Match Date: Saturday 19 October
A clash of the old foes is what awaits the rugby loving public of SA in the 2nd semi-final of the weekend. The Cheetahs were once considered a bogey team for the Sharks but that tag has long been shaken off and the home union has easily had the better of the Free State Farmers rugby club over the last 4 or 5 years. But, as always, rugby is won on the day and the Banana Boys would do well to remember that. At the very least, lets just hope it’s not another case of extreme cyclone weather in Durban on Saturday because it certainly makes for dreary rugby.
The Cheetahs had the supposedly mammoth task of staving off a “hungry” Bulls outfit last weekend and lets just say that they did it without breaking a sweat. The Bulls looked as hungry as a vegetarian in a butchery and the orange & white Bloem brigade made light work of their hapless prey. However, this weekend it’s a whole new ball game. It’s no secret that the Cheetahs love beating the Sharks in their back yard but they’re going to need to box smart on Saturday because when it comes down to who has the best team on paper, it isn’t the visitors. The men from Bloem are not shy of sheer brute force when it comes to the forward exchanges and it should be an interesting tussle on Saturday as we witness the majority of the Springbok front row collective battle against each other like men possessed – a regular clash of the titans! But when it comes to the backline, the Cheetahs have only been able to string together the odd patchy comprehensive performance. Plenty of individual brilliance but sorely lacking on the full picture scenario. But anyway, it doesn’t matter what we put here – the Cheetahs will be rolling in to Durban looking to do the dirty and they’ll be more focused on ending a few Sharks more than anything else.
The Sharks are running out for their last home fixture this season and would love dearly to make it a successful outing. Our advice – don’t play like you did last weekend. In fact, don’t bother trying to take anything away from the match last weekend – it was a combination of rubbish and relative cluelessness all rolled into one. The Sharks are very good at playing in the opposition 22 but are hopeless at making it past the white chalk – almost like a varsity student who continually gets stuck at 3rd base. There have been matches where the black and white dynamite have been sublime but for whatever reason, they tend to revert to their usual “blood pressure raising” style of play. The best thing the Banana Boys can do this weekend is to keep it simple, oh, and learn to kick for posts! The Sharks have struggled to find the posts for the majority of the season and with Lambie now being called to the plate, they will be hoping that he can recapture his sniper-like accuracy that carried them for the majority of the Super Rugby season. It will be an interesting battle in the Shark tank this weekend and with either side littered with Springboks and X-factor alike, we could be in for some enterprising rugby – the Sharks on the other hand will only be interested in doing one thing. Fancy rugby is only for the (poorly made) movies.
The Cheetahs have failed to string together consistency which makes them a difficult team to back and with the Sharks collecting a few more star names in their starting lineup it could be a bit of an ask for the visitors…. SHARKS to earn a trip to Cape Town for next weekend!
Probably in the 7 point ball park.
Raymond Rhule – Tough to leave this guy out but it’s always questionable what type of game he’ll have.
Johann Sadie / Robert Ebersohn – Well, Ebersohn took the honours last weekend but he still makes a nasty habit of gifting easy tries to his team mates which makes him a frustrating centre to own!
Sarel Pretorius – You just never know with Super Sarel but when he’s on fire you’ll wish you had him.
Adriaan Strauss & Coenie Oosthuizen – Strauss stamped his name on the scorecard and his rather large size on a couple of defenders. We expect he’ll be doing more of the same.
Lwazi Mvovo – Another player who has been as consistent as a 3rd division opening bowler. Maybe he’ll show up for this one.
Pat Lambie – He was always going to start this match and while there may be talk about fatigue for the Springbok players, it certainly doesn’t apply to this guy. At least the Sharks have got a designated kicker now.
SP Marais – Provided he doesn’t need his water wings this weekend, this is the kind of match where SP could bring the X-Factor thunder!
Bismarck du Plessis – The Bismarck had a fairly impressive performance last weekend and it takes a hell of a lot to stop the one man army. He’s definitely in our team!
The Cheetahs are likely to get a 4 point head start and that will net you odds of 1.9:1.
The Sharks will be tipped as the favourites wth the odds likely to be in the 1.6:1 region whereas backing the Cheetahs will probably get you in the 2.4:1 region. We like the look of these odds!
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