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The Sharks are two wins away from establishing themselves as the greatest team in the history of Super Rugby, and Stormers captain Jean de Villiers says this will spur the visitors on in the semi-final at Newlands on Saturday.
Last week, the Sharks travelled half way across the world to whip the defending champions Reds in Brisbane. They’ve made the return trip to face the log-leading Stormers and, if they pull off a win, the Sharks will jump back on a plane headed for the Antipodes to take on whoever wins tomorrow’s semi-final in Hamilton.
“If the Sharks go on to beat us, and they travel to New Zealand to beat the Crusaders or Chiefs, I think that would be the best effort from a team in the history of Super Rugby,” De Villiers said yesterday.
In 16 finals, the visiting team has only won on four occasions.
Though the Super 12 format had a two-round knockout stage, the 1999 Crusaders achieved, in part, what the Sharks are striving for – beating the Waratahs in Sydney in the regular- season finale before winning a Brisbane semi and then prevailing against the Highlanders in the final at Carisbrook.
If the Sharks are successful, they will have travelled much further than the 1999 Crusaders did, in a much tougher competition, to win the title.
“The unfortunate thing for us,” added De Villiers, “is that the Sharks are capable of doing it.”
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