Vodacom Super 14

Sharks' backs to the wall

2010-02-25 22:31
John Smit (Gallo Images)
Christo Buchner

Johannesburg – If the Sharks want to achieve their first victory in this year’s Super 14 on Friday, John Smit and Co will have to achieve something they have never managed before.

That is to beat the Crusaders in Christchurch.

If one has to be honest, the Sharks are not going to manage it if their form to date is taken as a yardstick. They will require an enormous transformation.

The Crusaders’ unexpected demise at the hands of the Reds last week has also not done the Sharks any favours.

The Kiwi side will be out to compensate for that setback and the Sharks may just pay the price.

Strange things have been happening at the Sharks of late, with the latest being that new backline coach Hugh Reece-Edwards did not fly out with the side to Australasia. The idea behind this was apparently to save the union money.

However, it simply does not add up that someone is appointed to such a position and then is not there when the team plays.

One has to wonder whether the backline’s inability to score a try in their first two games has anything to do with it.

The try-drought is a huge problem for the Sharks.

Eighthman Ryan Kankowski has scored their only try and they will not win any games in the competition if they continue down this road.

Two players on the respective substitutes benches on Friday – the Crusaders’ Richie McCaw and new Sharks fly-half Andy Goode – can play major roles when they take the field.

The teams:

15. Jared Payne, 14. Sean Maitland, 13. Robbie Fruean, 12. Ryan Crotty, 11. Zac Guildford, 10. Dan Carter, 9. Andy Ellis, 8. Thomas Waldrom, 7. George Whitelock, 6. Kieran Read (captain), 5. Brad Thorn, 4. Sam Whitelock, 3. Ben Franks, 2. Ti'i Paulo, 1. Wyatt Crockett.

Substitutes: 16. Quentin MacDonald, 17. Owen Franks, 18. Joe Wheeler, 19. Richie McCaw, 20. Kahn Fotuali'i, 21. Adam Whitelock, 22. Colin Slade.

15. Stefan Terblanche, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Waylon Murray, 12. Adrian Jacobs, 11. JP Pietersen, 10. Ruan Pienaar, 9. Rory Kockott, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Jacques Botes, 5. Johann Muller, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. John Smit (captain), 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16. Deon Carstens, 17. Jannie du Plessis, 18. Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19. Jean Deysel, 20. Keegan Daniel, 21. Andy Goode, 22. Riaan Swanepoel

Kick-off: 08:35


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