2015 Nedbank Golf Challenge

30 of the world's best golfers will descend on the Gary Player Golf Course for this year's Nedbank Golf Challenge!


    Sharks’ semi fate in own hands

    2014-06-30 14:01

    Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

    Cape Town – Win their remaining two matches, without even the need for a bonus point either time, and the Sharks will be guaranteed the luxury of a Super Rugby 2014 home semi-final at the very least.

    Without even playing last weekend, when the Australasian teams played a curtailed round without any South African involvement, Jake White’s charges moved a valuable step closer to ensuring that attractive berth because of the Crusaders’ 16-9 loss to the Hurricanes in Wellington.

    What that meant is the currently second-lying Sharks now knowing that a further eight points – in other words, standard away victories over the Cheetahs and Stormers respectively – takes them to a total of 53, out of reach of both nearest challengers the ‘Saders and Highlanders who can only get to a maximum of 52 (and only one of that New Zealand pair can reach the tally).

    Neither Sharks outcome can exactly be regarded as a fait accompli, of course, given the brutality and desperation that accompanies just about all SA derbies, coupled with the fact that coach White faces some difficult selection choices for Saturday night in Bloemfontein (19:10) given the high fatigue levels of a few of his Springbok pack members.

    Nevertheless the Durban-based side really must try to throw everything into eking out that precious brace of wins: a home semi also means the seriously welcome (at this stage of the season) luxury of a bye week ahead of the game.

    The incentive obviously still flickers, too, of the Sharks topping the overall table to put them in the frame for a home final into the bargain.

    But that prospect dipped at the weekend when the in-form Waratahs, who have now won five on the trot, thrashed local, injury-hit rivals the Brumbies with a bonus point in Sydney to roar into top spot, three points clear of the Sharks.

    Although their captain Dave Dennis ruptured a cruciate ligament to be sidelined for the next few months, a cruelly untimely development for the NSW outfit, the ‘Tahs can facilitate the likelihood of a home showpiece by winning (also without the need for bonus points) both remaining ordinary-season clashes at home to the Highlanders and away to the Reds respectively.

    As with the Sharks’ own run-in, neither outcome can be taken for granted but smart money suggests they will probably do it.

    So the South African pace-setters, already confirmed as domestic conference winners, have to set as a priority ensuring they don’t end in the greatly less favourable third spot on the overall table, which means an extra game in the finals series and guaranteed overseas travel for the semi if they get there.

    That could feasibly yet happen if the Sharks slip just once in the next fortnight, because it potentially opens the gate for the Crusaders or Highlanders to bounce them into third even if it must be taken into account that those two play each other in the last round.

    The Sharks would not feel too massively daunted by the possibility, further down the line, that they have to go to Sydney for a once-off final challenge straight off a home semi, even if history reminds that no team has yet crossed the Indian Ocean to or from South Africa to win a final.

    They do boast the Waratahs’ scalp in ordinary season this year, a convincing 32-10 triumph at Kings Park in late March.

    Meanwhile the Bulls, currently lying a distant 10th overall, perhaps retain just the very tiniest of mathematical chances that they could yet slip into the top six for the playoffs.

    But it is an interesting thought nevertheless that if three results elsewhere in the next round over the coming weekend were to go their way, and they can wallop the Stormers at Newlands with a bonus point, the Loftus crew could climb to as high as seventh – just one spot out of the finals series places with one further round to go.

    This weekend’s matches (home teams first, all kick-offs SA time):

    Friday: Chiefs v Hurricanes, 09:35; Lions v Rebels, 19:10. Saturday: Crusaders v Blues, 09:35; Force v Reds, 11:40; Stormers v Bulls, 17:05; Cheetahs v Sharks, 19:10. Sunday: Waratahs v Highlanders, 08:05. Bye: Brumbies.

    *Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

    Read More On:  sharks super 15 jake white rugby

    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
    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
    Most Read


    26 February 2016
    • Blues v Highlanders, Eden Park 08:35
    • Brumbies v Hurricanes, GIO Stadium 10:40
    • Cheetahs v Argentina Super Rugby, Free State Stadium 19:00
    27 February 2016
    • TBC v Lions, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 06:15
    • Crusaders v Chiefs, AMI Stadium 08:35
    • Waratahs v Reds, Allianz Stadium 10:40
    • Force v Rebels, nib Stadium 12:50
    • Kings v Sharks, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 15:00
    • Stormers v Bulls, Cape Town 17:05
    04 March 2016
    • Crusaders v Blues, AMI Stadium 08:35
    • Brumbies v Waratahs, GIO Stadium 10:40


    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


    Rank Team P W Pts


    “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.