Sign-up for the latest, breaking news!


    Highlanders expect Durban ‘siege’

    2014-07-16 05:00

    Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

    Cape Town – Employ a siege mentality to upset the more fancied Sharks in Saturday’s Super Rugby knockout clash at Kings Park, a member of the Highlanders squad who beat the Stormers in a 1999 semi-final at Newlands has advised.

    Speaking to the Otago Daily Times, loose forward Kelvin Middleton warned the class of 2014: “They (the home spectators) are very close to the ground there in Durban and very vocal.

    “You get into a siege mentality ... you use that to make you play better.”

    That 1999 game, played before a near-50 000 full house in the heyday of the “Men in Black” era in Cape Town and with the hosts heavily tipped to prevail, was the last occasion in which the Highlanders have won a knockout fixture in South Africa.

    They came from 11-0 down to triumph 33-18 and dramatically snuff out the glow of a hitherto memorable campaign by a side led by Bob Skinstad and then Corné Krige.

    Middleton told the New Zealand newspaper the 1999 side went into a siege mentality for the fixture, and that he anticipated the latest group doing the same.

    “It was one heck of an experience ... we were up against the odds. The South Africans did their best to try to intimidate us.

    “When we got off the bus (at Newlands) we had to fight through the crowd and there was plenty of pushing and they were pulling our bags ... it was a torrid start to the game.

    “We went into it with the approach that we had nothing to lose and you can go that extra mile.”

    Middleton said the long-haul travel issue for the Highlanders should not be too great a hindrance.

    “Things are so professional now ... you’re flying business class the whole way and getting checked and monitored the whole time.”

    He also believes the game being played at sea level, as was the case in 1999, will help make the visitors’ task a little less formidable.

    “If it was up at Loftus it would be a lot different; that would be way harder.”

    One thing Middleton may have overlooked in his recollection of the 1999 match was that on the morning of the semi, rugby writer Mark Keohane – then of Weekend Argus -- had broken the story of a bonus dispute between the Stormers players and management and the attached possibility of a revolt.

    Whether that affair had an effect on the favourites’ performance a few hours later remains a matter of speculation to this day.

    Presumably there will be no such ructions in the Sharks camp on Saturday ...

    *Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing
    Read More On:  sharks super 15 durban rugby

    Read News24’s Comments Policy 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
    Comments have been closed for this article.
    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


    04 July 2015
    27 June 2015
    20 June 2015
    13 June 2015
    12 June 2015
    06 June 2015
    05 June 2015
    30 May 2015
    29 May 2015
    23 May 2015
    22 May 2015
    16 May 2015
    15 May 2015
    09 May 2015
    08 May 2015
    02 May 2015
    01 May 2015
    26 April 2015
    25 April 2015
    24 April 2015
    18 April 2015
    17 April 2015
    11 April 2015
    10 April 2015
    04 April 2015
    03 April 2015
    28 March 2015
    27 March 2015
    22 March 2015
    21 March 2015
    20 March 2015
    14 March 2015
    13 March 2015
    07 March 2015
    06 March 2015
    28 February 2015
    27 February 2015
    21 February 2015
    20 February 2015
    15 February 2015
    14 February 2015
    13 February 2015


    “Craig Joubert deserves plaudits for making a gutsy call against the home side in the Super Rugby semis, writes Herman Mostert.”

    Opinion Poll

    Super Rugby is a thing of the past. Next up: The Rugby Championship. Who will emerge victorious this season?

    Monday Quiz Madness!

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