Sharks, Bulls face make-or-break clash

The Blue Bulls and the Sharks, traditionally two of South African rugby’s powerhouses, are both in the precarious position of fighting to keep their dreams of reaching the Currie Cup play-offs alive.

Their meeting at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday could make or break their ambitions this season as they can ill afford to fumble in the final four-match stretch before the semi-finals.

Title defenders, the Sharks have blown more cold than hot this season and they will have to be fired up on Saturday to beat the resurgent Bulls on their home turf.

Defeated by the Pumas and Griquas and a draw against the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last weekend have elevated the match against the Light Blues to a must-win clash for the Durban side.

The Bulls have overcome a below-par start to the competition and seem to be finding their straps after two consecutive victories over the Golden Lions and the EP Kings respectively.

Stand-in captain for the Bulls, Jono Ross, said while the side was feeling bullish thanks to their recent spike in form, they would have to be at their best to remain in the running.

“When you come up against the Sharks it is always a massive battle – it’s a physical game. We’ve had a great week and we are slowly starting to build some momentum,” he said.

“We always felt that we just had to stick to our system then things would start to bear fruit. We are happy we had the two wins but we know the competition is far from over and the first step is this weekend.”

‘Loftus is tough’
While the Sharks are in a more favourable position on the log in fourth place, they have are only two points ahead of the Bulls in sixth position.

“We’re sitting in fourth place at the moment, so if you really think about it, we probably need to win three out of four from here,” Sharks coach Brad Macleod-Henderson said.

“But we’re not really worried about that at the moment, we’re just focused on the Bulls. We have to beat them this weekend. Loftus is always a tough place to go but we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made it clear his side could ill-afford a slip-up against the Sharks, whose backline posed the greatest threat on Saturday.

“We are now in a critical phase of the competition. It is already clear to all that you need to be at your very best every weekend if you want to make the final four,” Ludeke said.

“So we really don’t have any other option. The Sharks are well-balanced and have massive strike power at the back.

“If we keep on winning and get the right result in the remaining weeks, I am sure we will be in the top four, but we cannot afford to look past this weekend’s match.” – Sapa

Advertisting

Mabuza’s ‘distant relative’ scored big

Eskom’s woes are often because of boiler problems at its power plants. R50-billion has been set aside to fix them, but some of the contracts are going to questionable entities

ANC faction gunning for Gordhan

The ambush will take place at an NEC meeting about Eskom. But the real target is Cyril Ramaphosa

What the law could clarify this year

Lawfare: Major developments are on the cards where law and politics meet, including the first amendment to South Africa’s Bill of Rights

The secret ‘Warmonger’ at the SSA

A listening device acquired by the agency is at the centre of an alleged R600-million fraud operation
Advertising

Press Releases

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

VUT chancellor, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, dies

The university conferred the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa on Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi for his outstanding leadership contributions to maths and science education development.

Innovate4AMR now in second year

SA's Team pill-Alert aims to tackle antimicrobial resistance by implementing their strategic intervention that ensures patients comply with treatment.

Medical students present solution in Geneva

Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman were selected to present their strategic intervention to tackle antimicrobial resistance to an international panel of experts.