Captain Pat Lambie says the Sharks will be adopting a zero tolerance approach when it comes to discipline this Super Rugby season.
The Sharks head into this season with a youthful squad and a new coach in Robert du Preez, who has said he remains cautiously optimistic about the team’s prospects for the year ahead.
Du Preez is known as a no-nonsense figure, and it’s clear that the Sharks have placed a premium on discipline as they look set to kick off their campaign with all-important overseas games against the Reds and Brumbies.
‘In the warm-up game against the Cheetahs, our discipline did let us down; it’s a non-negotiable and neither the coaching staff nor the senior players are going to tolerate anyone not keeping their cool or showing ill-discipline,’ Lambie told the Sharks’ website.
‘We expect a lot of needle, which is what you get between South African, Australian and New Zealand sides. The Reds will be raring to go. They’ve assembled a really good squad this season.
‘Playing at home they will want to start well, we will have our work cut out for us, but it’s important that we remain calm, play hard but fair, maintain our discipline and get the results.’
Last year, the Sharks overcame a gruelling schedule when they faced all of the top Kiwi sides and endured taxing travel commitments to still progress to the playoffs, before suffering a disappointing defeat to the Hurricanes in Wellington.
The competition structure will now see them take on the Australian teams, and avoid those from New Zealand, but Lambie reiterated that they’d be taking nothing for granted.
‘It will be interesting to see how this side of the draw works, we’re looking forward to playing the Australian sides after not meeting any of them last year. Some might say this is the easier draw, but Super Rugby is one of the toughest competitions in the world.
‘The longevity makes it extremely challenging. Add the travel to that and the fact that there aren’t any easy games anymore.’
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