More accurately, why can the Sharks just not seem to beat the bloody Aussies in Australia? Here’s a shocking statistic… 2007′s good win in Brisbane is the only time so far in the Super 14 era that the Sharks have managed a win on Australian soil.
It’s a statistic that a number of people tried to bring to my attention before this weekend’s game. Back then, though, I lived in the happy land where it wasn’t possible the Reds could beat the Sharks. All of the dire warnings based on statistics and historical precedence rang hollow in my ears – my “head space”, if you will, was not big enough to entertain a Sharks loss. Oh, how I long for those halcyon days…
Well, we all know what happened. The Reds stuffed us. And, in hindsight, it’s hardly bloody surprising that they did, because we just plain seem incapable of winning over there. Apart from 2007′s rare reversal, you have to go back to 2000 for a Sharks win on Aussie soil. We beat the Waratahs 26-19 that year. Going two years further back, we managed to topple the Brumbies in Canberra to the tune of 41-23. In 1996, the best Sharks team in living memory managed two wins in Australia, including a beautiful semi-final victory over a strong Reds team.
That’s it, though… 4 wins over the course of nearly 14 years. Compare that to 14 wins (and a burgled draw) in New Zealand over the same period and it sticks out like a dog’s bollocks. We can’t seem to win in Australia! This is, of course, particularly relevant given that our next game, against the Western Force, wait for it, takes place in that very same country. Up against a tricky foe, without two key players and at the end of a long tour, the last thing we need is the weight of serious historical failure on our backs as well. Well, bad news chaps, but it’s definitely going to be a factor.
Hate to be a profit of doom here, but just bear these numbers on mind when making your picks for this weekend’s game. It’s possible for us to win, but the precedent set over the course of the last 14 years suggests that we won’t.Tweet