Secondary

The Die is cast…

Cream will rise to the top, and the final standings in the Currie Cup log is possibly a fair reflection of the fortunes of the teams who battled for a place in the play-offs.

Western Province followed the same approach as they did in the Super Series by striving to win, rather than win handsomely. This led to some very nervous moments for their fans during the campaign, including two draws but they ended top of the pile, and that is what counts.

Sharks/Western Province

The Sharks failed to capitalise on their home ground (or should that be pool?) advantage, letting the men from the Cape secure a chance of a home final, and coining many extra millions because of this. The Sharks will rue this, given the speculation that they may be liable for consultant fees in the Super series if one Eddie Jones joins up with Jake White and John Smit.

Something that should excite even the most ardent of Sharks fans is that Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe can now be reckoned in the same class as the rest of the young rising stars, including Fred Zeilinga, who are sure to make a huge impact in RWC 2015. Scarra Ntubeni continues to grow in stature, but that man Duane Vermeulen has surely now made the number eight jersey his own. What an absolutely stunning performance directly after a tough test series.

If I had to make a Superbru prediction for this match, I would have opted for the Sharks to win by seven points. The three unsuccessful goal kicks could have changed the outcome, but the best team won on the night, despite what the Sharks offered on paper. There was a time when supporters in the Cape complained about the show ponies in their team – perhaps the Sharks need to do some introspection in this regard, too.

Lions/Griquas

The Lions did what they needed to do against a very gutsy Griquas side who threw the ball around with gay abandonment. It reminded me of someone on death row relishing his last meal. Losing your coach, and having to face the Pumas, who are unbeaten in 16 matches, does possibly lead to an attack of carelessness.

When your side only needs one point, and you face the team at the bottom of the log, complacency will be a problem. In a way, it was probably a good thing for the Lions, and acted as a timely wake-up call for their match in Cape Town over the weekend.

Vrystaat/Bulle

Mens kon nie help om terug te dink aan die Super 15 wedstryd waar Dewald Potgieter ook besluit het om nie strafskoppe pale toe te mik nie, en dit hulle uiteindelik die oorwinning gekos het. Eintlik het die Bulle hier geen ander opsie gehad nie, maar hulle ongelukkig vasgeloop teen die Vrystaat se nuwe toevoeging tot sy arsenaal – hul yster verdediging.

Naka sê hulle sal weer gaan kyk waar die Vrystaat se probleme in die voorry begin het, en ook met Marius Jonker gesels. Die sukses van die WP was juis geskoei op hul vermoë om die Sharks se Springbok voorry pak te gee. As Vrystaat dit ook wil vermag, sal hulle dit gou moet uitstryk.

Pakistan/Proteas

It is far too early to add anything to what Bobby said on Thursday, other than to utter a sigh of relief that we won the toss and elected to bat. The three spinners in the Pakistan side led their side to victory against England last year, and you do not want to face them in the fourth innings of a match.

Winning the first test is crucial. Playing catch-up in a two test series is a daunting prospect.

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