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By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Sports Reporter

Sharks will be dangerous with Boks back in the mix, vows Lukhanyo Am

'We still have some time to catch up ... so it’s too early for us to throw in the towel.'

The Sharks’ woeful start to the new United Rugby Championship season has not curbed Springbok World Cup winner Lukhanyo Am‘s enthusiasm about the side and the 2023/24 campaign, saying he’s confident they’re on the right track and will be a dangerous team in the months ahead.

After suffering five losses on the trot the Sharks’ bosses will be hoping for better in the coming weeks when the likes of lot of Eben Etzebth, Ox Nche, Jaden Hendrikse, Grant Williams and Makazole Mapimpi join Am in the team, starting from this weekend when they take on the Dragons at Durban’s Kings Park Stadium.

Unfortunately the Sharks will not be able to call on two other recent World Cup winners in Bongi Mbonambi and Vincent Koch, who have long-term injuries.

‘Right direction’

Am says Saturday’s match against the Dragons could be a turning point for the bottom-placed Sharks.

“I think we are definitely going in the right direction,” said Am on Tuesday.

“It’s only a matter of time before we get the results because we are a growing team, we are a learning team. It’s another one at home; we have certain players coming back from national team duty.

“They are showing off their experience to the group. We are definitely in the right space, I’m excited and looking forward to this game,” he said.

Am believes that once the players grasp the brand of rugby the new coaching staff want them to play, they will be a dangerous outfit.

“Once we get the individuals to sharpen up and they’re all able to execute this style of play we want to play week in and week out, I think we’ll be very dangerous,” said the specialist centre.

On paper, the Sharks have a squad that has the potential to go all the way in the URC. However, in the past two seasons, they have succumbed to quarter-final exits. Their start to this season has seemingly put them out of the favourite’s conversation.

Still early days

Am says they have not thrown in the towel and can follow in the footsteps of past winners, the Stormers and Munster, who won their respective titles after slow starts.

“It’s still the beginning of the season, the season only ends in May/June, so we still have some time to catch up.

“It’s happened in the past with Munster and the Stormers, so it’s too early for us to throw in the towel. We are working towards something bigger than us.”