Sharks facing 15-pt. handicap?

2012-07-31 07:46

Cape Town - Despite their heroic recent run, renowned South African sport scientist Ross Tucker still believes the Sharks are up against a massive travel burden ahead of their Super Rugby final against the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday.

Tucker last week predicted the Stormers would have an 8-10 point head-start on the Sharks after the Durbanites had to travel back from Australia for the semi-final in Cape Town. But the Sharks defied the odds and won the game 26-19, a result Tucker feels was in fact more impressive than the seven-point buffer suggests.

"My interpretation of the final score (win by seven for the Sharks) is that they were probably in the range of 15 points better than their opposition on the day - they were even better than the score-line suggests," he said in a statement on Monday.

"I was quoted before the match as saying that there was perhaps an 8 to 10 point handicap for the Sharks to overcome. This was interpreted as a prediction that the Sharks would lose by 8 to 10 points, but it was anything but - it was simply a report that analysing the history of the tournament suggested that long travel, plus playing away, was worth a “deficit” of this size before the match even began. Of course either side could still win, but the Sharks would need to be that much better to do so."

Tucker feels the Sharks' effort over the last two weeks was nothing short of remarkable, after they flew to Brisbane and beat the Reds 30-17, before beating the Stormers the next week in Cape Town.

"We know from numerous studies that performance is quite significantly affected as a result of travel. Cognitive function - mood, decision-making and awareness - is compromised.

"Travel also affects physical function, not least because of the lack of sleep and demanding long flights. Even a 5% drop in power and endurance can impact on a team’s performance, and I do think that in the semi-final, the final 15 minutes showed that, as the Sharks were beginning to fatigue, but had been good enough to have built a lead and then defend it," said Tucker.

While not saying a victory over the Chiefs is impossible, Tucker nevertheless feels it is an enormous task ahead of Keegan Daniel's men, predicting that this time they'll probably start with a 15-point handicap against them.

"The effects of jet lag partly explain why teams so rarely leave their country in the tournament and win. Analysing the history of Super Rugby has shown that only about 35% of matches are won by the away team, and when the away team must fly across time-zones, it falls to 20%. Doing so three times in three weeks means that the Sharks have a huge hurdle to overcome, as they did prior to playing the Stormers.

"But it is possible, and the Sharks should not be written off in any match. It’s just that they face a barrier or handicap prior to matches, and have to be that much better to win the match.

"Looking at the upcoming final, analysis of the last six years of Super Rugby has found that the Chiefs’ home-ground advantage is worth approximately two points, and that international travel is worth five points. Travelling three times means that the Sharks have a handicap that is probably about 15 points large. Again, this is not a prediction - all it is saying is that the Sharks, in order to win it, will have to be 15 points or more better than the Chiefs, because of the burden of travel they face.

"Can they do it? Absolutely. And if they do, it will go down as the greatest sequence of matches ever for a South African professional club team," said Tucker.


  • chris.gill.9849 - 2012-07-31 07:59

    They've defied for the odds for the last 2 games... win or lose I'm damn proud to be a Sharks supporter.

      shawnappel - 2012-07-31 08:06


      TheRealWarrenB - 2012-07-31 08:53

      So he got last weeks "prediction" wrong!

      felix.feline.3 - 2012-07-31 09:00

      This sports science stuff doesn't sound too hard, do I just add 5 for every time we travel?

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 09:07

      Careful Felix Ross Tucker will message u on Facebook and call u classy, no, a bastion of class, what a poephol

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 13:01

      i think its a bit harsh to call the sharks handicapped and quite unPC. i dont trust this guys predictions at all. if i had listened to him last week i would have lost my money. the stormers would win, what does he know? cmon go talk about hockey

      dave.short.102 - 2012-07-31 18:18

      Agreed! and I am not even a sharks fan!!!!!!!!!!!!! Proud to be South African!!!!!!!!!!! Go Sharks!!! Bulls groete!!!!!!!!!!!

      carl.miles.31 - 2012-08-01 12:48

      Warren its not a prediction boet! Its a handicap, by saying the sharks were at an 8 point handicap he means the final score line should have been 34-19 and not 26-19 had it not been for the traveling. So to beat the chiefs we need to be at least 15points better than them to get the win on Saturday....its not rocket science!!!

      John - 2012-08-01 13:08

      Sharks will NEVER bring home the cup. They are not a champion team remember NEVER not this year or any year !!! Cant polish a TURD .....

  • Christopher Zoony De Croes - 2012-07-31 08:15

    another FINALS choke? 4 or 5 now??

      MarkSchrade1980 - 2012-07-31 08:24

      How many years the Snormers without a trophy? Oh yes 11 going on 12 now......

      aubrey.gloster - 2012-07-31 08:27

      Well the Stormers have actually choked for 20 seasons in a row in the Super and 11 years in a row in the Currie Cup. I hope the Shark can join the Lions and the Bulls as worthy Super winners.

      andrew.arde - 2012-07-31 08:40

      If the Sharks lose, it will certainly not be choking! They have come from nowhere to make the final......which is far more than I can say for the Stormers on Saturday..........that is what you call an epic choke!

      john.edwards.733450 - 2012-07-31 15:35

      you're prob not smart enough to understand this but you choke when you're odds-on favorite to win it but you lose . You EPIC CHOKE when you add to that that you have absolutely every thing stacked in your favor & the team you're losing against had to travel around the world before they got off the plane to kick your @ss... you know like what happened to your team last week ?

  • morne.vandyk.58 - 2012-07-31 08:17

    I have eventually gotten over the Stormers losing again in a semi final and will support the Sharks 100% on Saturday. For some reason I believe they can do it. Go Sharks.

  • aubrey.gloster - 2012-07-31 08:19

    Ross you sound like an Economist. Doesn't matter what happens you will have an excuse afterwards. What you gonna say next week? Oh I forgot to tell the informed readers that the Sharks won because they were 40 points better than the Chiefs and they didn't sleep at all so the jet-lagg had no influence oh and I forgot to say that if they eat Pro-Nutro they will have lots of energy the last 15 minutes blah blah blah blah

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 09:13

      *jet leg

      ross.tucker.581 - 2012-07-31 09:46

      Hi Aubrey! Touche! You're right, but then I'd make the point that I'm not making a prediction, so there's no excuse to be made. All I'm saying is that the statistical history of the tournament says that travel costs a team 5 points. There's no prediction in that, and because there's no prediction, there's no excuse. The result speaks for itself. So if the history tells you there is an 8 to 10 point "cost" of double travel, and a team wins by 7, then they are that much better. Who needs an excuse!? If the Sharks win, and I was pretty clear about this, was I not, then it's because they have produced the greatest performances we've ever seen from a pro club rugby team. I don't know about Pro-Nutro, I'm more a Weetbix fan myself (that's a joke...). let's enjoy the game, which is not statistical, and see what happens. Ross

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 12:32

      check now he says weet bix is better than pronutro i hope the sharks get the internet memo

      terry.burne - 2012-07-31 14:41

      @ Ross Tucker - don't waste your time trying to explain it to these guys, they are just to 'doff' to get it. When you say that the Sharks start with an "8 to 10 point handicap" because of travel - they equate that to mean that the other team will win by 8 to 10 points. Just leave it at that and let them think whatever.

  • Wesley - 2012-07-31 08:20

    CMON the SHARKS!!!!!! Bring it Back to SA!!!!!!! Stormers 4EVA!

  • MarkSchrade1980 - 2012-07-31 08:23

    Don't believe a word this oke says. He said Sharks had an 8 point deficit starting against the Stormers and look how that ended!!!!!

      ross.tucker.581 - 2012-07-31 09:49

      Absolutely, it ended with a far superior team managing to overcome the challenge of travel to win in dominant fashion, because they were outstanding. I'm not asking you to believe my prediction, because you're 100% right, what does anyone's prediction actually mean? All I'm saying is that there's a price to pay when you travel that far, that often. You can still be good enough to "pay the price", but you have to be helluva good to do so. Last week, the Sharks were. Let's hope they are again this week. It's just that the price is even higher. Hopefully they still have enough to do it! Ross

      andrew.arde - 2012-07-31 10:39

      @ Ross - So what you were in effect saying is that the scoreline from Saturday's game should've been more like 26-11 but because of the travel fatigue they let through 8 pts to end off at 26-19?

      ross.tucker.581 - 2012-07-31 12:11

      Hi Andrew Yeah, that's the way you'd conceptualize it, trying to put a number to the effect of travel (which was the idea behind the "handicap" concept). Whether those were points they let through, or whether they scored fewer than they may have done is neither here nor there, all I'm saying is that they started that game needing to be 8 to 10 points better JUST TO BE EQUAL. They were, and then some - the implication is that playing at a neutral venue, without travel, the Sharks were far superior on the day than even the scoreline suggests. Same logic for the weekend ahead says that they need an even greater step up, because the additional flight "costs" even more. This is all conceptual/hypothetical - the game still happens over 80min on the field (otherwise why play it,right?). But when we analyze the result AFTER the match (predictions are useless, which is why I'd avoid making one), then we can interpret it by saying that the Sharks, if they win, have been unbelievably good, to overcome the travel effect and still do it. Let's hope they do...history shows how difficult it will be. Ross

  • Daryn - 2012-07-31 08:30

    So the same clown that got last weekend COMPLETELY wrong has more drivel to spew and it's newsworthy? Rather speak to someone more knowledgeable. We all know they have an uphill battle, it's not just the travel, remove that from the equation and face the truth that it's the Final, two very deserving teams are there and via two different paths. The Sharks have had the harder route without a doubt but they will not just lie down and be a doormat, this is the professional era. Finals rugby is as much about the rub of the green and the refs interpretation of laws as it is about the performance of the two sides competing. So just SHUT UP AND GET BEHIND OUR BOYS #Sharksforever

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 09:12

      I wonder if he is reading the comments like he did last week, getting all offended

      ross.tucker.581 - 2012-07-31 09:52

      Hi Daryn Clown here! So again, can I just say that I didn't actually make a prediction last week. Let me put it to you this way - predict the score for Saturday's match. Now, imagine they were playing at a neutral venue, without one team having to fly across the ocean 3 times in 3 weeks. Is your score prediction different? It should be. If you have the Sharks winning away from home, then imagine how much more confident you'd be at home. Can you put a point value to your confidence? That's all a "handicap" means. You're absolutely right, the two teams who are there are very deserving, and have arrived via two very different paths. And yes, the Sharks won't lie down. But then nobody ever said that. And yes, finals rugby is about the rub of the green, but again, I'd ask for a prediction of a hypothetical match where one of the team hasn't had to travel, and see how much impact it is. The Sharks may well win this, I hope they do. And I don't think they'll go down by 15 points, because I think they have so much momentum and belief, and are riding confidence and form. But they have this "cost" to overcome, and that is all the ponits value represents. It's not a prediction. Enjoy the match. Ross

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 12:34

      this oke and his silly predictions hey. u cant predict the outcome of a game bud, and then make excuses when you are wrong. you saying the sharks are going to lose by 15 this weekend? yiss u are obvs from the cape hey. weetbix and pronutro will decide this game. maybe even jungle oats a "handicap" is being ross tucker

      Daryn - 2012-07-31 13:39

      Ross, big ups to you for getting involved here and saying your bit. I never mentioned you making a prediction,I just stated that you got it totally wrong. The Stormers at no point seemed to have the mythical 8-10 point advantage you proclaimed (maybe they had it mentally and that lead to them forgetting to put those points on the board!), in fact they looked totally outplayed(and eventually were) until the latter part of the second half. Funny thing the game of rugby, like the bounce of a rugby ball, it's pretty unpredictable, and hopefully the boys have read your comments and go out to prove you wrong. I am not a Black and white tinted glasses fellow, this weekend will be tough, even more so after the travel, but even if this was after a month long break, this game is going to be brutal. Have the Chiefs proven that when they are being blanketed on defense, that they have a plan b, do they have a Freddie to give them the snap drop? Do they have Riaan with his long range boot? So in your hypothetical, it's easy to make assumptions (mainly because the hypothetical is just that and can never be proven), but in reality one has to take your heart out of this, assess everything from a logical point of view and make statements from there. Again I will agree, that the Chiefs have an advantage, perhaps trying to equate that to a points advantage is what has stepped on many toes. They will be hungry to win, particularly in front of the home crowd,but don't count the Sharks out!

      ross.tucker.581 - 2012-07-31 14:28

      Hi Daryn No problem, it's good to discuss (when it doesn't degenerate and Tom gets involved!) Here's the acid test: Predict the score in the final, knowing what you do about the last 3 weeks, 3 flights, etc. Then make the same prediction for a match between the same two teams, given their recent form, but WITHOUT the travel. If your score is different, then you're taking into account the effect of travel on the teams. How different it is will tell how big that impact is. I arrived at 15 points for this game (and 8 to 10 for last week's semi), based on analyzing the last 7 years of the tournament. Looking at every one of the teams' hundred-odd matches, it's possible to work out that ON AVERAGE, teams are 5 points worse as a result of travel. That gives the "handicap". It's an average, and the game's result doesn't boil down to averages. That's not in dispute. But what it does do is reflect the size of the advantage. This IS the logical way to d So when you say that the Stormers never had an advantage, how do you known? The implication of the history is that the SAME match, played without the Sharks having to travel twice in 2 weeks, would have seen the Sharks winning by even more. You can never "SEE" the advantage - it's conceptual, if that makes sense. All it is, is the "cost" that you assign to having to fly overseas that often. It can't be wrong because it doesn't predict the future - it's based on the past. Ross

      ross.tucker.581 - 2012-07-31 14:32

      Oh and to add, I think the same approach is what we all do, subconsciously or tangibly, when we discuss how weather may affect the game, how injuries to key players may affect it, how the referee might alter the course of the match. You don't have these two alternate universes where you can run the model and see the outcome, so you don't ever have the opportunity to judge how a statistical finding based on history affects present observations. It's not the same as if I'd said "The Stormers will win by 8" which is what many interpreted this to mean (and Tom still does, bless him...) What it means is that in order for the Sharks to win, they need to be BETTER than they would be if they were playing at home, after a long rest as opposed to two trans-Indian flights in a week. I'm sure most would agree that this is true. History tells us the size of the advantage, so we can put a point value to it, and reporting on that history is never wrong, it's just fact. PRedicting the future based on that history, well, that's a problem, and can be wrong. But then, who did that? ;-) Cheers Ross

  • werner.coetzer.311 - 2012-07-31 08:34

    Think this oke is more of a sports scientologist than scientist

      Charmaine Hasell - 2012-07-31 08:55

      Hahaha!! Give him a break, I think what he's actually saying is that the Sharks are way better than the Stormers and if they hadn't travelled they would have won 36 - 19?? 10 points lost to jet lag...

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 09:10

      Careful Werner he might send u Facebook messages calling u a bastion of class

      werner.coetzer.311 - 2012-07-31 09:26

      Never really been able to see the benefit to hide behind a fake FB profile. If I offend him so much he can even monitor my movements and meet me in real life. When you make a statement or comment you should be willing to stand by it as well.

      ross.tucker.581 - 2012-07-31 09:55

      Hi Werner! I think that's actually quite witty, a scientologist. I'm not sure what it's based on - a prediction? Because I didn't make one. To repeat, what you should do is predict the score for Saturday's match. Now, imagine they were playing at a neutral venue, without one team having to fly across the ocean 3 times in 3 weeks. Is your score prediction different? Because whatever the difference is the points value of the travel, in your mind. In mine, based on 7 years of the tournaments results, it's 15 points. Does it mean the Sharks ARE DESTINED to lose? Of course not, because on any given day, so many factors influence the result of a rugby match that they can overcome that history and statistic. It's just a guideline. As for this stuff about an anonymous facebook profile, I don't have one at all. I am 100% happy to stand by my comments and this discussion - I wouldn't be here if it wasn't enjoyable to engage on the subject! I'd be happy to meet and explain how a prediction is different from a statistical finding. I'm in Cape Town, we can have a drink next time you're down! Ross

  • richard.schmode.9 - 2012-07-31 08:38

    this is the same dickhead who said the stormers would beat the not trust this oke

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 09:11

      Did Tucker send u a Facebook message yet for criticizing him?

      donavan.boshoff - 2012-07-31 09:49

      did he send you one tom? what a chop!

      ross.tucker.581 - 2012-07-31 09:57

      really? I said that? I don't recall. I think what i said is that the Stormers would have an 8 to 10 point head start, which, I'd argue is true. The fact that the Sharks overcame it should make you twice as proud of what I assume is your team? Because they were clearly far superior on the day. I'm not asking you to trust me here - this is not me giving you your Superbru picks, guys! I'm just telling you how much the travel costs a team. Use it, don't use it. But let's not get personal?

      deon.louw.7505 - 2012-07-31 10:03

      People can't read, maybe it is rather Jan Van Riebeecks fault? Ha Ha. I also did not see Ross predicting a Stormers win.

  • dustin.dewet - 2012-07-31 08:44

    The same plonker who said the Stormers had a 8-10 point advantage last week. The mindset of the players will determine the outcome and if strong enough will overcome any travel fatigue etc.

  • Bigdaddynic - 2012-07-31 08:54

    Can they do it? Absolutely. And if they do, it will go down as the greatest sequence of matches ever for a South African professional club team," said Tucker

  • tyron.greunen - 2012-07-31 08:57

    this time last week i mentioned the Stormers should be worried.They faced a team that was peaking and in form,strong in all areas of their game tackling the defense behind their game line.I'd say the Chiefs will meet their match on Saturday and for that i think they worried,they have played similar rugga to the Sharks and now they face an opponent without much weakness.Sharks are the underdogs which motivates them more,if anything i'd say the Pressure is on the Chiefs as they know if they lose this game there is no excuse as they have played a team that has travelled 3 time zones in 3 weeks.If anything,that is what is playing through the Chiefs head's at the moment...

  • heystek.erasmus - 2012-07-31 09:14

    Ek dink nie eens Nostradamus sou dit kon voorspel dat die Sharks in die Final sou kom nie,ja,hulle het wat,Gde op die log ge eindig,maar,as die Sharks die ene wen,verdien hulle wragtag die titel as die beste Super Cup span die jaar,want al die odds is teen hulle en nie net vir die final nie,maar ook soos teen die Stormers,als tel teen hulle,maar hel,as hulle kan wen,sal sekerlik moet rate as die beste in jare

  • skinfaxi.mordor - 2012-07-31 09:22

    I really think that the organisers of the competition need to review things. Being the runner up in the competition should not be a death sentence to your chances. What's the point? In my opinion the Sharks would have had a home final had it not been for the clear bias of Mark Lawrence and Gerrie Coetzee. It's such a shame that not only do we have to put up with biased NZ refs but we have to put up with biased South African match officials as well. The Sharks really have done it against all odds.

  • ross.tucker.581 - 2012-07-31 09:42 we go again! I enjoy the debate,but I don't understand the need to get so personal. Just breathe. The way I see it, we're all "fans" who love sport (and our teams), and travel aspect is one aspect of the whole picture which is worth talking about, no? For me, to try to translate it to a point deficit seems to be a convenient and understandable way of conceptualizing the impact of travel. So what I did was to suggest that the effect of travel and playing away is to "cost" a team basically 5 points for each trans-Indian flight - we know this from analyzing all matches in the history of the tourney where this happens. That is a "handicap", it's not a prediction. So when the Sharks went out last week and beat the Stormers by 7, they did so despite having a "cost" of 8 to 10 points as a result of circumstances. It was an incredible performance, and Sharks fans should take heart in that fact. This should be cause for MORE celebration, not criticism, as far as I can tell, because they were actually MUCH better. Making a prediction is not my place to do, because when a journalists asks, they're not asking you as a fan,but for a specific conte As for engaging here, since Tom is so set on baiting me, the idea is just to discuss it and add insight. It seems a waste of time for some - I suspect Tom will never rationally discuss rugby with anyone. That's fine. The personal insults though have no place, and of course I'll respond to those,but not on this forum. Ross

      skinfaxi.mordor - 2012-07-31 10:07

      Ross you really don't have to explain yourself again. You made your argument perfectly clear in the article. The problem is that the trolls on this forum can read stuck keys and crude insults but fail to follow a logical argument. Guys like Tom are here because people feed the trolls. Please don't refrain from adding intellect to a forum that desperately needs it. Guys, what we don't know in these travel affected games is what the score WOULD HAVE BEEN if travel had not been such a factor. Ross has tried to quantify this for us. Thank you Ross.

      aubrey.gloster - 2012-07-31 10:15

      Hi Ross did you study at the "University of Repetition"? Don't take the comments too personal.It is just the nature of the Sport24 beast.

      ross.tucker.581 - 2012-07-31 10:46

      Hi again Aubrey. I may have done - I vaguely recall a lot of repeating myself in my student days. It's hazy... But apologies if I'm saying the same thing over and over - I do it because I don't know that people go through all the posts, so I reply to each person as an independent conversation! And Skinfaxi, thanks, and no problem at all. I actually enjoy the discussion, at least in the sense that it can be clarified and discussed. I mean, this is the purpose of trying to communicate, after all. I'm beginning to realize that there are some to whom no argument will penetrate, and that's fine! But some might enjoy the debate. I'd like to think that making this stuff more accessible helps with how we view the sport. Wrong? Maybe. But thanks for your consideration and I appreciate the feedback! Cheers R

      skinfaxi.mordor - 2012-07-31 11:22

      There are none so blind as those who will not see.

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 12:51

      if love is blind why is lingerie so popular?

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 13:10

      lovers always think that other people are blind

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 13:10

      science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind thats albert einsteyn

  • Tian - 2012-07-31 09:46

    same guy that said stormers had advantage???

      skinfaxi.mordor - 2012-07-31 10:10

      If having an advantage meant that winning was a dead certainty then sports betting wouldn't exist.

      seanb09 - 2012-07-31 10:46

      wow you guys seriously need to read the article again, Ross was not predicting the Stormers would win, all he said was the sharks would need to overcome the disadvantage of travel fatigue, which they did. They had a huge disadvantage, you could see in the final 20 mins, they were on their last legs but overcame it because they built a lead. now stop giving the guy a hardtime and maybe re read the article if you don't understand.

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 12:53

      honestly who even reads the articles? i thought this place was a platform for trolling

  • donavan.boshoff - 2012-07-31 09:46

    i cant believe this knob actually thinks his two cents is worth commenting on this website. after last weeks total c@ck up. i suppose an empty can WILL rattle the most!!

      Charmaine Hasell - 2012-07-31 09:57

      It must be poor reading skills? try again, maybe you'll get it eventually...

      ross.tucker.581 - 2012-07-31 09:59

      Dono, relax. I didn't "comment" I was asked to interpret the effect of travel. Seemed an interesting way to do this would be to look at how many points it would "cost" a team to fly so far so often. That's all. Last week wasn't a 'cock up' at all - the size of the advantage to the Stormers WAS 8 to 10 points, but the Sharks were so much better than the Stormers. If you find mention of a "prediction" anywhere, let me know. There's a big difference between predicting something and reporting on what history shows.

      seanb09 - 2012-07-31 10:47

      wow you guys seriously need to read the article again, Ross was not predicting the Stormers would win, all he said was the sharks would need to overcome the disadvantage of travel fatigue, which they did. They had a huge disadvantage, you could see in the final 20 mins, they were on their last legs but overcame it because they built a lead. now stop giving the guy a hardtime and maybe re read the article if you don't understand.

      donavan.boshoff - 2012-07-31 11:16

      thanks for clearing that up ross, im a die hard sharks fan and take serious strain when people talk about the sharks in a negative manner (even when its the truth). we all know its a massive mountain to climb. so i apologise for my comment.

      ross.tucker.581 - 2012-07-31 12:27

      Thank you Dono, I appreciate it. IT's always difficult to read between the lines and quotes do get taken out of their context. So I understand the source of the confusion, and I really appreciate that you've come back with that. I hope that the Sharks will do the necessary this weekend. I hope that I don't come across as negative towards them, but rather to the challenge of traveling that far that often. The challenge must be embraced, and we can already say that the Sharks have achieved something unparalleled in the history of provincial/profession rugby in South Africa (outside of the Boks), in that they've traveled twice and won both matches. How good is this Sharks team then? History should say they're one of the best, regardless of what happens on the weekend. But that's for Sunday's discussion. For now, yes, it's support, but with a dose of realism as to what they've overcoming. My take is that in the same way that we're going to analyze the opposition, the referee and our own players, we need to analyze and appreciate the travel factor. Negative? Only because it isn't in their favour. An opportunity? Absolutely. Let's see how it goes. Ross

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 12:55

      dont trust these predictions you will lose your money

  • deon.louw.7505 - 2012-07-31 10:01

    Mission impossible 4 to follow? They have already done something no one could do before: win to away games in the knock out stages. Go Sharks!

      skinfaxi.mordor - 2012-07-31 10:41

      Did they make 3 crossings in 3 weeks?

      skinfaxi.mordor - 2012-07-31 11:54

      Good point. You're right. That was also a rough season.

  • heystek.erasmus - 2012-07-31 10:18

    Hel,kan jullie nie lees en verstaan nie????die ou maak ni n voorspelling dat die Chiefs die Sharks gaan wen met soveel punte nie!al wat hy se,is a.g.v al die travelling,tuisveld voordeel ens,het die Chiefs n teoretiese voordeel van n sekere hoeveelheid punte.dis soos as schalk burger speel,dan weet die opponente hulle kan amper bank op 6 punte oor sy spel en strafskoppe wat hy afstaan

  • wayne.redman.7 - 2012-07-31 10:21

    And to think this gent gets paid for this rubbish--what a waste of his folks money when they sent him to varsity--if he wanted to be a comedian he should have done a class or two in that.

      seanb09 - 2012-07-31 10:48

      wow Wayne, seriously need to read the article again, Ross was not predicting the Stormers would win, all he said was the sharks would need to overcome the disadvantage of travel fatigue, which they did. They had a huge disadvantage, you could see in the final 20 mins, they were on their last legs but overcame it because they built a lead. now stop giving the guy a hardtime and maybe re read the article if you don't understand it

      andrew.arde - 2012-07-31 10:49

      I think it was your folks who wasted there money! Why dont you try reading the article again word by word. Think about every word as you read it and you will see that he is not predicting the outcome. What he is saying is that the Sharks should've actually won by 8 more points because they overcame the handicap resulting from the travel. If they win this weekend by lets say 3 points, it effectively means they were 18 points better than the Chiefs. He is merely trying to quantify the result of the travel factor into something we can all understand....IE Points! Get it?

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 12:56

      quote of the day...wayne redman!!!

  • aubrey.gloster - 2012-07-31 10:25

    Feeling depressed and jet lagged? Get some peace and tranquility this weekend. Visit Newlands

      rohann.olivier.1 - 2012-07-31 10:47

      No thanx, I've been chilling at Loftus for the past 3 weeks.

      aubrey.gloster - 2012-07-31 11:02

      Lekker skerp Rohan. Ek chill op die Lions se nuwe tuisveld in Londen. Ons gaan mos Premier League en Heineken speel...

  • skinfaxi.mordor - 2012-07-31 10:28

    The points difference that Ross is talking about is the difference between what the team can expect to score WITH travel compared to how they would play WITHOUT travel. NOT the difference between the one team's score and the other teams score. If you can't read or you can't understand then you should be going back to school instead of flaunting your ignorance to the world.

      Charmaine Hasell - 2012-07-31 10:35

      I'm really starting to think News24 should consider introducing a competency test...

      Charmaine Hasell - 2012-07-31 10:36

      ...for readers and commenters.

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 12:57

      and "renowned experts" the sharks are going to lose by 15 apparently

      Charmaine Hasell - 2012-07-31 13:46

      @tom: i'm talking about the likes of you

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 14:00

      im talking about the likes of tucker

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 14:00

      because you are not an expert

  • micheal.vandenberg.7 - 2012-07-31 11:10

    What does this prick know!!! Looks like a hockey playing dweeb. Give the SHARKS a chance and stop this nonsense talk bout travel fatigue!!!

      Charmaine Hasell - 2012-07-31 11:15


      andrew.arde - 2012-07-31 11:20

      Seriously wish people would read so that they understand what is being written and not just see what they want to see! Ps: Sharks for the win!

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 12:58

      maybe a chess player!!! lets not even start talking about jet lab and jet leg! he obvs knows nothing about rugby look what happened last week

  • wesley.j.lane - 2012-07-31 11:23

    @ Ross, I understand what you are saying and yes travel does have an impact. As you have seen though stats etc…. I suppose most readers see it as being really negative before the game is even played. Maybe a positive post would do wonders and you would have the whole SA team behind you. I would like to think that most South Africans realize that travel and playing away in another country would have an impact to A team performance. So please no negativity Please!!!! Only positive posts on how the Sharks could over come this obstacle. Be positive! Go Sharks!!!

      ross.tucker.581 - 2012-07-31 12:23

      Yeah, fair enough. The thing is (to try justify) is that I get phoned by a journalist, he asks what effect the travel would have, and my attempt at explaining it without telling you all about the suprachiasmatic nucleus and the physiology of jet lag, is to explain that it "costs" points to travel and play away. My answer doesn't include any negativity or prediction about how the result may go, only an attempt to explain the "hidden side" of the result. Perhaps I need to say something lke "We're all backing the Sharks to pull this off, but we must understand what they'll have achieved if they can do it!" even then, there's no guarantee that the quote will make it in - it's at the media's discretion as to what they pick out. I've never felt that blind patriotism and an "unrealistic" approach helps though! Maybe that's just me! I'd rather know what I'm up against, and embrace the challenge. So yes, go Sharks, let's aim to hammer the Chiefs by 20 points, because that kind of performance will get us over the line! Ross

  • Charmaine Hasell - 2012-07-31 11:34

    @Dono, good for you! Glad to see someone is able to retract and apologise.

  • travis.w.morris - 2012-07-31 11:41

    Shut up man, Sharks by 3 points. Champions.

  • skinfaxi.mordor - 2012-07-31 11:48

    When the human spirit overcomes all adversity to triumph against all odds, this could never be construed as negative. It is by it's very definition representative of all that is positive. Stating the enormity of the challenge effectively magnifies the enormity of accomplishment. Why then is the person who identifies and quantifies those challenges a negative person? I saw what Ross wrote as being positive and if you take the time to read his comments you will see that he is very pro-Sharks. Ross maybe you should have written an article that said "Go Sharks Go!!!!" and you'd have achieved unanimous aclaim!

      Charmaine Hasell - 2012-07-31 11:58

      Hahaha! Well said!

      ross.tucker.581 - 2012-07-31 12:23

      Thank you! Next and learn! Cheers for the comments.

  • franklyn.davies.1 - 2012-07-31 14:00

    Yeah,im proud of you saffas,really showing a touch of class....anything for attention though i suppose,Ross Tucker is a respected sports scientest in his field...he has written an interesting article,but all that he gets is a load of verbal garbage from the peanut gallery,shame on you guys,get a life .

      skinfaxi.mordor - 2012-07-31 14:33

      Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces. Matthew 7:6 "

  • cindy.naude.79 - 2012-07-31 14:47

    15 point handicap or not, I believe the Sharks have the ability to kick some butt! GO SHARKS!!!

  • tyron.greunen - 2012-07-31 15:12

    the win on saturday will be the quick left and right to the cheeks,the Boks beating the All Blacks in the quad nations will be the upper cut.We really need to prove this year that South African Rugby deserved the Webb Ellis trophy (or at least contend for it in the world cup final) had it not been for Mr Lawrence.The win on Saturday and Victors in the quad nations will put any doubt to rest in the kiwi's and aussies's eyes.

  • Charmaine Hasell - 2012-07-31 15:35

    I am a proud supporter of the Sharks, win or no win! I do believe they will win though. Ross makes sense in this article, he's not suggesting they won't win. As for some of the people commenting here, I'm not sure who you rude people support - but I wish there was a team called the Ostriches, just for the likes of you.

  • Denése - 2012-07-31 16:09


  • marc.harris.7106 - 2012-07-31 16:56

    a big ask, but that's what was said for the past two weeks, and look what happened! at least the sharks will have two 'fresh' starters with lambie and jordaan travelling. and with jp, mcleod, freddie and the forwards, ndungane fresh too, be wary sbw!

      skinfaxi.mordor - 2012-07-31 17:11

      Ndungane and Burden will also be” fresh” since they weren’t used off the bench.

  • hans.himmler.7 - 2012-07-31 23:18

    As per your article "Doc: Stormers have head start" dated 2012-07-24 22:23 You now have the same credibility as the village beauty queen after she turned into the local village bicycle.

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