A final in itself

Written by Pierre McLeod (pierre_mackie)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 22 Jul 2014 at 12:48
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

The Cell C Sharks qualified for the semi-finals of this years Super Rugby competition after beating the Highlanders 31 – 27 at Kings Park on Saturday.

The team from Durban could not have asked for a better start to their 2014 campaign as they topped the log from round 1, having only dropped to second place in Round 3 due to having a bye, but then moving back to no 1 after beating the Lions in Round 4.

The Sharks’ campaign took a slight knock when they lost to the Stormers on returning from their Australasian tour in Round 15, having beaten the Rebels, Crusaders and Blues, they lost to an out of form Stormers side in Durban.

As their New Zealand and Australian counterparts returned to Super Rugby action after the June Incoming Tests Series, the Sharks slipped to second on the log, and even further (3rd) when they lost to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein when the South African teams returned in Round 18.

The Sharks showed some good character and gave themselves some much needed momentum when they beat the Stormers, and many could say against the odds, at Newlands a fortnight ago, which set them up for a quarter final against the Highlanders in Durban.

The Sharks might not have played the most exciting rugby to date and in some instances scrapped through by “the skin of their fins”, but they have made it this far. Not many gave them a chance against the Stormers, or against the Highlanders, and as in 2012 and against all odds they have made it through to the semi-finals.

One positive the Sharks have done is to go back to the basics and playing to their strengths. All the kicking does not add up to just aimless kicking down field even if it seems that way. The Sharks are big into their positional play, getting into their opponents 22 before breaking them down with their big strong forwards.

We have seem it against the Stormers and more recently on Saturday when they took the Highlanders apart with their forwards. We have always pointed fingers at the senior players and accusing them of not putting their hands up when it counted, but that surely has changed in the last two games.

Jake White can feel confident in his pack of forwards and even his replacements that came on the field on Saturday gave a mammoth effort. Looking at the last two games it seems like they playing with a more direct plan, their execution on the field might not always go according to plan, but they’ve been on the money these last two weeks.

The Sharks always look their best when they dominate all areas of the game, and at their most dangerous when they get quick ball to their backs from the breakdown.

The semi-final against the Crusaders on Saturday will be like a final in itself.

The question still begs, can the Sharks beat the Crusaders twice in a season at Christchurch? Can the Sharks do the nearly impossible? We will have to wait un till 9:35am (SA time) on Saturday for the answer to so many questions.


  • Dam it, its only Tuesday and my butterflies are already here.

  • Comment 1, posted at 22.07.14 12:53:54 by Uli Boelie Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    Uli Boelie
  • We will need to play complete rugby this saturday.We will have to score a try or two.Lets add onto our physical forward-orientated game plan and run the ball a bit when we are in their half but play it safe in our own.Thats our only chance.

  • Comment 2, posted at 22.07.14 12:58:05 by tigershark Reply

  • Well of course we can! But everyone is going to have to be at 100% Good luck boys! Let’s go make history again!

  • Comment 3, posted at 22.07.14 12:58:39 by PTAShark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @tigershark (Comment 2) : the game plan wont change for sat, its worked for them this season and Jake wont go change with it now.

  • Comment 4, posted at 22.07.14 13:09:04 by pierre_mackie Reply
  • @pierre_mackie (Comment 4) : Im not saying change the plan, just add a little to it or else we will loose.The guys look scared to run the ball when we were 10 meters out from the tryline.They need to run it with a bit of confidence when we get close.

  • Comment 5, posted at 22.07.14 13:17:33 by tigershark Reply

  • Go SHARKS!!! Lets’s hope the whole country is behind THE BEST TEAM EVER!!! Starting to get nervous already. I’m sure the rest of you guys on this site are getting nervous too!

  • Comment 6, posted at 22.07.14 13:38:21 by [email protected] Reply

  • The game was good practise for the semi and hopefully the final.

    We know how to play knockout rugby, and the Highlanders also forced us to score tries and come from behind too. The final quarter was one of the best we’ve played in a while.

  • Comment 7, posted at 22.07.14 13:41:10 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 7) : Last year under Plum we would have lost that game.We are now starting to win the important ones.

  • Comment 8, posted at 22.07.14 13:49:30 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    The hound
  • @The hound (Comment 8) : No we wouldnt have. Plum only lost once to the Landers and that was in Dunedin – he never had the misfortune of losing to them in Durban

  • Comment 9, posted at 22.07.14 14:31:39 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 9) : Ya agree with you, Plum sucked a few times especially last year when everything unravelled for him, but Prior to last year the Highlanders would never have come close to beating us like they did this weekend. Great rugby played by the forwards, with lambie back in the 10 and frans in 12 and hopefully charl in the 9 (reinach in the 21 lol)our backs will look as dangerous as they did at the start of the season. A complete game is definitely what is needed. One where the forwards and backs play as one powerful unit. Just like the sharks boasted the return of key figures in their second encounter with the landers at home, the Saders boast the return of Carter and Read in there second encounter at home against us. Will we fall like the landers did or will we rise to the occasion in a similar fashion as last time around? Like Pierre says, We all have to wait for Saturday, 9:35 to find out, EISH VIBY MY BRU

  • Comment 10, posted at 22.07.14 14:42:38 by Stiko85 Reply

  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 9) : This is probably the best Highlanders team ever,they did what the Cheetahs did last year.This Highlanders team could beat any one on anyday,so I would factor that in.
    This Sharks team has a self belief that has not been there for years,and it is an even bet that they will take out the Crusaders.I get the feeling that the Sharks really believe that they can win,that was never there under Plum.

  • Comment 11, posted at 22.07.14 15:03:53 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    The hound
  • Here is hoping the Sharks can emulate the Bokkies and beat the Kiwi twice in their own backyard.

  • Comment 12, posted at 22.07.14 15:22:04 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Stiko85 (Comment 10) : you know it 😉 😆

  • Comment 13, posted at 22.07.14 15:24:16 by pierre_mackie Reply
  • @The hound (Comment 11) :
    I’d agree with that. That Highlanders team is badly under-rated and will be a force next year again.

  • Comment 14, posted at 22.07.14 15:33:32 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @The hound (Comment 11) : Yes its a pretty good Highlanders team but with that scrum they are going nowhere. The Sharks on the other hand are also damn strong this year and should not have needed to only be able to win the game in the last 3 minutes. These Highlanders have our number but they have also taken some big hammerings on their side of the world.

    Have you forgotten the Sharks of 2012, we came back to play in the final from 6th on the log and travelling the world every odd weekend. Those guys surely had the will, if not the legs, to win.

  • Comment 15, posted at 22.07.14 16:37:00 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • I’d like to throw in this bit of “good omen” trivia:
    The previous time Germany won a soccer world cup was in 1990…I don’t have to remind anyone that that was the year that Natal won the Currie Cup for the first time…
    Germany just won the soccer world cup again…and the Sharks will win the Super Rugby trophy for the first time?

  • Comment 16, posted at 22.07.14 18:02:07 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • @pastorshark (Comment 16) : You read it here first… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 17, posted at 22.07.14 18:03:23 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • @pastorshark (Comment 16) : Also in 2012 when we were on our way to Brisbane from 6h place to play a very strong Reds team with Genia and Cooper in really top form all the Bookies and pundits gave us 0 chance! and what did we do? we thrashed them only to repeat the feat in Cape Town the very next week, against a strong Stormer side who had been rested. The omens are very good indeed. Let everyone write us off!

  • Comment 18, posted at 23.07.14 08:22:03 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 18) : I like the way you think… 😀 And I like the fact that we have little to lose!

  • Comment 19, posted at 23.07.14 11:30:43 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • @tigershark (Comment 2) : I agree with you. If we can not beat them convincingly with tries it shall not happen.
    I have seen too many NZ vs SA games to be optimistic about this one. SARU really let us down here. With all the officials coming from NZ and this being their only team in the finals??? How did they allow this??? If a NZ joker can drop us out of the RWC, then pretend to have a bad day and then be awarded the referee of the year award then is says it all, does it not.
    If this game comes to 50/50 calls we are out of it. Mark these words: a close game shall go their way via the ref. Watch for stupefying calls this week.

  • Comment 20, posted at 23.07.14 22:21:02 by KILLER SHARK Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
  • @KILLER SHARK (Comment 20) : my sentiments as well. Where on this planet in a knock out stage in any sport do you find a home boy ref,get real,have we all lost our senses ,and the Sharks accept this,eish

  • Comment 21, posted at 23.07.14 23:24:45 by benji Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld

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