robdylan

We’re all Griquas now


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 20 Sep 2016 at 11:00
Tagged with : , , , ,

While it’s tempting to say that the Sharks’ final Currie Cup match – away to the Lions in Johannesburg in a fortnight – is the one that will have the most direct bearing on the Sharks’ semi-final prospects, another game this weekend could have an equally big bearing. It’s one that they won’t even play in, either!

While it’s true that the Sharks’ still have fate in their own hands and can ensure nothing worse than a third-place finish by beating the Lions, reality tells us that it’s only an illusion of control. Going to Ellis Park and recording a win against a Lions side that will need a win themselves in order to even make the knock-outs is a bloody big ask – one that the Sharks might well be up to, but I’m certainly not keen to stake any of my own money on it. To my way of thinking, it would be far better for all concerned if the Sharks could go to Joburg relatively confident that they will progress no matter what. That scenario – I suspect – would pile a lot more pressure onto the Lions and could free the Sharks up to be a little more carefree and perhaps, ultimately, more successful in the fixture.

So how does this work? It’s actually rather simple. We need Griquas to beat Western Province on Friday night. Right now, there is a real logjam just a smidgen further down the log, with any of Griquas, Western Province or the Lions far too close for any Sharks comfort. With all three of those teams less than 10 points adrift and having a game in hand, it’s quite conceivable that the Sharks could miss out on the knock-outs altogether after their disastrous mid-season slump. If we assume that the Cheetahs and Bulls are all-but assured of the top two spots, then it really is a four-way race for the remaining positions.

Of the teams in contention, Griquas have the toughest remaining fixture list, with a trip to Bloemfontein in the final round after hosting Province. It’s a relatively safe bet that they will not beat the Cheetahs, hence we can safely eliminate them as a direct threat to the Sharks (there’s a caveat here, but we’ll worry about that later). Western Province face a gimme game against Boland in their final fixture, meaning that a win of any sorts in Kimberley propels them to a final points tally of 27, 2 more than the Sharks currently have. The Lions will take an easy 5 points off the Kings this weekend, leaving them poised on 22, needing just a win to move above the Sharks.

In other words, if Province win on Friday, it takes Griquas completely out of the reckoning and leaves the Sharks and Lions to fight over the sole remaining play-off spot. Johannesburg becomes a winner-takes-all quarter-final, which is just the scenario we want to avoid.

No, best here is for Griquas to record a narrow win over Province and then get hammered by Free State. That will leave them on 23/24 points, worryingly close to the Sharks but not above us. In fact, they could possibly even get another point (so assume they get a bonus point in each fixture) and still not overtake the Sharks, but that’s perhaps pushing things a little. Even if Province get two bonus points in Kimberley and then hammer Boland, the Sharks could still feel relatively good about their chances of ending above them. Lots of permutations still to come, but it remains very clear that the Sharks need Griquas to beat Western Province on Friday to have the best chance of progressing.

Go buy a turquoise jersey, fans – your (new) team needs you!



38 Comments

  • Based on recent weeks i cant see WP losing to Griquas. Have a feeling it could be a very comfortable 5pts for WP. Of course its possible that WP implode and Griquas get the win, but i just cant see it happening.

  • Comment 1, posted at 20.09.16 11:27:59 by SheldonK Reply
    SheldonKAssistant coach
     
  • Us Sharks fans have become used to supporting other sides in the hope of our team proceeding past the group stages, no matter what the competition. Would be nice if we got back to the days of determining our own destiny for a change.

  • Comment 2, posted at 20.09.16 11:34:28 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
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  • @Spirit of Rugby (Comment 2) : I think this Sharks team is turning the corner.

    The reason I say this is that they went out in that downpour on Saturday and managed to play running rugby, not afraid to pass the ball around and also using their forwards to great effect. It was about as close to total rugby as one could wish for given the weather.

  • Comment 3, posted at 20.09.16 11:58:37 by StevieS Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 1) : The WP team that beat the Sharks will beat Griquas, the other WP team that played most of this season and beat the Pumas last weekend will probably lose to Griquas.

  • Comment 4, posted at 20.09.16 12:05:03 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • Well they already did the Sharks a favour by beating the Lions so maybe pushing it a bit to expect them to win again for the Sharks!?

  • Comment 5, posted at 20.09.16 12:07:08 by JD Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 4) : It all depends the team they can put out, they have a few injuries. Still just cant see WP losing..Griquas havnt been great last couple games

  • Comment 6, posted at 20.09.16 12:13:00 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 4) : @SheldonK (Comment 6) : think WP will know if they lose they will miss playoffs so they will be going all out to win. Think Sharks will have to do it the hard way.

  • Comment 7, posted at 20.09.16 12:16:36 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 7) : Griquas will be too, though. They’re ahead of WP on the log and still very much in it. They will be hoping that Free State can rest players in that final game,

  • Comment 8, posted at 20.09.16 12:18:53 by robdylan Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 6) : WP shouldnt lose but they have been really poor this campaign (something is not gelling in that camp) ……and now they will go on and win the CC.

  • Comment 9, posted at 20.09.16 12:35:19 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 9) : Its the same reason as the Boks…there arent complimentary combinations so not fluid phase play and they make a lot of individual errors.

  • Comment 10, posted at 20.09.16 12:40:03 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 8) : yes that’s true but still think a team like WP should be more motivated as Griquas know they will have to beat WP and Cheetahs away to qualify.

  • Comment 11, posted at 20.09.16 15:09:40 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 11) : There is another permutation! Provided. The Lions don’t garner too much of a points difference vs. The hapless Kings, the Sharks could still get 2 losing bonus points, and have a slightly better PD than the Lions. A long shot, for sure
    !!

  • Comment 12, posted at 20.09.16 15:27:23 by KingCheetah Reply

    KingCheetahTeam captain
     
  • Watching the second half bulls vs Griquas. I’d say chances are very slim. GWK have played all their good rugby for the season already.

  • Comment 13, posted at 20.09.16 15:40:44 by coolfusion Reply

    coolfusionSuper Rugby player
     
  • @KingCheetah (Comment 12) : yes or a draw would also work. For me no matter what happens this weekend from now on it’s must win game for the Sharks! Momentum and confidence is very important and Sharks needs to build a bit of both before playoff games (that is if they manage to reach it)!

  • Comment 14, posted at 20.09.16 15:44:31 by JD Reply
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  • @coolfusion (Comment 13) : maybe they were holding back and saving some for the final two games ;-)

  • Comment 15, posted at 20.09.16 15:45:41 by JD Reply
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  • On a different note I see AC is sniffing around Pat. Please sharks management say NO. We can’t have his career endangered to rescue the sinking ship named Coetzee. He should only be be playing end of year tour. AC has the opposite of the Midas touch. Everything he touches turns to shit. Player on form players finding form…all turn to shit in his hands.

  • Comment 16, posted at 20.09.16 15:50:26 by coolfusion Reply

    coolfusionSuper Rugby player
     
  • @coolfusion (Comment 16) : As much as i agree i think Lambie is a contracted Bok so Sharks basically have no say.

  • Comment 17, posted at 20.09.16 15:51:22 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 17) : yes, this. Actually we’re the ones who need to beg AC for permission to use him

  • Comment 18, posted at 20.09.16 16:08:58 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 18) : Pretty much yes

  • Comment 19, posted at 20.09.16 16:11:01 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
     
  • But surely 20 minutes in 15 weeks is a big red flag. If he picks him we will know for sure he has no regard for player wellbeing just saving his own arse. What is there to salvage in this series? Risk your end of year option for a wooden spoon?

  • Comment 20, posted at 20.09.16 16:11:54 by coolfusion Reply

    coolfusionSuper Rugby player
     
  • @KingCheetah (Comment 12) : I’m from what I saw. Even the Kings’ cheerleaders have a better than average chance of scoring a bonus point victory against them. So no….

  • Comment 21, posted at 20.09.16 16:19:49 by coolfusion Reply

    coolfusionSuper Rugby player
     
  • @coolfusion (Comment 21) : That much is true, was just mentioning the possible permutation. Unlikely as it may be!

  • Comment 22, posted at 20.09.16 16:41:26 by KingCheetah Reply

    KingCheetahTeam captain
     
  • Let’s not stress about the top 4. If we make it we make it. I’ve seen enough to satisfy myself that we are on the right track. We should have beaten WP, they weren’t the better side but wanted it more. Let’s gear ourselves up for SR next year. Wish we could get a defense coach.

  • Comment 23, posted at 20.09.16 18:35:59 by GreatSharksays Reply

    Assistant coach
     
  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 23) : Must say, I am keen to see if Franco can mould this group and continue the upward curve in Super rugby. We seem to have a pretty decent squad together. Not spectacular by any stretch, but they seem to play well as a team. Some exciting new youngsters that can maybe make the step up. Guys like Ox Nche, Joseph Dweba, Junior Pokomela, Gerrie Labuschagne, Arno van Staden, Ryno Eksteen, Ali Mgijima, Mazola Mafuma, and Lihleli Xoli.

    Some may not see Super rugby action, but they might surprise!

  • Comment 24, posted at 20.09.16 19:25:47 by KingCheetah Reply

    KingCheetahTeam captain
     
  • @KingCheetah (Comment 24) : don’t forget Nico Lee.

  • Comment 25, posted at 20.09.16 20:36:08 by GreatSharksays Reply

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  • @KingCheetah (Comment 24) : Hasn’t done a bad job with the forwards considering he doesn’t have the big names.

  • Comment 26, posted at 20.09.16 20:42:44 by coolfusion Reply

    coolfusionSuper Rugby player
     
  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 25) : Yes! Super impressed with his debut and subsequent appearances. Cheetahs look well served in the midfield. Was a tad concerned at our depth at lock, but Reniel Hugo has impressed. Yet to see the rated Dennis Vissed (ex Bulls play). Carl Wegner has also been solid.

  • Comment 27, posted at 20.09.16 20:48:26 by KingCheetah Reply

    KingCheetahTeam captain
     
  • @coolfusion (Comment 26) : Agreed! No real stars, but working well as a unit.

  • Comment 28, posted at 20.09.16 20:57:35 by KingCheetah Reply

    KingCheetahTeam captain
     
  • @KingCheetah (Comment 27) : Tell you what that Nico Lee and even the somewhat underplayed Michael Van Der Spuy are good players…with a bit of backing they will come good. And then Francois Venter is class- have been a fan for a while…so sad he hasnt got a Bok chance

  • Comment 29, posted at 21.09.16 08:02:39 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
     
  • @StevieS (Comment 3) : Sure, but we’re used to them blowing hot for a game and then cold for three.

  • Comment 30, posted at 21.09.16 09:27:00 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
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  • Will Keegan, Lewies and the Ninja be available for the Lion’s game?

  • Comment 31, posted at 21.09.16 10:36:16 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 31) : really hope so!!!

  • Comment 32, posted at 21.09.16 11:11:32 by JD Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 29) : Agree re Venter. Yes vd Spuy has been good and Nico Lee sublime. Cheetahs look good with WSS partnering either of Venter or Lee. In a crisis, Benjamin has shown his utility value, when he played centre. Will be interesting to see how good the vaunted pair of Xoli and Mgijima go probably in the VC

  • Comment 33, posted at 21.09.16 11:37:04 by KingCheetah Reply

    KingCheetahTeam captain
     
  • @KingCheetah (Comment 33) : Cheetahs problems in Super rugby have been defense and depth should they get a couple injuries…and not sure they have/are able to fully address those issues yet

  • Comment 34, posted at 21.09.16 11:48:23 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
     
  • @SheldonK (Comment 34) : Absolutely correct. Think the defence has improved, but depth in certain positions are still a problem. Especially in the 2nd row.
    FH is another key area where we are thin.

  • Comment 35, posted at 21.09.16 12:51:50 by KingCheetah Reply

    KingCheetahTeam captain
     
  • @KingCheetah (Comment 35) : Defense has been a bit better…but again you have to judge the defense bearing in mind the quality of the attack it has faced. Cheetahs often got killed by turnovers and that does seem to have improved. And then yeh that depth in key decision making positions

  • Comment 36, posted at 21.09.16 13:03:01 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 36) : True, that said they did restrict the dangerous Lions (sans their boks) to only two tries.

  • Comment 37, posted at 21.09.16 19:40:03 by KingCheetah Reply

    KingCheetahTeam captain
     
  • @KingCheetah (Comment 37) : Indeed, as i said the defense has shown signs of improvement

  • Comment 38, posted at 22.09.16 07:45:01 by SheldonK Reply

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