KSA Shark ©

Super 14 no two-horse race anymore

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :Super 14 on 10 Mar 2008 at 11:47

Hands up all those who still think the Super 14 is a two-team competition after the Blues lost the skirmish of the unbeaten sides in Durban.

Maybe the series is still a two-way duel, just the names have changed with the Sharks joining the Crusaders as the only serious contenders for this year’s title.

Wynne Gray writes in the NZ Herald that it was a weekend where a number of impressions were pricked, such as the mistaken notion that Bakkies Botha and Ma’a Nonu had given away their villainy or that the Hurricanes and Chiefs would offer evidence they had retooled their strategies.

And the inkling the Blues could walk out of Durban with a win against the Sharks went the same way as the idea most of the Highlanders’ backline would challenge for All Black places.

For three rounds the pace-setting Blues and Crusaders played a different quality of rugby than any other side with their pace and cohesion sending out warning bells about a 2008 final in Aotearoa. That was presumptuous, as any coach would caution.

Certainly Sharks coach Dick Muir latched onto a comment or two from the Blues about the strength of their forward play and conviction they could close out their tour of South Africa with maximum points. Even if the Sharks were given some motivational ammunition, there was a divide between what they had offered on an undefeated trip through three games and the production from the Blues and Crusaders.

If that theory was allowed to run rampant it offered the verdict that the Super 14 crown would return to New Zealand soil after a year’s vacation in South Africa.

Take your pick, the theory went, but the April 25 conflict between those sides in Christchurch would be a real pointer to the next inscription on the silverware.

The shock to that speculation was the way the Sharks squirted out to a 19-0 lead against the Blues without having to do much. The Blues hurt themselves, they played with an uneasy agitation and when they finally got their act together, were unable to overhaul the home side.

The improved showing of the Sharks and also the Stormers and Cheetahs against untidy rivals, revealed the South African sides were warming to their work, had sifted through some methods to make the law variations work for them and were on the rise.

It was clear the Blues could not fathom the breakdown rulings from referee Brett Bowden and coach David Nucifora saluted the way the Sharks stuck to their gameplan. But he also observed they had an arduous roadtrip in front of them.

In successive weeks offshore, they play the Hurricanes, Highlanders, Brumbies, Waratahs and Crusaders while the Blues arrive home late tonight after a three-game stretch in the Republic which earned them two maximum point wins and a bonus-point defeat.

Crystal ball-gazing is as hazardous as running on black ice but the leading quartet after this weekend look likely semifinalists if their playmakers stay healthy. The order may change but the series has the feel of a four-team tournament.


  • Yeah our road trip is NOT easy


    5 weeks on the road and switching countries is not cool.

  • Comment 1, posted at 10.03.08 11:53:23 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • we will win 3 games. You read it here first.

  • Comment 2, posted at 10.03.08 11:56:13 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
  • Someone explain to me why the Blues are complaining about the breakdown rulings when we conceded far more penalties and free-kicks?

    Also, Bowden cant see a forward pass at all!

  • Comment 3, posted at 10.03.08 11:57:10 by Big Fish Reply
    Big FishAssistant coach
  • I am surprised that no one is discussing the incompetent referees in both the Cheetahs and Stormers games.

  • Comment 4, posted at 10.03.08 12:04:03 by wpw Reply
    wpwAssistant coach
  • Why dont you put up an article about it Weasel? :idea:

  • Comment 5, posted at 10.03.08 12:06:19 by Big Fish Reply
    Big FishAssistant coach
  • Aah, lunch time!!! :oops:

  • Comment 6, posted at 10.03.08 12:18:17 by wpw Reply
    wpwAssistant coach
  • You can still put the thread up when you get back wes.

  • Comment 7, posted at 10.03.08 12:26:46 by provincejoulekkading Reply
    Clayton(PJLD)Team captain
  • Hi all guys (and Ladies) :shock:
    Here are the 22 chosen by Marc Lièvremont and his assistants to play against Wales next Saturday in Cardiff for the 6 Nations decider:

    Barcella (Auch), Szarzewski (Stade Français), Servat (Stade Toulousain),
    Poux (Stade Toulousain), Mas (Perpignan), Nallet (Castres), Méla (Albi),
    Thion (Biarritz), Ouedraogo (Montpellier), Dusautoir (Stade Toulousain),
    Bonnaire (Clermont), Vermeulen (Clermont);
    Elissalde (Stade Toulousain), Yachvili (Biarritz), Trinh-Duc (Montpellier),
    Skrela (Stade Français), Traille (Biarritz), Jauzion (Stade Toulousain),
    Clerc (Stade Toulousain), Malzieu (Clermont), Heymans (Stade Toulousasin),
    Floch (Clermont).

  • Comment 8, posted at 10.03.08 12:34:56 by HO Reply

    HOUnder 19 player
  • HO

    So who do you think will win?

  • Comment 9, posted at 10.03.08 12:37:03 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • KSA Shark
    sorry for the delay to answer.
    I think France can have a lot of chances to beat the Welshmen.
    Wales are favourite but in my opinion France is a huge threat for whoever in world rugby until 2011.
    France have recalled all its best strong players, “die hard” people.
    It is going to be a historic match, in my humble view.
    This is not Laporte’s France. This is the new-deal France. A squad that comes from Revolution after 8 years where Laporte failed badly in two World Cups. For nowadays people are judged only on RWC results.
    I hope France will win (as yesterday against Italy I supported Les Bleus)

  • Comment 10, posted at 10.03.08 13:51:43 by HO Reply

    HOUnder 19 player
  • I also think France will win.

    Cardiff may help Wales, but the last time the french played there they beat NZ.

    Actually…..Wayne Barnes beat New Zealand. :wink:

  • Comment 11, posted at 10.03.08 13:54:54 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • Wales will donner them.

  • Comment 12, posted at 10.03.08 13:58:28 by Dawn Reply

    DawnUnder 19 player
  • KSA Shark
    I don’t have any faith in Wayne Barnes.
    In my opinion France would have beaten the All Blacks aven without Barnes mistake.
    Anyway: France are seeking to build for the future. Also Wales but I think the latter have fewer quality players at least at the moment.
    Bear in mind I have been hating France since I was very young and watched on TV the black and white images of the 5 Nations’ in the 1970′s. But for honesty we have to take our hat off for their huge way to conceive rugby and how to play it.

  • Comment 13, posted at 10.03.08 14:19:32 by HO Reply

    HOUnder 19 player
  • Wales is gonna klap them…

  • Comment 14, posted at 10.03.08 14:24:06 by wpw Reply
    wpwAssistant coach
  • France’s side for the Wales match is Toulouse heavy (which always makes me happy) but with a bunch of other strong and reliable players added to the mix. I agree this game could wind up in the rugby history books, so I’ll definitely watch this one live.

  • Comment 15, posted at 10.03.08 16:53:59 by milissa Reply

    MilissaVodacom Cup player

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