The Sharks fixture against the Cheetahs this weekend has become a whole lot more important after the loss to the Bulls two weeks ago. Even though the Sharks are perched at the top of the log, we all know that things can go, and have gone in the past, horribly wrong from this position. So how do we beat the Cheetahs thos weekend?
Everybody should know by now that statistics are my forte, and I am going to run through some basics focused on what the Cheetahs do right and wrong and the Sharks should go into the game.
Looking at the Cheetahs’ recent run against the Bulls, Griquas and Western Province, it has become evident that they focus a lot on their set pieces. They have an 85% record when it comes to lineouts, and their scrums aren’t a problem either. This should send alarm bells to the Sharks to keep ball in hand (cliché I know), because the chances of stealing a lineout are zip. No offence to Sykes and Hargreaves, but they really need to work on their attempts to steal opposition lineout ball.
The Cheetahs do kick away possession quite a bit, so whoever ends up playing at fullback will have to make sure that his positioning is spot on. If reports are to be believed and Ludik does in fact run on in the 15 jumper, this should play into the Sharks hands as he is a counter attacker and likes to run the ball up.
Philip van der Walt is the Richie McCaw in the Cheetahs team, topping the ruck attendance stats, especially the defensive rucks, and he will easily steal or disrupt Sharks ball if we do not get to the ruck and protect the ball. Botes will be key in this regard, and thought of dropping him to make room for Daniel will be a fatal error.
The outcome of this game is vitally important to the Sharks, and can set up their run through to the semi’s as either very easy with only home games needed to be won, or quite difficult with a victory over WP at Newlands a requirement to reach the top spot.Tweet