Sharks to fire … again

I’ve never been a Sharks supporter, but they’re the one side this Vodacom Super Rugby season that I’m really starting to like, writes former Springbok hooker JAMES DALTON.

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The more I watch them, the more I simply enjoy the way they approach the game. They’re creating opportunities from nothing, in a very non-South African style, turning defence into attack which, perhaps, is more in line with South African style. Most importantly, they are scoring tries. And it’s this ability, especially and rather impressively when you consider they’ve been on the road, that makes me think they’ll put the Reds away by over 12 points this Saturday and return home with three wins from four. A win ratio which bodes well for the rest of the tournament.

While the Reds have shown to be tenacious and competitive thus far, I just like the Sharks and their recent run of form too much to not be backing them for their last game on tour.

Conversely to the Sharks, the Stormers don’t seem to have this ability to get over the tryline and have struck me as a bit one-dimensional, playing off Damian Willemse’s flat pass and choking teams out defensively and relying heavily on their pack.  One-dimensional it may be, and hopefully it doesn’t stay this way for the whole season, but it is an approach that is working for them as they sit on top of the table with four from four.

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My other area of concern with the Cape franchise is that they are dropping balls, not just in matches but apparently in practices too. When I was at the Lions, we’d go for a week without dropping a ball in training … it’s just not something you do. If the Stormers are to continue playing a game based on basic strengths, you don’t get more basic than catching a ball, and they need to fix this issue.

While the Stormers may be lacking in the try-scoring department, it’s not like the Blues are particularly threatening, and for all the Stormers’ other strengths, the Auckland side are weak. They have a weak pack and a weaker defence, and it took the Vodacom Bulls being even poorer than them to actually win last weekend. I don’t think the Stormers will blow them away, but they should win comfortably by between 7-10.

Ah. and the Bulls. If they lose this weekend’s match which they probably will, I’ll be throwing in the towel on their behalf.

I think it will be a hard-fought win for a Jaguares side that came close but was strangled out against the Stormers, but it will be a win nonetheless. Unfortunately for the Loftus faithful, losing this one does not say much for their hopes on tour, and I don’t see a resurgence for them.

The Lions have had a poor start to their season, and despite promising moments against the Stormers, couldn’t grasp that rugby is an 80-minute game. They keep falling short and will probably continue to fall short now on tour, beginning with a game against a nine-Wallaby Waratahs outfit. The Lions are an inexperienced side that may well grow into a decent team, but I don’t see them replicating their 29-0 effort of last year against the Tahs.

Photo: Steve Haag Sports/Hollywoodbets

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James Dalton