Home semi-final for Sharks rests on beating the Bulls

2012-09-25 00:00

COACH John Plumtree says that the Sharks have to beat the Blue Bulls at King’s Park on Friday night if they hope to host a Currie Cup semi-final.

The Sharks fluffed their lines at Ellis Park at the weekend, losing 28-22 to the Golden Lions, the Currie Cup champions, and Plumtree said that a second successive defeat would be “disastrous”.

“The Bulls at home this weekend is going to be huge,” Plumtree said.

“It’s now the run-in to the play-offs, with three games to go; you can’t afford to drop one and especially not a home game.

“To drop two games at this point in the competition would be disastrous.

“If we want to have a home semi-

final, winning both remaining games at home has to be our goal and that is still achievable, but we are going to have to execute better than we did against the Lions,” he said.

The competition at both ends of the table, to secure top spot for a potential home final and to avoid sixth and last place to dodge a relegation game, is exceptionally tight.

Just four points separate the log-leading Lions (24), the Sharks (21) and WP (20) at the top of the log.

And, at the foot, there are just three points between Griquas (15), Blue Bulls (13) and Free State (12) and all three of these teams can still reach the semi-finals.

If the Sharks beat the Bulls and WP down the Lions at Newlands this weekend, the Sharks will again go on top. Their final two games are against Free State in Bloemfontein and Griquas in Durban.

The Lions play WP and Griquas in Kimberley and the Blue Bulls at Ellis Park, while WP have the Lions and Free State at home and the Bulls at Loftus.

Plumtree said that the Sharks had early scrum problems against the Lions on Saturday night.

“The scrum improved as the game went on and our lineouts were good.”

He said that there were no fresh injury concerns and the Sharks were waiting to hear today if Bok coach Heyneke Meyer would release players for the weekend.

Springbok wing Bjorn Basson, after a lengthy break, will be back for the Blue Bulls on Friday. Flank Jacques Potgieter is back with the Springboks but he could also released by Meyer. Scrumhalf Jano Vermaak is also available for the Bulls on Friday after being omitted from the Bok squad.

Friday’s game kicks off at 7.10 pm.

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