Predictably, Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske is sounding off in the press about the “no favours” and “we’re going there to win” nonsense in the build-up to this weekend’s game at King’s Park. In order to maximise their slim chances of forcing a play-off spot after the final round, the Sharks really need to send these pretenders back to the platteland with their tails between their legs.
It’s quite typical of the “South African derby mentality”; the Cheetahs, having lost all but one of their matches against Anitpodean opposition this year, will no doubt save their best performance of the year for the Sharks, a side they dislike quite intensely. Drotske and his bunch of glorified Currie Cup bullies were unable to put away the 13-man Highlanders in Bloemfontein last week. They are fast learning that it’s one thing to beat all comers when the other sides have lost 10 or more players to the Boks, yet quite another when faced with 13 of the world’s premier provincial teams playing at full strength.
This weekend’s game, though, will not be about the Cheetahs. And it shouldn’t be, either. This game represents the last chance for the Sharks to improve their woeful points difference against the team that has conceded 6 more tries thus far than any other side in the competition. 44 tries in 11 games is an average of a four-try bonus point conceded every single time they have taken the field.
For the Sharks, though, this week has to be about recovering from the nightmare tour, building on a solid showing against the Crusaders and tuning up on attack for the real challenge; the Chiefs match next Saturday. The players and coaching staff insist that they know what went wrong overseas and how to fix it. Let’s just hope that they can apply these lessons in time and that the injury toll eases up enough to enable them to blow the Bloem boys away in the style which we know they are capable of.
Come on, Sharks. You owe us this one!Tweet