White : Sharks can still finish in the top two

Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White says that “a lot can still happen” in the final two rounds of the 2014 Super Rugby season and they are are focused on finishing in the top two places.

The Sharks return to Super Rugby this weekend after the June break and they will be looking to get back to winning ways as their lost their last match 19-21 to the Stormers in Durban.

The Durban based side were however given a small boost but the Crusaders loss to the Hurricanes which has put the Sharks in with a chance of securing a home semi-final without having to play a qualifying match.

With two rounds to play the Waratahs, Sharks and Crusaders lead the standings. The Crusaders in third place are level on points with the Highlanders and they are separated by points difference and number of wins.

The Highlanders could be key for the Sharks as they still have to play the Crusaders and Waratahs and if they have the potential to be spoilers in the Sharks favour.

“At the start of the season, who would have picked the Highlanders and Crusaders to both be on 42 log points at this stage of the competition,” said White on the Sharks site.

“It showed again, everyone thought that the Crusaders would win their game , and not for any other reason than the Crusaders are usually – at this time of the season – playing really well.”

“And the Crusaders still have to play the Highlanders and the Waratahs also have to play the Highlanders, so there are still so many more permutations that can take place in the final two weekends of the pool stages of this competition.

“A lot can still happen.”

White had hoped that his former team the Brumbies could have done the Sharks a favour by beating the Waratahs in Sydney but instead the Waratahs won and went ahead of the Sharks in the standings.

“Unfortunately the Brumbies didn’t do us any favours when they lost to the Waratahs, but in all fairness to them, they’re a depleted team, playing a prop at hooker, it also doesn’t help them to be missing Matt Toomua and Sam Carter,” said White.

“They were always going to struggle in this match against a team pushing for top spot, and achieving it with their win. We as the Cell C Sharks were never going to rely on the Brumbies to win the game and inadvertently do us a big favour.”

White says that while the results of other matches could work in their favour they won’t be relying on anyone else as they have the opportunity to finish first or second if they win their remaining matches.

“The most important lesson that we’ve been speaking about is that we have to keep doing what we have to do and that’s win.”

“I’ve spoken a lot about us holding our destiny in our own hands and that’s exactly true now still. We have two more games and if we win them both, we’ll finish in the top two. “

“And if the Highlanders get a win over the Waratahs, or the Reds do the same, we can still finish top.”

“And yes, there is always a lot of talk about finishing top of the log, but you still want to win the competition, so there is enough there for us to know we need to work hard to win the comp.”

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