So the Currie Cup Play-off spots have been decided on Saturday with wins for the Blue Bulls(4) Golden Lions(3) and Western Province(2).
They have all qualified with the table topping Sharks for next week final four in Durban and Cape Town.
Western Province and the Golden Lions will meet at Newlands and the Sharks will host the Blue Bulls, so at the end the top four teams in South Africa has again qualified for the play-offs.
With teams having some of their Springboks back the level of the competition took a step upwards and we can expect another step-up next week.
The Sharks have been the best side by far during the season losing just two of their matches but it all counts for nothing if they lose next week.
Although they did not put their nest foot forward on Saturday against Province they still have the nest pack in the competition and that is where everything starts for a successful team.
We can expect coached to pick their best players next week as they go full tilt to win the Currie Cup.
One of the most improved teams in the recent weeks has been the Blue Bulls and the Sharks will have to pitch up and play at their best to get to that home final.
It took a while for Mitchell to get his troops going but with allot of young players being blooded into the team this year.
Their is still questions around their defence and scrums but one would be stupid not to recognized that they are a dangerous team to face in play-off matches.
They have great game breakers in Gelant, Matthews and Odendaal who has been sensational this season in the Currie Cup.
They are a dark horse for me in the play-offs to go all the way although Mitchell said before they are not aiming to win the Currie Cup but rather to improved every match, is their a difference?
The Sharks most properly have the most balanced side with a great pack and exciting backs and Bosch. Bosch have been exceptional this Currie Cup and the young man have been growing in each match which is great for Sharks and Springbok rugby.
Bosch is one of the most successful kickers in the competition and his overall game management have been great.
In the first semi-final we will see Province hosting a much improved Lions side who has welcomed back some Springboks which has made the world of difference.
They showed it against the Free State and this match is gong to be a great match. With Province you never know who will pitch up on the day as they remind me allot of the French, the one day world beaters the next properly useless.
Province have a good pack with exciting backs but they do not always click on the day with handling errors really having a huge influence on their game.
The last few weeks they also for some reason, decided to adopt the ” Kick and Pray” tactic. We have spoken so many times on SA teams adopting this tactic without success.
In South Africa we had the 2008/9 Springboks and Bulls sides of that era who could successfully implement this tactic bit for it to work you have to have chasers putting pressure on the receivers.
It is all expected that the Sharks and Lions should be the teams in the final in a few weeks time but with the Blue Bulls on the up and maybe a Province side actually pitching up for a match their may be some surprises next weekend.