Sharks holding most of the trump cards

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Cheetahs, Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 21 Oct 2011 at 13:44
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , , ,

The situation heading into Saturday’s first Currie Cup semi-final, between the Sharks and the Cheetahs, seems quite similar to the second one, where one of the teams has all the big-name players, but the other, arguably, the better overall form and cohesion.

Sharks fans will take much heart from the way their star-studded team finally seemed to click last week, handing the hitherto untouchable Lions a real drubbing in the process, but while the country’s various scribes obsess over the recent play-off history between these two teams, I feel that relative form coming into this encounter will play as much of a role. That measure, as mentioned, should slightly favour the Cheetahs, although they too have been almost as inconsistent over the course of the competition as the Sharks have.

Going through the line-ups and comparing opposing players like for like – while always an interesting exercise – seldom tells the whole story, especially since the Cheetahs have so many players who tend to punch above their weight in important knock-out games. That said, the Sharks would appear to shade their country cousins in most of the key positions: at hooker, Bismarck du Plessis trumps Adriaan Strauss (although not by as much as one might think), while Ryan Kankowski is bigger, faster and far more experienced than boom Prinsloo at number 8. Each side has a young scrumhalf, with Conrad Hoffmann slightly less wet behind the ears than Piet van Zyl, while Pat Lambie offers so much more at fullback than the somewhat limited big-boot-and-nothing-else of Hennie Daniller.

Flyhalf, of course, remains a conundrum. In anything other than a fairytale, 19-year-old Johan Goosen should not be able to hold a candle to the oh-so-experienced Fred Michalak, but there’s something about the young Free Stater that makes you think he may just emerge on top of this particular contest, just as he did in Bloemfontein some weeks ago, if the Frenchman chooses to bring out his Mr Hyde, rather than the Dr Jekyll that one man of the match against the Lions.

That said, the quickest way to ensure that a flyhalf plays no significant role in the game is to keep his forwards under the cosh and while the Cheetahs certainly have a useful pack, the Sharks will simply have to fail to pitch in a massive and collective way amongst the forwards in order for the Bloemfontein boys to achieve parity up front. This Sharks pack oozes experience, strength and class, with a good measure of that being how many of the Cheetahs starting 8 one would swap for his Sharks counterpart, if given the choice. Fully aware that I’m falling into the age-old “Jake White trap” here, I’ll say with confidence that there isn’t a single member of the Cheetahs pack that I would have starting for the Sharks tomorrow – ditto the bench.

The midfield, of course, presents an interesting challenge, in that the Sharks pair of Marius Joubert and Stefan Terblanche are hardly world beaters any more. That, I feel, shouldn’t present an insurmountable problem to overcome, since the Durbanites are likely to play a forward-based game anyway with most of the running done by the loose forwards and wings. With Andries Strauss in the defensive line, the Sharks would do well to find a different area to attack anyway, making it somewhat inconsequential who they have in the number 12 jersey!

Advantage Sharks, in other words, up front and out wide, with the Cheetahs having better centres and the half backs looking reasonably even. It’s ultimately going to come down to big match temperament, game plan and accuracy on the day and with just about all of the big guns in black and white, you simply have to back the Sharks for the win, probably a fair bit more comfortably than many would expect. I’m thinking around 7-10 points.

Do anything stupid, though – and that includes ill discipline – and the Cheetahs will be sure to capitalise through the metronomic boot of Goosen.

Sharks: 15 Patrick Lambie, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Stefan Terblanché, 12 Marius Joubert, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Conrad Hoffmann, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Keegan Daniel (captain), 5 Ross Skeate, 4 Jean Deysel/ Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Eugene van Staden, 18 Marcell Coetzee, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Ross Cronjé, 21 Adrian Jacobs, 22 Lwazi Mvovo.

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Ryno Benjamin, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Cameron Jacobs, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7 Ashley Johnson, 6 Pieter Labuschagne, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Philip van der Walt, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Marcel van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Johan Wessels, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Nico Scheepers.

Date: Saturday, October 22
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 14.30 (12.30 GMT)
Expected weather: Partly cloudy but no rain expected. Max 31° C Min 18° C, 20kph North Easterly wind
Referee: Marius Jonker
Assistant referees: Lesego Legoete, Marc van Zyl
TMO: JC Fortuin



  • Comment 1, posted at 21.10.11 14:33:08 by Poisy Reply
  • That loose trio of the Sharks will take some stopping. Always looks so much more balanced with Kanko AND Alberts there.

    Along with Bissie, Jannie and Beast, we should smother them. Should. Glaring weakness at 12/13/14.

  • Comment 2, posted at 21.10.11 14:35:53 by John Galt Reply

    John Galt
  • @John Galt (Comment 2) : 14? Atleast odwa can catch a ball! Doesn’t matter how explosive you are if you don’t catch the ball

  • Comment 3, posted at 21.10.11 14:38:21 by Poisy Reply
  • @Poisy (Comment 3) : agree

  • Comment 4, posted at 21.10.11 14:50:12 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • If the Sharks strangle the in the first half like we SHOULD, there are no reason why we cannot run away with the game in the second half.

    Go Sharks, go do the demolition job!

  • Comment 5, posted at 21.10.11 14:52:36 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • @Poisy (Comment 3) :
    Sorry not sure who you’re comparing Odwa to. Mvovo?

  • Comment 6, posted at 21.10.11 14:55:34 by John Galt Reply

    John Galt
  • @John Galt (Comment 6) : sbu sithole but even mvovo tends to knock on 2

  • Comment 7, posted at 21.10.11 15:02:35 by Poisy Reply
  • @John Galt (Comment 6) : Sbura?

  • Comment 8, posted at 21.10.11 15:03:42 by Ice Ice Bokkie Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Ice Ice Bokkie (Comment 8) : That was my guess as well 😛

  • Comment 9, posted at 21.10.11 15:06:54 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • If our pack dominates and Keegan is quick off the mark (which he usually is), he should hopefully be irritating Goosen throughout the match. Add to that the fact that Botes is no slouch either and we hopefully have a situation where Goosen is constantly on the back foot and hounded by our opensides. I don’t envy the guy 😀

    This will be a very good test of his BMT!

  • Comment 10, posted at 21.10.11 15:10:52 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • let’s all bear in mind that Odders himself has been quite prone to the odd “dropsy attack” in his time too…

  • Comment 11, posted at 21.10.11 15:11:25 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Poisy (Comment 7) : When we played the Cheetahs in Bloem, Mvovo was on fire. 😡

  • Comment 12, posted at 21.10.11 15:11:33 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • the Sharks cannot lose this game, no way! it’s like the All Blacks vs France. bismarck, alberts, deysel, lambie, michalak…if they lose it will be the ULTIMATE choke! 😀

  • Comment 13, posted at 21.10.11 15:13:39 by Megatron Reply

  • @Ice Ice Bokkie (Comment 8) :
    I was thinking along the lines of replacing Odwa with Mvovo.
    Cant remember the last time he dropped a howler. In fact last weekend, he showed awesome hands to finish off that one try he scored.
    I just think we need a bit more pace against the Cheetahs and Mvovo is an out and out strike winger.
    Especially with Stef and Marius at 12/13.

  • Comment 14, posted at 21.10.11 15:15:22 by John Galt Reply

    John Galt
  • @Megatron (Comment 13) :
    Correct. The ULTIMATE.

  • Comment 15, posted at 21.10.11 15:15:55 by John Galt Reply

    John Galt
  • @John Galt (Comment 14) : dude… Lwazi grassed two regulation passes against the Lions last week. I’m all for being supportive, but you’ve got to keep both eyes open when you watch the game, surely? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 16, posted at 21.10.11 15:18:11 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @beet (Comment 12) : yup he is awesome WHEN HE CATCHES THE BALL! I’d like him to be awesome more consistently

  • Comment 17, posted at 21.10.11 15:18:25 by Poisy Reply
  • @Megatron (Comment 13) : given the names on paper, I agree with you. Time for the Sharks to put this one to bed once and for all.

  • Comment 18, posted at 21.10.11 15:18:39 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @vanmartin (Comment 10) : On attack, I hope the roles and responsibilities are clearly defined so that we have the likes of Alberts, Deysel and B.du Plessis doing the primary ballcarrying into contact when the opposition defences are well set and the likes of Daniel, Kankowski and perhaps even Hoffman getting the ball when defenders have been sucked into rucks and there’s more space around the fringes. It will be lousy if the wires get crossed here, coz if they do click, this combo of carriers and runners could carve up even the world’s best D’s.

  • Comment 19, posted at 21.10.11 15:20:12 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @Megatron (Comment 13) : Agreed. Comparable in choking capabilities to the Kings! 😈

  • Comment 20, posted at 21.10.11 15:20:52 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 16) :
    What the hell was I watching then?
    I must have selective vision.

  • Comment 21, posted at 21.10.11 15:21:56 by John Galt Reply

    John Galt
  • Well I hope Odwa has a huge game.

    And it will be too good if MJ has a blinder. I imagine that every single Sharks fan incl myself is an MJ detractor at the moment.

  • Comment 22, posted at 21.10.11 15:25:36 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @John Galt (Comment 21) : well, it’s nice to always only see the good in what people so 🙂

  • Comment 23, posted at 21.10.11 15:26:47 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @beet (Comment 22) : that gets plus-two cos plus-one just won’t do 🙂

  • Comment 24, posted at 21.10.11 15:28:28 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 18) : there should be NO hesitation in your mind whatsoever chap! who do the tjeetahs have? a wet behind the ears rookie in johan goosen, pffft.

    the sharks should walk this.

  • Comment 25, posted at 21.10.11 15:36:06 by Megatron Reply

  • @vanmartin (Comment 20) : no way, this CHOKE will be visible from outer space, at the Tank, all the Boks back, well rested. no way!

    Sharks by 30 :mrgreen:

  • Comment 26, posted at 21.10.11 15:37:36 by Megatron Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 25) : you clearly think I was born yesterday?

    Listen, let’s be quite clear about this… which flyhalf looks good behind a beaten pack? Answer: no-one. So the key to this victory (as all others) is winning the battle up front. If the Sharks allow the Cheetahs parity in the contest for the ball, Goosen will stuff us.

  • Comment 27, posted at 21.10.11 15:38:12 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Megatron (Comment 25) : you trying to jinx us tron 👿 ave ukhohlakele kodwa

  • Comment 28, posted at 21.10.11 15:38:13 by Poisy Reply
  • @Poisy (Comment 28) : he’s a wiley old fox, is Megatron

  • Comment 29, posted at 21.10.11 15:40:21 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 29) : he’s just mad because the kings got a good old fashion klap by boland 😛

  • Comment 30, posted at 21.10.11 15:44:25 by Poisy Reply
  • @Poisy (Comment 28) : khohlakele, mina? 😯 hawu!

  • Comment 31, posted at 21.10.11 15:50:46 by Megatron Reply

  • @Poisy (Comment 28) : @robdylan (Comment 29) : i seriously can’t believe that you okes are approaching this game with so much trepidation…what happened to “You are Black, you are White, you are Dynamite”?

    is it because John Smit’s “aura” is not there anymore?

  • Comment 32, posted at 21.10.11 15:53:17 by Megatron Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 31) : ngathi uyingane ephika ukuthi ayiwudlanga ushukela kodwa kusele izimvuthu emlomeni 😛

  • Comment 33, posted at 21.10.11 15:53:33 by Poisy Reply
  • @Megatron (Comment 32) : :blush: eish

  • Comment 34, posted at 21.10.11 15:55:16 by Poisy Reply
  • @Poisy (Comment 34) : 😳

  • Comment 35, posted at 21.10.11 15:56:50 by Poisy Reply
  • @Megatron (Comment 32) :
    We are black, we are white, we are DYNAMITE!

    On a separate note, let’s not pretend that Lwazi has poor hands just to talk up Odwa. Lwazi is a machine – I hope he has been benched just because he is recovering from injury.

  • Comment 36, posted at 21.10.11 16:20:35 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Poisy (Comment 33) : 😆 mane ngiphike when i’m being accused.

  • Comment 37, posted at 21.10.11 16:24:06 by Megatron Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 37) : 😛 so you pulling a shaggy “it wasn’t me” 😀

  • Comment 38, posted at 21.10.11 17:01:15 by Poisy Reply
  • @Poisy (Comment 38) : indaba nina niyawesaba ama-Cheetahs yiko nje ningafuni ukumemeza, kanti ningama-supporter anjani.

    mina even if ayadliwa amaKings ngiyawaphakamisela.

    nina niphethe abo Lambie, Deysel, Alberts, Bismarck, Michalak kodwa nisacasha 😆 🙄

  • Comment 39, posted at 21.10.11 17:04:45 by Megatron Reply

  • Some sharks vs cheetahs stats for you guys, based on Currie Cup games played from 2003 onwards.

    Number of sharks/cheetahs meetings in this period:20. Of these, sharks have won 8, and cheetahs 12! 10 of these 12, however, came between the 2004 season, and week the first half of 2008, when the cheetahs were unbeaten against the sharks for 10 straight games! Since then, sharks have won 6, and cheetahs only 2. In this period, there has not been a draw between the two teams.

    Of these 20 games, 10 have been played in Durban, and each team has won 5 of these.
    Of the 10 played in Bloemfontein, cheetahs have won 7, with the sharks winning the other 3.

    When the sharks win, they do so by an average of 11 points. When they win at home, they do so on average by 12 points.

    When the cheetahs win, their winning margin is also 11 points. Their average away win, however drops to 9 points.

    Sharks last 5 games have yielded 4 wins, and 1 loss. At home, in the last 5 games, they have won 3 and lost 2.

    Cheetahs last 5 games have them winning 4, with 1 draw. Away, in their last 5, cheetahs have lost 2, and won 3. They do, however, have a 3 game away winning streak.

    Sharks and cheetahs have, in this period, met each other twice in semi finals. In Bloemfontein in 2006, and Durban 2009. Cheetahs won both of these.

    The referee for the day Marius Jonker, has refereed two meetings between these two, cheetahs winning both of those. In games against all opponents, Marius Jonker has reffed the sharks 3 times in total, 2 at home, 1 win, 1 loss, and once away, which they lost.

    He has reffed cheetahs, however, a whopping 19 times! 11 at home, and 8 away. Of those 11 home games, cheetahs won 6 of them. Of the 8 cheetahs away games reffed by Marius, cheetahs have come away as winners 5 times.

  • Comment 40, posted at 21.10.11 17:10:09 by Greg Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 39) : its called respecting the opposition 😛 and the difference is we will win the whole thing and the kings didn’t 🙂 hehehe uyaphapha tron making me feel bad for respecting cheetahs and asiwasabi futhi uyazi nawe

  • Comment 41, posted at 21.10.11 17:17:42 by Poisy Reply
  • Sharks will win ,we will hold them under the water and ravage them like the sharks we are ,it will be a shocking sight to see poor johan goosen smothered by the most powerfull ,strong forwards this country has to offer-alberts will first floor him like he did to taute ,then deysel will bounce him while handing off another player ,then bismarck will throw him arround and rough him up like bam bam from the flintstones (rip away the ball) finally either beast,kanko or jannie will finish him off …Then he can squeal and act for the camera like he did last time he got “injured” -btw you dont groan in pain when concused you black out -dont pull a soccer face

  • Comment 42, posted at 21.10.11 17:49:52 by Talent Reply
  • @Talent (Comment 42) : see, this is what i’m talking about TALENT! back your boys knahmsayin! :mrgreen:

    now this is a guppy with ballas!

  • Comment 43, posted at 21.10.11 23:13:59 by Megatron Reply

  • I don`t want to be over confident either. Maybe last weeks`s big win was not the right preparation for us.

    But if you compare the teams you can`t help thinking the Cheetahs will need a lot of luck to get a result here.

    Also, sportsbet have us up as favourites by around 9.

    The other semi will be a lot closer me thinks.
    WP might be favourites with their ” bok laden backline”, but that same backline could`t beat us last year with our less than spectacular center pairing.
    In the forwards wp only really have Tiaan, Brock and Schalla that will out shine the lions, so the lions should still be able to exert a lot of pressure.
    WP`s young fly-half will play in the biggest game of his life today, if his forwards struggle it could get ugly for him real quick.

    Neither one of these teams are used to results come finals time, who will handle the pressure better?

    WP are favourites by around 3 points on sportsbet.

  • Comment 44, posted at 22.10.11 08:21:55 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre

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