News24

Sharks feeling the squeeze

2012-06-30 22:15

Cape Town - The prospect of three South African teams reaching the six-team playoffs phase of Super Rugby has receded ... with the Sharks now feeling the elimination heat.

LOGS: Latest standings in Super Rugby

A trio of our teams making the cut and monopolising the finals series looked fairly feasible ahead of the resumption of the competition this weekend, but one result in particular - the Hurricanes unexpectedly pipping the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday - has lessened the likelihood of that happening.

Whilst they gratefully bagged four points for a bye in the latest round, the Sharks find themselves in eighth spot on the overall table and locked on 49 points with one team from each of the other conferences, the Hurricanes and Reds.

It would have suited their purposes far better had the higher-riding Crusaders instead clinched their home derby, simultaneously badly denting the Hurricanes’ prospects, and it has become absolutely imperative now for Keegan Daniel and company to knock over the Bulls in an appetising clash at Mr Price Kings Park on Friday night.

If they fail to do that, there is every chance that their final ordinary-season fixture against the Cheetahs, also in Durban, will be academic.

As for the Bulls, their thumping 40-24 Loftus victory over the Cheetahs on Saturday evening (the game was done and dusted before the visitors staged a late rally to give the scoreboard a slightly closer look than it probably deserved) means they can probably afford to lose to the Sharks and still make the cut by beating the Lions back home in their last outing.

But they will target a Durban win themselves, of course, because if they do prevail there is still a chance, however slim, that they can overhaul the Stormers and steal the SA conference honours - they are currently four points behind, with each team still having to play two games.

Considering their injury crisis, which was an influence in their flirting with disaster against the Lions at Newlands on Saturday before managing to close the deal, the Stormers winning in Bloemfontein next weekend cannot be simply taken for granted against the happy-go-lucky Cheetahs.

Indeed, Allister Coetzee’s charges have to also be just a little mindful of the Brumbies’ continued advance under the tutelage of Jake White: the Aussie side scored a bonus-point win over the Force in Perth and could still earn a top-two spot.

Although it is reasonably stiff ask, full-house victories for them over the Waratahs (away) and Blues (home) in their remaining games would propel them to a 64-point finish - from a Stormers point of view, heaven forbid, such an outcome would put the Brumbies out of reach of them if they fail to earn a single point in the Free State.

The Stormers close off their campaign with an “easy” game on paper against the Melbourne Rebels at Newlands, but must certainly avoid a heavy loss in their last SA derby before that.

If the Brumbies were to sneak up and finish second overall it would, of course, rob the Stormers of a guaranteed passage to a home semi-final.

Still, the Cape side will probably pat themselves on the back for the time being, for digging deep yet again to retain a winning habit despite the combined effects of the injury jinx and also a flu bug that played some pre-match havoc this weekend.

They must still be considered heavy favourites to win the conference for a second time in succession.

Once again they could not quite land what would have been a maiden four-try bonus point for 2012, but it also has to be kept in mind that if they were to end level on points with the Bulls, say, their superior tally of victories in ordinary season - that situation cannot be altered now - would ensure their staying ahead.

As for the Bulls, even if they were to end as conference runners-up, they are quite promisingly placed now for their first playoffs game to at least be a home one, sparing them another of those dreaded overseas passages for at least a week.

Next weekend’s programme (all kick-offs SA time):

Friday:

Chiefs v Crusaders (09:35), Reds v Highlanders (11:40), Sharks v Bulls (19:10)

Saturday:
Blues v Force (09:35), Waratahs v Brumbies (11:40), Cheetahs v Stormers (15:00), Lions v Rebels (17:05)

Bye: Hurricanes

Remaining games for top eight sides:

1. Chiefs (P14, 62 points): Crusaders (h), Hurricanes (a)
2. Stormers (P14, 58 points): Cheetahs (a), Rebels (h)
3. Brumbies (P14, 54 points): Waratahs (a), Blues (h)
4. Bulls (P14, 54 points): Sharks (a), Lions (h)
5. Crusaders (P14, 52 points): Chiefs (a), Force (h)
6. Hurricanes (P15, 49 points): bye, Chiefs (h)
7. Reds (P14, 49 points): Highlanders (h), Waratahs (h)
8. Sharks (P14, 49 points): Bulls (h), Cheetahs (h)

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Sport24

Comments
  • harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-06-30 22:32

    Sharks and Bulls will carry the SA flag, as always.

      thomas.cannon.712 - 2012-06-30 23:59

      The reason behind the bulls pink kit!! It is because of the strong reflection off the faces of our opposition every time they look at our trophy cabinet!! Oh Oh wait for it!!

      Pat - 2012-07-01 00:38

      @tomus.. that was so hilarious, u only gonna hear the laugh next year!!! shame, poor b@sterd @herold.. how many times hav the sharks won the super rugby trophy????

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-07-01 03:48

      Same amount as the Stormers, Pat.

      chaplinncharlie - 2012-07-01 04:41

      Harold remind me again how many times would that be?... Just a round figure...

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-07-01 06:01

      0

      jonathan.snyman.3 - 2012-07-01 09:09

      Bulls yes but not the Sharks

      a.j.bosch - 2012-07-02 00:06

      www.facebook.com/PetitionToHaveJohnPlumtreeRemovedAsSharksCoach

  • tom.tardis - 2012-06-30 22:38

    stormers will make it gat

  • malcolm.molver - 2012-06-30 22:55

    Not a good weekend for the Sharks, even though they didn't play. However, they put themselves in this position. They have the players, but have not matched that with consistency. Always will be a supporter though!

  • Eugene - 2012-07-01 00:02

    Harold do you actually have a life or do you simply hangout on sporting websites spewing your ignorance to the utter annoyance of others?

      chaplinncharlie - 2012-07-01 04:44

      No Eugene we don't troll like you. This is our bread and butter they pay us for it...

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-07-01 06:00

      I hang out here to annoy you.

      razz.tazz.9 - 2012-07-01 12:35

      Eugene. Both these idiots are attention seekers. If I am not mistaken it is the same idiot with a different name. Just read his response on the comments and watch his timing. He is trying to impress others with his senseless and stupid comments. Just check you won't find them commenting on other sport topics but rugby, may be they will start now. My advice is ignore them totally. If I were them I would have gone to church today and pray for wisdom.

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-07-01 14:14

      Thanks Razz.

      Press - 2012-07-01 14:17

      Razz.tazz - picture of your girlfriend in your Avatar ?

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-07-01 15:46

      No press, he has a fruitcake crush on Sonny Bill.

      anwar.addinall - 2012-07-01 19:50

      They obviously unemployed. The little money they made from their silent movies have run out.

  • Pat - 2012-07-01 00:36

    typical sharks, leave there fate in the hands of other teams!!! no surprise there!! thats why they STILL dont hav the trophy!! try again next year

  • rykie1 - 2012-07-01 01:19

    folks. i hate bulls . i hate the stormers. i'm a sharks but terms of SA as a whole..........lets hope they get 6th spot... after that they can loose

      hvanderlinde - 2012-07-02 15:13

      Rykie1, why hate the bulls? Haven't you heard, they're God's gift to SA rugby.. you know, with all their trophies and all.

  • LeonTheShark - 2012-07-01 02:39

    Its frustrating to support the sharks

      cavin.snyman - 2012-07-01 10:47

      Yes it is but they play awesome rugby when they are on song :))

      Press - 2012-07-01 14:19

      Would help if they sometimes even humn it . . . . .

      cavin.snyman - 2012-07-01 16:30

      We will see on Friday that is for sure. SHARKS forever!!!!

      hvanderlinde - 2012-07-02 15:14

      You should try supporting the Stormers some time.

  • Paul Botha - 2012-07-01 10:36

    Sharks get ready for a hammering next Friday Bulls are on fire peaking at the right time ! I'm starting to smell a fourth trophy!!!

      cavin.snyman - 2012-07-01 10:45

      Only time will tell Paul. Be careful for a determined Sharks squad. If they have rectified the mistakes they made against the Lions then the Bulls don"t have a snowballs chance in Hell of collecting any points come Friday, but only time will tell. SHARKS forever!!!!

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-07-01 10:53

      Paul, please don't sound like the average Stormers supporter. Just say you are quietly confident.

      Press - 2012-07-01 14:24

      Unlikely - Bulls are in the early stages of rebuilding . . . .

  • Jack - 2012-07-01 10:40

    If the Sharks take a 5point win and allow the Bulls 2 points, then having 3 SA teams in the playoffs isn't so far-fetched. If anything, I see that as a likely result. The Cheetahs were incredibly poor last night and practically handed the Bulls their tries on a golden platter. The Lions on the other hand, have really raised their game of late - also shown in their demolishing of the Sharks before the break. If I were a Bulls supporter, I'd be more worried about their impending Lions clash...

  • bushpigeventsbar - 2012-07-01 13:52

    They beat a Stormer team weak from injuries and then the Lions thumped them , guess who got thumped by the Stormers , Yes the Shark thumping Lions !!!

      Press - 2012-07-01 14:22

      Dont you mean the Sharks beat the real Springbok team - the one with all the players HM missed . . . . ?

      bushpigeventsbar - 2012-07-01 14:26

      press.enter.12 - Did not feel like bragging this morning SORRY

      cavin.snyman - 2012-07-01 15:25

      Whahahaha!!! Just like the Stormers beat a Sharks B-team by 3?? Just like the Stormer supporters thought they would tame the Sharks with their immaculate defence?? Come on, don't count your chickens before they hatch as you just might end up with a bunch of worms. SHARKS forever!!!!

      hvanderlinde - 2012-07-02 15:19

      Cavin, how could it have been a B team so early in the season? If I'm not mistaken that fixture was you second game? you're cluthing at straws mate, go check the team sheets

  • Bossie - 2012-07-01 14:21

    No need to feel the squeeze Sharkies. Easy game next weekend- Maybe a good time to rest a couple of players.. Go Saaaaaaarks!!!

      Press - 2012-07-01 14:32

      Yeah - rest them - easy peezy out of competeeze . . .

  • gsaker1 - 2012-07-02 09:07

    Don't care as long as there is only one Australian team we are all happy right? ha ha

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