Sharks to shed chokers tag
The Sharks are determined to go one step further and finally shed their 'chokers' tag by winning this year's Super Rugby competition.
The Durban-based franchise have played in the final of the last three tournaments they've competed in but were the runners-up on each occasion.
This includes last year's Super Rugby final defeat to the Chiefs and their Currie Cup final losses in 2011 and 2012 to the Golden Lions and Western Province respectively.
"We’ve reached three finals in a row now and haven’t nailed any of them, and the guys are getting a bit annoyed about that," assistant coach Hugh Reece-Edwards told the Sharks website.
"We know what we have to do, we know where we've made mistakes and that's a good thing."
"It's often those little failures that direct you as to where you need to do better and we've identified that, the players know it. The mental preparation we need to put into this is massive."
The Sharks have also been Super Rugby runners up on five occasions - 1994 (in the old Super 10), 1996, 2001, 2007 and 2012] - a record which has led to opposition fans branding them as chokers.
Reece-Edwards highlighted what must be done if they want to be successful in 2013 and believes a good start is imperative if they want to realise their dream.
"We can’t start by losing the first few games and then playing catch-up, we have to start by playing positive, winning rugby," he explained.
"And we have to maintain that. We have to look after the players, we have to manage each player. We’re in a situation this year where we have a certain amount of depth and we can do that.
"The ball is in our court at the moment, we’ve got to use it, and use it well."