Much to gain – much to lose

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 2 Apr 2013 at 14:27
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

While losses sustained by both the Bulls and the Stormers over the Easter Weekend may have given the Sharks a little breathing space at the top of the South African Conference log, an unlikely new challenger, in the form of the Cheetahs, has emerged to ensure that Friday’s game against the Crusaders remains a must-win.

In winning their last four games on the trot, including three down under, Naka Drotske’s men have now surged into second place on the domestic log and can do untold damage in the coming weeks as they face the Stormers, Bulls and Sharks in quick succession. Should they win just two of those games, and the Sharks stumble over the next fortnight, don’t be too surprised to see the completely unexpected (and unprecedented) situation of the Cheetahs heading the South African Conference as the competition passes its halfway point.

Looking back at the Sharks, though, they really do have the ball in their own court at the moment and for long suffering fans such as yours truly, that can often seem like the worst possible position for this particular team to be in. How often in the past haven’t we seen the Sharks conspire to throw away what should be a comfortable buffer on the log by under-performing when they’re on top, only to mitigate, to an extent, by putting in a superb run once their backs are to the wall? One feel that if they are to capitalise on a relatively good start in 2013 – and finally go all the way in Super Rugby – that pattern will need to change, starting with Friday’s game.

A shocking statistic, though, that few Sharks fans will be aware of is that Friday’s opponents, the Crusaders, have only lost to the Sharks on three occasions in the history of Super Rugby (with one of those being a heavy loss in the first year of Super 12, 1996, when the side from Canterbury finished last). Since then (discounting an away draw in 1997, which remains the Sharks’ best ever result in Canterbury) the Sharks have recorded only two wins against the Crusaders, both in Durban, and by an aggregate margin of only 5 points. The visitors may well be without talismanic players in Dan Carter, Richie McCaw and Kieran Read for this clash, but by gum, if anyone doesn’t realise the extent to which the Saders have made the Sharks their “bunnies” in recent times, those number should correct that misconception.

The Sharks, in short, are going to be properly up against it on Friday, facing a team that has beaten them over and over and over again in this competition and knows how to do it again this year.

Any thoughts of complacency, then, due to a bloated winning margin over a frankly shocking Rebels outfit a fortnight ago will hopefully have been dispelled as these “wounded Crusaders” somehow managed to down the supposedly invincible Stormers in Cape Town. That result, coupled with the visitors’ own proud record in Durban, should hopefully stoke enough slumbering fires within the psyche of the Sharks squad to ensure a performance reminiscent of their work during last year’s play-offs, rather than the damp squib produced in their last “big clash”, against the Brumbies three weeks back.

After all, with a big away game against the Stormers next up, the Sharks simply cannot afford to lose this game.


  • Don’t forget one of those wins came from a Ruan Pienaar conversion in overtime.

    that also being a depleted Saders team at the time, with all the All Blacks being rested for the WC.

  • Comment 1, posted at 02.04.13 14:32:12 by Uli Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    Uli Boelie
  • @Uli – that was an awesome kick – remember it SO clearly!

  • Comment 2, posted at 02.04.13 14:50:34 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • Pienaar is class…anyway here is my team.

    1. Beast
    2. Cooper
    3. Jannie (Herbst has impressed)
    4. Pieter-Steph
    5. vd Merwe
    6. Botes
    7. Daniel
    9. Reinach/McLeod (neither have convinced)
    10. LAMBIE
    11. Mvovo
    12. Bosman (WHitehead at the 50min-60min mark)
    13. Jordaan
    14. Pietersen
    15. Ludik

    alternate loose trio would be 6. Daniel 7. Deysel 8 Kanko to add bulk…thoughts are welcome

  • Comment 3, posted at 02.04.13 15:00:13 by pienaar111 Reply

  • I remember that game now. Ndungane scored in the left corner. 2007
    Same year we had the final at home. Same year we also got klapped by the Brumbies at home by 20 something to 10. Sharks to dish up something special on friday. Got a good feeling 😀 😛 😛

  • Comment 4, posted at 02.04.13 15:08:07 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    West Indies Cricket Board
  • I think Friday is the perfect time to make it number 4. They have some talismanic players out and even though that didn’t have much effect against the Stormers they had a hard game they had to work hard to win. And there’s only a 6 day turnaround for them.

    There is no better time to go out and beat them.

  • Comment 5, posted at 02.04.13 15:09:04 by Butchie34 Reply
  • @Butchie34 (Comment 5) : But I’m concerned

  • Comment 6, posted at 02.04.13 15:11:07 by Butchie34 Reply
  • @West Indies Cricket Board (Comment 4) : But he also knocked it on with the line at his mercy earlier in the game.

  • Comment 7, posted at 02.04.13 15:11:45 by Butchie34 Reply
  • @West Indies Cricket Board (Comment 4) : Remember watching that game when I was living in NYC. Paid for and downloaded the game but had to wait until after work to start the download and watch.

    Got to see the Ndungane try at 3 in the morning. The NYPD arrived at 3:20 to investigate the noise complaint from the neighbours 🙂

  • Comment 8, posted at 02.04.13 15:13:47 by Butchie34 Reply
  • @pienaar111 (Comment 3) : We need Botes at the breakdown, we need the bulk of Deysel at 7, which leaves Daniel and Kanko for 8 – Both are very similar in style, so I’d go for Daniel to start as he is captain with Kanko on at the 50th min. with Daniel taking over from Deysel.

    It is a bit of a headache though, especially if Marcel is fit. We’ve got serious quality depth in the loosies.

  • Comment 9, posted at 02.04.13 15:19:30 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @Butchie34 (Comment 8) : epic 🙂

  • Comment 10, posted at 02.04.13 15:20:53 by Poisy Reply
  • @Butchie34 (Comment 8) : Awesome! 😀 funny how you remember where you were with some of the big games. I had just gotten married and my new father in law was visiting for the first time. I remember we were very nervous around each other back then, but after that Pienaar kick we were suddenly best mates 🙂

  • Comment 11, posted at 02.04.13 16:48:47 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    West Indies Cricket Board
  • @West Indies Cricket Board (Comment 11) : I was at my wife’s cousin’s wedding in stellenbosch, following the game on my phone. It was an old Nokia e70 or something like that…. not the simplest thing to do

  • Comment 12, posted at 02.04.13 17:14:28 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 12) : hell that was a lekker season until THAT day….

  • Comment 13, posted at 02.04.13 17:28:54 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    West Indies Cricket Board
  • @pienaar111 (Comment 3) :

    v/d Merwe has been poor for the Sharks. Jandre Marais is a better option, play Steph at 5. There is not enough grunt in your loosies. Botes ahead of Coetzee, no way. I’d include Deysel at 7 if he is fit, you need grunt against the Saders.

    I’d play Frans at 12 ahead of the average Bosman. There was no need for the Sharks to point fingers at Frans. The whole Sharks side was poor against the Kings and Brumbies.

  • Comment 14, posted at 02.04.13 17:29:06 by Saffex Reply

  • Sharks should expect to win this. Not saying that it will be easy, but if we lose, there should be repercussions – not excuses.

  • Comment 15, posted at 02.04.13 17:34:23 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • I don’t see us winning this one – but I have been wrong many a time before and in thise instance I wouldn’t mind at all.

  • Comment 16, posted at 02.04.13 18:15:55 by The Sharks Sharkie Reply
    The Sharks Sharkie

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