Sharks scrum v Bulls lineout?

2012-07-03 13:31

Cape Town – The collision aspect is always a monumental factor in South African derbies and with the stakes so high for Friday night’s Super Rugby meeting between the Sharks and Bulls in Durban, expect little or no change to that hallmark.

Talk of “momentum” in sporting parlance has become an overworked cliché to the point of amusement, but with both teams sporting potentially destructive ball-carriers in their packs, the side that gets on the front foot in the tight-loose the most may very well prevail on the scoreboard.

Even given the apparent likelihood that prime South African loose forward “wrecker” Willem Alberts will miss this one through ongoing effects of his knee problem picked up in the Johannesburg Test win over England – frustratingly for the Sharks; comfortingly for the Bulls – there are still more than enough powerful units on either side who will attempt to bludgeon their way toward key dominance at Mr Price Kings Park.

Just for one thing, even an absent Alberts could still mean a spicy tussle between blunt, uncompromising blindside flanks Jean Deysel for the home side and the Bulls’ latest Springbok cap Jacques Potgieter.

Quality primary possession will go a long way to dictating which team’s freight trains rumble the loudest on the night ... and the duel in this regard could be fascinating because the visiting Bulls almost certainly possess the more competent lineout whilst the Sharks are likelier to sport a superior heave at scrum-time.

It has been several seasons, frankly, since the Sharks could be said to belong among the super league of lineout units – they suffer through not really possessing a genuine second-rower banker in this regard.

Their vulnerability looks even more pronounced when you consider that experienced No 4 Steven Sykes, like Alberts, has been labouring with a knee injury and misses this vital date. The franchise has also off-loaded to European clubs such tall-timber customers as Alistair Hargreaves and Ross Skeate.

It leaves Anton Bresler, the 24-year-old who is in only his second season at Super Rugby level, as their senior second-rower right now, and he is tipped to be partnered on Friday by either of Jandre Marais or utility forward Pieter-Steph du Toit – the latter ever more impressive at blindside flank as the Baby Boks marched to the IRB Junior World Championship title recently.

The Bulls, certainly on paper, hold the aces in the “skies” through Victor Matfield’s nicely-progressing successor for both country and Super Rugby side, Juandre Kruger, and also Pierre Spies’s effectiveness at the tail of the lineout.

Say what you like about the consistency (or rather lack thereof?) of his broader game, but this is one department where the Bulls captain is in particularly sprightly form in 2012, both off his own intended ball and as a havoc-wreaking poacher.

But at the scrums, things could just even out.

The front rows, it goes without saying, will be strong determinants of which eight goes forward more markedly, and this could pretty much be said to be a battle between the Bok ‘A and B’ groups of front-rankers.

Here the Sharks hold all the present aces because their combination of Beast Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis and Jannie du Plessis is also the favoured first-choice trio of Bok coach Heyneke Meyer as things stand.

Between them, they do appear to have more destructive qualities at the set-piece than the Bulls alliance of Dean Greyling, Chiliboy Ralepelle and Werner Kruger.

Greyling is an emerging star, though primarily at this stage due to his strength as a “bulldozer” with ball in hand, while the undoubtedly hard-grafting, no-fuss tighthead Kruger faces lingering question marks over his ability to become a really effective provider of that key right shoulder at scrum-time.

These two, remember, were the props of choice when the Boks, then under Peter de Villiers’s tenure, opted to put out under-strength sides on the away leg of the 2011 Tri-Nations, and both Australia and New Zealand saw them off rather comfortably.

A suitably resilient showing from them on Friday against the senior Bok incumbents would go a long way toward hiking their reputations once more – certainly the same applies to hooker Ralepelle, who appears to have debatably slipped to No 3 in the national pecking order, now beneath Adriaan Strauss as well as formidable Sharks rival Du Plessis.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


  • John - 2012-07-03 13:43

    Pieter-Steph du Toit is a brilliant prospect. Reminds me of Schalla when he was a younster. Sharks to take it at home. Just depends on how badly they want this. We know the Bulls do.

      cavin.snyman - 2012-07-03 14:05

      Gonna be a tough game. My belief is in the SHARKS. We have the players that can break any defence line and with Fransie back the defence line will be broken on a regular basis, that is if we get enough ball to the backs. The forwards must just get the momentum going and the rest will fall in place for the white and black team. Go SHARKS!!!!!!

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-07-03 14:06

      Please don't compare that talented youngster to the miserable idiot.

      jack.bleck - 2012-07-03 14:19

      If the Sharks dominate the scrum, Steyn & Hougaard will become the bumbling buffoons they were in the bok jersey. GO SHARKS!!!

  • luke.sportify - 2012-07-03 13:44

    The front row does not make a scrum, Sharks locks are not that powerful Big Sharks fan but with the BULLS playing last w-end I see them taking this one by 5-8 points

      sean.brady.14224 - 2012-07-03 14:51

      You are correct Luke. This Sharks front row looked brilliant in the Internationals, much better than they have looked in the Super 15. This is probably down to two things. Firstly there are better locks behind them in the Internationals. Secondly for most of the International games they did not have Keegan Daniel playing. He spends so much time with his head up, he doesn't add anything at scrum time! I think the week off may be detrimental to the Sharks as they need to get rid of the rustiness so evident in all the games last weekend...

  • cavin.snyman - 2012-07-03 14:01

    Go SHARKS!!!!!! We know you can do it!!!! Just keep it tight and ensure that our wings get plenty of ball to run then our chances of winning will be very good. It will all be up to the backs that will decide the outcome this Friday. GOOOOOOOOOOO SHAAAAAAAAAAARKS!!!!!!!!!!!

      Craven Luyt - 2012-07-03 22:16

      Keep it tight and swing it to the wings??? Chose one of the two. Dom-kop.

  • justin.hemming.94 - 2012-07-03 14:08

    Lets hope this doesn't become a game of gaining grounds, and that Lambie and the impressive centre pairing of Whitehead and Jordaan can cut open the bulls! At least we know that Moron Steyn cannot kick for poles in Durban, so unless the Bulls bring their A+ game, I think they're going down!

      Taurus.Blue1 - 2012-07-03 14:19

      @justin, MS scored 17 of the 22 points scored against the Poms in Durban (and that was when he was having a BAD day), but don't worry the Bulls will not just rely on him, they will score tries

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-07-03 14:49

      Justin, you don't watch a lot of rugby, do you?

      justin.hemming.94 - 2012-07-03 14:51

      Hehe funny - if only Frans was allowed to play. @Taurus.blue1 - he also missed three kickable goals - he's lost his nerves of steel - Bring on Handre Pollard.

      Taurus.Blue1 - 2012-07-03 15:06

      @justin, exactly, he still managed 17 points - Pollard is a 'welcome addition' to the already 'great pack of champs' :) I don't see why Frans cannot play?? Its only if the Sharks make the play-offs that he won't be allowed to, that's how I understand it anyway

      justin.hemming.94 - 2012-07-03 15:11

      Admittedly Harold, when Morne is playing I prefer to watch paint dry...

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-07-03 15:21

      Like watching the Stormers backline. I nearly dozed off, just thinking about it.

      acdcdclm - 2012-07-03 15:29

      It is just like Harold put it previously. you know absolutely zilch when it comes to rugby. Go and watch your nail polish dry!!!

  • rinus.groeneveld.7 - 2012-07-03 14:15

    I just hope that Heyneke's influence over the last couple of weeks carries through to the finals. We've seen how the wheels come off after too long with Ludeke...

      john.edwards.733450 - 2012-07-03 15:00

      The wheels came off when half the management team picked up SB duties .

      rinus.groeneveld.7 - 2012-07-03 15:35

      Ek dink die verskil in 2009 en 2010 was (a) die experience van die ou manne wat hom gedra het en (b) die res van die support team wat ook nou weg is. Die 3 verlore in 'n ry (veral die laaste een teen WP B) het vir my gewys daar is nie meer werklike afrigting nie. Gelukkig het Heyneke omtrent al die spelers by die Springbokke betrek en dit was duidelik teen die Cheetahs dat daar weer struktuur gebou is. Dis rerig net my persoonlike mening, maar ek dink nie Frans het 50% van wat Heyneke het nie en hy was tot dusver baie gelukkig by die Bulls - in 'n groot mate omdat hulle talent kon koop. Op die long run dink ek nie hy is 'n goeie coach nie - en onthou, mens het "rugby skills" en "people skills" nodig en dis wat Heyneke het!

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-07-03 15:45

      Rinus, must be the most useless Bulls supporter ever. He almost never say anything good about any of them.

      rinus.groeneveld.7 - 2012-07-03 15:53

      Raven, dit is 'n feit dat die volgende afrigter met die vorige een se "kallers kan ploeg". Ludeke se geskiedenis by die Lions spreek boekdele - een pad, agteruit. Hy het nog nooit 'n "nuwe" span gevat en iets gemaak daarmee nie - beslis nie by die Bulls nie. Hy het 'n span met baie ervare spelers ge-erf. Ek onthou baie goed die eerste keer wat hy oorgevat het en daar 'n onderhoud met een van die senior spelers was waar die gevra is wat dink hulle van Frans - sy woorde: "Nee wat, hy sal goed inpas. Ons senior spelers het reeds hom laat verstaan wat ons van hom verwag." My gevoel was dat dit duidelik geword het in ons 3 verlore in 'n ry dat hy nie die antwoord is nie en dat daar weer 'n "regte" span op die veld was teen die Vrystaat... Net my opinie!

      rinus.groeneveld.7 - 2012-07-03 17:41

      Nes julle is ek geregtig op 'n opinie. Ek wens ek is verkeerd maar ek het GEEN vertroue in Ludeke nie. Presies my punt - sonder sy hulpafrigters is hy nerens. Iets het in die laaste 3 weke voor die Cheetah game gebeur - en dit was NIE Ludeke nie want hy was nie naby 15 van die spelers nie...

  • sam.hearn.758 - 2012-07-03 14:52

    It's going to be a tough one, but I think the Sharks are going to get a 5'er out of this. Hopefully for the Bulls they'll get two log points (score 4 tries & loose with less than 8 points). The Sharks will want to show it was just a hiccup when they lost to my beloved Lions, so they'll have a bigger hunger for the victory. And if Lambie plays flyhalf, he will show Heyneke he can kick just as good as Morne Steyn at his best, but not only that, he can actually distribute the ball, and break the line, both things Morne Steyn has trouble with doing proficiently. PS: Good win last week, Stormers, but face it, we gave you guys a good solid match. I would like to see the EP Kings do the same...

  • John - 2012-07-03 14:56

    Lets face it besides Morne the happy hooker and the show pony at 8 there are not to many genuine Bulls left in the side. The Bulls are mostly made up of WC, EP, Griquas & FS players so perhaps we should be calling this The Bulls Invitational 15 versus The Sharks!

      anton.bischoff - 2012-07-03 14:58

      ag siestog john hoe oud is jy. word groot seun

      Taurus.Blue1 - 2012-07-03 15:08

      No John, lets rather call you "UNINFORMED" and stuck in 1853

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-07-03 15:13


      Papa-storm - 2012-07-03 15:16

      only that spies bra is from pta

      acdcdclm - 2012-07-03 15:33

      Waar kom hy vandaan? Miskien uit 'n koma of iets.

      rinus.groeneveld.7 - 2012-07-03 15:36

      John dink seker die du Plessis-boeties kom van Richardsbaai af......

      John - 2012-07-03 16:01

      Just keeping it real PinkRaven. Keep your hair on pal. Not so long ago they had Victor, Bakkies, FDP, G. Botha, Danie. Now you left with Meisie, Show Pony, The Hooker and maybe Flip VDM (if you want to call him world class). It's quite sad actually (3 SR trophies & all) to see the union throwing money at untried younsters from all over the show (Sadie, JJ, Pollard to name a few) while down south we have a factory that churns out talent.

      John - 2012-07-03 16:10

      Harry - Run to the bathroom and dry eyes and blow nose. While you are there take a look in the mirror and you'll see a real Idiot.

      anton.bischoff - 2012-07-03 16:12

      @ John just for the sake of all the readers here, can you please explain to us what has your comment to do with the above article.

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-07-03 16:26

      John, my eyesight isn't that great anymore. Thanks for your concern.

      john.comyn.18 - 2012-07-03 16:36

      Nothing Anton nothing! I just figured that it's an open forum given that any article remotely related to rugby presents an opportunity for posters here to remind WP supporters about the cups we have not won. So in return I'm reminding them that there is a changing of the guard coming through in the next couple of years. While I'm on the subject - the one real home-grown talent in recent times, CJ Stander (the next Ruben Kruger), bolts. Whats that about! Shame on the Bulls!

  • melt.esterhuizen - 2012-07-03 15:08

    Twee baie goeie spanne dit behoort n goeie game te wees. Wie sit ek op my Superbru vir n wen? Die wat Spies nog hoog aanslaan kom ons kyk of hy die naweek een van die vl doen: 1. n Tackle breek maw deur n duikslag hardloop/ voordeel lyn breek. 2. Die losgemaal skoonmaak, maw teenstanders by die losgemaal wegneem en dus goeie bal vir sy span verseker. 3. Een speler 1 m terug kan tackle 4. Minder as 5 keer in die wedstryd na n losgemaal of losskrum aangestap kom. 5. Nie in die agterlyn luier en wag vir n drie druk geleentheid sodra die Bulle op die aanval 5 m van die Sharks se doellyn af is nie. (Hy staan altyd en wag daar om tog maar die gegewe drie te druk) Indien nie het hy n goeie game.

      anton.bischoff - 2012-07-03 15:20

      Indien nie het hy n goeie game en jy n slegte naweek

      acdcdclm - 2012-07-03 15:35

      Melt my ou vriend. As hy al die goed doen wat jy noem, wat gaan die ander 14 ouens op die veld doen.

  • grant.butler.104 - 2012-07-03 15:08

    Fascinating winner takes all contest this....Sharks are so difficult to beat in Durban....I reckon home ground advantage will swing it....Sharks by 8...

      Taurus.Blue1 - 2012-07-03 15:18

      @grant, when last did the Sharks beat the Bulls in a Super match in Durban???

      hans.himmler.7 - 2012-07-03 15:38

      Taurus - 07.07.2012

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-07-03 15:54

      EPIC FAIL, HANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      hans.himmler.7 - 2012-07-03 16:02

      Triumph of the Will Harold. The Fuhrer demands it!!!!!!!!!!!!

      harold.lloyd.520 - 2012-07-03 16:05


      Taurus.Blue1 - 2012-07-03 16:51

      @hans, the fuhrer is long dead - thank heavens!!!

      hans.himmler.7 - 2012-07-03 17:14

      @taurus - and is the world a better place without him mr. economic downfall, terrorism, pirates running rampant, political unrest, NATO joke etc. hhmm....I wonder. GO SHARKS!

      Craven Luyt - 2012-07-03 21:58

      Dear Hans, what are Saturdays lotto numbers going to be. Are you one on those neo-nazi guys who think a shaved head makes you look tough? Craven

  • hans.himmler.7 - 2012-07-03 15:42


  • henk.jacobs.39 - 2012-07-03 17:30

    Interesting, the Sharks front row is exactly the same one that got hammered against the English. Although on Jannie's side the scrum looked much better, the Beast really has to start producing results at scrum time. The scrums will be interesting, but at the line-outs the Bulls will definitely dominate.

  • christiaan.vanderwesthuizen1958 - 2012-07-04 03:07

    shud be a great game!

  • Ahsan - 2012-07-04 20:17

    my neighbor's mother makes $86/hr on the computer. She has been fired for ten months but last month her paycheck was $15595 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more here

  • pages:
  • 1