Monday, September 18, 2006
FOREPLAY- WEEK 13
The Cheetahs have the Sharks at home and the Bulls away left to play in the pre semi- round robin and with 45 points- this season can still go both ways on the Cheetahs
Its unlikely that they will not be on the semis- Lions scoring 10 and Cheetahs none and then indeed no place in the semi final.
On the udder hand- two good wins- or just one good win and a favourable loss- and we will be topping the log- ensuring at least a home semi final.
For the Cheetahs its 4 tuff weeks to go
The Bulls have peaked at the right moment - for them obviously- and not one of the other three teams should be looked at with disrespect
All of them are able to take command of a match and clean you out of it.
Guess the team that will manage the intensity the best will be in a good position in the semi-finals.
I will try to put up all the pre-match spin and foreplay as comments on this thread.
Expects some gems from RobD @ ruggaworld and the usual Sharks Squad at Keo.
September 18, 2006 Edition 1
A great deal was said beforehand about this much-hyped fixture, but nobody mentioned the possibility of the Bulls putting 50 points past the Sharks in the Shark Tank. If anything, it was the Sharks that were tipped to dish it out to the Bulls, much like they did in the first round at Loftus, but it was one bloody nose after another for a Sharks team that simply did not have enough tough guys upfront to halt the mission-men from Pretoria.
Injured Springboks A J Venter, B J Botha and Deon Carstens would have made a difference - so, too, veteran Johan Ackermann, who was just about fit to play, but coach Dick Muir opted for caution and the good news is, he will be available for selection for this week's visit to the Cheetahs.
This is particularly fortunate, considering the injuries inflicted on the Sharks by the kamikaze Bulls.
Replacement lock Wouter Moore suffered a ruptured spleen when Bulls centre J P Nel, impersonating a low-flying missile, struck him down in a sickening but legal tackle.
Nel, built like a brick outhouse, also laid out opposite Bradley Barritt midway through the first half. The trouble was that Barritt never had the ball when Nel hurtled into him, and the Sharks might have a case for a citing. From the stands, it looked as though Barritt had been knocked out cold and if concussion tests confirm this, he will not be allowed to play this week.
Muir said that there was also concern over scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar (shoulder) and flyhalf Butch James (knee).
"We have a lot of walking wounded," said Muir. "Hopefully, we will be in better shape in a few days' time and can select our best team to play the Cheetahs."
The Sharks must beat the log leaders if they are to finish in the top two and thus have the luxury of a home semi-final.
"There is a lot of talk about our poor record in Bloemfontein and about the Cheetahs being our bogey team, but, honestly, that just makes it more of a challenge for us and we look forward to this opportunity to bury the bogey," Muir said.
The coach said that his team would have no trouble recovering psychologically from the hammering by the Bulls. "The guys are upset, of course, but they are also angry that they did not perform - and already the talk is about setting the record straight. We will come back from this and we look forward to playing the Bulls again (should the play-offs work out that way). We would be very pleased to have a chance to prove a point to them."
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