Testing times ahead for Sharks

    2014-05-04 11:00

    Sydney - Victory in Melbourne on Friday kept the Sharks top of the Super Rugby standings but trips to Canberra, Christchurch and Auckland over the next three weeks will sorely test the Durban-based outfit's title credentials.

    The 22-16 victory over the Rebels broke a 12-game win drought in Australasia for South African teams this season but it is quite conceivable that it could turn out to be the only four-pointer of the tour for Jake White's men.

    The good news is that the miserable form of the other South African teams means the Sharks would have to implode spectacularly over the final seven rounds of the season not to win the conference and march into the playoffs.

    The bad news is that over the next three weeks they play an Brumbies side turned into Super Rugby finalists by White last season, a Crusaders side who have finally hit their intimidating stride and an Blues side that cannot lose at home.

    The Crusaders, with Richie McCaw back on board, put the Brumbies to the sword 40-20 on Saturday for their sixth win of a season that started with two defeats.

    Coach Todd Blackadder thinks they can still get better.

    "We've got to tidy up some areas," he told Fairfax media.

    "The defence, especially in the last 15 minutes, leaked some easy yards off the inside pass. We've got to be better than that."

    The Crusaders will warm up for the visit of the Sharks with a trip to face the struggling Reds, who looked a shadow of the team that won the 2011 title when they fell 44-14 to the Blues for their fourth successive loss on Friday.

    It is not just the defeats that have piled the pressure on Reds coach Richard Graham but the manner of them, with the attacking brio of three years ago gone and the team's two tries coming from the graft and cussedness of the pack.

    The Chiefs, who took the title from the Reds in 2012 and kept it last year, returned to the top of the New Zealand conference with a 38-8 win over the Lions on Saturday that ended their two-loss wobble.

    The second of those defeats was to the Brumbies, who will be glancing nervously over their shoulders at the Waratahs ahead of the visit of their former coach's charges next weekend.

    The Waratahs went into a bye week with a five-try 39-30 victory over the Hurricanes on Saturday that put them a point behind the Brumbies in the Australian conference and well in the hunt for a playoff spot.

    The Hurricanes had won their previous four matches and now share second place in the New Zealand conference with the Crusaders and Highlanders, who went down 29-28 to the Stormers in Cape Town.

    The Stormers are still propping up the table with the Cheetahs, whose 26-21 loss to the Bulls allowed the three-times champions to move to the edge of the playoff positions with 24 points.

    That is still 11 behind the Sharks, who will be hoping to be faced with the uncharacteristically ill-disciplined Brumbies team that lost in Christchurch when they get to Canberra on Saturday.

    "There are issues we have to address," White's successor as Brumbies coach, Steve Larkham, told the Canberra Times.

    "We need to review if we're making the right decisions and get our discipline right."

    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
    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
    /World Cup


    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


    “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.