Last Friday night I managed to sneak out of my work function just in time to catch the last few moments of the Sharks vs Bulls game on the radio (hurrah for Radio 2000 and their fab rugby commentary, although anyone who has ever listened to a game instead of watching it will tell you it’s WAY more stressful!) – a good thing, I thought, until I nearly had a heart attack and drove off the road.
I listened with dismay as the Bulls scored their penalty in the final minute and thought okay, now we need one too….even though there’s only 40 seconds left. And then we got one. Yay!! It sounded like it couldn’t be missed, indeed the Sharks players were apparently even celebrating before Joe Pietersen kicked for posts. There was an agonising wait and then the commentator broke the unbelievable news….he missed! I may have actually screamed NOOOOOOO!!! Thankfully it was the middle of the night and not rush hour traffic or I may have caused some serious concern for my sanity to fellow commuters. What a flipping heartbreak to draw against the Bulls. But it’s okay. These things happen and we bounce back. After all, the Sharks are still the only unbeaten side, and I’m hoping it stays that way after this weekend.
It feels like every week just gets tougher and tougher. The Crusaders. Eek. This is not going to be a walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination. The Crusaders are a notoriously formidable team, and have only lost one match so far this season, to the Chiefs who are also in fine form. Granted, their other wins were against the Blues, who are not doing fantastically, and the Kings, who frankly (and entirely unsurprisingly) are having a shocker, but still. They will have captain, Kieran Read, back and will be super keen to repeat last year’s devastating 42 point defeat of the Sharks at home – let us not even dwell on that horrific occasion, when I think all Sharks fans realised 2015 was not going to be quite the season we were hoping for. Nonetheless, while they may have their work cut out for them, the Sharks are unlikely to go into this game without a keen awareness of what needs to be done and a strong desire to maintain that unbeaten in 2016 record. They will need to place a lot more emphasis on attack, rather than focusing on defence, which has been brilliant in the past few weeks, and make the most of any opportunities that arise. I’m hoping to see a little more of what we saw in the warm up games in France.
The Sharks team to face the Crusaders on Saturday is:
15. Willie le Roux, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Joe Pietersen, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Philip van der Walt, 7. Jean-Luc du Preez, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Stephan Lewies, 4. Etienne Oosthuizen, 3. Coenie Oosthuizen, 2. Franco Marais, 1. Tendai Mtawarira (Captain)
16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Juan Schoeman, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Hyron Andrews, 20. Daniel du Preez, 21. Michael Claassens, 22. Garth April, 23. Odwa Ndungane
My SuperBru picks for round five are (all times shown are SA time):
Hurricanes v Kings (25 Mar 08:35) Hurricanes by 38
Chiefs v Force (26 Mar 08:35) Chiefs by 9
Rebels v Highlanders (26 Mar 10:40) Highlanders by 8
Sunwolves v Bulls (26 Mar 12:50) Bulls by 5
Cheetahs v Brumbies (26 Mar 15:00) Brumbies by 10
Sharks v Crusaders (26 Mar 17:05) Sharks by 5
Jaguares v Stormers (26 Mar 23:40) Jaguares by 2
Reds v Waratahs (27 Mar 07:05) Waratahs by 8