Tank Lanning

Bulls the team to avoid

2010-10-04 06:14
Tank Lanning
Tank Lanning

With Western Province having succumbed to the Blue Bulls in Pretoria, the Sharks are now guaranteed first place on the log no matter the result at Newlands this weekend.

It puts them in the enviable position of being able to rest a few key players in the build up to the semi final and potential final, but also in the muddy waters of potentially trying to manipulate a result that would secure them the easiest semi final in Durban.

With the Cheetahs having ended the Lions fairytale run in Bloemfontein on Saturday, all of the Cheetahs, Bulls and WP are in with shout of a home semi final with just the single league fixture to come.

The Cheetahs and Bulls (both on 42 log points, the Cheetahs above the Bulls because of a superior points difference) are both likely to get five points from their remaining games against the Leopards and Griquas respectively, though, meaning that the Cape side, currently on 44 log points, have their destiny in their own hands …

Beat the Sharks and it’s a home semi final most likely against the Cheetahs. Lose to the Sharks and it’s more than likely a rematch a week later, but this time in Durban.

For the Sharks, a loss against WP this weekend would likely see them hosting the Blue Bulls in a semi final. Bolstered by the likes of Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Danie Rossouw, Wynand Olivier and Morne Steyn, they are surely the side you most want to avoid in the chase for Currie Cup silverware.

Sure Province will see the return of Schalk Burger, Jaque Fourie and Bryan Habana, but they all bring selection posers of their own for Allister Coetzee. To my mind, Francois Louw is not an out and out fetcher , so does he play without a real fetcher like Pieter Louw?. With Jean de Villiers and Juan de Jongh starting to form a very good centre pairing, who does he drop? Conrad Jantjes, Gio Aplon and JJ Engelbrecht have all been in fine form, while Habana was not exactly setting the world on fire prior to his rest …

So while my initial thought was that John Plumtree might use this weekend to rest a few big names and thus avoid having to play WP in the semi finals, I rather think he will be going all out for a win in order to avoid having to play the Bulls. And with WP needing a win in order to play their semi final at home, I think we are in for something quite juicy at Newlands to round off the league phase of the Absa Currie Cup …

Of course the Cheetahs and Bulls could go and lose their final games and, if the Lions pulverise the Pumas, the Bulls might not even make the semi finals!

Top five teams and their remaining matches:

Sharks, 52 points: WP (a)
WP, 44 points: Sharks (h)
Cheetahs, 42 points: Leopards (a)
Blue Bulls, 42 points: Griquas (a)
Lions, 37 points: Pumas (h)

The weekend’s results:

Pumas 31 – 61 Griquas
Cheetahs  43 – 37 Lions
Blue Bulls 36 – 32 WP
Sharks 63 – 6 Leopards

The 20 contracted Springboks:

Andries Bekker, Bakkies Botha, Heinrich Brüssow, Schalk Burger, Bismarck du Plessis, Fourie du Preez, Jaque Fourie, Bryan Habana, Adrian Jacobs, Ricky Januarie, Tendai Mtawarira, Victor Matfield, Wynand Olivier, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Danie Rossouw, John Smit, Juan Smith, Morné Steyn and Pierre Spies.

Tank is a former WP prop, now editor of Sport24 and author of the Front Row Grunt blog.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.


SABC blackout of Bafana

2015-03-26 14:46


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs

Sharks centre Frans Steyn has been found NOT GUILTY of a dangerous tip-tackle against the Chiefs. Your thoughts?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.