Sharks can still end in the top two

2014-07-07 00:00

BLOEMFONTEIN — A good fight back and bonus point defeat against the Cheetahs were probably enough to ensure that the Sharks would not play a B-team against the Stormers this weekend.

Despite their 20-27 defeat on Saturday, Sharks coach Jake White’s team still have a chance to end among the top two Super Rugby teams, which will result in a home semi-final.

Although White still has to contemplate his strategy for Saturday at Newlands, it may be wise to play his top players before the final rounds. He may also have the services of injured players such as Ryan Kankowski (groin) and flyhalf Pat Lambie (biceps) for the Stormers match.

The Sharks and the Crusaders — respectively third and second from the top — both have 46 league points and one of them should be in second place after the last round of league matches.

The Crusaders are playing at home on Saturday against the Highlanders, which have 42 league points in the fourth position.

Although many people feel that the decision to use Springboks such as Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis as substitutes against the Cheetahs backfired for White, he is still convinced it was the correct decision.

According to White, they have played too much rugby lately in the Super Series and for the Springboks.

“Some of these players have played for 12 weeks in succession. That is three months, during which they have not missed one Saturday.”

White made no excuses and said the Cheetahs deserved their win. He feels, however, that the loss will motivate his team in Cape Town.

“There is a possibility that we may even play our B-team [against the Stormers],” he said.

“If it happens that we do not end up first or second, there is no logic to take a team to face the Stormers and a physical assault if that team could have had a week off to prepare for the quarter-


While he was disappointed with the Cheetahs result, White praised Cobus Reinach. He feels that Reinach cannot do more to become a Springbok and hopes he gets that chance since the injury to Fourie du Preez.

“It will be bad for me if he does not become a Springbok. He has proved on a weekly basis that he is good enough. I hope he does not go overseas before he is chosen.”

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