Who thinks the Sharks can accumulate 41 Log points this season? If you do then you also believe the Sharks still have a reasonable chance of making the semi-finals this year.
It does seem like we will have to rely on other teams to keep us alive in this year’s competition and to a large extent that is true, but if you look closely at our remaining fixtures, you will realize that the team has more of the power than they might think.
With 25 Log points and two easy games against the Cheetahs and the Lions, 10 Log points are waiting in South Africa for the Blues, who has to feel that they still have a good chance of making the semi-finals this year. That’s why their next fixture against the Sharks will be such an important one for both teams.
The Sharks have said that every game from now on is a final for them, this will be true for both teams, but with the added pressure on the Sharks to go for the four try bonus point and keep their opposition of the day away from any. If they do allow the Blues a bonus point or even two, the Blues might just be the team to edge them out of the semis. The Blues plays the out of form Chiefs in their last fixture and will possibly end up on 39 log points.
The next team on our list is the Bulls. They might be at the top of the log, but the only easy log points left for them will be the 5 they take against the Lions next week. That will put them on 39 log points and just one short of that magic number. Their game against the Sharks is a crucial one for both teams, a win here will almost guarantee a play-off spot for the Bulls, whereas for the Sharks it could possibly mean they are 5 points closer to another one of the top teams and if they are still looking at that 41 log points it would seem that they could even edge out the now on top of the log Bulls team who would have to pick up three log points against the Crusaders and the Stormers. No easy task for any team, not even the Bulls and not even at Loftus, if they are even playing at Loftus.
Now we have the Stormers. Before I say anything, I need to stop just for a moment, to congratulate the Stormers on some excellent rugby this weekend against the Chiefs. There’s nothing wrong with South African rugby and if the Stormers can continue to play like they did the past two weeks, it will be hard for most teams to beat them. Having said that, no team keeps up that standard of performance and by the time they get to the Sharks, we’ll easily get a bonus point win against them…right?
I also still believe the Crusaders have the experience and class to put up a victory performance against the ‘just returning home from a long tour Stormers’, which will leave them on 37 log points with the Bulls to play. I back the Stormers to take this game and go to 41 log points, and leave the Bulls on 39 log points, but if they do loose, it could be good for the Sharks now standing on 41 log points after a drubbing of the Western Force.
So that’s only three of the 9 other teams gunning for the 4th spot on the log with six other teams that could also possible make more than 41 points, actually all six those teams can make 41 one log points just like the Sharks and 5 of them can even make more than 41. So what about them, they are out of our (the Sharks’) hands right. Well right, but it’s really only two teams we should worry about, and that is the Brumbies and the Reds. Let me explain why those two teams.
The Crusaders and The Waratahs I don’t really care about, because I believe they are competing for the top two places, therefore I’ll actually be cheering them on to take Log points from other teams. Go ‘Saders and ‘Tahs. The Chiefs and the Hurricanes won’t be a problem; since both of them still has a few difficult games to play and even still has to play each other and we only need one more loss from both these teams to get them off our backs. In fact after they have each lost another game I’ll be cheering them on to take wins against other top teams, for example the Hurricanes against the Reds and the Chiefs against the Blues.
Now for the two teams I’m a little worried about, and will probably need some lucky results from, as I said before, the Brumbies and The Reds.
Firstly, the Reds, on 30 log points will need three more wins and after the way they played against the Bulls that has become a bigger possibility than I might have thought before. By the way, this was the only bad result of the weekend, since I was backing the Bulls to be the third team on the log to take points from other teams and leave that third spot open for the “Super Sharks” to take the final spot with20 more log points from just four games… The Reds still has the Highlanders to play and I’m backing them to get a 5 pointer from this game which brings them to 35 and three other games to get 7 more points. The first against the Stormers, who, if they can keep their form up just for one more weekend to beat the Reds, will make me very happy.
Then we have the Brumbies, I don’t really want them to win this game, but since they have fewer log points after the Hurricanes beat them so beautifully this weekend a win here for the Brumbies will be great. The other difficult game the Reds have is the Hurricanes and I’m hoping for a Hurricanes win here too. This will leave the poor Reds on 35 and short of the semis.
The Brumbies who now has 26 log points, only one game ahead of the Sharks, needs to lose at least one more game, I’m backing the Waratahs and the Crusaders to do this. The Waratahs are playing the Brumbies this coming weekend, and after dropping out of the top four spot after their bye last weekend, I’m thinking they’ll be fired up to get a win and get back into the top four.
After that the Waratahs has three Kiwi sides and all of them have been looking to loose to be a threat to the Ausie team which will give them a good chance to go for a home final this year, they’ll end on about 45/47 log points, which will in turn motivate the Crusaders to get a win from their last game of the season against the Brumbies to elevate them to top spot and 51 points on the log and leave the Brumbies with 34.
The final log will then have the Crusaders at number 1 and 51 log points then the Waratahs with 47 log points after that the Bulls or the Stormers depending on the last game with 43 or 41 log points respectively, the fourth team with 41 log points or even as few as 40 log points or even 39 log points, with a good points difference, will be the Sharks.
The Sharks will then play the Crusaders at home and take their 9th victory, of this season, in a row and later play the high riding, overconfident …and injury ridden (I don’t know why, just because) Stormers at Newlands to take their first Super 14 trophy home.
Here’s how I came to this (fairy tale) conclusion, just open the links below.Tweet