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Why Sharks will derail Chiefs

2012-04-19 11:00

Cape Town - Rob Houwing, in his South African Super Rugby Week 9 preview, riskily tips the Sharks to lift their game enough to end the Chiefs’ winning run.

SPORT24 PICK OF THE CROP

SHARKS v CHIEFS, Durban


When: Saturday, 17:05
Referee: Garratt Williamson (NZ)
TV: M-Net, SS1, SHD

Long-range weather forecast:
Partly cloudy, warm, moderate breeze.

Background:
It is broader South African interest, and not simply the Sharks’, that they crank up their erratic game enough on Saturday evening - back before their home faithful - to topple the currently machine-like Chiefs. Failure to do so will leave the log-leading Waikato side really well placed for an assault on securing a home final, as they would return from a trip to Australia and South Africa boasting a dream three wins from three. The danger for the Sharks is that they badly need a bye (it comes immediately afterwards) after their own demands abroad, and must find the gusto for one last big push ahead of it. Given their mid-table status and the need to win more regularly now, there’s got to be a fair chance they will. 

Key head-to-head:
There will be some good match-up right across the park, and if the Sharks (their team not finalised as this was written) continue with their recent policy of fielding Springbok wing JP PIETERSEN at outside centre, he will be facing an acid test in the shape of the Chiefs’ All Black stalwart RICHARD KAHUI, who was slippery against the Cheetahs last week, immediately opposite him. Both men ought to benefit from creative colleagues at “twelve”, with Kahui thriving on Sonny Bill Williams’ legendary offloads and Tim Whitehead looking more and more convincing there for the Sharks.

Recent history:
Last year, the Chiefs snapped a strong winning run by the Sharks from the start of the campaign, beating them 15-9 in New Zealand. They will also take to the Mr Price Kings Park turf knowing that they triumphed 19-18 in the last meeting there, in the very first round of the 2010 season. The Chiefs snatched that game at the death, with the hosts down to 14 men after a costly yellow card for Bismarck du Plessis in the 73rd minute. 

Rob Houwing’s prediction:
I admit that my tip is based more on the shaky grounds of gut feel than reality, given that the Chiefs looked marvellously slick in all areas for good parts of their success in Bloemfontein. But I just fancy that after six wins on the trot, they are probably ripe for a fall. Plus my expectation is for a fire-and-brimstone home team charge. Sharks by three, perhaps?  

SA GAME 2

REDS v STORMERS, Brisbane


When: Friday, 11:40 SA time
Referee: Steve Walsh (Aus)
TV: M-Net, SS1, SHD

Long-range weather forecast:
Cloudy, mild, chance of rain, light breeze.

Background:
For different reasons, each side has reached a fairly critical point. The Stormers have just experienced their first loss, although they never really had a huge tournament lead anyway because of a lack of bonus points, so suddenly others in the pack are within breathing distance of the team occupying joint second spot overall with compatriots the Bulls. They are thus under pressure not to quickly surrender another fixture. Meanwhile the defending champions are trying to regroup after a dreadful run until very recently: a home reverse here does their playoffs aspirations no good at all. Expect two hungry sides on the Suncorp Stadium paddock; something’s got to give ...

Key head-to-head:
There’s a demanding two-pronged aspect to DUANE VERMEULEN’S responsibilities in Brisbane; he’s been given the nod as acting leader while the team wrestles some injury woes to senior personnel, and management will clearly be hoping it doesn’t affect his ever-admirable work-rate and clattering commitment. Not only that, but up against him is the Reds’ tall-timber RADIKE SAMO, who will give Vermeulen stout opposition at the back of the lineout and seek to turn on the gas if he gets the chance to break away in open play.

Recent history:
Last year the Newlands meeting was pivotal in deciding who would finish top of the broad table – the Reds eventually clinched it by three points from the Stormers, who settled for second. And the Queenslanders prevailing 19-6 in Cape Town in early April, on a day when the home fires just wouldn’t burn properly, greatly helped the eventual champs’ cause. The Reds also won the last Brisbane clash – 16-13 in 2010.

Rob Houwing’s prediction:
I must admit that I am hugely tempted, considering the sudden injury upheaval in the touring Stormers camp, to tilt toward the Reds for this one. Every team in Super Rugby has a “dip” spell and I just wonder if the Capetonians – known for their energy-sapping tackle count -- haven’t started theirs. Mind you, the Reds are not yet back to their fullest complement, either (thinks Messrs Cooper, Ioane ...) so I’ll not very confidently suggest a precious Stormers win: by one point!

SA GAME 3

BULLS v BRUMBIES, Pretoria


When: Saturday, 19:10
Referee: Marius Jonker (SA)
TV: M-Net, SS1, SHD

Long-range weather forecast:
Partly cloudy, mild, light breeze.

Background:
The Brumbies stay stoically the best-placed Aussie conference side. But do they really have championship pedigree? Many critics would simply maintain that their respected SA coach Jake White has got them punching spiritedly above their weight for the time being. Mind you, we’ll all sit up and take real notice if they knock over big guns the Bulls in their Loftus stronghold. The home side have recovered well from their narrow Newlands loss to draw level with the Stormers at the top of the domestic conference, and really ought to be clear favourites here.

Key head-to-head:
The strange little run of erratic place-kicking form by Bulls flyhalf MORNE STEYN may have caused some people to unfairly suggest his general game has slipped ... am I alone in believing the opposite is actually true? If his performance off the tee comes right on Saturday, he’ll be influential all-round against the Brumbies. Mind you, opposite number CHRISTIAN LEALIIFANO is in good touch – he starred in the 37-6 trouncing of the Rebels last weekend.

Recent history:
These teams didn’t lock horns in 2011, but the year before that they shared a wild and woolly 82 points at Loftus – though the Bulls eventually won comfortably enough 50-32. Mind you, the Brumbies had led 21-20 at the break before Steyn took charge to aid the big turnaround, his big personal points tally including two tries for the eventual champions.

Rob Houwing’s prediction:
It really should be a comfortable day at the Highveld office for the Bulls, who will presumably steer clear of complacency after being upset by another overseas team (the currently wretched Blues) earlier this season. Bulls by 10 ...

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Sport24

Comments
  • hannes.handogg - 2012-04-19 11:16

    Die Sharks sal hulle verdediging BAIE moet verbeter om die Chiefs te wen. Dis glad nie ontmoontlik nie, en ek hoop rerig hulle gee die Chiefs op hulle moer (goed vir die Stormers en die Bulle). Maar eks bevrees, my superbru pick is Chiefs met 6. Go Sharks! Dis nou een superbru punt wat ek nie sal omgee om te verloor nie!

  • Lionel - 2012-04-19 11:29

    Good luck all SA teams,may my beloved Stormers win by more than 1 point....Stormers by 6 points

      Jason - 2012-04-19 13:56

      Stormers by plenty is my wish!! If the Sharks want to win, McCloed need a good game and their defense needs to be up a notch!!!

      Tokolos - 2012-04-19 17:32

      Reds!!!

  • David - 2012-04-19 11:31

    My head says Chief, my heart firmly says Sharks. On form it's hard to bet against the Chiefs, especially considering their good record in Durban. However, with our first bye coming up I think the Sharks will up the ante and will especially want to go into it on a high note in front of the home fans. If we play to our abilities, we can win. Go Sharks!! And Go Stormers and Bulls!!

      CharlesDumbwin - 2012-04-19 11:45

      Chiefs are playing some really slick rugby. Wacked the Cheetahs last week. Sharks had to make the long flight back and are under increasing pressure. Sharks don't do well under pressure, never have. Chiefs will take it

      David - 2012-04-19 11:53

      Stormers and Crusaders showed that travelling means nothing if your preparations and attitude are right. They will be up for the fight!!

  • CharlesDumbwin - 2012-04-19 11:35

    Sharks will choke, as expected. Chiefs by 14

      MarkSchrade1980 - 2012-04-19 11:39

      Was waiting for this troll to arrive

      CharlesDumbwin - 2012-04-19 11:44

      Mark if sharks don't choke, I won't comment on another fishpaste article for a whole week. That's a promise.

      David - 2012-04-19 11:45

      Make it a month and you got a deal

      CharlesDumbwin - 2012-04-19 11:56

      A month will leave me with 4 more fishpaste chokes to comment on. One week is fine.

  • CharlesDumbwin - 2012-04-19 11:36

    I hope SARU use common sense after this Super15 and MERGE the fishpaste club with the brandy & coke park lions. Golden Guppies or Clawless Catfish for next year's Super Rugby comp. BRING ON THE MIGHTY SUPER KINGS !!!

      Derrick - 2012-04-19 12:34

      @Charles Dumbwin- I think you are a species evolved whose sole purpose is to garner as many thumbs down in as short a time as possible- you have achieved your goal- now time for extinction

      Riaan - 2012-04-19 13:02

      Lol dumblose wat0 se j van eerder die pienk koeie en storm bresies te laat merge?

      Riaan - 2012-04-19 13:06

      @dumdlose j comment di selfde post op elke artikel raak nou afgesaag, gaan post eerder op women24

      martin.gee.godfrey - 2012-04-19 13:06

      Charles ...... oh nevermind.....

      liandi.fourie - 2012-04-19 14:42

      Charles Dumbwin, what you do on a site like this. No rugby knowledge, useless comments, negative remarks and best of all clueless. Damn boet, go for manicuring classes and hold Cheekey's hand rather than waste yr 'valueble' time on 'cross-dressing' parties! Biggest wimp I ever came across!

      Tokolos - 2012-04-19 16:57

      Charlene Dumbtwat... You are a super retarded IDIOT. Are you looking for attention? I suppose you keep a notepad or doc handy somewhere with all your most stupid quotes or shall I say taunts when you troll these blogs. You copy and paste the same stuff over an over again. You are really original you plank!!

  • Deon - 2012-04-19 11:38

    This might be the weekend that no SA team lose with the lower 2 teams getting a rest.

      Lionel - 2012-04-19 11:42

      Hope you right Deon!

      Tokolos - 2012-04-19 17:31

      No Deon. We will have one loss this weekend. Reds by 20+ Go Reds!!!

      1amAlan - 2012-04-19 20:59

      No Tokolos, I think it will be a close game. 47 - 3 to the Stormers.

  • stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-04-19 13:58

    If the Stormers concede as many penalties as last week, the Reds will have a walk in the park.. Hope you've gone through your friggin' rule book Stormers, I'm backing you to win by at least 6 points. Don't make me lose my money!

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