Sharks backing Hurricanes to beat Crusaders



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The Sharks will be backing the Hurricanes in the first Semi-final on Saturday when the fourth-placed side take on the first placed Crusaders at AMI Stadium.

If the Hurricanes do beat the Crusaders in Christchurch and the Sharks beat the Waratahs in Sydney, the Super 14 final will be held at the Absa Stadium in Durban for the second year running.

Sharks captain Johann Muller believes that the Crusaders are beatable.

“The Highlanders showed it is possible, as did the Reds the previous week,” Muller says on the Sharks website.

“Although we lost (10-18) we were still in the game against them and the Chiefs have beaten them.

“Although they are a great side, they haven’t been playing well for the last two or three weeks and it will be interesting to see if they can pick it up.

“So while there is definitely still the possibility of a home final for us which would be great, at this stage, we are just concentrating on our game (against the Waratahs).

“We want to prepare really well, get over the jetlag and make sure we are up for them on the weekend.”

Muller also said that he was pleased that the Sharks beat the Chiefs 47-25 over the weekend and he feels as if things are coming together for the Sharks.

“I think that kind of performance has been coming for a while now,” he said.

“We’ve been promising, promising, promising – but never delivering, so I think it’s great for the guys to have let loose and scored seven tries.

“There was some really exciting rugby, the boys really played well and I think we have the momentum going into the semi-finals which is fantastic.”

One thing about the Sharks was the clinical ruthlessness they showed and that comes about from laying a platform first.

“It’s something we really worked hard on, retaining ball to have patience in our attack and that was something that showed against the Chiefs,” said Muller.

“The Waratahs especially are a side who counter-attack well and they can keep the ball through 20 or 30 phases if they want to, so it’s something we have to work hard on, to retain ball possession.”

The team has admitted that during the course of the season, the only match where they were really outplayed was against the Waratahs in Sydney.

Johann was injured for that match and like the rest of the team, goes into this game with a point to prove.

“Absolutely! They are a really well-coached side, they retain the ball well, and it’s going to be tough, let’s be honest,” admitted Muller.

“We have had to fly over here, we have five days to prepare and we’re playing a good side, so certainly, it is going to be tough. But as the guys showed in the past two matches, when we are under pressure, we perform at our best.

“Obviously a semi-final comes with huge pressure and I think the guys will be ready and up for it, we’re really excited.”

After a dip on their tour during April, they lifted their game once they were back home and the Sharks’ captain believes the team is peaking just at the right time.

“I think we have the momentum now, we’re keeping the ball in hand a bit, the passes are starting to stick, so we’re planning on building on that this weekend.”

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