The target for a Super 14 rugby semifinal berth for the Sharks was clear -- a bonus-point victory initially or a win by 18 points or more -- as they took to the field against the Chiefs of New Zealand at the Absa Stadium in Durban on Saturday night. In the end, it was a convincing triumph as the necessary tries were secured and surpassed.
The Sharks believe their efforts to remain unbeaten in the Super 14 became more difficult when their 10th-round opponents, the ACT Brumbies, announced midweek that coach Laurie Fisher would not be re-hired for 2009. Super 14 tradition suggests that teams whose coaches are dismissed in the course of any season respond with an immediate form improvement.
Crusaders coach Robbie Deans is expecting the toughest match so far for his unbeaten team in Friday's New Zealand Super 14 rugby derby against the Hurricanes in Wellington. The six-time champions have looked dynamic in winning their first six games of the southern hemisphere provincial series.
Stefan Terblanche scored the try that sealed the Sharks' 17-10 win over the Western Force in their Super 14 match in Durban on Friday. Fullback Terblanche, who was not in the 22 named for the match, was called into the team when French flyhalf Frederic Michalak withdrew with a calf injury.