Dick Muir will continue with his dual-squad system despite the Sharks’ one-point defeat to Griquas last Saturday.
The Natalians now go into a tough fortnight with matches against the Vodacom Blue Bulls and Cheetahs.
The Durban-based side took an unbeaten record into Saturday’s encounter with Griquas and were on the receiving end of some glowing media reports for their innovative dual squad system.
Griquas, though, are traditionally difficult to beat at their rock-hard Kimberly base and the second-string Sharks struggled.
â€œIt was disappointing,â€ Muir told in the Sharks website, â€œbecause we created a lot of opportunities, but didnâ€™t finish them off. With a youthful side, we probably panicked rather than being composed and grinding back from the deficit.
â€œIt is a character-builder to come away from a place like Kimberley, where you feel everything is stacked against you, and you lose by one point when you know you should have won the game. As disappointed as we are, we got a lot of positives out of it. We just hope that it doesnâ€™t come and bite us at the end of the season.â€
With Western Province looking more impressive every week and facing easier fixtures (Valke away and Lions at home) in the next two weeks, the pressure will be on Muir’s team to produce wins at Loftus and Absa Stadium.
However they can take encouragement from the return of their ‘first’ team for both clashes. AJ Venter will return to captain the side along with most of the players who triumphed over the Lions and Western Province in the opening rounds two rounds of the tournament.
One notable absentee though will be Butch James, called up to the Springbok team after Jaco van der Westhuizen’s dismal showing against Australia. It is not yet clear who Muir will entrust with the No 10 shirt but Steven Meyer and Bradley Barrit look the most likely candidates.
Muir looks forward to the challenge that awaits his team and has full confidence that they’ll overcome this setback.â€œWe now have to determine our own destiny and go out and continue with our process.â€