Memories come back to haunt

2008-05-22 00:00

Sydney — The Sharks start grinding their teeth the moment someone mentions the 2007 Super 14 final. They are still struggling to swallow that 20-19 defeat to the Bulls.

Their last-gasp loss in Durban is still a point of discussion as they prepare to play the Waratahs in one of this year’s semi-finals here on Saturday.

“It’s probably a good thing that they are still talking about it,” Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie said yesterday. “One can look at it from two sides. You can take a lot of positives from it, such as the fact that they finished at the top of the points table and played in the final. When you lose a match the way they did, you learn from it. Their younger players will be wiser after that experience. They have come a long way and it puts them in a good position.”

The Sharks have received compliments for their scrumming lately and McKenzie paid tribute to their pack when he said, “When you write down those names they have a good scrum …”

McKenzie believes the Sharks are unlikely to play such as expansive a game as they have done in the past two weeks. “I think they’re going to rely heavily on their forwards. They’ll rely on their scrumming, rolling mauls and tactical kicking. You’ll see good defence because the teams with the best defence are playing in the semi-final. It should be a good match,” the coach said.

Waratahs captain Phil Waugh also does not expect the Sharks to use the full width of the field on Saturday.

Waugh will be playing in his 100th match for the Waratahs; news that was greeted with some sighing in the Sharks camp.

“Oh no, here we go again!” assistant Sharks coach Grant Bashford said while chief coach Dick Muir covered his eyes with his left hand.

The Sharks may have reason to be cautious — the veteran Wallaby loose forward is one of the best fetchers in world rugby.

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