LIVE

    South Africa backs Sharks

    2011-06-23 10:09
    Gavin Rich - SuperSport

    Johannesburg - The Sharks will enjoy the rare experience this weekend of having the whole country behind them in a Super Rugby match as they tackle the Crusaders in their qualifier.

    During the league phase of the competition it was something of a weird feeling for many South Africans. While in the past the country would get behind local teams when they played against overseas opposition, with the only exception being during the closing stages of league competition when results of those games could make a difference to their team’s chances, this year has been different.

    The conference system swept in by the new format to the competition meant that the quest for supremacy in the local pool had both the teams and supporters of the other South African franchises rooting for overseas teams. It was an understandable phenomenon, as the result impacted directly on their own team’s chances.

    It explained the disappointment on a Sharks supporters voice a couple of weeks ago when he phoned me to ask the score in the match between the Stormers and Blues in Auckland. The Stormers had been behind the whole game and he was obviously hoping the match would end that way.

    As it turned out, he phoned just as Dewaldt Duvenage slotted the conversion that won the game, and while down in Cape Town the excitement was hard to contain, you could sense that wasn’t the case on the other end of the phone line. Had the Stormers lost that day the Sharks would have been playing for top spot on the SA conference log when they faced the Bulls later that weekend, so it really wasn’t a case of the Durban man being unpatriotic – he just wanted what was best for his team.

    That changes now this weekend. The Bulls are out of it so they and their supporters will surely be squarely behind the Sharks in their quest to score a big psychological blow for South Africa’s World Cup chances by knocking over the All Black dominated Crusaders in their own back yard.

    Ditto the Cheetahs and the Lions, who for a long time wouldn’t have had much interest in the conference log anyway. And even the Stormers, the other remaining South African team left in the competition, will be supporting the Sharks, with senior professional coach Rassie Erasmus making no secret of where his allegiances lie.

    “It will be nice to be patriotic for the first time this season by shouting for the Sharks,” he said.

    “During the league season you didn’t want your fellow South African teams to win in the league stage. It will be great to back the Sharks to beat the Crusaders, because we can’t play them in a semi-final.”

    Of course the Stormers will be hoping for a Sharks win for more than just patriotic reasons. Not for nothing are the Crusaders recognised as the all-time success story of Super Rugby, and they beat the Stormers at Newlands a few months ago with an under-strength team.

    The Stormers would prefer to avoid a semi-final against them if they can, for the Blues or Waratahs would present an easier passage to the deciding game on 9 July.

    Read More On:  super 15 sharks

    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
    145 comments
    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
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk
    /Sport

    Fixtures

    01 May 2015
    • Highlanders v Sharks, Forsyth Barr Stadium 09:35
    • Brumbies v Waratahs, GIO Stadium 11:40
    02 May 2015
    • Blues v Force, Eden Park 07:30
    • Hurricanes v Crusaders, Westpac Stadium 09:35
    • Rebels v Chiefs, AAMI Park 11:40
    • Cheetahs v Stormers, Free State Stadium 17:05
    • Bulls v Lions, Loftus Versfeld 19:10
    08 May 2015
    • Crusaders v Reds, AMI Stadium 09:35
    • Rebels v Blues, AAMI Park 11:40

    Results

    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

    Logs

    Rank Team P W Pts

    Opinion Poll

    The South African Conference is up for grabs after Round 9 of action. Who do you see finishing top when all is said and done?

    Monday Quiz Madness!

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