Sharks v Bulls 'like a final'

    2011-05-17 08:08
    Gavin Rich - SuperSport

    Durban - The Bulls are talking about Saturday’s big match at Kings Park as if it is a final, and it appears they are not alone.

    Although the Sharks, unlike the Bulls, can theoretically afford to lose the match and still be in with a chance of topping the South African conference, their coach John Plumtree regards it as a must-win as a victory will serve the dual purpose of both shutting out the defending champions and keeping the pressure on the table topping Stormers.

    “It’s crunch time, for sure. It’s all to play for in a wide open competition,” said Plumtree after his squad had come together for a training session following their weekend off.

    “The pressure is on everybody. It is going to be a very intense run-in over the next five weeks because only a few teams are completely out of the running. Everybody is pushing hard and, for us, four of our five games are local derbies and three of those are away from home.”

    The Sharks’ run-in to the end of the season certainly does look a lot tougher now than it did a few weeks ago. Back then the Cheetahs, Lions and even the Bulls were struggling and looked like they might be soft touches, but all three of them have bounced back into form in recent weeks and the Cheetahs and Lions won’t necessarily be easy to beat on their home grounds.

    The Sharks play the Bulls twice – they follow up this weekend’s fixture with an away trip to Loftus in the last league game – so that should up the ante for them to win on Saturday as it might lessen the Bulls’ resolve for later matches, with top players even possibly in line to take a rest as World Cup considerations take preference to what would effectively be dead rubber matches for them.

    Plumtree was away for the weekend so did not get to see much of the Bulls win over the Rebels, but noted that while the Rebels did not play well and thus not too much could be read into the fixture, the big win would have built the Bulls’ confidence.

    John Smit is back in training for the Sharks and will be considered for selection, as will Jacques Botes, who makes a timely return as Keegan Daniel is serving a suspension. The only Sharks player definitely not available is Ryan Kankowski, who fractured a cheek-bone in the recent bruising clash with the Stormers in Cape Town.

    Read More On:  super 15

    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
    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
    Sport Talk
    Most Read


    13 February 2015
    • Crusaders v Melbourne Rebels, Christchurch 08:35
    • Brumbies v Reds, Canberra 10:40
    • Lions v Hurricanes, Johannesburg 19:10
    14 February 2015
    • Blues v Chiefs, Albany 08:35
    • Sharks v Cheetahs, Durban 17:05
    • Bulls v Stormers, Pretoria 19:10
    15 February 2015
    • Waratahs v Western Force, Sydney 07:05


    02 August 2014
    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


    Rank Team P W Pts

    Opinion Poll

    Does the Waratahs' Super Rugby victory give the Wallabies an edge heading into the Rugby Championship?

    Monday Quiz Madness!

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