Super Rugby 2015: Round 12

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 30 Apr 2015 at 12:58
Tagged with : , ,

For the first time this year, the Sharks have a Friday match, knowing that at least we don’t have to wait all weekend to learn our fate!

Highlanders v Sharks (Friday 09h35)

The Sharks head to Dunedin this week, a venue that they haven’t been to in two years, but otherwise have a good record in. With other South African teams struggling at the Carisbrook “House of Pain”, the Sharks (or Natal as they were) always seemed to play well there, winning their first Super 10 match there in 1993 and going on to record a string of Super Rugby victories in later years too. In fact, the Sharks recorded four straight away victories over the Highlanders between 2004 and 2010. Since the Landers have moved to the new Forsyth Barr Stadium, though, the teams have only met once, with the home side emerging narrow victors in 2013.

Both teams come off a loss in their last game, but that’s where the similarity ends – the Sharks are all but out of contention and languishing tenth on the combined log, while the Highlanders are well position in 6th place with a game in hand over a number of the teams above them. In fact, it’s only the strength of the New Zealand conference that’s counting against Jamie Joseph’s side at the moment, since their log point tally would see them challenging strongly for top position in either of the other two conferences.

The Landers rested some stars for last week’s game against the Brumbies and duly came a-cropper; they’re back at full strength this week and will not lack for motivation, but the Sharks are also considerably stronger with Bismarck du Plessis, Stephan Lewies and JP Pietersen back and will be determined to continue their own upward trajectory. While the highlanders must start as certain favourites, the Sharks are likely to use the underdog tag to their advantage and always seem to save their best performances for games such as this when they start out all but written off.

With du Plessis back in tow – and two strong lineout locks – expect the Sharks to do much better at this phase than they have over the last few weeks. In fact, as we’ve been saying all year, the Sharks will need to build any victory on the back of a dominant forward display that has to start in the set piece. Once again, the kicking game needs to be sensible and accurate and much will depend on Fred Zeilinga’s ability to make his tactical kicks count. The Highlanders boast probably the most potent counter-attacking back three in the entire competition, so any sloppiness will be punished. It goes without saying that the defensive performance against the Bulls will need to be built on further, against a team that will ask far more difficult questions on attack.

I’m backing the Sharks to put in one of “those” performances tomorrow, with Bismarck and Marcell Coetzee ferocious at the breakdown, Renaldo Bothma and Willem Alberts dominant in the tackle and Beast and Lourens leading a dominant scrumming performance. The odds are going to be staked against them, but the Sharks are due a little luck and I’m backing them to come good this week, picking up a decent 8 point victory to get their tour off to a great start.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Richard Buckman, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (co-captain), 7 Dan Pryor, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Mark Reddish, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Kane Hames
Bench: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Brendon Edmonds, 18 Pingi Tala’apitaga, 19 Joe Latta, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Jason Emery

Sharks: 15. Odwa Ndungane, 14. S’bura Sithole, 13. JP Pietersen, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Fred Zeilinga, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Willem Alberts, 7. Renaldo Bothma, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Marco Wentzel (captain), 4. Stephan Lewies, 3. Lourens Adriaanse, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Bench: 16. Franco Marais, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Matt Stevens, 19. Mouritz Botha, 20. Etienne Oosthuizen, 21. Conrad Hoffmann, 22. Lionel Cronje, 23. Waylon Murray

In other games….

The Brumbies will be too strong at home for the Tahs and should win by 6.
The Blues will beat the Force by 9 in a game that’s unlikely to be worth watching.
The Hurricanes and Crusaders will play out a classic, with the 7-time champs blowing the New Zealand conference wide open with an unlikely 3-point win.
The Rebels will lose to the Chiefs, probably by 12.
The Cheetahs aren’t well-organised enough to beat the Stormers, so the the Cape side will probably pick up a 5-point win there; let’s hope for an exciting game.
The Bulls will probably pip the Lions by 2, the Loftus factor being enough to overcome the loss of a few forwards after a car crash last night. On that note, we wish Dean Greyling, Hencus van Dyk and Basil Short well as the recover from their minor injuries.


  • ja , cant see the Lions beating this amazing blue bulls team full of talent !! what a team !

  • Comment 1, posted at 30.04.15 13:00:18 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner
  • @Zibbie (Comment 1) : just for you, pal! Hope I’m wrong about that result.

    If we can’t win the conference, I’d like the Lions to.

  • Comment 2, posted at 30.04.15 13:02:32 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • If our defense holds this game will probably be won or lost due to tactical kicking. I’m almost of the opinion that we should only kick (while in play) to exit our own 22.

  • Comment 3, posted at 30.04.15 13:04:32 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 2) : there we go ! thanks . Please beat the clan so we can move ahead of them .

  • Comment 4, posted at 30.04.15 13:06:27 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner
  • And all looking forward to a big hullo and welcoming hug from John Plumtree.
    Shit he must be looking forward this encounter.

  • Comment 5, posted at 30.04.15 13:14:19 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    The hound
  • @The hound (Comment 5) : let’s worry about him next week, cos he doesn’t coach the Highlanders.

  • Comment 6, posted at 30.04.15 13:23:08 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • I like the shit you’re smoking with this prediction Rob. 😎

  • Comment 7, posted at 30.04.15 13:53:10 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby
  • @Spirit of Rugby (Comment 7) : I’m smoking 100% pure positivity, bud.

  • Comment 8, posted at 30.04.15 14:02:58 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 8) : I’m 100% positive you’re smoking bud…

  • Comment 9, posted at 30.04.15 14:08:14 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • Good note on the counter attacking back line. Now watch Cobus Reinach gift them ball and opportunity with his senseless and inaccurate kicks. I so wish he would go 1 game just playing his position and distributing the ball. Maybe Fred would have a better game if a he could dictate instead of Cobus.

  • Comment 10, posted at 30.04.15 14:11:06 by coolfusion Reply

  • @The hound (Comment 5) : Sorry where did I say he coached the Highlanders?
    I actually agree with your prediction but I have gone Sharks by 15 on my Bru.
    Hell six months ago this exact team on paper coming off a bye against the Highlanders would have been a no brainer.

  • Comment 11, posted at 30.04.15 14:53:09 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    The hound
  • But paper matters little. This same bulls team looked good on paper and could not perform, and now look at them.

  • Comment 12, posted at 30.04.15 18:33:39 by coolfusion Reply

  • I’m literally too afraid to get my hopes up. I will be watching but with a resignation of probably eating poo sandwich again. I much prefer watching Ozzie derbies (I loathe everything about the despicable kiwis), I suppose because then I have no dog in the hunt. It’s sad to be this way because I remember the way the Sharks used to be

  • Comment 13, posted at 30.04.15 18:56:42 by SeanJeff Reply
  • Haven’t made SB picks yet 😕
    I so desperately want to back the boys for a win… and in recent years wouldn’t have thought twice about picking them for a win against the Landers. But this year, I need to think about the R10 000 up for grabs in my SB pool.

  • Comment 14, posted at 01.05.15 09:10:20 by SharksRTB Reply


Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.