Schalk: Sharks have killer instinct

Tue, 15 Jul 2014 07:59
Large schalk sharks.jpg630

Stormers skipper Schalk Burger believes that the Sharks' 'play-off mentality' will give them a good chance of going all the way this season.

Stormers skipper Schalk Burger believes that the Sharks' 'play-off mentality' will give them a good chance of going all the way this season.

Jake White's team ended the regular season with a 34-10 victory over an on-form Stormers side at Newlands, in a game which saw them defend for the majority and then take full advantage of their attacking opportunities.

The Durban side are the only South African team in the Super Rugby play-offs after finishing third on the standings, and they next face the Highlanders who beat them at Kings Park earlier in the season.

However, Burger warned that their victory at Newlands showed that they have already hit play-off mode

"For the large majority of the game we actually had them under pressure, I think we created a lot more try-scoring opportunities than they did but it is the mark of a championship side - I think they created three opportunities and scored three times," he said.

"The Sharks have been the stand-out South African Super Rugby side this year and all credit to them. They didn't make life easy for us and unfortunately for us it was one of those games where we got frustrated out there.

"They are a tough side to beat. For South Africa it is phenomenal that the Sharks are doing well, it is always nice when a South African franchise has got a chance," he said.

Although recognising that the Highlanders will be no pushovers this weekend, Burger said that there are some good signs for the Sharks if they do manage to make the semifinals.

"The Highlanders are not an easy side to beat but the Sharks as we experienced are a tough side. If they win that then they are going across in all likelihood to play the Crusaders in the semifinal who they beat the previous time.

"They had a pretty good tour and it is not such a bad travel for them, they don't have to travel now and come back so I think they do have a chance.

"But in saying that play-offs can be tight, but the way the Sharks played us was a play-off mentality I thought. They didn't play a lot of rugby, they kicked it, the tight phases were strong so it was tough to get momentum against them, they smothered us at the breakdown completely," Burger explained.

By Michael de Vries

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 9 5 0 4 23
Brumbies 9 5 0 4 21
Waratahs 8 4 0 4 21
Reds 10 2 1 7 12
Force 9 1 0 8 6
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 9 8 0 1 37
Chiefs 9 8 0 1 37
Hurricanes 9 6 0 3 31
Highlanders 9 6 0 3 28
Blues 8 4 1 3 20
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 9 6 0 3 29
Bulls 8 6 1 1 28
Cheetahs 9 2 0 7 12
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
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Sharks 9 4 1 4 23
Jaguares 8 1 0 7 7
Kings 7 1 0 6 4