The Sharks have reason for optimism going into the 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby season.
JOHN MITCHELL SAYS …
‘The Sharks can win the competition. They have the most experienced side in the country, the best depth and an outstanding coach. They had a wretched run with injuries in 2013 and provided that doesn’t happen again, I can see them going all the way. Jake White is an outcome-based coach and he’ll want to win the tournament at first crack. Working with some outstanding assistants at the Brumbies would have improved him as a coach, and with a group of players who know what it takes to win high-pressure matches, the Sharks could break their title drought.’
Meyer Bosman, (Stade Français, France), Craig Burden (Toulon, France), Andries Coetzee (returned to Lions), JC Janse van Rensburg, (returned to Lions), Piet Lindeque (Cheetahs), Louis Ludik (Agen, France), Jandré Marais (Bordeaux, France), Derick Minnie (returned to Lions), Franco van der Merwe (returned to Lions), Riaan Viljoen (Red Hurricanes, Japan).
Lourens Adriaanse (Cheetahs), Tonderai Chavhanga (Newport Gwent Dragons, Wales), Etienne Oosthuizen (Brumbies), Marco Wentzel (London Wasps, England).
NUMBERS THAT MATTER
4 – The number of Lions players who were on loan at the Sharks for Super Rugby in 2013 (Andries Coetzee, Derick Minnie, JC Janse van Rensburg and Franco van der Merwe).
13 – The number of Sharks players who were injured at some stage of the 2013 tournament (Jacques Botes, Craig Burden, Meyer Bosman, Wiaan Herbst, Butch James, Ryan Kankowski, Frans Kleinhans, Jandré Marais, JP Pietersen, Cobus Reinach, Frans Steyn, Heimar Williams, Tim Whitehead).
3 – The number of bonus points the Sharks earned for scoring four tries in a match in 2013 (compared to seven in 2012).
171 – The number of points flyhalf Pat Lambie scored in Super Rugby last season.
4 – The number of Super Rugby finals the Sharks have contested without coming away with the trophy (1996, 2001, 2007 and 2012).
1,727 – The number of ball carries made by the Sharks last season, the most by a South African team (and 10th overall).
Won: 8; Lost: 8; Win %: 50
15 February: Bulls (h); 22 February: Hurricanes (h); 28 February – 1 March: BYE; 8 March: Lions (h); 15 March: Reds (h); 22 March: Bulls (a); 29 March: Waratahs (h); 4-5 April: BYE; 12 April: Lions (a); 19 April: Cheetahs (h); 25 April: Highlanders (h); 2 May: Rebels (a); 10 May: Brumbies (a); 17 May: Crusaders (a); 23 May: Blues (a); 31 May: Stormers (h); BREAK FOR JUNE TESTS; 27-28 June: BYE; 5 July: Cheetahs (a); 12 July: Stormers (a).
PREVIOUS LOG FINISHES
1996: 4th (finalists); 1997: 4th (semi-finalists); 1998: 3rd (semi-finalists); 1999: 7th; 2000: 12th; 2001: 2nd (finalists); 2002: 10th; 2003: 11th; 2004: 7th; 2005: 12th; 2006: 5th; 2007: 1st (finalists); 2008: 3rd (semi-finalists); 2009: 6th; 2010: 9th; 2011: 6th (qualifier); 2012: 6th (finalists); 2013 8th.
Note: Played as Natal in 1996 and 1997
FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER
PLAYERS TO WATCH
OTHER SA PREVIEWS
Stormers preview – coming soon
Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix