Super Rugby: Blues v Sharks Preview

An under-fire Sharks outfit that has recorded just one win in the competition will have it all to do against the Blues in Auckland on Saturday the 31st of March - writes Shaun Goosen 



Blues v Sharks
31 March 08h35
Eden Park

To Win (80 Mins)
Blues 2/9
Draw 30/1
Sharks 33/10


Handicap
B
lues (-12.5) 9/10

Sharks (+12.5) 9/10

The Blues have had a rather underwhelming campaign to date, will be expected to deliver the goods down in Kiwi country.

Blues

Tana Umaga’s Blues have endured yet another foul start to a Super Rugby campaign in 2018. Early round losses to the Highlanders and Chiefs have severely dampened any hopes of securing the New Zealand Conference title and despite a very good win over the Lions in Johannesburg a week later, were back in the doldrums following a 37-20 loss to the Stormers in Cape Town.

Added to their woes was news that Sonny Bill Williams has joined franchise captain Augustine Pulu on the sidelines with a broken wrist which should keep him out of action for up to six weeks.

On a brighter note, seven of the Blues’ next 10 fixtures will be played at Eden Park with this weekend’s clash against the Sharks presenting them with an awesome opportunity to put some momentum back into their season. The Sharks’ scrum and defence has been abysmal at times and the attack-mindedness of the home-side should see them capitalize on these areas to get the win on Saturday.

Sharks

A season that began with such promise for the Durbanites has very quickly descended into a bit of a farce. Rob du Preez’s chargers are presiding over four defeats from their first five games (their only win coming against the equally as inedept Sunwolves at Kings Park), which sees them languishing in 10th on the overall standings heading into round 7. For a team brimming with such quality names as Robert du Preez Jnr., Beast Mtawarira, and Lukhanyo Am, such results are unacceptable.

Their displays at the set-piece and particularly the scrum, have been positively lacklustre while their lack of initiative shown on defence will be something the likes of Rieko Ioane and Matt Duffie will look to milk on Saturday.

For all the Blues’ faults, they showed in their comeback victory over the Lions that they are certainly a side capable of cutting defences to shreds. The Sharks will need to put in one hell of a shift if they are to limit the Aucklanders’ strike-runners on their home turf and prevent them from recording a bonus-point win.

Verdict: Blues (-12.5) 9/10
The Sharks are perhaps suffering under a coach clearly out of his depth. The Blues will be far too good at home.


Written by Shaun Goosen for @Hollywoodbets.net

Bet now on the latest rugby event