Ruggaworld

Time to step up

The Lions, Stormers and Sharks have secured a place in the play-offs this coming weekend and will fight hard to move on to the next round of matches in this years Super Rugby.

The Lions were not at their best on Saturday in Durban against the Sharks but this win speaks volume of the quality of this team in still beating the Sharks in their own back yard with 17 points.

They also secured the top spot in this years Super Rugby Competition which means that they will have home games all the way through to the final if they secure the next two games. The first one of the three games for the Lions will be again against the Sharks but this time in Johannesburg.

It is going to be a cracker of a match and we can expect the Sharks to come out firing and try and upset the apple cart a bit in beaten one of the top teams in the competitions. This will surely not be easy but can be done.

The Sharks have held the Lions well in this weekend match and I was especially surprised by the effort from their pack as they put pressure on the Lions throughout the first fifty minutes. The Sharks may not have the skills and expansive mindset as they Lions but they do play a hard conservative game that suits their big pack with some great players at the back.

One mistake Du Preez did over the weekend is not picking talented Bosch at ten. In these big games you need the players that can change the flow of the game and Bosch is one of those players. April had a poor game against the Bulls two weeks back and a below average game this past weekend.

His kicking game was poor and he could was average at his general play and at these kinds of games you do not want good or average but great.

The Highveld will suit Bosch and he must be a automatic pick at ten for the Sharks.

The Lions will come out firing and will want to put points on the board early and fast to pull away from the Sharks and if they can hold them for the first forty minutes they will have a chance to push for a win.

In the other South African play-off match we have the Stormers hosting the Chiefs again at Newland and will be hoping for a different outcome than last year.

They do have the barging rights this year in beating the Chiefs in their round match earlier this year which was most properly the bets we have seen the Stormers played in years. The problem is though that they were never really able to repeat that brilliant performance again and now when it matters they need to produce three perfect games in the next three weeks.

The Stormers are much like the national cricket team in when they get to the big matches they choke. They have the players and the ability to beat the Chiefs and any team on the day but the question rather must be which Stormers team will pitch up on Saturday.

With a back three that can run from anywhere and a pack that can compete with the best there is, the only thing they need is to actually pitch up and play to their abilities.

The biggest worry for the Stormers is not their attacking ability but their defence. They have slipped tries a plenty this season and against the New Zealand teams defence must be one if not the highest priority on the field.

We can have two teams going into the semi finals but it is more likely it will only be one.

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