Runaway log-leaders the Sharks host the struggling Blue Bulls at Growthpoint Kings Park on Saturday the 23rd of September.
Sharks v Bulls | 23 September 15h00 | Growthpoint Kings Park
To Win Match (80min)
Sharks 1/4 | Draw 28/1 | Blue Bulls 28/10
Runaway log-leaders the Sharks host the struggling Blue Bulls at Growthpoint Kings Park. In a must-win game for the Pretoria-based franchise with just five-log point separating the sixth-placed Bulls from the second-placed Cheetahs, the remaining four-rounds of Currie Cup action are crucial to the former’s playoff hopes, and their battle at the Shark Tank this Saturday is sure to be a case of all-out warfare.
I feel that even Robert du Preez himself would have been surprised by how well his bunch have performed in the tournament to date. Eight-wins from nine is a solid return for a franchise that haven’t exactly been title-contenders during the past few seasons, and who looked mediocre at best heading into the competition.
Nevertheless, it would seem that their assault on top-spot is all but secure with just a handful of matches remaining, as the Durbanites look set to host a first playoff game since 2013. The basis of their success must be attributed to their fantastic all-round game, as well as some superb individual performances from some key players. In particular, wing Sbu Nkosi has had some outstanding displays this season, which this week earned him a national call-up. The Springboks’ gain is most certainly the Sharks’ loss, and it will be interesting to see how they cope without their leading try-scorer.
The Bulls have had one serious rollercoaster of a season. Since Nollis Marais’ “sabbatical” took effect several weeks into the competition, John Mitchell has had his hands full dealing with a severely inconsistent side that has fluctuated mid-table. Just two-points off a qualifying position, this weekend offers them a great shot piling the pressure onto the franchises above them.
With Mitchell opting not to field the released Bok duo of Handre Pollard and Rudy Paige, he has shown his confidence in the players already at his disposal ahead of the weekend. It remains to be seen whether the gamble will pay off; and whether this decision will psyche his charges up for the encounter or whether they will miss that extra bit of class on game day.
Verdict: Sharks 1/4
The Natalians are flying high at the moment and should record a close victory over the Bulls this weekend. Their superior all-round play will hurt an inconsistent Bulls lineup.
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