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Pieter-Steph du Toit

Pieter-Steph du Toit

Marcell Coetzee

Marcell Coetzee

The Sharks have released 2 Media Releases today, with the 1st 1 bearing the news that Pieter-Steph du Toit is leaving the Union. The 2nd Media release focusses on Marcell Coetzee re-signing with the Sharks and also reveals the other candidates who have chosen to continue to ply their trade at the Sharks.

 

Pieter-Steph du Toit:

Springbok lock Pieter-Steph du Toit, today confirmed his departure from the Cell C Sharks at the end of his contract, which expires in October 2015.

Having made his debut for The Sharks in 2012, du Toit with his strong physicality and presence has become an influential player for the franchise with strong performances that earned him Springbok colours in 2013.

Commenting on his departure, The Sharks CEO John Smit said: “We are terribly disappointed to lose a player of the calibre of Pieter-Steph du Toit. Despite our best efforts to keep him in the province, he has chosen to move on.

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David McDuling

David McDuling

The Cell C Sharks have announced the signing of Reds lock, David McDuling, ahead of the ABSA Currie Cup season.

The Sharks press release reads as follows:

We are pleased to announce the signing of Reds lock, David McDuling, who will join the Cell C Sharks until the end of 2016.

Known for his never-give-up attitude and athleticism around the park, McDuling made his Super Rugby debut in 2014 against the Crusaders and has since amassed a total of 12 Super Rugby caps for the Reds. He also won the inaugural season of the National Rugby Championship with Brisbane City and had the most carries and run metres of any 2nd rower in the competition.

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Willem Alberts

Willem Alberts

Stade Français have confirmed the signing of Springbok back row Willem Alberts who will join the club after the Rugby World Cup.

The Top 14 champions have not brought in many players this off-season, generally prioritising quality over quantity, as Alberts joins Will Genia in the French capital.

Alberts arrives from the Cell C Sharks on a 3-year deal and will join a back row which already features Sergio Parisse, Raphaël Lakafia and Antoine Burban, while promising youngster Sekou Macalou also arrived over the off-season from Massy.

The 31-year-old made his Springbok debut back in 2010 and has scored 7 tries in 32 tests.

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Late Brett Williams

Late Brett Williams

The lone remaining accused, Blayne Shepard, was found guilty of culpable homicide for the incident which took place after a Super Rugby match between the Sharks and the Melbourne Rebels, where Mr Brett Williams died after assault.

 

The Sharks Media Release Reads as follows:

The Sharks welcome the judgment delivered yesterday in the Brett Williams murder case, which tragically occurred on the outer-fields at Growthpoint Kings Park in 2013.

We thrive on creating a family environment at the stadium where all ages can enjoy a wonderful matchday experience in a safe and secure environment. We have a zero tolerance policy with regard to untoward behaviour at the stadium and we don’t condone this in the strictest terms.

In the last year, we have focussed extensively from moving away from a club culture within the stadium to a more family orientated focus with the implementation of an outer-field market, a supervised kids dugout area, the Mangwanani Spa offering on matchday as well as many other exciting initiatives, which is aimed at providing world-class entertainment for our patrons.

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Cell C SharksThe Sharks Director of Rugby, Gary Gold, will be heading-up the Cell C Sharks coaching team for this year’s ABSA Currie Cup campaign. He will be ably supported by the experienced backline coach Sean Everitt and Ryan Strudwick who will look after the forwards.

The Sharks report that Sean has worked with many of the players in their current squad through the various age-group ranks and has enjoyed great success and has a fantastic rapport with them. Ryan recently won the Varsity Shield trophy with the UKZN Impi’s and has also been involved in their coaching set-up for a few years.

Gold said: “For the first time since I arrived, I am satisfied that there is continuity and clarity amongst the various age-groups and this has been achieved through the redeployment of the coaching structures. The historic structure lacked the necessary focus throughout the age-groups. We had approached and considered a replacement for Brad. However, we have after consultation with all stakeholders including the team, decided within this new framework, that it will be in the best interest of the team and for continuity for me to oversee the campaign with the assistance of Sean and Ryan.”

To this end, Michael Horak, who enjoyed great success with Varsity Cup side UFS Shimlas will head up the Cell C Sharks Under 21 campaign and will be assisted by AB Zondagh.

The Under 19 team will be headed-up by Paul Anthony who brings with him a wealth of experience as well as success having won the competition twice with the Blue Bulls. His deputy will be Andre Barnard.

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Coenie Oosthuizen

Coenie Oosthuizen

The Sharks took delight in announcing the signing of Springbok loosehead prop, Coenie Oosthuizen, on a 4-year deal.

Oosthuizen made his Springbok debut in 2012 and has since amassed 21 caps in the green and gold jersey. He is a versatile prop that is able to play on both sides of the scrum and is a welcome addition to the Cell C Sharks family.

Commenting on his signing, The Sharks Director of Rugby, Gary Gold said: “I am pleased that Coenie has taken up our offer to play his rugby in Durban. He is an exceptional player who boasts surprising pace and is known for his strong runs and work rate around the park.

“His experience will prove invaluable to our team ambitions going forward.”

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Pat Lambie

Pat Lambie

The Springboks will welcome the news that flyhalf Pat Lambie has been declared fit for action.

The Cell C Sharks pivot visited a specialist on Thursday to determine the extent of the neck injury which sidelined him for the past 3 months.

The Sharks on Thursday announced that the 24-year-old was fit to play.

He is expected to be included in Heyneke Meyer’s Springbok squad on Saturday.

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Dick Muir

Dick Muir

Former Springbok and Sharks legend Mark Andrews says the Sharks need a coach who understands their culture.

Gary Gold took charge of the Sharks in Super Rugby, but it was recently announced that Gold would not coach the team in future and instead focus on his Director of Rugby role.

Andrews feels former Sharks centre Dick Muir would be the ideal candidate to take the coaching reins in Durban.

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Wandile Mjekevu

Wandile Mjekevu

The Cell C Sharks have announced the signing of utility back Wandile Mjekevu on a 2-year deal effective from July this year.

After having spent time with the Lions and the Sharks, the former junior Springbok joined French Top 14 club Perpignan in 2013 where he gained some valuable experience at the club and got the opportunity to further develop his game.

Commenting on Mjekevu’s signing, the Sharks Director of Rugby, Gary Gold, said they were delighted to bring the once promising young talent to Durban.

“We are delighted that Wandile has decided to return to the Sharks,” said Gold.

“He had a great stint in France and he is an unbelievable prospect. His strength and agility around the park will most certainly bolster our backline and we look forward to him progressing at the franchise.”

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Marcell Coetzee

Marcell Coetzee

The tide of South Africans heading abroad continues as Marcell Coetzee is one of the latest to ink a deal in Japan, utilising the grace period after the World Cup.

The Springbok will join Honda Heat and feature in the Japanese league from 1 November 2015 to 31 January 2016. The good news for South African fans though is that he will return to Durban after his contract in time the 2016 Super Rugby season.

Honda Heat have also strengthened their side with the signing of Wallaby wing Digby Ioane from the French club Stade Francais.

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Pieter-Steph du Toit

Pieter-Steph du Toit

DHL Western Province Director of Rugby Gert Smal has confirmed their interest in signing Springbok lock Pieter-Steph du Toit from the Cell C Sharks.

Smal confirmed to EWN Sport that a discussion between him and Du Toit had taken place.

Smal said the Sharks had agreed to the discussion taking place.

The WP boss said the discussion went well and he now hopes Du Toit “makes the right decision to come to Cape Town.”

Du Toit, 22, signed a 2-year contract extension at the Sharks in July 2013 which runs until 30 June this year.

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Bismarck du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis

Jannie du Plessis

Jannie du Plessis

Jake White

Jake White

World Cup winning coach Jake White has formally welcomed the Du Plessis brothers, Jannie and Bismarck, to his French club Montpellier.

The Top 14 outfit on Wednesday confirmed the signing of the Du Plessis brothers, Bismarck and Jannie, from the Cell C Sharks.

In a brief statement on the club website Montpellier said the 2 Du Plessis brother had signed for 3 years.

The 2, who won the World Cup with White as coach in 2007, will head to France after this year’s edition of the World Cup – in England in September and October.

White welcomed the signing of the Springbok duo.

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Jimmy Stonehouse

Jimmy Stonehouse

Former Steval Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse, 1 of the country’s most undervalued coaches, is rumoured to have thrown his name into the hat for vacant coaching positions at the Cell C Sharks, Vodacom Bulls and Southern Kings.

4 Of South Africa’s franchises will be looking to fill their vacant head coach positions before the start of the revamped and extended Super Rugby tournament in 2016.

Stonehouse took up a coaching job with Japanese club Toshiba Brave Lupus earlier this year after he declined 2 previous offers from abroad with the hope of landing a job with a South African franchise.

The Bulls head coach position opened up over the weekend when Frans Ludeke resigned after 8 years in charge of South Africa’s most successful Super Rugby franchise.

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Robert du Preez

Robert du Preez

André Esterhuizen

André Esterhuizen

DHL Stormers’ fullback Robert du Preez and Sharks centre André Esterhuizen have both been handed lengthy suspensions after performing dangerous tackles in their game on Saturday.

The Sharks won the match 34 / 12 in Durban.

Du Preez has been suspended for 6 weeks – after being shown a Yellow Card for his dangerous tackle on Sharks’ wing Lwazi Mvovo in the 76th minute, while Esterhuizen got 4 weeks after his tackle on Stormers flank Michael Rhodes in the 10th minute.

Both players were found guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (j): Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground such that the player’s head and / or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play.

Judicial officer Nigel Hampton deemed that with Du Preez the offence was more serious and thus handing the player a longer suspension.

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Brad Macleod-Henderson

Brad Macleod-Henderson

The Sharks (Pty) Ltd announced that assistant coach, Brad Macleod-Henderson has resigned from the Sharks.

Brad had been involved with the Sharks since 2012 initially with the Under 21’s before joining the senior side in July 2013.

He was assistant coach in their last 2 Super Rugby campaigns, looking after the forwards and breakdown and headed-up the Currie Cup campaigns.

The Sharks offered Brad a role within their new structures, going forward but he felt that it was time to move on.

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Super RugbyNow that the league phase of the Super Rugby tournament is finished, I have posted a SA team of the tournament article. The team is based on the form players during the tournament, with overseas based players obviously not considered.

The South African teams had a very disappointing tournament by any standards, with injuries, poor form and bad reffing decisions making life hard for the critical rugby public, but in an attempt to find a silver lining here is this author’s team of the tournament (other contenders mentioned where appropriate):

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Cell C SharksAlthough it may not be the last time we see the likes of Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis at Growthpoint KINGS PARK, Saturday’s match against the Stormers may well be their last in the colours of the Cell C Sharks.

Whilst hinting that ‘you never know what might happen in the future’, Bismarck du Plessis has paid a tribute to the team where he has played all his professional rugby, and will, on Saturday, run out together with brother Jannie and their Sharks’ brother Beast Mtawarira in their final hurrah as one of world rugby’s most formidable front rows.

It will also be the last time to see ‘The Bone Collector’ – Willem Alberts – who will also feature in his last match for the Durban side.

Loathe to make this match about himself, Bismarck this week spoke of avoiding the limelight, explaining, “I don’t play for any accolades, I just play for my teammates and the respect I have for the guys who play with me.

“This is going to be a very sad day to be leaving The Sharks, I guess I never thought this day would arrive. I’m a Sharks boy through and through, I love the Sharks with all my heart.”

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Bismarck du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis

Jannie du Plessis

Jannie du Plessis

Willem Alberts

Willem Alberts

The Cell C Sharks officially confirm the departure of Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis as well as Willem Alberts, who will be playing their final match for the Cell C Sharks this Saturday.

Bismarck’s career at the Cell C Sharks is now in its 11th year, having made his senior rugby debut when he joined the Durban franchise in 2005. To date he is the most capped Sharks player ever at Super Rugby level, with 129 appearances. He has also accumulated 39 ABSA Currie Cup caps, the number reflective of his Springbok duties where he has represented South Africa 70 times.

Jannie joined The Sharks in 2008 after representing the Cheetahs between 2004 and 2007. He has appeared 117 times for the Cell C Sharks at Super Rugby level and has 62 Test match appearances behind him.

They both played in 2 Rugby World Cups – in 2007 and 2011 – and together share the record (42) for most Springbok Tests as brothers.

Willem made his debut for the Cell C Sharks in 2010 after moving to Durban from the Lions and has accumulated a total of 91 appearances (72 in Super Rugby and 19 in the ABSA Currie Cup competition) as well as 32 Springbok caps.

These 3 players have been an influential and valued part of the Cell C Sharks set-up and despite Management’s best efforts; we have been unable to re-secure their services moving forward.

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Philip van der Walt

Philip van der Walt

The Cell C Sharks are continuing to raid the ranks of the Toyota Cheetahs, with loose forward Philip van der Walt the latest capture.

It was confirmed that the 25-year-old, who had just returned from a stint with Biarritz in France, will join up with the Sharks before the start of the Currie Cup season in August.

Christoffel Philippus van der Walt, who played 80-odd games for the Cheetahs (Super Rugby) and Free State (Currie Cup), moved to Biarritz in 2014 – where he made 22 appearances.

Biarritz, with a rich history in French and European competitions, were crowned French champions 5 times – 1935, 1939, 2002, 2005 and 2006. They also beat Top 14 rivals Toulon 21 / 18 in the 2012 European Challenge Cup (secondary competition) in 2012.

However, Biarritz went into a major slump during the 2013 / 2014 Top 14 season and ended up being relegated to the Pro D2 (Second Division) for the 2014 / 2015 season.

The signing of Van der Walt is another coup for the Sharks, who are in the process of ‘rebuilding’ the team under the guidance of Director of Rugby Gary Gold – with several season players set to depart after this year’s World Cup.

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Stephan Lewies & Willem Alberts

Stephan Lewies & Willem Alberts

The Cell C Sharks have paid a dear price for snapping a 6-match losing streak with a hard-fought a 21 / 14 over the Reds last Friday.

Stephan Lewies, Willem Alberts, Francois Steyn, Stefan Ungerer and Dale Chadwick were the latest additions to an injury list that already includes names like Cobus Reinach (fractured hand), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee) and Pat Lambie (neck vertebrae).

The Sharks started training in Durban on Monday – after a tour that saw them lose to the Highlanders, Hurricanes and Waratahs, before beating the Reds.

With games against the Melbourne Rebels (this coming Friday 29 May) and the Stormers on 13 June to come, with a BYE sandwiched in between, the last thing they needed was more injuries.

Lewies, who missed the 1st half of the season through injury, looks set to miss the remaining matches after he dislocated his knee cap in Brisbane at the weekend.

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Tendai 'Beast' Mtawarira

Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira

The Cell C Sharks will end their 4 match tour of New Zealand and Australia on Friday when they take on the Reds at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane with singular purpose in mind.

Both sides have not enjoyed the kinds of seasons their players, coaches and supporters expected at the start of the season, but for some bad luck and a host of injuries in key positions, perhaps their respective campaigns might have been different.

“You look at the players in their team – Slipper, Horwell, Genia, Turner, O’Connor – these are really good rugby players, highly experienced internationals and this is a team going through a similar season to us,” explains Cell C Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold.

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Willem Alberts

Willem Alberts

The Cell C Sharks appear resigned to the fact that loose forward Willem Alberts will be leaving them after the 2015 Rugby World Cup to play in France, judging by comments coach Gary Gold made when quizzed about their latest signing, Waratahs loose forward Jacques Potgieter.

Potgieter, a similarly abrasive forward to Alberts, will join the Sharks in early 2016 ahead of next year’s expanded Super Rugby tournament.

“We think 1 or 2 of our players are going to move after the World Cup and Jacques is a big character, a strong ball carrier and hard-hitting defender. We hope he has the same impact for us as he has had for the Waratahs. His aspiration is to play more for the Springboks and he’s not going to achieve that if he’s not based in South Africa,” Gold said.

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Gary Gold

Gary Gold

Cell C Sharks boss Gary Gold admitted the pressure is mounting for his team, currently on a record 6-match losing streak.

The Durban-based franchise, who take on the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday, have only once before lost 6 straight matches – in 2000.

Director of Rugby, Gold, is adamant his charges can avoid the ignominy of a 7th straight defeat.

He said it is “critically important” that they finish off their Australasian tour with a win.

“We had a shocking 1st week against the Highlanders, then 2 good performances against the Hurricanes and Waratahs, where we weren’t on the right side of the scoreboard,” Gold said from the team’s base in Brisbane.

The Reds, who are 4 places (14th) and 5 points (16 to 21) below the Sharks, bounced back from their own horror run with a 46 / 29 win over the Melbourne Rebels last week.

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Pieter-Steph du Toit

Pieter-Steph du Toit

The Cell C Sharks appear to be winning the battle to retain the services of Cape bred Pieter-Steph du Toit, who has told Durban media that he is committed to the union that he says gave him his big break in rugby.

It has been an open secret for a while now that the Springbok lock, currently out injured, was in negotiations with the DHL Stormers. Until quite recently the Western Province union appeared to be winning the battle, with informed sources confirming that Du Toit, who is from Swartland farming stock, was nearly certain to make the move down the coast next season.

However, it is understood that the Sharks then fought quite hard with counter-offers and promises that a concerted effort will be made to get the structures in Durban rugby right, and in an interview with the Natal Mercury on Monday the lock said that while he couldn’t say what would happen in the longer term, he was committed to the Sharks for now.

Du Toit has been out injured for most of the past 2 seasons and appears to feel beholden to the patience and resources that the Sharks have committed to his medical rehabilitation.

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Jannie du Plessis

Jannie du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis

The Du Plessis brothers, Bismarck and Jannie, are set to sign a deal with French club Montpellier, a report in French media indicates.

Reports surfaced earlier this year that the Springbok brothers would join Montpellier on a 2-year deal after the conclusion of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, but Montpellier denied it at the time.

However, according to RMC Sport, the double signing of the Sharks duo is expected to be announced in the coming days.

The Du Plessis brothers are believed to have respected their earlier commitment despite having some contact with Toulon.

Montpellier are coached by former Springbok coach Jake White, who was quoted as saying after their weekend defeat at Stade Francais: “Big names will be announced in the coming days. To win the Top 14, you need the best players in the world.”

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Cell C SharksCell C Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold has retained the same team to play the Waratahs on Saturday morning, having made no changes to the side that took on the Hurricanes last weekend.

It was a rousing display of commitment and passion and everyone involved will be hoping they repeat that, sort out the areas of their own they have identified, and contain a very big and physical Waratahs team.

“There is a lot of pride at stake,” said Gold of this match. “We’ve been bitterly disappointed this year, for various reasons, and it’s important for us to show that we’re still in this fight to the end.”

Assessing the Waratahs strengths and threats, he immediately points to their physicality.

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Stefan Ungerer

Stefan Ungerer

Cell C Sharks Director of Rugby, Gary Gold, has welcomed back a number of players to the team named to play the Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium in Wellington in Saturday’s 2nd Super Rugby tour match for the Sharks.

Gold has been able to select his Springbok front row for the 1st time in 6 weeks to bolster the pack upfront, while also returning Francois Steyn and Renaldo Bothma back to the starting line-up. The big, physical players are expected to play a big role on the weekend against the log-leaders.

“The Hurricanes are a team on an absolute high at the moment, their performance against the Crusaders was outstanding and this is probably going to be a big challenge for our players at this moment in time, with our backs against the wall,” explains Gold.

“We’re playing the best team in the competition, it’s going to be an unbelievable challenge, but one that’s going to make us grow as a group.”

Lwazi Mvovo has been moved to fullback, a straight swap with Odwa Ndungane while Lionel Cronje wears the No 10 jersey, partnering Stefan Ungerer who gets his 1st start at scrumhalf.

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Jacques Potgieter

Jacques Potgieter

Joe Pietersen

Joe Pietersen

The Cell C Sharks, often in the news in recent times for the wrong reasons as well as for their dismal Super Rugby form in 2015, have confirmed the signing of Jacques Potgieter, from the Waratahs for the 2016 season onwards.

In addition local media report that the Toyota Cheetahs pivot, Joe Pietersen will also move to the Cell C Sharks and will start playing there in the 2015 ABSA Currie Cup campaign already.

 

Jacques Potgieter:

The Cell C Sharks Media release reads as follows:

We are pleased to announce the signing of Waratahs loose-forward Jacques Potgieter on a two-year contract with the Cell C Sharks.

Potgieter is no stranger to the Cell C Sharks, having played his junior rugby in Durban. Over the last few years he has made steady progress up the ranks with his sheer physical presence and explosiveness, which resulted in a Springbok call-up in 2012. In 2014, he was instrumental in the Waratahs victorious Super Rugby campaign.

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John Smit

John Smit

With the franchise struggling in year’s Super Rugby competition, Sharks CEO John Smit has written an open letter to their fans.

The Durbanites are currently 11th on the overall Super Rugby log, having won just 4 out of 11 matches.

Their players have also been punished for ill-discipline, with Bismarck du Plessis (4 weeks), Frans Steyn (5 weeks) and Jean Deysel (7 weeks) all copping bans during the current campaign.

Fans have expressed their disappointment via several social media platforms, with many blaming new Director of Rugby Gary Gold  for the team’s performances, while others also hit out at Smit.

Smit on Wednesday opted for the unusual route of writing a letter to the concerned fans.

 

The Sharks shared Smit’s letter via their official Facebook page:

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Gary Gold

Gary Gold

With the Cell C Sharks sitting in 11th position on the Combined Log, after suffering 7 losses, the only thing left to play for is pride, as the play-offs seem an almost impossible dream.

The Sharks were humiliated by the Highlanders in their 1st game of their Australasian tour, with even the most faithful of supporters conceding that the season is effectively over.

It seems that Sharks boss Gary Gold is in agreement, stating that they are now only playing for pride and to try and win back some disgruntled fans.

“The issue for us is that this is a matter of pride, of massive pride,” Gold said.

“We’ve let a lot of people down, we’ve let a lot of supporters down – the expectations were high for this team.

“I’m not about to provide any excuses for what happened in our performance, it was sub-standard and whatever the reasons are, we’ll investigate that.

“I take responsibility for it, I’ve said that before, but the bottom line is that we have to fix it.

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