White: Sharks have the blueprint to win finals

Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White says that their match against the Stormers was perfect preparation for the Super Rugby qualifier against the Highlanders.

The Sharks will host the Highlanders in a repeat of their 11th round match at the same venue. The Sharks will however be hoping for a different result as they lost the first match 18-34.

Now that the regular season has been completed teams will no longer need to chase bonus points and they only need to beat their opposition team to progress to the next stage.

White says that their performance against the Stormers is pretty much what they will need to reproduce if they are to progress.

“I was asked afterwards what is going to be needed to win this comp and I said, ‘Copy and Paste’- it equals everything we want in play-off games,” said White on the Sharks site.

“In the Stormers’ game we had to work hard; we defended well, we were down 7-3 but kept chipping away; we got the reward. “

“That’s the blueprint to winning finals. The other thing that came out of it is that you are going to get x-number of moments to change the game and you have to take them.

“The difference between the pool stages and finals rugby is going for bonus points as you are, and don’t forget, they are vital because we see that one point is the difference between getting and missing out on a home semi.

“So to get that kind of rugby as a dress-rehearsal is something you want to make sure you can replicate now over the next three weeks.”

Sharks captain Bismarck du Plessis said he was pleased with the way they played against the Stormers as they were severely tested but came out on top.

“We really stuck to our guns in this match,” he explained of his team’s commitment.

“We had said that we wanted to play minute by minute and after having scored three tries by the end of the game, we would have loved to play another couple of minutes.”

Du Plessis said that it would prepared them well for the play offs as they used whatever chances they had to score.

“We had three opportunities and we took all three against the Stormers. In play-off rugby you might not even get that many, ” said Du Plessis.

“We just want to win the next three games.”

White said that the team had largely come through the Stormers match in good health and winger JP Pietersen appears to have overcome the knock he suffered that ended his game last week.

“JP Pietersen seems alright, there are injuries but i’s about managing what we need to,” said White.

“What I’ve learned is that you’re never going to have your ideal team on the field, you’re never going to have everyone fit and available. We just need to manage what we have, who is available and get them mentally ready for the weekend.”

The Sharks boss said that Pat Lambie and Beast Mtawarira should be ok but not guaranteed to play.

“I’s about how or when they slot in at this stage,” said White.

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