Bulls have a lot riding on clash against the Sharks

This weekend’s URC clash against the Sharks is all about securing home play-offs, according to Bulls hooker Johan Grobbelaar. | BackpagePix

This weekend’s URC clash against the Sharks is all about securing home play-offs, according to Bulls hooker Johan Grobbelaar. | BackpagePix

Published May 28, 2024


Leighton Koopman

The Bulls can take the title of South Africa’s best United Rugby Championship (URC) team this season with a victory over the Sharks this weekend in Durban.

It will secure the coveted SA Shield for them, and bring an end to the Stormers’ dominance over the past two seasons when it comes to wins between the local sides.

They are on the brink of it, and if they get the bonus-point victory at Kings Park (kick-off 4.10pm), the top spot on the official URC log will be theirs until at least the Irish derby between Munster and Ulster is finished. An Ulster win will see the Bulls secure first position.

Playing their knockout matches in front of the Loftus Versfeld supporters will mean the world to the side who, for the past two seasons, had to travel to a quarter-final and final (both times in Cape Town) just to end up short of the title.

Bulls hooker Johan Grobbelaar said yesterday that they will do everything within their power to try secure play-offs at home for the rest of the URC. They have already secured a quarter-final in front of their fans, but this Sharks clash could put them in a position to host the semis and final. This weekend’s round of matches will determine their quarter-final opponents.

“Our position on the log is not too bad, if you look at it, but we have a massive task in Durban. It’s going to be an important one to stay second or to maybe grab first place,” he said.

“We had a good chat this morning (yesterday) about our mindset for the weekend against the Sharks. The focus will be on what we do, regardless of the team they send to face us.

“They didn’t start this season too great, but they are playing their best rugby here at the end as we saw this past weekend (in the Challenge Cup final). We will prepare for anything to try and beat them in Durban.”

The Sharks have a proud record against their visitors at Kings Park. They haven’t lost a URC match there yet and will look to keep the Shark Tank a fortress against South Africa’s premier side this season.

Grobberlaar said they are keen to break their hoodoo in the coastal city to give them the best chance of going to the top of the log. Ideally, the Bulls would like to face the strongest Sharks side, but all that matters is that they secure the win against whoever is selected.

“If you want to win the trophy, you must win games like this. So, if they send their best, we can measure ourselves against them. In our last few games, we have been playing some good rugby, scored beautiful tries and got some bonus points at Loftus.

“But we also have been conceding a lot of tries. That was our main focus, how we can improve on that and not have those soft moments to limit the five-pointers against us. Hopefully we are over it and we will not concede that many tries.”