All eyes on Joburg humdinger

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Bulls, Cheetahs, Currie Cup, Lions, Original Content, Sharks, WP on 11 Oct 2017 at 09:44
Tagged with : , , , ,

It’s last-chance saloon in the Currie Cup and for those teams that have not yet done enough to secure semi-final participation (everyone who’s not the Sharks, stick up your hand) the stakes could not be higher. With only Griquas now completely out of the running, all of the Pumas, Bulls, Lions, Cheetahs and Western Province have work to do in this final round of games in order to make sure of their places. Problem is, there are only three up for grabs and five teams gunning for them.

Starting from the bottom – and looking at the first game of the weekend – one has to conclude that the Pumas are probably out. To sneak fourth, they’ll require a bonus point win over the Bulls and then have to watch the later games in hope that the Lions pick up no points at all from their home encounter against the Cheetahs. There are two problems here, the first being that the Bulls are unlikely to lose this game and the second being that the Lions-Cheetahs affair will definitely be high scoring, with four tries to each team a virtual certainty. In other words, expect a hum dinger at Loftus with the Pumas coming close, but ultimately, the Bulls securing the five points they need to put themselves right up into second spot, albeit temporarily.

The Durban game is the hardest to call, simply because the Sharks genuinely have no need to win the game, while Western Province absolutely do. The Sharks coaches have spoken of the desire to continue the winning streak, but the inevitable post-bye rustiness as well as some team changes might mean a slow start and with Province needing to throw the kitchen sink in, it’s tough to be all that confident that the Sharks will walk it. One thing I will say is that I don’t see Province getting a bonus point for tries even if they do win. It’s a bit of a double-or-nothing game for them, though, since a win will assure them a home semi final, while a loss with no points at all could possibly mean missing out altogether depending on what happens in Joburg.

Joburg is being billed as sudden death for the Lions and Cheetahs but it may not turn out to be quite that dramatic, with a number of potential scenarios emerging that could allow both teams to progress (admittedly depending on the Durban result). Should WP lose in the earlier game and fail to pick up any points, then the Cheetahs simply need two points from the Ellis Park encounter in order to go through. For the Lions, a win of any sort is the minimum requirement because even a loss with two bonus points puts them right into the “32-point logjam” where advanced criteria such as number of wins and points difference will come into play.

The Ellis Park clash becomes spicier still due to a number of other factors; the Cheetahs will deploy their Pro14 squad and will be coached by Rory Duncan and Franco Smith, making them a far tougher prospect (they were unbeaten this season before the Pro14 started). The Lions will rush Marx, Dreyer (teehee), Cronje, Skosaan and Coetzee into action and will thus be considerably stronger themselves. Depending on whether Province win or not, there could be the aded spice of a potential home semi-final up for grabs, but assuming John Dobson’s team manage to secure second spot by beating the Sharks earlier in the day, then we have the strange situation where each team in Joburg will know that they only have to win in order to qualify. The Cheetahs will have an idea in the back of their mind that even losing with two bonus points could be good enough, leading to the potentially bizarre scenario of a Lions team trying to win by playing defensively and keeping the score down.

Stranger things have happened, right?

What do you think, Sharks fans? Who are your likely top 4 and from a Sharks perspective, who would you rather play in next week’s semi-final?


  • Great article, Rob.

    What a great end to the round robin clashes, all to play for. Lions will beat the Cheetahs, Bulls will beat the Pumas and we will beat Province.

    I’m not worried about who we face in the semis. The Sharks have proven that they can take on all challengers. Black and white, nothing else matters.

  • Comment 1, posted at 11.10.17 09:57:51 by StevieS Reply
  • Regardless of the Durban match outcome, the Cheetahs need two bonus points to ensure they make the playoffs. Anything more is a bonus.
    Pumas can end on max 31, but have a better PD than the Cheetahs so if the Pumas win, the Cheetahs need a bonus point of any sorts to claim the last semi spot, as the Bulls will be knocked out.
    If the Bulls win, they can end on max 32, but also with a better PD than Cheetahs. Then the Cheetahs will need two bonus points, to progress.
    Regardless. The Cheetahs will know what they require when they get to the change room.

  • Comment 2, posted at 11.10.17 10:09:55 by KingCheetah Reply

  • @StevieS (Comment 1) : It will be a humdinger in Jhb for sure. Cheetahs will have better cohesion if they select their Pro14 team, as they have pretty much been playing together all year. Duncan has done a good job of rotating the front rows. Cheetahs need max to bonus points to progress, not necessarily a win. However the Lions are in a must win situation. Quite a bit of pressure on them.Iether Bulls and Pumas will overtake them on the log.

  • Comment 3, posted at 11.10.17 10:12:52 by KingCheetah Reply

  • Bulls to sneak in through the back door and take the Cup. Open top bus parade and lifetime supply of pap en wors for messiah Mitchell.

  • Comment 4, posted at 11.10.17 11:18:25 by McLovin Reply

  • Reckon the Bok regulars shouldn’t be involved. Surely some could do with a break before end of year tour?

  • Comment 5, posted at 11.10.17 11:47:01 by McLovin Reply

  • @KingCheetah (Comment 2) : Great points. With their top team the Cheetahs could do the job in Joburg, but the Lions have some stalwarts back and are at home. Can’t wait to watch!!!

  • Comment 6, posted at 11.10.17 11:56:04 by StevieS Reply
  • These next 3 weekends in the CC are effectively a QF/SF/Final. I think there are Bok spots open at tighthead, loose forward, 3rd scrumhalf, 3rd fyhalf, 2nd choice centres and fullback.

  • Comment 7, posted at 11.10.17 12:24:37 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 7) : Agree with the open FB spot. Andries has not impressed at all, I’m hoping for Gelant to get a look in some time at the Boks.

  • Comment 8, posted at 11.10.17 14:25:33 by Quintin Reply

  • @Quintin (Comment 8) : Coetzee hasnt been bad, just steady and nothing special. Agree that Gelant is the form FB currently

  • Comment 9, posted at 11.10.17 14:52:33 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 9) : Sergeal has maybe found his niche at FB. he has been very good at FB for the Cheetahs in the Pro14

  • Comment 10, posted at 11.10.17 16:04:15 by KingCheetah Reply

  • It so great for a change to hear about last chance saloon and we don’t have to order any drinks….

  • Comment 11, posted at 11.10.17 17:25:36 by coolfusion Reply

  • I recon the boys should be told to just go out play and enjoy with no pressure. Nicely shake off the rust and shift back into gear. Good for returning players good for retiring players good for hard working work horses and nice for us to watch. S’good good good s ‘ nice.

  • Comment 12, posted at 11.10.17 17:30:33 by coolfusion Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 9) : Gelant did not impress me at all when the Bulls played the Sharks in the rain. I must admit I did not watch any of the other Bulls games.

  • Comment 13, posted at 11.10.17 17:43:58 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 13) : Gelant was poor in another game I watched too (can’t remember which one) . He’s battling with his decision-making

  • Comment 14, posted at 11.10.17 17:51:18 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 14) : @Bokhoring (Comment 13) : @KingCheetah (Comment 10) : @SheldonK (Comment 9) : @Quintin (Comment 8) : Ja must agree currently the fullback spot is open as non of the current players are really showing super form. Not a huge fan of either Gelant or Sergeal.

  • Comment 15, posted at 11.10.17 21:34:27 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • @McLovin (Comment 4) : So if that happens I will be a bit peeved at you…just saying! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 16, posted at 11.10.17 22:12:46 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • @Quintin (Comment 8) : @SheldonK (Comment 9) : @Bokhoring (Comment 13) : @robdylan (Comment 14) : Golant can do some exciting stuff but, man, he is pretty rubbish defensively! Saw that all Super Rugby long and again in the Currie Cup. In a backline that already has the shaky Krill, I really don’t want Gelant there!

  • Comment 17, posted at 11.10.17 22:18:08 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • Coetzee will never be Christian Cullen, but then neither was Percy. I think he has been consistently solid making a couple of errors here or there – especially a couple of aimless kicks. Bosch still needs a bit of time to mature (and I personally prefer him at 10), and so does Gelant (he can be very flaky at times)

  • Comment 18, posted at 12.10.17 07:32:26 by Bokhoring Reply
  • Yeh look Gelant is currently the best atatcking fullback locally although he can be flaky much like most current back 3 players in SA and he isnt the best on defense, again much like most of the current back 3 guys playing in SA. Coetzee hasnt been bad in a Bok jersey, solid if unspectacular- he will be tested if it rains up North. Bosch can maybe be the answer but if he is playing 10 at the Sharks thats where he must push for a Bok place. I know its in the future but if RDP Jnr comes to the Sharks i think he could make a good fullback

  • Comment 19, posted at 12.10.17 08:06:27 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 19) : Willie le roux much?

  • Comment 20, posted at 12.10.17 08:12:22 by coolfusion Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 19) : Still think on his day Lawazi is as good a fullback as any available to Coetzee.

  • Comment 21, posted at 12.10.17 08:57:53 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    The hound
  • @coolfusion (Comment 20) : Was just thinking of local guys. @The hound (Comment 21) : Not a bad point- would like to see Mvovo at 15 next year

  • Comment 22, posted at 12.10.17 09:07:49 by SheldonK Reply


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