Ruan Pienaar ensured the Crusaders had to cope with plenty of emotional turbulence when they returned home from Durban last year.
Richard Knowler writes that it was Pienaar’s sideline conversion after the full-time hooter that gave the Sharks a remarkable 27-26 win over the Crusaders at the “Shark Tank”.
For the Crusaders it was nothing short of a nightmare; with time up on the clock they failed to kick the ball out, lost possession and the Sharks launched a long-range counter-attack that saw Odwa Ndungane score in the corner.
“Seeing that last kick go over wasn’t a good sight,” Crusaders centre Casey Laulala recalled. “It was indescribable how I felt because of the scenarios that go through your head. We could have kicked the ball out and should have – or held on to it, but we didn’t. Then we turned it over and they ran the whole field to score.
“It was a rugby lesson. It was a very long trip back, that was for sure.”
The chances of the Sharks pulling off an upset win over the Crusaders at AMI Stadium this weekend appear unlikely.
They have lost French first five-eighths Frederic Michalak with a serious knee injury and a form slump has seen them drop their last two matches against the Waratahs and Brumbies.
Centre Laulala, who was stood down from last Friday night’s match against the Blues because he had not fully recovered from concussion, was passed fit to play the Sharks and will replace Caleb Ralph.
With Michalak set to return to Paris for an operation, Brett expects to line up against Francois Steyn.
“It’s just another player you come up against really. It’s not a one-man game, it’s a XV-man game,” Brett said of Michalak.
“I would have enjoyed playing against him, but he’s out. Francois Steyn is a good player and a big boy.”
Brett, who has started the last two matches since recovering from his AC shoulder joint injury against the Cheetahs on March 15, took cortisone injections before the Chiefs and Blues matches but will now stay away from the needle.
“This week I am going to go without it, it’s getting better. I just have to take it week by week and see how it goes.”
Meanwhile, No. 8 Mose Tuiali’i sat out Monday’s training because of the back injury that forced him off the field against the Blues and is in doubt for the Sharks match.
First-five Dan Carter was back jogging but will not be considered for this weekend.Tweet