Sa an OZ sides top the billing this week end
May 09, 2013, 14:09:43
Two matches featuring inform Australian teams playing at home against South African opposition who need to win just to stay alive in the competition top the bill in the 12th round of Vodacom Super Rugby action.
Okay, so perhaps the Reds aren’t in quite as good form now as they were a few weeks ago, but they still pose a formidable obstacle to a Sharks team that will at least go into Friday’s game in Brisbane with the confidence of knowing that they have won the last two games between them. The Sharks won big in Durban in the league game in 2012 and then did the same in the Brisbane quarterfinal.
But that also means the Reds have a score to settle with the Sharks. With Jean Deysel back in the starting team and Keegan Daniel moving back to No 8 the Sharks have a better selection at forward than last week, and although JP Pietersen has been moved to centre because of injury, they do have a team that on paper looks equipped to win.
The game isn’t played on paper though, and the Reds, if you consider they came from behind to snatch the two draws on their recent record and ditto their close win against the Blues, are getting right what the Sharks are failing to do – they are just managing to reach the line each time.
They will have to improve significantly on their last effort against the Western Force in Perth though or an upset, with the Sharks winning and bouncing back into the race, could well be on the cards. If the Sharks lose, it won’t be by much.
The Stormers didn’t lose by much last week against the Blues in Albany – and frankly they shouldn’t have lost. That they did was down to a combination of bad luck, their own poor decision-making and the refereeing. (Exactly so and please note all kiwis)
Having said that though, they made too many mistakes when frustration and possibly pressure too started impacting on them in the third quarter, and they can’t afford that against a Waratahs team that can pounce on any mistakes and has found impressive try-scoring momentum.
The Stormers have Eben Etzebeth back but have a big task ahead of them as they go out to tame an all-Wallaby pack that was awesome against the Kings.
What is in favour of the Stormers is that they have won in Sydney in recent years and the Waratahs have had to fly home from South Africa. What counts against the Stormers is the pressure that is constantly building…
The Brumbies, Crusaders and Bulls aren’t in action this weekend but the four points for the bye will ensure that two of those teams, the Brumbies and the Bulls, remain on top of their conference, while Crusaders will climb up the table and into strike distance of the top bracket
Warts to go dooooooown!