In an absolute cracker of a knock out match between the Bulls and the Sharks, the Sharks qualified for the post-season of 2011 Super Rugby with a 26-23 away win at Loftus. I reckon the celebrations must have lasted all of ten minutes after they got into the changing room, which is the amount of time it took for them to check their Blackberries, log onto a more reputable rugby site than ours and discover that their post-season opponents were the Crusaders in Kiwiland.
Oh #$^t. Game over boys. Now I’m pretty sure that all the “serious” rugby sites will talk a good game this week about how the Sharks have a lot of confidence this week, they’re looking good and that Plumtree is some kind of a Kiwi shaman.
But anyone with a memory that extends further back than one season will remember that we’ve been here before and it ends in tears, boys and girls. Saffer teams don’t win post-season matches in Kiwiland.
Perhaps it is the drinks they serve on Air New Zealand, perhaps it is the taunts of the Newlands unfaithful carrying over the Indian Ocean, but either way by the time the Sharks run onto the pitch in New Zealand they will be reduced to tackling bags for the Crusaders.
Yip, I suspect the Sharks sympathisers at work will now be spiking my coffee this week and perhaps unfriending me from Facebook, but so be it. The Crusaders can safely rest on their laurels… this one is in the bag. All the Crusaders need to do is show up on Saturday. Now I’d love it if Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder had the balls to admit that in the pre-match interview.
It ain’t happening folks. Stop getting your hopes up.