robdylan

Another huge challenge


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 16 Apr 2012 at 09:37
Tagged with : , , ,

The Sharks have arrived back in Durban in one piece after a mostly-successful four-match tour down under that yielded 11 points in total. Time to rest and reflect, though, they will not have, with new log leaders the Chiefs rolling into town this week.

Numerous adjectives can, of course, be used to describe the new Super Rugby competition – “bloated” is one that comes to mind, “boring” another, especially when Aussie derbies take centre stage – but the one that comes to mind at this point is “unrelenting”, with only the two bye weeks offering teams and players any possibility of respite in horribly long season that offers little in the way of easy games.

For the Sharks, two defeats on tour have kept the pressure on and having already lost four times in eight starts, there simply isn’t any room for error left. Simply put, if the team still hopes to deliver on the home semi-final which, we believe, might be the only thing to keep John Plumtree his job, they cannot afford to drop any more games, and certainly none at home. The Bulls and Stormers have both opened up big leads at the head of the South African conference and for the Durbanites to challenge them, they need to start racking up home wins while their local opponents (hopefully) take strain on tour.

The problem, though, is that despite a reasonable haul of points from a tour that at one stage looked to be going a little pear-shaped, the Sharks really aren’t playing particularly good rugby at the moment. Had the referee and the Blues not coincidentally both had shocking days at the office on Friday, they could well have found themselves further down the log than their current 8th spot. In fact, about the only really good performance of the tour was against the Waratahs, where the Sharks looked like title contenders for the opening 50 minutes, before going down agonisingly at the end. Apart from the atrocious performance against the Hurricanes, both the bonus-point victories achieved on tour were more about blood, guts and a little bit of luck than they were about dominant, well-constructed play.

The Sharks, though, find themselves handily placed, with a run of six home games (and two away derbies) to come and that, in itself, might work to their disadvantage this weekend. Based on form and form alone, few would give them much hope of beating the Chiefs, unless that peculiar Sharks breed of desperation should kick in and inspire them to a great team performance. The problem is, they’re unlikely to be desperate enough this weekend, given the slight reprieve that the Blues win has bought for the team and the coaches.

The spoils of victory would be huge, though and could set the tone for an impressive finish that could, literally, see the team rocket up the standings, with first place overall not out of site by any means. With my hand on my heart, though, I honestly wish I could say I feel even a little bit confident about that scenario playing itself out over the coming months.


13 Comments

  • The Bulls and Strormers only lead by 3 if you take into account that they already had a bye. We are lacking in the points difference department though.

  • Comment 1, posted at 16.04.12 10:01:02 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Comment 1) :

    Yes, but they have played one game less than us though..

  • Comment 2, posted at 16.04.12 10:10:47 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • This Sharks team has the potential to be the best, not only in SA, but the whole tournament, yet we lie in a lucky 8th spot!

  • Comment 3, posted at 16.04.12 12:21:04 by Die Kriek Reply

     
  • As i have said before the chiefs are looking good.They play for one another and they are a close group as i saw last week.The sharks need to stop worrying bout individual play and focus on building the motions as a unit,hunt as a unit and finish the game off as a unit

    On another note the sharks have always suprised at home and still dominate so at least we can expect the guys to lift their game at kings park.The sharks have the perfect oppurtunity to climb up the ladder and get valuable wins.Also we are getting back key players so it could be a good thing if we can maintain momentum.

  • Comment 4, posted at 16.04.12 13:05:08 by shaniboi Reply

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  • @shaniboi (Comment 4) : Who are we getting back? Kankow and Beast?

  • Comment 5, posted at 16.04.12 13:31:53 by Original Pierre Reply
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  • The Sharks will have to pull something special out the bag if they want to beat the Chiefs. If they play the way they did against the Blues they are in for a huge hiding. The Blues are rubbish this year and I wouldn’t get too excited about the win. Take the travel factor into consideration and it’s going to take a small miracle for the Sharks to be victorious this weekend.

  • Comment 6, posted at 16.04.12 15:07:05 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Original Pierre (Comment 5) :

    I suppose you could add Skeate to that list.

  • Comment 7, posted at 16.04.12 15:07:48 by Pokkel Reply
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  • Just saw that the Chiefs share the best defensive record in S15 2012 with Stormers.

    This is going to be a tough game. Sharks will have to throw everything including the kitchen sink

  • Comment 8, posted at 16.04.12 15:23:42 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @Original Pierre (Comment 5) : beast is looking monsterishly big…so maybe the injury did him wonders..can’t wait to see him play again..let’s hope kanko has had a hard look at his peformances and rectified his general play..

  • Comment 9, posted at 16.04.12 15:25:05 by shaniboi Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 8) : isn’t the chiefs top try scorer that timololo..the front rower?

  • Comment 10, posted at 16.04.12 15:27:50 by shaniboi Reply

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  • @Original Pierre (Comment 5) : Kanko who? 😈

  • Comment 11, posted at 16.04.12 15:30:23 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @Rich (Comment 2) : You are correct 😳

  • Comment 12, posted at 16.04.12 15:37:05 by JarsonX Reply
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  • For quite some time the Chiefs had the knack of kicking off their campaigns fairly good. And then falling away horribly by the middle of the tournament.

    At this stage, they are still looking pretty sharp, but can their slump maybe just step in for 80minutes this Saturday? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 13, posted at 17.04.12 09:13:32 by JustPlainSHARK Reply

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