KSA Shark ©

Butch James’ prediction

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :Currie Cup, In the news on 22 Oct 2008 at 12:57
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Springbok flyhalf Butch James has headed for Barbados, hoping to catch some sun, but at 16.30 (South African time – 10.30 in Barbados) he will be in front of a TV hoping to catch a glimpse of his former Sharks teammates taking on the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup Final.

Jan De Koning of Rugby 365 reports that the World Cup-winning No.10, James, who has just signed a new three-year deal with English Premiership club Bath, says he watches the Currie Cup competition every time it is on television in the United Kingdom.

Having played virtually non-stop rugby since the Super 14 last year – including the 2007 World Cup in France, a full 2007/08 domestic and European season with Bath and again a full international season with the Boks this year – James is finally getting a much-needed break.

“I have two weeks off [from Monday, October 20],” he told rugby365.com in an exclusive interview, before he headed for the Caribbean in the hope of getting some sun – which he hasn’t seen much of during his stay in the South-West town of Bath.

He admitted that he would have liked to be in Durban on Saturday.

“I booked this holiday a month or so ago when the coach told me I would get two weeks off. If I hadn’t booked the holiday, I would definitely have headed back to Durban to watch the Final,” he added.

James says he has been keeping in close contact with the Sharks players and have been watching every game they have showed on TV in the UK.

“It would have been nice to be in Durban this weekend, because it will be a great weekend to be in Durban,” he said, adding: “You miss Durban a bit when you watch all the games.”

James, who have been on the losing side in the 2000 and 2003 Finals, says he speaks to the Sharks players “pretty often”.

“It is nice to see them in the Final and I’m very excited for them.

“I just hope they play the kind of rugby they have been playing all year, it has been good to watch and it has been getting them the results.”

Having played alongside all of the guys who will feature in Saturday’s Final, James says he is confident the Sharks have what it takes to end their 12-year trophy drought.

“All the youngsters were just starting when I was still there,” he said, adding: “They have now picked up lots of experience, they are now becoming leaders themselves – like [Ryan] Kankowski, [Brad] Barritt, [Keegan] Daniel, those sort of youngsters.”

Then there are other young players, like Ruan Pienaar and Francois Steyn, who are cast in the roles of senior players because of what they’ve achieved in the last year or so.

“If you compare them now to where they were a year ago, before the World Cup, they’ve gained a lot of experience.

“You can see in the way they play, both of them are coming on in leaps and bounds, especially Francois. He is still so young, but he is playing like one of the ‘old men’ in the team.”

Asked for his prediction of the Final, James did not hesitate to back the Sharks.

“It will be 20-19, a repeat of last year’s Super 14 score. Only this time the Sharks will win.”

Asked who will be the Sharks’ Bryan Habana, the man to score the match-winning try, he pointed to French import Frederic Michalak.

“I think Michalak will get the winning try to pay the Sharks back and to say goodbye to them.”


  • I hope you are right Butchie! I really really hope!

  • Comment 1, posted at 22.10.08 13:10:01 by billy Reply
  • There is another article about where gavin Cowley says Michalak will probably be targeted by the Bulls.

    I hope not becasue if he get’s rattled then we may have to field out secret weapon flyhalf……. 😉

    As he prepares for his first Currie Cup final, Frederic Michalak’s influence in the Sharks’ “bigger picture” should not be under-estimated.

    So says long-time television commentator and former Junior Springbok and Eastern Province flyhalf Gavin Cowley, describing Saturday’s match against the Blue Bulls in Durban as the French playmaker’s “51st Test in many respects”.

    The 26-year-old Toulouse-born pin-up boasts precisely 50 caps for his country, having debuted against South Africa in 2001.

    Asked how he rated Michalak’s maiden season in the Sharks fold overall, educated neutral Cowley said: “He’s a classic case of one of those players you associate with bigger-picture matters.

    “They brought him in for a reason, and that reason wasn’t solely linked to how often he booted the ball 60 yards downfield or how many points he put on the scoreboard for them.

    “It was about blending his undoubted experience – and you can’t even brand him old, anyway — with the high volume of youthfulness around him in the Sharks backline: I think he and Stefan Terblanche have been crucial balancers and steadying influences for the team all season.

    “You have to assess off-field value to a large degree, and I suspect he has something in common with AJ Venter in that regard. When AJ moved south from Durban many among the Western Province public questioned the motive for signing him, but perhaps without contemplating his general value to the (dressing room).

    “I know there can be communication issues when you put a French player in an English-language environment, but from everything I hear Michalak’s been a really good team guy.”

    Cowley said he felt Michalak had been “a natural fit” in the Sharks set-up. “They do play width rugby and he suits their play well with his French ‘feel’ for the game. The only arrogance you see from him, if you like, is in his impulsive style of play and that is not a (weakness).”

    The SuperSport commentator suspects the Bulls will try to ruffle Michalak a little in the final.

    “Inevitably in terms of disruption you target nine and 10; attempt to cut the flyhalf off. That said, I think the Bulls may give the ball some width themselves, knowing that the Sharks offer good counter-strength to them up front. They’re not the Northern Transvaal of old – they can mix up their game more comfortably these days.”

    Turning to Michalak’s opposite number, the Bulls’ Morne Steyn, Cowley says he is among those who once considered him a tad predictable.

    “Yes, I used to think that, but he’s graduated out of the one-dimensional club. He is such a confident kicker at present and he’s become one of the most accurate distributors on the Currie Cup scene, too.

    “I reckon he finally feels the position is his own and that’s so important for a flyhalf to know. He is also fortunate to have Fourie du Preez inside him, a master at taking some of the pressure away when it’s necessary.”

  • Comment 2, posted at 22.10.08 13:14:08 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • I hope the scoreline is a bit more convincing, but a win is a win…..I’m just worried about my health and sanity should that be the scoreline 🙄

  • Comment 3, posted at 22.10.08 15:39:03 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Comment 3) : That would bad for my heart too…and Im in my twenties. Anyway…as long as we get to see JOHAN and JOHN lifting the cup…

  • Comment 4, posted at 22.10.08 15:50:34 by just blackshark (dead bull gives you mince) Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • 2 weeks break after 2yrs of solid rugby 😯

  • Comment 5, posted at 23.10.08 05:38:48 by bryce_in_oz Reply


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