Sharks chase nine point bonus

2012-04-17 09:35

Johannesburg - The Sharks have plenty motivation to beat Vodacom Super Rugby front-runners the Chiefs in what could well turn to be the most entertaining match of the round at Mr Price King’s Park on Saturday.

The five log points they picked up in beating the Blues in the final match of their tour this past week has kept them in contention for both the South African conference title and in the battle for supremacy on the overall log even though they have lost four of the eight games they have played so far. And John Plumtree and his charges stand to pick up 14 log points in the space of three weekends if they get a full house against the Chiefs on Saturday.

That is because the Sharks have their first bye of the season the weekend following the Chiefs game, and they pick up an automatic four log points for their week off. Commentators often talk about teams that have a game in hand on their opponents as if that is an advantage, but that is not the case in the Super Rugby format, where having a game in hand means you have already pocketed your automatic four points.

So while the Stormers and Bulls have a seven point lead over the Sharks on the Super Rugby log, it needs to be factored in that they have four points for playing one game less than the Durban team. That all gets squared up over the next two weeks, with the two conference front-runners in action while the Sharks sit out, and if either of those two teams lose, the Sharks will be right back in the race.

So that is the call to the Sharks players this week from their management – go for bust this week and a win, which could well come with a bonus point against a Chiefs team that could be seduced into a running game, will ensure you a weekend off where you will be comfortable in the knowledge that you have the momentum of banking 14 points over three weeks.

The Sharks play the Highlanders in Durban in another big game not long after they return from their break, and then comes the big return derby against the Stormers at Kings Park. The two teams were evenly matched in the first round game in Cape Town, with the Cape team winning only because of a questionable penalty that Peter Grant slotted from the touchline, and with players coming back from injury, the Sharks won’t feel they are going into that game without any hope.

The return against the Bulls is scheduled for much later, for after the international window for the Springbok series against England, and who knows where the Bulls will be by then given that they still have to tour and that a sizeable proportion of their current management looks set to be committed to the Boks. At this stage it also looks likely that more Bulls players than Sharks players will be playing in the England series.

But first things first, and it will be a massive challenge for the Sharks to beat the Chiefs, who were probably much better than the closeness of the scoreline against the Cheetahs might suggest. They did score five tries to two, and with the Cheetahs a different team to what they were in seasons past, any win in Bloemfontein is something to be proud of (and the Sharks know that better than anyone!).

The good news is that the Sharks are set to welcome back Bismarck du Plessis this week, and his role as a talismanic forward who carries the ball and turns over opposition ball at the breakdown, and who holds up opponents in the tackle, cannot be under-valued. Plumtree though is in the happy position of for once being able to say that he has to choose between two good players as Craig Burden was the star of the show as Du Plessis’ opponent against the Blues.


  • Felix - 2012-04-17 09:57

    Chiefs are looking deadly but you can stop them guys! Go Sharks!

      Ren%c3%a9 - 2012-04-17 10:13

      Gavin Rich, I think you forgot to mention that the Bulls also have a bye after the Brumbies game, same as Sharks, so 9 points for Sharks & for my Bulls will be good yes!

      Frank - 2012-04-17 11:39

      Hi Rene. The Bulls have had one bye already and the Sharks none.

      Ren%c3%a9 - 2012-04-17 12:23

      True Frank but it still doesn't change the fact that the Bulls will have their 2nd bye before they start their tour! - 2012-04-17 12:27

      @Rene. Except that that is the bulls 2nd bye. The Sharks haven't had their 1st bye yet.

      Ren%c3%a9 - 2012-04-17 12:35

      @AJ, isn't that what I said 'Bulls will have their 2nd bye"??

      Ren%c3%a9 - 2012-04-17 12:37


      Frank - 2012-04-17 13:29

      Hi Blueraven. The difference is you get 4 points automatically. You cannot lose a Bye. Duhh!!

  • allblacksfanatic - 2012-04-17 10:02

    SBW!!!!!!!! #OffloadMaster

      Lionel - 2012-04-17 10:05

      I am not a AB,Chiefs or SBW fan but I have to agree with you!!!!

      Stirrer - 2012-04-17 10:08

      Most of them forward passes.

  • Balulekile Simani - 2012-04-17 10:39

    we will be the champs

      CharlesDumbwin - 2012-04-17 10:56

      no you won't. sharks have never won Super Rugby, Bulls have 3 times. Sharks will choke, like they always do. Chiefs by 22

      Iza - 2012-04-17 14:19

      @ quickly forget that although it shows in the history books, if it was not for illegal play by the Bulls and a blind could have been a different situation...rather be thankful and not arrogant.

      Felix - 2012-04-17 15:53

      Chill Iza we all know it, these guys are just trolling.

  • David - 2012-04-17 10:48

    Hopefully missing the Blues game and Burdens performance will fizz Bismarck up, we need him at his best. Our forwards are going to need to starve them of possession and any they do get must be on the backfoot. I'm tossing a coin for my Superbru pick.

  • Paul - 2012-04-17 11:06

    Go Sharks!!!!!!

      Tyrone - 2012-04-17 13:09

      hello ou toppie hehehe, yup GO Sharkssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

  • Priester - 2012-04-17 11:23

    Gavin it is a sad day for Sharks rugby when you base your article on "IF" and hope your team will reach the semi's purely because of the fact that the mighty Bulls will be severely depleted in all aspects, players and coaches through no fault of their own but in the interest of Springbok Rugby. In essence you admit that the Sharks may reach the semis not because they earned it but because a better team had to sacrifice. Having said this I do support the Sharks in their game against the Chiefs. Blou Bul Groete.

      CharlesDumbwin - 2012-04-17 11:33

      If there's one guarantee in SA rugby, it's that the sharks, under pressure, WILL CHOKE. As true as nuts. And the Chiefs are just the right team to put the fishpaste club under pressure this weekend. Chiefs by 22

      djmain1 - 2012-04-17 11:43

      @CharlesDumbwin - you make as little sense here as you do in the creationism debates.

      Frank - 2012-04-17 11:52

      Remember this Bulls boys. The Sharks have had 8 games so far, 2 home games out of 8, no byes and have toured already. The Bulls have had 7 games, 4 home games, 1 bye and have not toured. The Sharks have done the hard part of the season, the Bulls still have to start. I still predict a 0-4 tour for the Bulls.

      Ren%c3%a9 - 2012-04-17 12:33

      @Frank, you meant to say, you HOPE it will be 0/4. I'm so sorry I supported your team during their travels. @Priester, Gavin Rich hates the Bulls - the only reporter who is unbiased in all of his reporting is Brendan Nell. Most others are all just Bull haters - I really feel sorry for them because they are an embarrassment to the general intellect of most rugby supporters.

      djmain1 - 2012-04-17 12:35

      @Rene - Gavin Rich is not exactly a Sharks supporter either - he's a WP man and biased to boot.

      Ren%c3%a9 - 2012-04-17 12:44

      @dj, I know, but he will support Zimbabwe's 4th soccer team before he says anything positive about the Bulls. There's no room for such pathetic one eyed useless journalists.

      Frank - 2012-04-17 12:58

      Hi Bulls fans. I support the Bulls in every game except against the Sharks. Being realistic though, I don't think they have the old talent and very little flair in their squad. They play a very one-dimensional game.

      Ren%c3%a9 - 2012-04-17 13:04

      @Frank, rather support your Sharks, BULLS one dimensional????- LMAO!!!!!

      Priester - 2012-04-17 13:22

      Yes Frank, their one dimensional game is effective, they score a LOT of tries, they win the silver ware, they are the most successful SA franchise, they produce Bok players and they deliver on coaching and ALL because of a "one dimensional game". Makes you think doesn't it?

      Ren%c3%a9 - 2012-04-17 13:35

      @Priester, nou is arme Frankie heeltemal deurmekaar! I think the status quo re the Bulls stats = least tries conceded, most tries scored. If that equates to 1D style of play, then so be it!! @Frank, having said all of that, I still hope your team beat the Chiefs this weekend, even if its just to benefit my BULLs team

      Priester - 2012-04-17 13:41

      @ René Mmmm.., said it before, he reminds me of a ghost on cocaine. One dimensional my a$$

      Ren%c3%a9 - 2012-04-17 13:45

      @Priester, same guy??? OK, all makes sense now!!

  • Colin - 2012-04-17 12:33

    Chiefs by 20.

      Frank - 2012-04-17 13:00

      Sharks by luck!

      CharlesDumbwin - 2012-04-17 13:14

      no, by 22

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