Andre Esterhuizen of the Sharks is tackled by the Bulls' Handre Pollard at Kings Park Stadium. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

DURBAN – Suddenly, the Sharks are in a real scrap to even make a place in the playoffs, seeing as the Bulls have gotten their noses in front, with a game in hand, after winning in Durban on Saturday.

The Sharks are now chasing second spot, with the Lions leagues ahead, but they also have to watch their backs.

Coming from the rear are the Stormers, one point back having had a season that bears striking similarities to that of the Sharks.

The Durban outfit have taken their fans on a roller coaster of a journey with major highs, and disappointing lows.

This is something fans from Cape Town have also had to endure.

In fact, the Stormers at least have more wins in the bank than the Sharks, but it is the bonus points that have kept the Durbanites slightly ahead.

The Stormers have won three, the Sharks two, as well as that Waratahs draw that no one remembers fondly.

The real problem - for both sets of fans - is that the Stormers and Sharks can decide to turn up on the day as easily as they can win a coin toss; it’s a 50-50.

The Sharks have shone on probably three occasions this season, and it is probably twice for the Stormers.

After losing to the Lions on the opening day, the Sharks went on to draw against the Waratahs leaving their fans wondering when their side would pitch up.

They did decide to play against the Sunwolves, but the quality of the opposition made it par for the course that they should win by 50+ points.

Then it was a real low point as the Sharks looked woeful in Australia, the Brumbies and Rebels taking easy points from the tourists.

New Zealand loomed and fans were preparing for the worst.

The inconsistency cycle kicked in as the Blues were dispatched in a game of thrills and entertaining rugby.

Long-suffering Sharks fans will be hoping for a turnaround soon. Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Long-suffering Sharks fans will be hoping for a turnaround soon. Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

The Hurricanes game backed up that performance, bar the result - which many would argue was stolen from the Sharks.

The Bulls entered the Shark tank and gouged the home side.

This has been what the fans have had to deal with across eight games.

In a similar vein, those fans donning the famous blue and white hoops have also gone through the wringer.

The Stormers pipped the Jaguares at home in their opening game by eight points in a dour display before failing dismally on tour against the Waratahs, Crusaders and Highlanders.

Hope was at an all-time low, but Newlands had reason to erupt when the Blues were banished, and the Reds were also sent on their way in consecutive weeks.

But, the party pooping Bulls also brought the Stormers back down to earth before the Lions ran riot.

Now, the Stormers, after a bye, but still on the road, have a lot to prove to get their season back on track.

And, in a very similar boat, so do the Sharks.

The game at Kings Park is lining up to be predicated on desperation.

Neither the Stormers’ fans, nor the Sharks’ supporters, are rightly prepared to take any more poor performances, but there has to be a loser on the day, and whoever it is will have a lot of questions to answer for the rest of the season.


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