Eben Etzebeth: Sharks need to embrace propping up URC table

Eben Etzebeth: Sharks need to embrace propping up URC table

Sharks lock Eben Etzebeth refused to sugarcoat their current situation as the Durban franchise sit bottom of the table, with 10 defeats in 11 matches in this season's United Rugby Championship.

The Springbok forward, who picked up back-to-back SA Rugby Player of the Year awards last week, is back in contention following a spell in the medical room as he underwent minor knee surgery earlier this year.

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Returning to what could be a pride salvaging end to the season, Etzebeth feels embracing their current position and building momentum leading up to the EPCR Challenge Cup will be key for their prospects of an improved showing next season.

''Look, you can probably get the momentum if you win, so our office priority will be to get a win under the belt against Ulster and hopefully from then on we can run with that momentum,'' said Etzebeth.

Their immediate focus will be on the next match against Irish side Ulster, who could have a few of their international stars back following a recent successful Six Nations campaign, but the double-Rugby World Cup champion refuses to read much into that.

''We all know that Ulster is a big Irish team, I'm not sure if they will pick the Irish players because they just come out of a successful six nations, I also don't think we can read too much into that,'' added Etzebeth. 

In trying to turn their fortunes around, Etzebeth believes a few tweaks to their game-plan could be crucial, although – as witnessed in their matches so far this season – that is still not guaranteed to produce instant results.

''Look, there will always be tweaks every weekend, every opposition is a bit different - so I think it's one of those where you have to focus on your plan,'' he concluded.

One key area Etzebeth feels they need to improve on is their physicality within the forwards pack, particularly with his and fellow Bok Vincent Koch, who is also available following an injury lay-off.

Speaking on his injury, the 32-year-old explained the decision to go under the knife last month, rather than after the triumphant Rugby World Cup campaign in France last year.