Sharks coach John Plumtree is convinced that his side will have to play better than they did against the Blue Bulls if they want to beat the winless Pumas in Durban this weekend.
The Pumas ran the defending champions very close when the sides met in Nelspruit in the second round of fixtures this season, and have shown plenty of character and fighting spirit despite suffering so many narrow losses.
The Sharks boss was impressed with the intensity shown by the Mpumalanga team in their loss to the high-flying Lions on Friday night and is adamant that his side cannot afford to take anything for granted at Kings Park.
He said: "The Pumas threw everything at the Lions, probably created a greater challenge than what we did against the Lions [the week before], they're a very competitive side, they deserve to be in a much better position than where they are, all their games have been close this year, bar one slip up.
"They proved once again this week to be a tough nut and can't be taken lightly, even at home. It's going to be a tough game for us on the weekend, I am certain we will have to play well against them," he warned.
Plumtree said that he wants to see an improvement in his team's standards, and is hopeful that playing at home will give them the boost they need to raise their game.
"For us, it's about wanting to improve every week, and hopefully we can get our game going the way we'd like.
"We can look forward to a home game this week, hopefully we get a large crowd to support us, we're going to need that support if we want to kick on in this competition," said the Sharks coach.
One player who gave a good account of himself at Loftus Versveld on Saturday was inside centre Meyer Bosman, his coach said that while he was happy to see him performing well the major challenge is to ensure he produces that kind of performance week-in and week-out.
"He's [Bosman] getting better all the time, the challenge for him is just to keep that kind of consistency," said Plumtree.
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