That much became abundantly clear when the Bulls yesterday for the second time on their overseas tour drew a match (this time against the Highlanders) to elevate themselves to second on the log, leaving the Sharks languishing second from bottom in the SA Conference.
And the Sharks are likely to end up last in the standings going into tonight’s match in Argentina should the Stormers do the likely and beat the down-and-out Sunwolves in Cape Town, while the Lions (35 points) will remain ahead of the Sharks (32 points) even if they lose to the Hurricanes and the Sharks lose in Argentina.
Given that so much is at stake in this penultimate round of the competition, one would have thought that Sharks coach Robert du Preez would have selected a team that would have given him the best possible chance of winning but instead he has chosen to shake things up at flyhalf and shunt Curwin Bosch from flyhalf to fullback for Robert du Preez, with Aphelele Fassi the fall guy in that he reverts from fullback to the bench. But by promoting an out-of-form player at flyhalf, Du Preez is gambling. His son may regain his form, but he probably won’t, given he has no solid platform to work with given his erratic performances off the bench since Bosch moved to flyhalf five matches ago. Playing Bosch, though, would be no gamble as he has been in superb form in the five games he has started at 10.
Meanwhile, Jeronimo de la Fuente has returned to the Jaguares’ starting line-up to lead a strong outfit. He is one of nine changes to the starting XV from the Jaguares’ win over the Reds last weekend, which saw them take control of the South African Conference.
Jaguares - 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Sebastian Cancelliere, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente (c), 11 Santiago Carreras, 10 Joaquí* Díaz Bonilla, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamó* , 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Marcos Kremer, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Agustí* Creevy, 1 Mayco Vivas.
Subs: 16 Juliá* Montoya, 17 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Lucas Paulos, 20 Francisco Gorrisen, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Domingo Miotti, 23 Matias Orlando.
Sharks -15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Rob du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (c), 8 Dan du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Mzamo Majola.
Subs: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Luke Stringer, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Aphelele Fassi.@MikeGreenaway67
Independent on Saturday