The football doesn't stop!

The 2014 SWC might be over, but the PSL and English Premiership are around the corner! Have your say on our Forum!

LIVE

    Sharks hold edge in playoffs

    2014-07-17 07:39

    Sydney - Chiefs have to reverse a thumping loss the last time they played the Brumbies if they are to keep their Super Rugby title defence alive this weekend.

    The back-to-back champions take on the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday in a rematch of last year's final while the Sharks have home advantage over New Zealand's Highlanders in Durban in the opening week of the season play-offs.

    The Chiefs were clobbered 41-23 in Canberra in April with the Brumbies outscoring the Kiwis five tries to two but coach Dave Rennie says it will be different this time.

    Rennie is looking to the return of Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Tanerau Latimer, who all missed that defeat, to make the Chiefs far more competitive.

    The winner is likely to face the Waratahs in a Sydney semi-final the following week.

    "This is do-or-die time for us," Chiefs co-captain Liam Messam said. "We have a lot of belief in our group and now we need to convert that into our performance on the field on Saturday."

    The Chiefs have made one change to their starting line-up from their last game, with Dwayne Sweeney at full-back and Tom Marshall moving to the bench.

    The Brumbies looked in great form in their last start with a 47-25 win over the Western Force to clinch their play-off spot with Wallaby back Matt Toomua scoring three of his team's seven tries.

    The Brumbies have made one change to their starting side with winger Robbie Coleman preferred to Joe Tomane.

    "The attack has taken a turn for the best, especially last weekend, and it couldn't have come at a better time," winger Henry Speight said. "It's really exciting times."

    But while the Brumbies have looked good in recent weeks, they have a deep respect for the attacking ability of the Chiefs.

    "There's threats all over the park in their backline," flank Scott Fardy said. "They know how to win finals, they've shown that."

    Captain Bismarck du Plessis says the return of Patrick Lambie will be a massive boost for the Sharks when they take on the Highlanders in the other Super Rugby qualifier on Saturday.

    The Durban-based franchise has been without its star fly-half since late March when he suffered a torn bicep.

    Lambie was expected to be out for six months, but has made a quicker than expected recovery and is likely to feature in Durban.

    Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira could also return after missing both games since the June international break with a bulging disc.

    "We have a rally good squad, and in most positions we have depth," Du Plessis said.

    "We'll hopefully get Pat and Beast (Mtawarira) back as well, so that also provides a massive lift for the team, and brings a new energy and vibe to the side."

    Coach Jamie Joseph said he was sure the Sharks would be much tougher opposition than when the Highlanders upset them 34-18 in Durban in round eight.

    "I think they took us a bit lightly and paid the price. I don't think they will do that again," Joseph said.

    "They looked almost unbeatable at the start of the season.

    "They have had a couple of losses in recent times and, though they beat the Stormers well in Cape Town last week, every team in the competition is beatable if you can lift and play well on the day."

    The Highlanders must overcome the disadvantage of travelling 10 000 kilometres from Dunedin on New Zealand's south island to Durban via Chistchurch, Sydney and Johannesburg.

    Saturday's winner will face the Canterbury Crusaders in Christchurch in the other semi-final next week.

    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
    45 comments
    Add your comment
    Comment 0 characters remaining
    Live Video Streaming
    • SS3
      Thu, 31 Jul 2014 @
      04:00
    • SS4
      Thu, 31 Jul 2014 @
      05:00
    • SS5
      Thu, 31 Jul 2014 @
      05:59
    • SS7
      Thu, 31 Jul 2014 @
      06:00
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk

    Fixtures

    02 August 2014
    • Waratahs v Crusaders, Sydney 11:40

    Results

    26 July 2014
    19 July 2014
    12 July 2014
    11 July 2014
    06 July 2014
    05 July 2014
    04 July 2014
    28 June 2014
    27 June 2014
    31 May 2014
    30 May 2014
    24 May 2014
    23 May 2014
    18 May 2014
    17 May 2014
    16 May 2014
    11 May 2014
    10 May 2014
    09 May 2014
    03 May 2014
    02 May 2014
    26 April 2014
    25 April 2014
    19 April 2014
    18 April 2014
    12 April 2014
    11 April 2014
    05 April 2014
    04 April 2014
    29 March 2014
    28 March 2014
    22 March 2014
    21 March 2014
    15 March 2014
    14 March 2014
    08 March 2014
    07 March 2014
    01 March 2014
    28 February 2014
    23 February 2014
    22 February 2014
    21 February 2014
    15 February 2014

    Logs

    Rank Team P W Pts

    Opinion Poll

    The 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby final will be contested between the Waratahs and Crusaders. Who is your money on?

    Monday Quiz Madness!

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