robdylan

Still in the hunt


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 30 Jun 2014 at 09:11
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Saturday’s unexpected Crusaders loss in Wellington has left the Cell C Sharks in a better position than many would have feared, with only two full rounds of Super Rugby round robin action yet to come.

The Sharks went into the June break clinging to a slender 2-point lead at the summit of the table, but with both Crusaders and Waratahs enjoying a game in hand, it was widely expected that when play resumed for all teams, the Durbanites would most likely find themselves in third position. The Aussies, however, did stick to the appointed script, handing the Brumbies a hiding on Saturday and in so doing racing to both a maiden Aussie conference title and top spot on the combined log – where they now enjoy a three-point buffer.

The race for first place, in other words, looks close to unwinnable for the Sharks, since the Tahs are highly unlikely to lose against either the Highlanders (at home) or sub-standard Reds (away). With Jake White’s men holding a 3-point lead over both the Crusaders and the Highlanders, though – who are still to face each other in a last round that could decide the fate of the kiwi conference – there is every chance for a second-place finish and the associated knock-out advantages that come with it.

There’s little doubt that Saturday’s results will have changed White’s thinking to an extent. With the knowledge that the SA-conference-winning Sharks cannot end lower than third, had they started the fortnight in that position, White may have been tempted to risk some less-experienced combinations against the Cheetahs and Stormers. Now that winning both games is non-negotiable if a second-place finish is to be achieved, you would imagine that a strongest-available line-up must surely be the plan, particularly for this weekend’s match in Bloemfontein.

Pat Lambie, Anton Bresler and Odwa Ndungane are expected to bolster the Sharks’ ranks this weekend, while Beast Mtawarira and Willem Alberts remain doubtful.



58 Comments

  • I agree but I reckon some fresh ’2nd’ tier players will still be a better bet than the battered and bruised Boks.

  • Comment 1, posted at 30.06.14 09:18:36 by Pokkel Reply
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  • I would think we need to go out and get the full 10/10 point in the two final games, this will give us a slight chance of finishing top of the log as well and making sure we finish second. two full weeks of going full out and we have a nice weekend off which would give us a good break for finals rugby.

  • Comment 2, posted at 30.06.14 09:19:42 by Uli Boelie Reply
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  • Yip, we just need to concentrate all our efforts on taking at least 8 points from our last 2 games.

    You never know what could happen in these last 2 rounds, as long as we win both our games we will definitely end 2nd and who knows, the Highlanders or Reds could just put in a performance that surprises everyone, including the Waratahs. And even if they don’t, after 4 weeks of thinking the last game at KP cost us a home semi, I am just pleased to know that this is again in our own hands.

  • Comment 3, posted at 30.06.14 09:19:54 by Letgo Reply
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  • Lets hope Mvovo and JPP can continue with their good run from Saturday.

    JPPs been disappointing this season, but he looked good the last two tests, our backline needs to be on fire if we want to score 4 tries.

  • Comment 4, posted at 30.06.14 09:19:58 by pierre_mackie Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 1) : Fair enough but we need the full 10 points from the last two games, this is non negotiable.

  • Comment 5, posted at 30.06.14 09:20:42 by Uli Boelie Reply
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  • When the Saders lost on saterday, I did a little jiggle in my living room, and was full of hope that the Brumbies can cause an upset as well, just a shame that was not meant to be.

  • Comment 6, posted at 30.06.14 09:23:17 by KingRiaan Reply

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  • Best Saders or Landers can finish is on 52. if we can win both our games we will have 53 points. We just have to WIN

  • Comment 7, posted at 30.06.14 09:23:52 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @Uli Boelie (Comment 5) : The Boks I’m worried about are Jannie, Bismarch and Tendai(is he still injured?)

    Alberts(is he still injured?) has had a rest and Mvovo, JPP, Coetzee and Lewies will be fine.

    Only really the front row that needs to rest and the Cheetah scrum isn’t that strong.

  • Comment 8, posted at 30.06.14 09:25:13 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 8) : Deysel can play again so Alberts can also rest.

  • Comment 9, posted at 30.06.14 09:25:58 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Uli Boelie (Comment 2) : Yeah, 10 points might just give us a chance.

    It’s highly unlikely that the Waratahs would lose 2/2 – maybe against the Highlanders, but then in a very close game where they should still get a bonus point. I think everyone is expecting a thrashing of the Reds, but who knows? I’m still hoping.

  • Comment 10, posted at 30.06.14 09:26:03 by Letgo Reply
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  • We win both with bonus points, we end on 55. Waratahs scrapes 2 wins without bonus points, they end on 56. I’ll say it again. We need to make sure we WIN first.

  • Comment 11, posted at 30.06.14 09:28:52 by JarsonX Reply
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  • First and foremost we need to win both our games to ensure at least a second place finish, thats the bottom line…if the Waratahs slip we need to be in a position to take advantage of that…the remaining games for all are going to be tough, we are virtually in the knock out stages now. The Highlanders are in a ding dong battle with the crusaders for top spot so they will be going to the Waratahs with that thought in mind, anything can happen….

  • Comment 12, posted at 30.06.14 09:38:41 by SharkED Reply

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  • Lambie and Ndungane straight back in with JPP at 13? Charl, Paul and Sbura covering, yes/no?

  • Comment 13, posted at 30.06.14 09:47:08 by uShaka Reply

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  • It is really just Jannie and Bismarck that need a rest against the Cheetahs. I assume Alberts and Beast will be ruled out by injury anyway.

    What is the situation with Fred – he should surely be available by now too?

  • Comment 14, posted at 30.06.14 09:47:39 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @uShaka (Comment 13) : No reason to play JPP at 13 with both Sithole and Jordaan fit.

  • Comment 15, posted at 30.06.14 09:55:01 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 15) : Fair enough, but with Frans at 12 I’d certainly be tempted to do it after JPP’s perfomance on Sat.

  • Comment 16, posted at 30.06.14 09:57:30 by uShaka Reply

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  • @uShaka (Comment 16) : Who would you play on the wing then apart from Mvovo?

    I’d prefer JJP rather than Odwa on the wing and give Sithole back the 13 jersey that earned him a place in the Bok squad.

  • Comment 17, posted at 30.06.14 10:01:00 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 14) : Fred played club this last weekend so he is back to fitness. So are Steyn and Lambie. So a backline of Reinach, Lambie,Steyn, Pieterson, Ndungane, Sithole, Mvovo is very possible. With possibly McCloed, Zeilinga and Marais on the bench

  • Comment 18, posted at 30.06.14 10:08:33 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @Pokkel (Comment 17) : Lambie and Ndungane straight back in, both of them need to get match fit for play-off rugby. The experience they offer is priceless. Just a thought.

  • Comment 19, posted at 30.06.14 10:09:48 by uShaka Reply

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  • The Waratahs won their 5th game in a row on sat for the first time since 2008. They wont make it six. Malakai and the Smiths to show the way. You read it here first. :twisted:

  • Comment 20, posted at 30.06.14 10:12:45 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • Sharks will get at least 9 more log points. Possibly 10.

    Waratahs will lose one at least.

    Sharks to finish top.

    Might as well put their name on the cup now. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 21, posted at 30.06.14 10:18:06 by McLovin Reply

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  • @McLovin (Comment 21) : This man knows his rugby :mrgreen:

  • Comment 22, posted at 30.06.14 10:32:03 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 17) : Same here. I’d put JPP on the wing and keep Sbura at 13.

    Speaking of wings, anyone know how Tonderai Chavhanga is?

  • Comment 23, posted at 30.06.14 10:35:20 by gregkaos Reply
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  • Tahs are going to be up against a very tough-to-beat Landers team. While the Tahs should win, they could be slightly complacent and the Landers have everything to play for.

  • Comment 24, posted at 30.06.14 10:38:16 by gregkaos Reply
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  • @McLovin (Comment 21) :from your lips to the Almighty’s ears mate,just don’t mention the choke word please

  • Comment 25, posted at 30.06.14 10:51:57 by benji Reply
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  • @gregkaos (Comment 24) : and don’t write off the Reds game either…. allot can still happen with the Tahs…

  • Comment 26, posted at 30.06.14 10:52:28 by Uli Boelie Reply
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  • @gregkaos (Comment 23) : he’s played some club games

  • Comment 27, posted at 30.06.14 10:52:31 by robdylan Reply
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  • @uShaka (Comment 13) : eish mate have you lost all sense of reality,the further CM (aka Aurther Murry)stays away from any game the better chance Sharks have of realising McLovin prediction

  • Comment 28, posted at 30.06.14 10:55:53 by benji Reply
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  • @West Indies Cricket Board (Comment 20) : @McLovin (Comment 21) :

    I like it!

  • Comment 29, posted at 30.06.14 11:13:40 by Letgo Reply
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  • @gregkaos (Comment 24) : That’s what I’m banking on.

    We also have to keep in mind that victories over the Cheetahs and Stormers won’t be mere formalities for the Sharks. A lot can go both right and wrong for the Sharks in the coming weeks.

  • Comment 30, posted at 30.06.14 11:17:26 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 27) : Thanks Rob. That’s good to hear. He impressed me with his solitary SR game.

  • Comment 31, posted at 30.06.14 11:19:08 by gregkaos Reply
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  • @benji (Comment 28) : Charl has delivered the good in past CC finals. Sure, he’s erratic but he does tend to pitch for important games. I’d still back him for a bench spot at least.

  • Comment 32, posted at 30.06.14 11:20:11 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 30) : yes Sharks needs to win both games to stay ahead of the Saders. Tahs will have two difficult games but I really don’t see them losing to Landers or Reds.

  • Comment 33, posted at 30.06.14 11:27:41 by JD Reply
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  • I like Tonderai but I would start looking at Maseko as pushing him and overtaking him in the pecking order.

  • Comment 34, posted at 30.06.14 11:28:49 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • I’m a little worried that if Fourie du Preez is crocked we may lose Cobus for the Currie Cup season. Then we’ll be in shit.

  • Comment 35, posted at 30.06.14 11:29:44 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 35) : To be honest we need to see Stefan Ungerer and Hanco Venter step up or step out…so why not in this CC. Cant see Reinach getting a call to be honest

  • Comment 36, posted at 30.06.14 11:35:34 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 36) : yes don’t see HM picking him for Rugby Championship a d like you said we need to see what those two can do before next year’s Super rugby so playing in Currie cup will be a must for boh of them.

  • Comment 37, posted at 30.06.14 11:43:02 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 37) : Yeh i think Reinach is quite far down the list. But also those 2 guys have come all the way thru the Sharks ranks and played SA u20 so we rather need to know this year if they can cut it or if they need to ship out and we need someone else

  • Comment 38, posted at 30.06.14 11:47:07 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 36) : @JD (Comment 37) : @SheldonK (Comment 38) : If media reports can be believed, Kockett and Reinach are next in line in the pecking order and Reinach playing in SA will then most likely trump the selection.

    Agreed though that it simply provides two youngsters with excellent opportunities to step up if Cobus is unavailable.

  • Comment 39, posted at 30.06.14 11:58:42 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 39) : I cant recall HM ever mentioning Kockett as an option so im not gonna hold my breath…

  • Comment 40, posted at 30.06.14 12:15:36 by SheldonK Reply

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  • highlanders are going to beat the tahs this weekend.

  • Comment 41, posted at 30.06.14 12:19:46 by pete69 Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 40) : Agreed on Kockett but the reports that Reinach could be in with a shout might have some merit.

  • Comment 42, posted at 30.06.14 12:27:55 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 42) : Yeh Reinach def more believable as he has been called into the squad before

  • Comment 43, posted at 30.06.14 12:31:55 by SheldonK Reply

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  • 9 Reinarch,10Lambie, 12Frans,13 J.P, 11Sithole, 14 Jordaan,15 Mvovo.

  • Comment 44, posted at 30.06.14 12:38:08 by The hound Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 40) : @vanmartin (Comment 39) : Kockett is now French the only place he will now turn out for is France

  • Comment 45, posted at 30.06.14 13:10:46 by benji Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 39) : @SheldonK (Comment 40) : Morné said that they won’t pick overseas Boks that weren’t capped while they still played in SA. So I don’t think Kockett is an option.

  • Comment 46, posted at 30.06.14 13:11:20 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 36) : I agree Ungerer now needs to be backed by the Sharks fully

  • Comment 47, posted at 30.06.14 13:12:32 by benji Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 46) : I think Kockett would make a mistake to accept a bok jersey. I know its probably a hard choice but he would be a more regular starter for France than SA

  • Comment 48, posted at 30.06.14 13:23:57 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • Kockert was never treated well in S.A ,firstly by Plumtree, then by the Lions,like Burden he had to go to France to be appreciated back in S.A.
    Like Brad Barrit,Mat Stevens and soon CJ Stander,he willinglychoose to play for another country.
    Don’t think Rory would want the Bok jersey even if it was offered to him.

  • Comment 49, posted at 30.06.14 13:24:59 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 49) : I agree and considering the French are have problems at 9 its probably a no brainer for him

  • Comment 50, posted at 30.06.14 13:29:30 by benji Reply
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  • Kockert was always a fantastic player,but it’s like Warren Whitely had such an excellent year playing in an unfancied team,watch him leave next.Scotland would have loved having him on Saturday.
    When you watch an old has been like Burger huffing and puffing in a Bok jersey,you realise what a retard Meyer is, he will never pick Warren.
    He will also persist with has beens like Bakkies and Fourie du Preez,neither of whom could make three weekends in a row,but he thinks they have it in them to play the seven games needed to win the world cup.

  • Comment 51, posted at 30.06.14 13:48:43 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 51) : I fully agree on most points, but Schalla is still the man!

  • Comment 52, posted at 30.06.14 13:51:32 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • @West Indies Cricket Board (Comment 52) :
    I must disagree with you,he is way past his sell by date,and he is being chosen on reputation alone,I fail to see what he has done in the past three years to walk back into a test side,after playing three games of first class rugby.Brussow,Deysel,Koilisi,Carr,even Kanko are far more deserving an investment for the next World Cup.Burger shows nothing new will not get any better,and is a shadow of his former self.

  • Comment 53, posted at 30.06.14 14:05:30 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 53) : my problem is not with Schalk so much. Mine is with a guy like Francois Louw. Awesome player. Awesome guy. arguably 5 or 10% better than Marcell or Brussow. But that is not good enough. For me an obp must be absolutely irreplaceable before he gets picked.

  • Comment 54, posted at 30.06.14 14:38:18 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • @West Indies Cricket Board (Comment 54) : sorry boet but Scalla is not even the best at Province and if they had less injuries be would not even make the match 23 on form. Way better young guys in SA than him!

  • Comment 55, posted at 30.06.14 22:16:07 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 55) : Way better older guys as well,but then his father is an ex Bok and that counts big time with Meyer ask Pienaar.

  • Comment 56, posted at 01.07.14 09:14:13 by The hound Reply
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  • Yeah we simply have to win our last 2 games and keep the pressure on the tahs – they just might slip in one game :mrgreen:
    Im so happy these June int games are over ;-) Even better is that Frans Steyn should be fully rested :mrgreen:

  • Comment 57, posted at 01.07.14 09:32:24 by RedSharkUtd82 Reply

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  • @The hound (Comment 56) : ja it sure does. ;-)

  • Comment 58, posted at 01.07.14 09:40:20 by JD Reply
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