Du Plessis confident
Despite sitting in tenth place, Sharks prop Jannie du Plessis insists there is still a strong belief that the squad can make the Super Rugby play-offs.
He was speaking on Tuesday, ahead of what he described as "our most important game of the season" on Saturday when they face the Bulls.
"For sure [there's belief]. I mean stranger things have happened," he said after the first Sharks training session since returning from a poor tour.
"I think we're a team that can play well at home or away from home and I think we're a team that can deliver under pressure."
The Springbok forward also conceded that their pride was still hurting following their month-long trip, despite the 23-13 triumph against the Force.
"If we didn't win on the weekend, our season would have probably been over," he said.
"I think we wanted to play good rugby because we hadn't had the results that we aimed for.
"We wanted to play well to avoid losing six games in a row. I mean none of the guys here have ever lost six games in a row in a Sharks jersey. The guys have too much pride to roll over in that sense."
The Sharks suffered another setback in the last game after JP Pietersen broke his nose.
However, good news for John Plumtree's side was the potential return of Jannie's brother Bismarck after almost ten months out due to knee surgery, while Tendai Mtawarira was also available again after missing the away tour with a calf injury.
"It's great for him and for the team," Du Plessis said.
"His throwing was brilliant at line-out practice this morning and he fitted in quite well when we scrummed. It's a bit like getting that old car back that you just know how to drive."