KSA Shark ©

Super 14 Gridlock

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Super 14 on 27 Apr 2009 at 07:01
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , ,

Here’s one thing we do know. If the Hurricanes keep winning, and do so with the style they showed on Saturday night, Colin Cooper’s men will top the Super 14 table and earn the right to stay at home come finals time.

Beyond that, though, it’s pretty much anyone’s guess as nine teams go into the final three weeks of the round-robin with a legitimate shot at the top four and a 10th – the ever-optimistic Highlanders – claiming they’re not even out of contention.

And there are some massive matchups looming, not the least the final-round clashes between the Sharks and Bulls in Durban and Blues and Crusaders in Auckland that have the potential to be straight-out elimination contests.

After yet another round peppered by upsets, with the Blues going down to the second-from-bottom Reds at home and the Crusaders failing to roll the wooden-spoon Cheetahs in Blomfontein, the situation at the top of the table has got even tighter.

Just seven points separate first from ninth and at this stage any one of those leading nine sides have a legitimate chance of making the top four.

But who will?

That, of course, is the $64,000 question and looking at the remaining schedule, none of the contenders have what might be called a sweetheart run home.

The Canes, who control their destiny now as the top team, host the Blues this week and will travel to the Chiefs – fresh off their South African sojourn – the week after that. Both are tricky contests with major ramifications.

They at least finish with a distinctly winnable home match against the Reds, though even then that has its banana skin factor, as the Blues found out to their cost at Albany on Saturday night.

By rights the Canes, who seem to be finding form at the right time and are poised to return Piri Weepu to starting duty, really should finish the job. They should have too much for the Blues to handle this weekend and will catch a jaded Chiefs outfit the week after that.

The Bulls could be the big dangers. They should win their next two, at home to the Force and Cheetahs, though will find their closer in Durban a much tricker proposition. That huge all-African affair could well decide which of the two claim a home semifinal spot.

The Chiefs are still well in the game, but must bounce back with a win this weekend against the Stormers in Cape Town. They’ll have to guts it out the following week against the Canes, but may get both Sitiveni Sivivatu and Lelia Masaga back for that match. Their home closer against the Brumbies looks the easiest of their last three.

The fourth-placed Sharks have three straight home matches to finish on and must fancy their chances of working into a higher slot.

But they’ll still be kept honest by a solid Highlanders side, the Waratahs who have their own ambitions and then the big Bulls outfit to finish.

The Blues will have to improve out of sight to have any chance in a tough finish. Put it this way, if they tackle like they did on Saturday at Albany, they can kiss their chances goodbye.

Somehow Pat Lam’s men must find a way to cool off the Canes on Friday in the capital, and on the back of that, roll either the Brumbies in Canberra or the Crusaders at home. Two out of three may not be enough for them, though if they keep picking up the bonus points (they now have 10 all told), who knows?

Of the rest, the Force, who have found some form at the right time of the year, have two tough matches in South Africa that could put the nail in their coffin; likewise the limited Tahs, except they’ve got three South African matches; and the Brumbies, well given the way they folded against the Hurricanes, it’s difficult to see them having the stickability over the run home.

That leaves the enigmatic Crusaders. Don’t be surprised if Todd Blackadder’s seven-time champion outfit find a backdoor entry to yet another playoff appearance.

They are going to have to come from deep, and really their form does not recommend them with all those grind-out wins and that disappointing defeat to the Cheetahs at the weekend.

But if they can get past the Lions in Johannesburg this weekend, they have a home match against the Reds before closing with that visit to the Blues. All three games are distinctly winnable if the Crusaders can somehow summon some form with ball in hand.

Injuries, as always, are going to play their part.

Again the Hurricanes are the best-placed of the Kiwis, with only loosie Karl Lowe (calf) on their doubtful list.

The Blues have all sorts of problems in their loose trio, with Jerome Kaino (knee), Josh Blackie (knee), Justin Collins (head knock) all under a cloud this week, with Chris Lowrey (ACL) definitely out. On the positive front, Ali Williams should be right for starting duty this week.

The Chiefs have had yet another shocking run with injury, and are badly missing Sivivatu, Masaga and Brendon Leonard (sternum). The former two may be back next week, with Leonard’s return date still not known. They also have some walking wounded from Pretoria, with key men Richard Kahui, Stephen Donald and Mils Muliaina all having to shake off knocks.

The Crusaders have been living with injuries all year, with Ben Franks, Corey Flynn and Casey Laulala all long-term absentees, but are probably as well-placed health wise as they have been throughout the campaign.

So to a prediction: who’s going to be in the top four.

Peering into the crystal ball, which in terms of the Super 14 always presents a cloudy picture, how about this for a top four?

Hurricanes, Bulls, Chiefs and Sharks, in that order, though it should be extremely tight in terms of final positions. That would leave the Crusaders top of the close-but-no-cigar list.

Here’s how the leading contenders finish the season:

Hurricanes (34): v Blues (h); v Chiefs (a); v Reds (a).

Bulls (33): v Western Force (h); v Cheetahs (h); v Sharks (a).

Chiefs (32): v Stormers (a); v Hurricanes (h); v Brumbies (h).

Sharks (31): v Highlanders (h); v Waratahs (h); v Bulls (h).

Blues (30): v Hurricanes (a); v Brumbies (a); v Crusaders (h).

Force (28): v Bulls (a); v Stormers (a); v Highlanders (h).

Waratahs (28): v Cheetahs (a); v Sharks (a); v Lions (a).

Crusaders (27): v Lions (a); v Reds (h); v Blues (a).

Brumbies (27): v Reds (a); v Blues (h); v Chiefs (a).

Courtesy of Marc Hinton – RugbyHeaven


  • This weekends fixtures.

    Hurricanes vs Blues (Canes)
    Auto & General Lions vs Crusaders (Saders)
    Vodacom Cheetahs vs Waratahs (Waratahs)
    Reds vs Brumbies (????)
    The Sharks vs Highlanders (Sharks)
    Vodacom Bulls vs Western Force (Bulls)
    Vodacom Stormers vs Chiefs (??????)

    The Reds brumbies outcome is difficult to predict but it has no REAL bearing on the Bulls and Sharks.

    The Stormers Chiefs match is one that will be watched with massive interest. The Stormers could do the Sharks and Bulls a HUGE favour by turning up for the game.

  • Comment 1, posted at 27.04.09 07:56:56 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 1) : they won’t. Chiefs will win with a bonus point

  • Comment 2, posted at 27.04.09 09:17:51 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Dont worry guys, we WILL do you a favour by beating the Chiefs.

  • Comment 3, posted at 27.04.09 09:54:29 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 3) :
    ‘sseblief tog!

  • Comment 4, posted at 27.04.09 10:42:29 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @wpw (Comment 3) :

    provided it ain’t the same type of favour as you did us in 2006 I think. Where the Bulls needed to beat you by 34 and they beat you by 35.

  • Comment 5, posted at 27.04.09 10:49:48 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 5) : no – they won by exactly 34 🙁

  • Comment 6, posted at 27.04.09 10:52:32 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 5) :
    Well to be honest we did’nt have a coach that year! 😉

  • Comment 7, posted at 27.04.09 10:54:50 by wpw Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 6) :

    Oh yeah that is true.

    That was the Stormers’ much revered “play possum” Game plan

  • Comment 8, posted at 27.04.09 10:58:41 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @wpw (Comment 7) :

    And what is different about this year? 😛

  • Comment 9, posted at 27.04.09 10:59:07 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @wpw (Comment 7) :

    Not much difference between an imposter with hair and an imposter without hair if you ask me. 🙄 😉

  • Comment 10, posted at 27.04.09 11:00:02 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 10) : they’re both pumpkins

  • Comment 11, posted at 27.04.09 11:06:17 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • I will make sure Oom Frikkie sends each of you a ‘letter’ by the end of the week. 😈

  • Comment 12, posted at 27.04.09 11:12:29 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 12) : Morning :mrgreen:

  • Comment 13, posted at 27.04.09 11:17:50 by Rahul Reply

  • @KSA Shark © : Whats 12 inches long and hangs in front of a [email protected]#t?

  • Comment 14, posted at 27.04.09 11:22:24 by Rahul Reply

  • @Rahul (Comment 14) :

    A lanyard attached to a ref’s whistle?

  • Comment 15, posted at 27.04.09 11:24:11 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 15) : Close… Rassie’s tie

  • Comment 16, posted at 27.04.09 11:26:18 by Rahul Reply

  • Sharks (31): v Highlanders (h); v Waratahs (h); v Bulls (h).

    Blues (30): v Hurricanes (a); v Brumbies (a); v Crusaders (h).

    Sharks and Blues have tough last 3!

  • Comment 17, posted at 27.04.09 11:28:50 by Rahul Reply

  • Hey, Why was there a crusaders player 23 on the field against the cheetahs?

  • Comment 18, posted at 27.04.09 11:30:44 by Rahul Reply

  • @Rahul (Comment 17) :

    As opposed to the Bulls only having a tough LAST match.

    We need to get BPs from our games or else even a win against them might not be enough to go ahead of them 🙁

  • Comment 19, posted at 27.04.09 11:31:32 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Rahul (Comment 18) :

    If a players jersey is damaged or too bloody it is replaced with a number greater than 22. usually 23 or 25

  • Comment 20, posted at 27.04.09 11:35:38 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Rahul
    Are you following me dude?? 🙄

  • Comment 21, posted at 27.04.09 11:36:38 by wpw Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 19) : Deja vu 🙄

    If only we got those bonus points earlier in the season!

  • Comment 22, posted at 27.04.09 11:37:34 by Rahul Reply

  • @wpw (Comment 21) : Nope, You only follow winners! 😈

  • Comment 23, posted at 27.04.09 11:38:17 by Rahul Reply

  • @wpw (Comment 21) :

    Are you trying to AVOID Rahul, for some unknown reason. 😆

  • Comment 24, posted at 27.04.09 11:39:05 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 20) : AH, I thought they had no number jerseys for that… or is that the old days 😳

  • Comment 25, posted at 27.04.09 11:39:14 by Rahul Reply

  • @Rahul (Comment 23) :

    Did you mean “Nope, I only follow winners”

  • Comment 26, posted at 27.04.09 11:41:43 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Rahul (Comment 25) :

    It used to be, but if you then have more than one jersey with no number it becomes a record keeping nightmare.

    All the player movements are recorded by # with the names added later if required.

    So a sub slip given to the 4th official will just say
    Player off: 11
    Player on 21

  • Comment 27, posted at 27.04.09 11:47:30 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 26) : something like that…. I meant people in general follow winners. I dont follow anyone…

  • Comment 28, posted at 27.04.09 11:48:44 by Rahul Reply

  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 20) : what’s wrong with 24?

  • Comment 29, posted at 27.04.09 11:51:26 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Rahul (Comment 28) :

    Oh okay. 😆

  • Comment 30, posted at 27.04.09 11:52:54 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @robdylan (Comment 29) :

    Nothing wrong with 24, i have just not noticed 24 on the field before, I have mostly noticed 23 and 25 for some reason.

  • Comment 31, posted at 27.04.09 11:54:02 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 31) : fair enough. Maybe the coach keeps 24

  • Comment 32, posted at 27.04.09 12:01:07 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 30) : Thanks for that LMS e-mail. Looking at it some people are only going to make 1 more weekend (no names mentioned Rob). Predators default picks are Sharks Bulls then Cheetahs so the best I can do is tie with him!

  • Comment 33, posted at 27.04.09 12:01:37 by Rahul Reply

  • @Rahul (Comment 33) : nah dude. Assuming the Lions manage to beat the Highlanders, I’m home and dry… well, a lot of people will be in the same boat, anyway – hoping the Cheetahs can beat the Stormers.

  • Comment 34, posted at 27.04.09 12:08:54 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 5) : Never rely on the Stormers for anything other than whatever it takes to royally screw the Sharks. 🙄

  • Comment 35, posted at 27.04.09 12:15:53 by klempie Reply

  • @Rahul (Comment 16) : ROFL!!

  • Comment 36, posted at 27.04.09 12:17:11 by klempie Reply

  • @Rahul (Comment 18) : That was McCaw if memory serves. Stands to reason. 😛

  • Comment 37, posted at 27.04.09 12:18:57 by klempie Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 35) : sage advice. You’ve been around for a while 🙂

  • Comment 38, posted at 27.04.09 12:19:37 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 19) : Exactly what I was saying on Saturday numpty. You were convinced that wasn’t the case. Thank goodness they didn’t get a BP this week. 😳

  • Comment 39, posted at 27.04.09 12:20:16 by klempie Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 34) : 😯

  • Comment 40, posted at 27.04.09 12:20:26 by Rahul Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 38) : Going back to my SharksRugby days. 🙂

  • Comment 41, posted at 27.04.09 12:21:07 by klempie Reply

  • I just finished filling in my 6 month performance appraisal. One of two chances during the year when I get to bullshit the boss and blow smoke up my own arse. What’s awesome is he always seems to give me the same rating. 😎

  • Comment 42, posted at 27.04.09 12:24:48 by klempie Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 37) : Thanks for mentioning Mccaw… How does he continually get to stay on the field when he is bleeding. He scored a try against the Sharks while contaminating the players. and again this week….. he was allowed to be treated (unsuccesfully) on the field holding up the entire game!!!!!

  • Comment 43, posted at 27.04.09 12:24:57 by Rahul Reply

  • @Rahul (Comment 43) : Hell I wouldn’t mind if Keegs got infected with whatever he’s carrying.

  • Comment 44, posted at 27.04.09 12:29:28 by klempie Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 44) : 😆

  • Comment 45, posted at 27.04.09 12:30:17 by Rahul Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 44) : anything that would add another 15 kgs…

  • Comment 46, posted at 27.04.09 12:40:55 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 46) : Ask KSA how he did it 😈

  • Comment 47, posted at 27.04.09 12:42:25 by Rahul Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 46) : Exactly. 😈

  • Comment 48, posted at 27.04.09 12:46:04 by klempie Reply

  • Who was responsible for that spear tackle and was he cited for it?

  • Comment 49, posted at 27.04.09 12:56:47 by Rahul Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 39) :

    You did?????????

    @Rahul (Comment 47) :

    Slimgat!!!!! 😀

  • Comment 50, posted at 27.04.09 13:05:40 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Rahul (Comment 47) : he he… classic 🙂

  • Comment 51, posted at 27.04.09 13:50:20 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Rahul (Comment 47) : jealousy makes you nasty 😉 😆 :mrgreen:

  • Comment 52, posted at 27.04.09 13:58:36 by KSA Sharkette Reply

    KSA Sharkette
  • @KSA Sharkette (Comment 52) :

    He doesn’t realise that the more shit he gives me (us) the more chance he has of sleeping on the verandah when he visits us. 😆

  • Comment 53, posted at 27.04.09 14:04:21 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©

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