Super 14 Rugby

Sharks should be too good for Reds


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Dick Muir has been in the game too long to take any match for granted, but even his caution makes it unlikely to make the Reds favourites for a win in Durban on Saturday.

“The Reds have a very mobile side and keep the ball for long periods of time,” Muir said to the Sharks website.

“They’ve always been a thorn in our side and we are very wary of them. They play really correct rugby, they’re a balanced side with nothing to lose, a side with some real play-makers, so a really dangerous outfit.”

Yes, the Reds are vastly better than last year. And yes, they did beat the Bulls and came back from the dead for a draw against the Lions last weekend.

The Sharks, on the other hand, have only fired on all cylinders on a few isolated occasions this year – but then they looked really awe-inspiring.

They did what they had to and when they had to, and their impressive performance against the Bulls in particular is enough reason to back them against a Reds side that has only really convinced during a poor Bulls performance.

The Sharks scored three tries when it was needed in those last few minutes at Loftus, and it is this ability – mostly from turnover ball -that makes them the danger they are.

They’re bound to put it all together – and the cooler Durban weather could see the Sharks really let rip for the first time this season.

* For Bulls supporters, there is the good news Pierre Spies is back. It would be folly, however, to pin too much hope on a player who last played eight months ago when they run on against the Blues in Auckland on Saturday.

It is time the Bulls senior players put the winning of the Super 14 and the World Cup behind them.

They must stand up and realise there is no longer a Heyneke Meyer and a Victor Matfield to guide them.

The Bulls still have all the talent in the world, and must accept it’s not their new coach Frans Ludeke who misses scoring opportunities or slips tackles or lacks commitment on the field.

The much-vaunted guts of the Bulls must now come to the fore, or the Blues – also looking for a convincing win – will take them to the cleaners, too.

* In Saturday’s other clash, the Chiefs, at home to the winless Highlanders, should add to their tally of three wins to keep alive their semifinal hopes.

Saturday’s matches (home teams first, SA times):

Chiefs v Highlanders, 6.30am;
Blues v Bulls, 8.35am;
Sharks v Reds, 5pm.

Sapa –   

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