Hands up everyone who’d like to see Griquas return to Kings Park to play a semi-final against the Sharks next weekend. Ok, now while I can’t actually see those hands, I can only imagine that there may be a fair few of them, given that if you have to pick any of the sides in this new “strengthened” Currie Cup format, the underdogs from Kimberley are the ones you’d least hate to face.
Now, keep your hand up if you’re 100% confident about a Sharks semi-final win against the Blue Bulls, albeit at Kings Park. Slightly fewer hands, I’d imagine and I’m not ashamed to admit that mine certainly isn’t one of them. Truth is, though, if the Lions do indeed opt to “take the weekend off” when they play the Bulls, that’s pretty much exactly the scenario we could be facing. Pretty clever of them too, you’d fancy, for reasons that go far beyond the ones stated by their coach…. let’s face it, if I were in the Lions camp right now, apart from being absolutely livid with Griquas for destroying the home final dream, I’d be wanting to engineer the toughest semi for the Sharks that I possibly could. Remember, a Sharks loss next weekend will bring the final back to Joburg.
What can we do about this, though? Certainly, giving Griquas a bit of an easier game ourselves and allowing them to leave Durban with as many log points as possible (without compromising our own position) could work to our favour. Unfortunately, they’re not far enough ahead of either the Bulls or the Cheetahs for a bonus point or two to guarantee them fourth place, but a high-scoring game in which Griquas score four tries, but ultimately lose by fewer than seven points, could just prove to be as much in the favour of the hosts as it is the visitors.
The problem with the above scenario, though, is that it’s far too easy for the Lions to counter, given that they play a day later than the Sharks do. Should Griquas end up on 22 log points after Friday night, it’s completely conceivable that the Lions could then engineer a bonus point win for the Bulls a day later.
All in all, for the Sharks, I think it would be best to ignore all permutations and simply aim for the biggest win they can this week. And next week. And the week after that. Far simpler, all things considered!Tweet