cup, they would have laughed at me.

“That is what sport does, and it's going to happen that a team which doesn't finish in the top two is going to win this competition. It has to happen.”

The Sharks, however, must first negotiate the first part of their quest, which is to overcome the visitors from Otago, who are the only overseas team to have won in Durban this year.

Back in April, they enjoyed a surprise 34-18 victory and White was quick to take the blame for that loss, which was their final game before one of their most successful overseas tours in history.

“I don't think we took them lightly, you can't afford that against anyone in this competition,” said White.

“I took the blame for that and it was mainly because I erred in selection. There were a lot of things I toyed with before we left on tour.

“I'm not for one minute suggesting we took anything for granted against them. It was my own fault.”

White, whose side were 34-10 winners over the Stormers last week, made one change to his XV bringing back Cobus Reinach for Charl McLeod at scrum-half.

He also included fly-half Patrick Lambie in his squad for the first time since March after a long-term injury.

The Sharks coach said his charges could not afford to look beyond the Highlanders, who will feature in the play-offs for the first time since 2002.