KSA Shark ©

Sharks may bring final to SA

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Sharks, Super 14 on 19 May 2008 at 06:51

It has been a while coming, and coach Dick Muir blames himself, but the Sharks finally flourished at the weekend to end third on the Super 14 log and sweep into a semi-final clash against the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.

When the dust finally settled on a weekend of upsets, the Sharks went into their game against the Chiefs needing to win with four tries or by 18 points. They did both, scoring seven tries for the bonus point and winning by 22 points.

John Bishop writes for The Witness that the Sharks negotiated a tricky period in the 10 minutes either side of half-time when the plucky Chiefs fought back to trail by three points (21-18) but this time there was no denying the Sharks and they had their four tries after an hour and then stretched away to win 47-25.

The other semi-final will be between the two New Zealand teams, the Crusaders and the Hurricanes, in Christchurch after the Stormers, in beating the Lions, failed by one try (a bonus point) to join the Sharks in the last four.

Biggest crowd of season

King’s Park could host a second successive final if the Sharks and Hurricanes win their semi-finals. The crowd of 42 000 – the biggest of the season – warmly endorsed Saturday night’s efforts with a series of rousing Mexican waves as the clock wound down and the Sharks, on the back of the seven tries, a strong forward display and an improving backline, will go to Sydney with their heads high.

The Sharks supporters have waited all season for the talented Sharks to blossom and Muir said he would take responsibility for that.

“I think I was too conservative, too worried about the high humidity and a wet ball, in those early weeks. My one regret this season is that I did not respect the players enough and allow them to express themselves more.

Instead I placed too much emphasis on the win and I was too conservative.”

Muir said he was delighted with the rugby the Sharks played, the quality and strong support play shown in the scoring of a number of long distance tries, and the defence against dangerous attackers who kept running at them until the end.

Wary of the Waratahs

“I was never worried about the final result, even at 21-18, but thought that if we scored the four tries we needed we would win anyway.”

But Muir, with reason, is wary of the Waratahs, adding that it was the more difficult semi-final.

“The Waratahs are the one team that outplayed us this season and we have to front up at the breakdown and improve our kicking game to beat them.

“I think the Crusaders are vulnerable at the moment and the biggest challenge of the season is coming in our semi-final in Sydney.”

What brought a smile to Muir’s face was the impact which the backs had on the game and he paid tribute to the “amazing job” which Ruan Pienaar was performing at flyhalf, the value of scrumhalf Rory Kockott’s sniping play against a rush Chiefs defence and the influence of Adrian Jacobs in midfield.

The impressive, fearless Bismarck du Plessis, a hooker who keeps popping up at every corner, was an obvious man-of-the-match but veteran fullback Stefan Terblanche remains the form fullback in South Africa. His positional play was excellent, he was safe under the high ball, his line-kicking was accurate and his corner flagging twice saved certain tries when the Chiefs were at their most threatening.

Physical edge

While all the Sharks contributed to the win, it was their scrummaging which set the mood from the start.

“We were vulnerable in the scrum,” said Chiefs coach Ian Foster, “and credit to the Sharks for taking advantage.”

Foster would not be drawn on a predicting a result in Sydney but said that the Sharks “with a hard, competitive, physical edge were a very dangerous team.”

“We have battled with injuries and again had our chances but the Sharks had the energy and the desire and took theirs.”

In the Sharks’ high risk and high tempo game, the blistering pace of the Sharks loose forwards, Ryan Kankowski and Jacques Botes, the high workrate of the pack and the strong impact of Jean Deysel in the final quarter were important factors in the win.


  • Would be great to have another final in SA. :grin: But plenty of water to flow upstream under the bridge before that can happen.

  • Comment 1, posted at 19.05.08 08:36:25 by racheltjiedebeer Reply
    McLovinAssistant coach
  • The Tahs are going to a different proposition all together…As Rob correctly predicted (take that Morne! ;) ) the Shark’s pack completely dominated the Chiefs and it all started in the front row. McKenzie is a fronter himself and there is no way he will allow his front row to be dominated in the same way the decimated Chief’s front row was.

    Therefore the Sharks work is really cut out for them to effect forward domination over the Tahs.

  • Comment 2, posted at 19.05.08 08:45:48 by Dive Pass Reply
    Dive PassCurrie Cup player
  • Forget about the final, first win the Tahs in the semis.

  • Comment 3, posted at 19.05.08 08:50:08 by PaarlBok Reply
    PaarlBokCurrie Cup player
  • @PaarlBok (Comment 3) :

    Yep…you are right there…

    We just have to focus on the next game…


  • Comment 4, posted at 19.05.08 08:56:22 by blackshark N.R.N.S! Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!Super Rugby player
  • I cant see any reason why the Sharks cant klap the WorryTahs. They should have enough forward power for the Aussies. Personally I think Muir should not change his backline. Steyn can stay on the bench, he play way to selfish and AD & Barrett made all the diffirense in midfield.

    I thought to myself when the Chiefs game was on the go , I’d rather face the Tahs then the Saders in a semi.

  • Comment 5, posted at 19.05.08 09:03:40 by PaarlBok Reply
    PaarlBokCurrie Cup player

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