That is a line the Sharks will want erased come Saturday (09:30 SA time) and they have every chance to do it.
There is nothing more people love in rugby than a Hollywood, Fairytale story, and in the last 3 weeks the Sharks journey towards the final has been just that.
Having qualified for the playoffs by the skin of their teeth (qualifying in 6th position) the Sharks had to travel to Brisbane to face the defending champion Reds. Not only did they win, they smashed them off the park. From there they had to hop straight back on a plane, travel tens of thousands of kilometers back to South Africa and Cape Town, and take on a Stormers team which ended top of the log in the competition, and only lost two games. The final score flattered the Stormers who were completely out of it until the last 15 minutes.
They could not even enjoy a memorable win in Cape Town because their bags had to be packed to fly out to Australia again on Sunday before they made their final leg of the trip to the real middle-earth, Hamilton New Zealand.
Tomorrow they face a Chiefs team who ended second on the log, beat the 7-time champion Crusaders in the semi-final and had an extra day to rest (playing their semi-final on Friday) playing in front of their home crowd.
In fact – if the Sharks does win tomorrow they would have beaten all the conference winners of each country!
Impossible? Nothing is impossible.
We can pull out every cliché in the book but the simple fact is, the Sharks are playing magnificent rugby at the moment. At some point (game against the Bulls in Durban in my opinion) they chucked out the rule book and followed their instincts. Senior players like Beast, Bismarck, Jannie, Keegan, Fred and JP Pietersen took responsibility and created an environment for the youngsters to thrive in, to trust their ability and play without fear or restraint.
There is an unbelievable self-belief in this Sharks team currently, all born out of trust in their own ability, that of their team mates, and the fact that nothing is impossible.
They will travel to Hamilton to face a Chiefs side with a similar belief, a similar type of game and an equal desire to lift the Super Rugby trophy for the first time.
There isn’t a coach in the world that can explain the moment or instance self-belief trumps the odds – it is one of the greatest mysteries in sport and the reason we follow it so passionately, looking for that one moment where you go out and defy the odds, you achieve what people said would be impossible. A singular moment where you reach absolute nirvana.
Can the Sharks beat the Chiefs to win the Super Rugby trophy? Well I can quote many experts and bookies to tell you how they won’t, but then again, that is not why we follow rugby is it?
Go on Sharks, defy the odds, chase the dream!