Dick Muir says his Sharks are hungrier for success in this year’s Super 14 more than any other, and tonight the Western Force can expect a total onslaught from the 2007 runners up.
Zayn Nabbi writes in the Daily News that nobody needs reminding about what happened when the Sharks lost at the death to the Bulls in the final last season, which saw the Pretoria men steal victory at Absa Stadium.
Earlier this week Muir revealed that the loss still rankled in his mind when he spoke about the expectations of his squad.
“Our goal is to improve on where we finished last year,” he said.
“We were robbed and that has created a lot more determination t o succeed this season.”
“There are high expectations from supporters and the team and those expectations should be there because we are a proud team with a great history in this tournament,” he added.
Casting his mind to the Force, Muir had nothing but complimentary things to say about John Mitchell’s outfit.
“What they have done in three years is phenomenal.”
“There’s a lot of mutual respect between us and it is going to be a great contest against who we regard as Australia’s premier franchise.”
This week the Force has been wracked with controversy.
The barroom brawl between Wallaby Matt Henjak and Haig Sare has placed a dark cloud over the team.
Sare suffered a broken jaw and had a plate inserted in his face because of the altercation.
Instead of immediately conducting a disciplinary tribunal the Force management decided to delay the investigation, which has allowed Henjak to be selected at scrumhalf for the opening Super 14 encounter.
This action has incensed the Australian Rugby Union, who feel the player should never have been allowed to tour in the first place.
Be that as it may, Mitchell has been able to put out his strongest possible combination and along with Henjak, Matt Giteau, Cameron Sheppard, Scott Staniforth and Drew Mitchell, there is plenty of speed and flair to the Aussie side’s back division.
The Force also have an underrated pack which is ably led by lock Nathan Sharpe, who provides most of the grunt work in the engine room.
He should have a colossal battle today with Sharks captain Johann Muller, who will play his 50th game in a Sharks jersey.
The Sharks though should have the measure of the Force up front and if they employ the right tactics in the coastal humidity then an opening victory will be a fait accompli.
In summer Durban is not the place for running rugby because the conditions sap every last ounce of your energy.
This is where a game plan revolving around sound tactical kicking comes into play and sound defensive organisation.
The Sharks won most of their home games last year employing those ugly, yet effective tactics.
Don’t expect them to tinker too much with this formula.Tweet