Is this Ruan Botha's last home game for the Sharks?
Unless the Sharks finish at the top of the South African conference‚ Saturday's clash against the Hurricanes could be Ruan Botha's last home game for the Durban side before he departs for the London Irish.
While rugby is a team sport‚ individual narratives are often neatly interwoven with the game‚ even though the Sharks have had some mixed results when it comes to landmark matches this season.
However‚ the Sharks are that aware sentiment will get them nothing as they are chasing the top spot that'll guarantee them a home quarter-final.
Not that they've deserved it as their home form this season has left a lot to be desired.
Of their six losses in 13 matches‚ four have been at home to SA opposition.
The Sharks need to win their remaining games but also have to be reliant on the Jaguares losing to the Reds in an earlier game on Saturday morning.
However‚ what the Jaguares do is the least of Botha's concerns‚ who said the play-offs have already started for them.
The Sharks served up a mini example last week in their 27-17 win against the Lions where they were starved of possession but still ended up winning the game.
“For us‚ the play-offs have started and every single game for us now is a must-win.
"The guys have shown a lot of character defending the tryline and it's a proud moment when you turn over multiple phases and score at the other end of the park‚” Botha said.
“That's given us a bit of confidence but we know the threat the Hurricanes pose when they have the ball in hand.”
Botha said the Sharks and the Hurricanes are in the same boat from a points perspective and that's partially true.
The Hurricanes (40) are assured of a play-off spot as the second placed New Zealand and will need a monumental meltdown to be caught by the Highlanders (29) and the Chiefs (27).
The Sharks are in a proper rat-race as the Bulls (32)‚ Lions (30) and the Stormers (30) can catch them if they falter.
They also have to keep an eye on the log-leading Jaguares (36)‚ who just need to win to keep their top spot.
Botha said the most desperate team will claim all the points on Saturday.
“The Hurricanes are exactly like we are. They want to end at the top of their conference.
"They know what they have to do to catch up with the Crusaders and they'll do anything possible to do that‚” Botha said.
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