Plenty of exciting one-on-ones at Loftus tomorrow

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Bulls, Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 17 Mar 2016 at 11:18
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Rugby is a team sport, of course and in order to win, every member of the match 23 needs to do their bit and work together. While individual contests between directly opposing players seldom turn out to be quite as important in match situations as you’d think they would be, it is nevertheless interesting to have a look at some of these match ups ahead of tomorrow night’s game at Loftus between the Bulls and the Sharks.

Here are the individual contests that I feel the Sharks simply have to win in order to taste success in Pretoria:

The scrum contest will be an interesting one, with Boks aplenty across both front rows (and poor Kyle Cooper the only uncapped player in either side’s starting unit). Lourens Adriaanse, in his first start of the year, comes up against another Springbok second stringer in Trevor Nyakane in a tussle that I feel is likely to set the tone in this set-piece war. The Sharks man has looked very good so far this season as a replacement and will want to prove to the coaching staff that he’s every bit as good as regular starter Coenie Oosthuizen. Nyakane – he of the dancing feet – is an important secondary ball-carrier for his team too and if Adriaanse can sap his strength during the scrum contest, that could well work to the visitors’ advantage.

Etienne Oosthuizen is a player who is really stepping up this year, with a massive work-rate on defence and in the tight loose suggesting that the tight lock position is the one in which he should settle for the future. He comes up against a highly-rated young player in RG Snyman, but one who is perhaps more familiar with the number 5 jersey and is thus a little wet behind the ears as an enforcer. If Oosthuizen can dominate Snyman physically (and do the same with equally young-and-huge Jason Jenkins later on), the Sharks would feel they have the upper hand in the tight five contest.

Daniel du Preez comes up against Arno Botha, who is hands down the best player in a still-developing Bulls loose trio. The Sharks man has made a fine start to his Super Rugby career, but is developing a rather concerning individual error rate of late and needs to really focus on tightening up his accuracy. He’ll be playing without his twin brother for the first time this year and Daniel will have to take a big step up in order to keep the Bulls’ Bok in check.

I’ll not dwell much on the halfback contest, because I think it’s assumed that the team whose 9 and 10 best control the game is the one that will win. At inside centre, though, we have a potentially fascinating match up between two of the best young 12s in the local game. Andre Esterhuizen has been a crucial part of the Sharks’ strong defensive game this year and is improving steadily on attack. Bulls man Burger Odendaal was one of the key finds for them in Currie Cup last year and is able to make audacious breaks if given even an inch to work with. Expect to see some really big hits in this channel, with Esterhuizen once again tasked with shutting down threatening backline moves before they start. He’ll look to rush in, but if Burger manages to get past him, there’s no way the Sharks’ battleship is going to turn in time to catch him.

Both set of wingers should have an interesting time of it as well. JP Pietersen v Bjorn Basson is likely to be a battle waged in the air, with the taller Sharks man needing to be on his toes against the agile Bull. This one could be turned on its head, though, should Pietersen get ball in space, because Basson showed in his last outing that he’s not always the most effective of tacklers in a one-on-one situation. Expect sparks to fly on the other side as Lwazi Mvovo and Jamba Ulengo go head to head. These are two very similar players in many ways – quick and strong and very elusive when on the run. Will Mvovo’s 8 years or so of additional experience prove telling, or will the younger man show that the next generation’s time is here and now?

Bring it on, this is going to be a classic!


  • Our bench has a little more firepower amongst the forwards compared to theirs. That may become crucial.

  • Comment 1, posted at 17.03.16 11:33:14 by vanmartin Reply
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  • Im very excited because the Bulls-Sharks match is special each year. But I dont think we should give this bulls team too much respect. a 25 point hiding wont be the biggest surprise of the season. Just look at the starting lineups.
    😈 😈 😈
    This is not a war any more than there’s a war between men and maggots… This is an extermination.

  • Comment 2, posted at 17.03.16 11:33:41 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 1) : Keegan Daniel v Nic de Jager. 😀

  • Comment 3, posted at 17.03.16 11:39:37 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : I’m not trying come off as over-confident here seeing that this team is a Sharks’ banana peal of note but yes, enough said with that statement.

  • Comment 4, posted at 17.03.16 11:47:46 by vanmartin Reply
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  • We must be careful not to be over confident, this is a Bulls side full of potential who have not yet clicked this season, it could happen on Saturday. This is going to be a war and I am sure most teams will agree, going to Loftus is never ever easy. This will be a close game.

  • Comment 5, posted at 17.03.16 12:02:00 by Vonno13 Reply
  • @Vonno13 (Comment 5) : Congrats you win the Yellow jersey ,first guy to post the caution don’t get over confident post that gets regurgitated every week on this board.

  • Comment 6, posted at 17.03.16 12:09:27 by The hound Reply
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  • I posted something like this in your other post Rob

  • Comment 7, posted at 17.03.16 12:28:46 by duncanbetteridge Reply

  • @The hound (Comment 6) : Bud, to my mind, I am simply stating the obvious. The same guys saying we will give the Bulls a hiding, will be the ones complaining how shit the Sharks are should we lose. Beating the Bulls at Loftus is never easy, thinking so is moronic. Will wear the yellow jersey with pride

  • Comment 8, posted at 17.03.16 12:28:57 by Vonno13 Reply
  • @Vonno13 (Comment 8) : Too easy. You’ll see.

  • Comment 9, posted at 17.03.16 12:44:20 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • @Vonno13 (Comment 8) : hope the sharks take the opponents seriously.history shows how many times sharks teams have come unstuck against opponents fans thought would be an easy win.

  • Comment 10, posted at 17.03.16 12:50:33 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • @Vonno13 (Comment 8) : Not having a go at you,but we had guys on here doubting we could beat the Kings.
    This is a very good Sharks team,and I who went to Loftus in 95, have more confidence in this team than I have had for years.
    There is a self belief growing in the team that needs to be taken up by the fans.Believe.

  • Comment 11, posted at 17.03.16 12:56:39 by The hound Reply
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  • @West Indies Cricket Board (Comment 9) : Where is the supposed weakness in the Bulls side? besides Brummer, I think the Bulls have a very decent side with danger men around the park. Their back 3 will be far more tactical and proficient than the Stormers were – their centres are powerful runners, their scrummy is world class, in my opinion and their pack is strong, not world beaters, but strong. I thought the Stormers pack would bully us and look what happened. I just do not see this as being an easy game by any means of the imagination.

  • Comment 12, posted at 17.03.16 12:56:52 by Vonno13 Reply
  • @The hound (Comment 6) : At least going into games without self confidence has been relegated to forum boards only. If the players play with confidence I don’t care how scared of the opposition the fans are.

  • Comment 13, posted at 17.03.16 12:57:29 by Seth101 Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 11) : Absolutely and I agree with you. This team is turning into a special side, but for me, it is a young side and I just do not think we should expect them to hammer the Bulls. Beat them for sure, but hammer them at Loftus, I just feel this may be a tight encounter – they expecting rain…

  • Comment 14, posted at 17.03.16 12:58:34 by Vonno13 Reply
  • We all know this Sharks team is really looking like a team that will be feared in time to come. The pride, workrate by our forwards and the defence being shown is something we have not witnessed from a Sharks team in quite a while. I fully believe that we have the potential to annihilate the Bulls at Loftus, but I think it will be another close game, maybe we can pull away with our powerful bench. And when we win it will be another step in the right direction. It is a potential banana peel but I don’t think we will take the Bulls lightly at all and therefore I reckon we could walk away with a good, solid win

  • Comment 15, posted at 17.03.16 13:16:52 by Fox Reply

  • @The hound (Comment 11) : Im with you. there is a fine line between being arrogant and showing too much respect. We should expect no less than a comfortable win.

  • Comment 16, posted at 17.03.16 14:08:17 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • @Vonno13 (Comment 12) : Here follows a brief summary of all the Bulls weaknesses in numerical order:

    15. Warrick Gelant, 14. Jamba Ulengo, 13. Jan Serfontein, 12. Burger Odendaal, 11. Bjorn Basson, 10. Francois Brummer, 9. Rudy Paige, 8. Arno Botha, 7. Jannes Kirsten, 6. Roelof Smit, 5. Grant Hattingh, 4. RG Snyman, 3. Marcel Van Der Merwe, 2. Adriaan Strauss (Captain), 1. Trevor Nyakane
    Replacements: 16. Jaco Visagie, 17. Lizo Gqoboka, 18. Hencus van Wyk, 19. Jason Jenkins, 20. Nick de Jager, 21. Piet van Zyl, 22. Tian Schoeman, 23. Jesse Kriel

  • Comment 17, posted at 17.03.16 14:10:55 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • @West Indies Cricket Board (Comment 17) : Of those weaknesses id def be very happy if about 7 of them were in Sharks colours…

  • Comment 18, posted at 17.03.16 14:27:18 by SheldonK Reply

  • At this stage it will matter more which team has the better water polo skills on Friday than rugby skills.

  • Comment 19, posted at 17.03.16 14:35:58 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @West Indies Cricket Board (Comment 17) : you just said there’s a fine line between arrogance and confidence. That post was so ridiculously arrogant I doubt you could find that line with the hubble space telescope.

  • Comment 20, posted at 17.03.16 14:38:46 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 20) : 😀 😀 😀

  • Comment 21, posted at 17.03.16 14:55:17 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • lighten up guys. Im obviously just having fun. Its so nice going into a Bulls game as favourites.

  • Comment 22, posted at 17.03.16 15:00:13 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 20) : Only thing I found arrogant about that post was that he numbered the weaknesses from 15 to1,I personally would have numbered them from 1 to 15.
    Although that fullbacks clearance kick up Serfontein’s poop shute was a once off Roger Smith of the year award

  • Comment 23, posted at 17.03.16 15:20:51 by The hound Reply
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  • @West Indies Cricket Board (Comment 22) : I don’t like it one bit. That’s exactly when we seem to get our asses handed to us. 😀

  • Comment 24, posted at 17.03.16 15:28:54 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
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  • Only once the Sharks learn to live with the favourites tag can they be a consistent champion team, so I’m all for the learning to begin! Hell yes, these Sharks should beat these Bulls! Fact.

    And we need to start righting the wrong on-sided history that’s developed over the last 12 games between these two. The Bulls have never been more for the taking.

  • Comment 25, posted at 17.03.16 15:41:57 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • sounds like we’re wearing the cherry jerseys tomorrow

  • Comment 26, posted at 17.03.16 16:49:18 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 26) : yay!

  • Comment 27, posted at 17.03.16 16:55:13 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • @West Indies Cricket Board (Comment 17) : :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 28, posted at 17.03.16 17:03:38 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 26) : ok. Going to be strange to refer to the Sharks as red.
    Black & White (& Cherry) nothing else matters!!!!

  • Comment 29, posted at 17.03.16 17:36:41 by JD Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 26) : That is so very very sad,as long as I can remember we have been black and white,what dumb shit came up with the cherry jersey.Probably the same moron who thought up that fat arthritic mascot we thankfully got rid of.
    There must be a whole lot of old boys in heaven seething at the thought of a Natal rugby team in red.
    Newcastle would never wear red,the All Blacks would never wear red,Collingwood would never wear red,Juventus would never wear red.
    When you are a black and white team you never wear red.
    This utter lack of respect for the colours pisses me off

  • Comment 30, posted at 17.03.16 19:40:36 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 30) : have a look at the other teams, they are all moving with the times and employing fresh new away strips. We – dare I say it – younger fans are not quite so caught up in tradition and want to see different strips each year. It’s fun!

    The Sharks have even played in pink for Pete’s sake.

  • Comment 31, posted at 17.03.16 19:44:13 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • @Sharks_have_Character! (Comment 31) : You telling me you’d be happy to see the All Blacks in a red or pink strip,it will never happen because of the respect and pride they have in the colours and the jersey.
    Why should the Sharks be any different because we have no respect/pride in the jersey.

  • Comment 32, posted at 17.03.16 21:19:34 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 32) : the Boks played in a blue strip recently.

  • Comment 33, posted at 17.03.16 21:30:28 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • @Sharks_have_Character! (Comment 33) : Boks also had Heineken Meyer as a coach recently.

  • Comment 34, posted at 17.03.16 21:31:28 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 32) : don’t care what the All Blacks do personally, but generally international teams don’t muck about with their away jersey colour. Probably has something to do with the IRB/World Rugby regs.

    The Sharks often use their white away strip. What is the real difference between a red pink green or white away strip?

  • Comment 35, posted at 17.03.16 21:33:52 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • Speaking of green, I like the Highlanders green away strip.

  • Comment 36, posted at 17.03.16 21:38:11 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • @Sharks_have_Character! (Comment 35) : Bud the colours are black and white,in case of a conflict you use one or the other,whatever clashes with white cannot clash with black and visa versa,.
    It goes back to the days of black and white TV ,so if you have a black and a white why the fuck do you need red.
    So that the jersey manufacturer and the union can make money out of the turkeys who buy a black a white and now a red one.

  • Comment 37, posted at 17.03.16 22:18:31 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 37) : Why do the Cheetahs have a black one? Why do the Stormers have a red one? Why do the Lions have a black and gold one? Why do the Bulls have a pink one? etc etc etc Every team has a THIRD strip these days… no big deal, it’s just bit of material… and yes… it’s to make extra revenue… so what?

  • Comment 38, posted at 17.03.16 22:28:43 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • None of the above colours are traditional to any of the other SA unions. It’s just a thing. Get used to it or develop a hernia 😆

  • Comment 39, posted at 17.03.16 22:47:41 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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  • @The hound (Comment 30) : must say I’m not sure if I like the Cherry jersey. Like you said Sharks colours are Black and White. “Black and White nothing else matters” should we no also include Cherry?!?!

  • Comment 40, posted at 17.03.16 23:18:05 by JD Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 37) : geez remember watching a Super 10 game between Transvaal (playing in white with red stripe) and North Harbour (white with black stripe) on a black and white tv. You could not tell which team was Tranvaal or North Harbour only when they showed closeups or mentioned players by name could you make out which team was which. And then just for fun the NZ commentator said “luckely we don’t watch on black and white tv’s anymore as it could be hard to tell the teams appart”. Fun problems our kids will never know!!!

  • Comment 41, posted at 17.03.16 23:30:13 by JD Reply
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  • Remember the Stormers’ first Liquorice All Sorts Man kit? That broke colour TVs.

  • Comment 42, posted at 17.03.16 23:49:14 by Sharks_have_Character! Reply

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