Charl McLeod believes the lack of changes at the Sharks will help the side
By Tony Curtis - Follow me on Twitter @SkysportsTC. Last Updated: 13/02/13 11:41am
Charl McLeod: Confident ahead of the 2013 campaign
Charl McLeod claims the Sharks can bounce back from their heartbreak last season to challenge for the title once again.
The Sharks had come on strong during the latter stages of the competition, with away wins over the Reds and the Stormers in the play-offs earning them a shot at a maiden Super Rugby crown.
However they ended up suffering a fourth final defeat as they went down 37-6 to the Chiefs.
"It was a bitter-sweet year for us," McLeod told Sky Sports.
"We had put ourselves in a good position but then let ourselves down at the final hurdle. We are looking to go one better this time around."
McLeod believes the fact the Sharks have kept changes to a minimum in the off-season will count in their favour.
"It was a bitter-sweet year for us. We had put ourselves in a good position but then let ourselves down at the final hurdle."
Butch James and Franco van der Merwe have arrived from the Lions, while Frederic Michalak, Ross Skeate, Steven Sykes and Alistair Hargreaves are the only players to leave.
"We are pretty much the same group of players," said 29-year-old scrum-half McLeod. "We are a settled squad and that will help.
"Butch returns to the Sharks, though he knows all about the club and has a wealth of experience. We also have Franco, who has also arrived from the Lions and he is a really good acquisition.
"Freddy is a good player and we become good friends do it was sad to see him go. However Paddy and I get on really well and play really well together."
The Sharks won six of their final seven games of the regular season - and were one of only two sides to beat the Stormers.
However McLeod insists the franchise can't afford to leave it so late again.
"Consistency will be the key," added McLeod. "You find in Super Rugby that if you struggle early on then you leave yourselves with too much to do.
"But with us being together for a while now and being settled, hopefully we will be up to speed from the off."