A massive opportunity

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Bulls, Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 2 Sep 2010 at 09:00
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The Sharks are heading into potentially very dangerous territory this weekend when they play the Blue Bulls at Loftus – and strangeley enough, the danger has very little to do with the team that they will face on the park.

The real danger stems from the fact that, no matter what the result is in this or any other match, the Sharks will still be in top spot at the end of the round. Their 7-point gap over Western Province cannot be overtaken within a single round and the inevitable sense of complacency that might just creep into the minds of the Sharks squad as a result is a real danger. This weekend is not so much about the consequences of losing at Loftus. It is about the massive opportunities that a win will open up.

We all know that the Sharks look very strong right now, while the Bulls and more recently Province have struggled. The teams who contested the Super 14 final have had to give up a plethora of quality players to the national side and it’s no secret that, come play-off tie, their squads will be bolstered considerably. For the Sharks, the challenge is to press home their advantage as hard as they can while they have the opportunity, in order to contest that inevitable play-off on the most favourable terms possible. While the first goal will be to secure home ground advantage for themselves by virtue of a first-place finish, the prospect of seeing the Bulls have to travel or, better still, miss out on the play-offs altogether is enticing. The latter is, though, far more possible than any of us may have dared hope. As long as the Sharks win at Loftus – and win well.

The Blue Bulls have a pretty ugly set of games coming up. After this weekend’s challenge, they need to travel to Bloemfontein, before taking on the Lions at Loftus in one of those derby games that could see anything happen. A tricky trip to Kimberley and a home game against a Province side who, by that stage, may similarly be playing for their lives leave the Bulls with their away game against the Leopards as the only one they can be assured of winning. The Sharks need to really put the boot in this weekend and hope that the Cheetahs can do something similar in the next round. That would be three losses in a row for the Bulls and a statistic of 4 wins from their first 11 games, leaving them with a mountain to climb in order to secure a play-off berth. A further loss to any of the Lions, Province or Griquas might just knock them out of contention altogether.

The Sharks need to have a sober look at their own fixture list, though, with most of the big guns still to be faced away from home. The trip to Nelspruit will be tough, but manageable, but it’s the away fixture against the Lions that represents the biggest potential banana peel – we don’t have a great record in Joburg in the Currie Cup. The Cheetahs at home should be manageable, as should the Leopards and should things go our way, we may just be able to go into the final game – an away fixture at Newlands – able to engineer a result that gives us our pick of opponents in the semi-finals. Once again, though, in order for the Sharks to have that sort of luxury by the time Province and the Bulls have their best players back, we need to make sure we keep our foot firmly on the gas now and pick up all the points that are on offer. While it’s a wonderful thing to have Beast and Bismarck with us, we also mustn’t forget that they will probably disappear from next week, to join the contracted Springbok group’s conditioning program.

Looking to this weekend’s game, though – and given that rugby matches are won or lost up-front – I feel the Sharks will need to play very poorly indeed to lose to the Bulls side that has been named. The Bulls simply do not have a counter for Bismarck du Plessis, Beast Mtawarira or Willem Alberts anywhere in their pack and if the Sharks stick to the asme game that has worked for them in the past few weeks, those key match-ups should definitely swing the game in their favour.


  • I’d much rather play any other team in the play-offs than the Cheetahs 👿

  • Comment 1, posted at 02.09.10 09:07:00 by Jarson Reply
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  • Ya we really will hav 2 play bad 2 lose. Lets keep our momentum going. Go sharks!

  • Comment 2, posted at 02.09.10 09:12:29 by RuckingFun Reply

  • @Jarson (Comment 1) : its going 2 b really close 4 that no. 4 position

  • Comment 3, posted at 02.09.10 09:16:47 by RuckingFun Reply

  • i will be in cape town the weekend of that final game. i am seriously thinking of going.

  • Comment 4, posted at 02.09.10 09:18:52 by try time Reply

  • Well said Rob. Complacency is a very real danger for us now. We all know we`ve got the advantage now and need to capitalize but would the team come through for us?

    Complacency cost us lots of times in the past, I cast my mind back to the CC semi in Dbn last year where people didn`t even turn up to watch the match in anticipation of the final next week . . .

    The Sharks need to open up a clear gap now so that when we face WP at Newlands with all their bokke, it won`t be a matter of life or death just bragging rights . . . :mrgreen:

  • Comment 5, posted at 02.09.10 09:21:35 by Original Log Leader Reply
    Original Pierre
  • Complacency has alway been one of the Sharks worst enemies.

  • Comment 6, posted at 02.09.10 09:22:56 by lostfish Reply
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  • @Original Log Leader (Comment 5) : Maybe the people didnt show up because they knew the Sharks would lose 😈

  • Comment 7, posted at 02.09.10 09:26:45 by Jarson Reply
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  • Go Bulls. 😉 😈

  • Comment 8, posted at 02.09.10 09:41:30 by McLovin Reply

  • Go Sharks !!! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 9, posted at 02.09.10 09:50:45 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • I think that it was a blessing that we lost the 1st game to Griquas, it served as the wake up call we needed to arriving at every game ready to play!

    But, a wounded Bull is a dangerous Bull! This is going to be a cracker game!

  • Comment 10, posted at 02.09.10 09:58:37 by Mole Reply

  • I am SO looking forward to this game!!

  • Comment 11, posted at 02.09.10 10:01:58 by war1 Reply
  • @lostfish (Comment 6) : Some would say arrogance is a better word to use 😀

  • Comment 12, posted at 02.09.10 10:07:45 by Greg Reply

  • @Greg (Comment 12) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 13, posted at 02.09.10 10:27:22 by wpw Reply
  • Okay not SO far off the subject but, can anyone tell me what the old CC league trophy was called?

    There used to be a trophy that you got for winning the league stage and then the real CC was won by the play-off winner.

    This was the case when I was a young whippersnap, and that is faaaaaar back I can’t remember that far back.

  • Comment 14, posted at 02.09.10 10:37:09 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 14) : I can’t remember that there were two trophies. What I do remember was that the team placed second in the league stage went to the home ground of the team who topped the table in the B section, in a ‘semi final’. This was the only semi played. The winner of that game played the team who topped the CC log. If it was the B section team who got through, they hosted the final. If it was the A section team who won, the final was played at the home ground of the A section log leader.

  • Comment 15, posted at 02.09.10 10:47:45 by Greg Reply

  • @Greg (Comment 15) :

    Yeah I remember that bit, In the mid 80s the OFS were involved in a CC semi against Natal (I think) and lost, thus setting up the CC final between the two league winners of the two divisions.

  • Comment 16, posted at 02.09.10 10:50:47 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 14) : Sport Pienaar trophy

  • Comment 17, posted at 02.09.10 10:51:36 by war1 Reply
  • @war1 (Comment 17) : I remember the Sharks won it in 2002 after topping the log then losing to the bulls

  • Comment 18, posted at 02.09.10 10:52:27 by war1 Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 16) :


  • Comment 19, posted at 02.09.10 10:53:30 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @war1 (Comment 17) :

    Nope that wasn’t it. I think it was an english name.

  • Comment 20, posted at 02.09.10 10:54:49 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @war1 (Comment 17) : Sport Pienaar trophy was a lower competition, one down from the CC B section

  • Comment 21, posted at 02.09.10 11:00:04 by Greg Reply

  • @Greg (Comment 21) : I’m not making this up, the Sharks got the Sport Pienaar trophy in 2002 for topping the Currie Cup log, unless the article I read got it wrong

  • Comment 22, posted at 02.09.10 11:02:49 by war1 Reply
  • @war1 (Comment 22) : Could well be, I remember the sport pienaar from the 80’s though, which was just below the B section CC

  • Comment 23, posted at 02.09.10 11:14:23 by Greg Reply

  • @Greg (Comment 23) : It’s a tough thing to find on google, you keep getting steven pienaar articles 😆

  • Comment 24, posted at 02.09.10 11:18:39 by war1 Reply
  • @war1 (Comment 24) : Yeah, I tried too, got a fair amount of Francois Pienaar hits 🙄

  • Comment 25, posted at 02.09.10 12:23:57 by Greg Reply

  • It wouldn’t be far-fetched to suggest that the Bees Roux incident could have been a big reason for the Bulls’ poor showing against the Pumas.

    However, this week they’ve stayed out of the media and out of the public eye, which probably means they’re pretty much only focussed on Saturday’s game.

    If we’re even the slightest bit complacent we’ll get our asses kicked.

  • Comment 26, posted at 02.09.10 12:47:48 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby
  • Team is out guys…

  • Comment 27, posted at 02.09.10 13:25:52 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 27) : I’m on it

  • Comment 28, posted at 02.09.10 13:32:23 by war1 Reply
  • @war1 (Comment 28) : or not

  • Comment 29, posted at 02.09.10 13:37:02 by war1 Reply
  • Go Sharks!!!! 😀 😀 😀

  • Comment 30, posted at 02.09.10 19:13:16 by The Sharks Sharkie Reply
    The Sharks Sharkie
  • @war1 (Comment 22) :

    No i’m not doubting that is what you read, but the trophy had an English name, Something like the DW Geddy trophy or something like that.

  • Comment 31, posted at 02.09.10 19:16:01 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©

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