Tough Sharks power on

Sat, 21 Jul 2012 13:14
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Sharks captain Keegan Daniel was especially pleased with his team's uncompromising physicality in their victory over the Reds.

Sharks captain Keegan Daniel was especially pleased with his team's uncompromising physicality in their victory over the Reds.

The Sharks stunned the defending champions in their play-off at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday to knock the Australian conference-winners out and set up a semifinal showdown with the Stormers in Cape Town next week.

The visitors got ahead early on through some breathtaking attacking spells which saw them charge over the advantage line with ease and expose the space out wide with some flowing passing movements.

However, their ability to absorb the inevitable response from the Reds was perhaps their most impressive achievement as they showed plenty of determination to hold the desperate Queensland side out.

The Sharks put their considerable physicality to good use, and the powerful performance left Daniel a satisfied man after the final whistle.

"I am very proud, we travelled a long way and for the boys to step up like that. It is tough to come and win here, the Reds have got a good record here so we are very happy with the result," he said.

The Sharks skipper said that his team had played to their strengths, which paid off as they grabbed the early ascendency and kept the hosts under pressure.

"We selected a team that can run a bit today and we have a couple of ball-players in the back three and playing Willem [Alberts] gave us a few more options," he said.

Daniel said that the most satisfying aspect of the victory was the attitude his team showed on defence, which is non-negotiable in knock-out rugby.

"I think that is what wins games - defence, and the boys put their bodies on the line. It was always going to be physical and the fact that we came out on top was great because there were a couple of big hits from both sides in that game," he said.

The Sharks now travel back to South Africa where they will prepare for a semifinal at Newlands against a rested Stormers outfit, and having lost narrowly there earlier in the season the Durban side are well-aware of the size of the challenge that awaits them.

"We are looking forward to that challenge, we lost narrowly last time but this is finals rugby and you only need to win by one point. We will rest up and regroup on Tuesday and have a look at the game," said Daniel.

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26