Rugby Union 3 years ago

Opposition File: Sharks

  • Opposition File: Sharks

The Waratahs start off their three week road trip against the league leading Sharks in Durban this week.

If this wasn't a difficult enough prospect already, the exclusion of Israel Folau has made matters worse for the tahs, in a game which should be a great litmus test of their finals aspirations. 

Most people are tipping the Sharks to win, but like everyone they have their strengths and weaknesses that need to be curtailed and exploited. As always, let's take a look at the five things that define the Sharks:

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1. The Shark Tank: The Sharks have one of the greatest home ground advantages in Super Rugby, based at Kings Park Stadium in Durban, they don't often lose games at the shark tank. Rabid fans and tactically astute rugby are usually a disaster for visiting teams.

2. Francois Steyn: The man with the super boot, Francois Steyn epitomises South African Rugby's positives and negatives. With a drop goal range of over 50 metres, the Tahs will have to be wary of him all game.

3. Pat Lambie: The prodigious number 10 has been ruled out for the season with a torn bicep. This is a huge loss for the Sharks and whilst their replacement Fred Zeilinga is incredibly talented (last season's Currie Cup player of the year), experience does matter.

4. Field Position: The Sharks love playing tactical rugby, where they camp teams in their own half and then pick up points at every mistake. The Brumbies did this to the Tahs a few weeks ago, and if the Tahs are any chance they need to vastly improve their field kicking.

5. Jake White: Every Tahs fan knows the impact Jake White had in Canberra, any team that is coached by him is dangerous. Introducing him to a team with a strong list and great home field advantage is a recipe for success.

This is the game of the round for me. Can the Tahs win? Or will they capitulate in the Shark Tank?

 

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