Planet Rugby

Bye week refreshed Sharks - White

08th April 2014 10:15

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Sharks director of rugby Jake White

Satisfied: Jake White

Sharks boss Jake White says last week's Super Rugby bye has left his table-topping side refreshed for their next challenge.

White's men have lost just one of their six games to date - a narrow derby defeat to the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld - and hold a two-point lead over second-placed Brumbies, who have played one more match.

The Sharks sat out last weekend, yet remain six points clear at the head of the South African Conference, having played one less game than the Bulls and Lions who are closest to catching them.

This Saturday sees the Durban-based franchise travel to Johannesburg, where Johan Ackermann's men await at Kings Park.

And White stressed the importance of the bye in keeping his squad fresh, especially with their next weekend off not for nearly two months.

"The most important aspect is the mental break the bye gave us," White told Sport24.

"This tournament takes its toll and more so what's coming. We have eight weeks before our next break. Mentally, it was a good break for us and we all knew that mentally we had to take some time out because we're going to be under pressure in the next two months."

Though both their byes have now passed, White is not concerned that they have come too early. On the contrary, the World Cup-winning Springbok coach feels the breaks helped him manage his hefty contingent of Test stars.

"It was nice to have byes early on which we were lucky enough to get; it suited us because we had so many Springboks, it suited the management of our player resources," added White.

"We lost 11 or 12 Springboks to the end of year tour, so it helped us to have the bye early. Now the hard yards start, we have eight weeks in a row. We saw the Stormers coming back from tour and losing to the Waratahs. We have to come back and play the Stormers in our last weekend ([before the June break) after touring. And we know they're a good side.

"We were in a great position going into the bye week, even though we weren't playing, we would still manage to remain on top of the log. But I've said it a number of times, it's not where you are on the log during the season but where you end up at the conclusion of the season."

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