Home is where the heart is for the Sharks rugby teams

2012-03-31 19:02

Rubgy is South Africa’s greatest team sport export, with two World Cup triumphs and three Super Rugby titles.

But there is one bugbear South African franchises just cannot seem to shake: travelling.

Former Sharks and Cheetahs prop Ollie le Roux, who was part of the last Sharks team to win in Sydney in 2000, says there will always be teams that don’t perform on tour.

Last weekend, the Sharks lost 34-30 to the Waratahs in Sydney and the Crusaders beat the Cheetahs 28-21 in Christchurch. However, The Durban-based franchise beat the Brumbies 29-26 yesterday, breaking a 14-year hoodoo in Canberra. The Cheetahs beat the Hurricanes 47-38 in Wellington, their first win on New Zealand soil.

“When you tour, you are out of your comfort zone. Some teams tour well and others don’t. If you look at the Bulls, they are our most successful Super Rugby team, but they are not good travellers. Touring is an art that needs to be mastered,” he told City Press.

“Look at the Crusaders – they have travelled well and when they tour, they take the foot off the pedal and focus on the big games. Discipline is also key to their successes overseas, plus of course key players such as Dan Carter and Richie McCaw.”

The Cats, now competing as the Lions and Cheetahs, copped a 64-0 hiding at the hands of the Brumbies in Canberra in 2000, while the Bulls were subjected to 70 pointers on the road.

All South African teams – including the Stormers, which isthe only South African team to have beaten all five New Zealand franchises in one season – have been on the receiving end of a 60 point or more beating in the Antipodes.

Le Roux said lopsided beatings were still possible, citing the 61-8 mauling the Reds received from the Bulls last week.

Discussing the Sharks defeat in Sydney last week, Le Roux said they should have won the game.

“When you go to somebody’s home field, it is their fortress and breaking it down isn’t easy. The Sharks should have beaten the Waratahs, but something went wrong,” the 54-capped Springbok said.

Le Roux, who admitted that the Sharks team in 2000 was not the best, said even though travel schedules were easier than they were in his time, teams could not hide behind the excuse of being away from home to justify poor performances.

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