Sharks in desperate position – Mtembu

Date published: September 16 2014

Sharks captain Tera Mtembu admits that his side have slumped into a “desperate” position in their bid to defend the title.

Sharks' captain Tera Mtembu admits that the defending Currie Cup champions have slumped into a “desperate” position in their bid to defend the title.

The Durban-based side drew 30-30 with the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last Saturday and must now win all of their four remaining games if they want to have any chance of reaching the semi-finals.

“I think the word we can use is desperate,” said Mtembu said on Tuesday.

“We've slipped into a position now that we have to win every game.

“But our focus obviously is the Bulls first and it's a must-win game for us. The other games will then follow.”

The Sharks must beat the Blue Bulls in Pretoria this week and follow that up with home victories over the Eastern Province Kings and the Golden Lions before playing another must-win game away at current table-toppers Western Province.

They also need to pick up bonus points along the way, or else they can be caught by the Cheetahs or the Bulls, should those two rivals win all their matches.

“Ultimately we'd like to get a semi-final spot,” Mtembu said.

“But that's something we can't control. We want to try and win the last four games and if we can do that the log will take care of itself.”

Brad Macleod-Henderson's side has been boosted by news that Lwazi Mvovo will be available after he was released from Springbok duty for the Loftus Versfeld Stadium clash.

But team doctor Alan Kourie confirmed that veteran Bok wing Odwa Ndungane will be out after sustaining a groin strain.

He joins centre Heimar Williams, sidelined with the same injury for four weeks, on the casualty list, which also includes England prop Matt Stevens (knee).

Another front rower, Thomas du Toit, faces a late fitness test ahead of Saturday's clash.

Mtembu, in his first season at the helm, said they have worked on two areas of their game this week.

“I think our big thing is that we are creating opportunities but aren't executing well,” he said.

“Our discipline has let us down, even though there was a big improvement at the weekend.

“Still, we're not executing as well as we'd like to. Those are the main areas we've been focusing on in the last two weeks – improving on the execution and the discipline.”

But the Sharks' skipper felt there were plenty of positives in the draw in Bloemfontein, which came on the back of defeats to the Pumas and Griquas, results that have left them hanging desperately on to fourth place.

“I think our discipline was quite good,” added Mtembu.

“Our defence was also good at times and the linkage play between the forwards and backs was probably the best it's been all season.

“I think we're creating a lot of opportunities. It's just that last pass or the finishing that's missing.”