Sharks back to 'winning rugby'

Date published: July 17 2014

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Departing Sharks scrum-half Charl McLeod believes the victory over the Stormers in Cape Town saw his team rediscover their groove.

Departing Sharks scrum-half Charl McLeod believes the victory over the Stormers in Cape Town saw his team rediscover their groove.

Consecutive losses to the Cheetahs and Stormers in the end denied the Sharks a top two spot and therefore a home semi-final and bye week.

Instead they tackle the Highlanders in Durban this weekend, looking for revenge after losing to the New Zealand franchise at the same venue back in April.

But after winning at Newlands and lifting the South African Conference title, McLeod believes the confidence in the squad is back.

“It was a big confidence booster for us, just to see that what we've been doing all year is successful and we went back to that: solid defence, forwards working hard, better kicking game, better kick-chase game and we got the reward from that,” said McLeod.

“That all gives us a lot of confidence going into this week's knockout match against the Highlanders.

“We've been playing knock-out rugby from Round One, but we went away from that a bit and that's why I think we fell short [against the Stormers in May and the Cheetahs], but we put in a solid performance on the weekend now we're back to playing winning rugby and so I think it's a good way to kick off this knockout phase.”

Picking up on the areas where the Sharks fell short three months ago, McLeod knows what to expect from the visiting side which includes Aaron Smith, Malakai Fekitoa and Ben Smith.

“They're a very difficult team to play against, they showed that when we met them in Durban earlier in the season, and I think they will take confidence out of that performance,” added McLeod.

“We know how dangerous they can be if our kicking game is off and our defence is not on song so those are two areas we will be working hard on in training this week.

“Our kicking game wasn't accurate enough, we didn't get out of our half, we gave them a lot of opportunities to counter-attack and that's one of their strengths, they like broken play. So if we can avoid giving them good ball, it will be good for us.

“We definitely know not to underestimate them, which is a good thing. But it doesn't matter who we play, it's a quarter-final , we want to win. Fortunately we're at home and hopefully that will count in our favour.”

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