WHEN the Bulls and Sharks last met it was in Durban just over a month ago and the Bulls won 23-32 and the Bulls have still not dropped a match since then.
This match in Pretoria where the Bulls have won their last five matches. Home and away the Bulls have won their last six matches but beating the Bulls has always been a tougher task than away.
The stats between the two teams suggest that the Sharks will win by a tight margin.
The Bulls and the Sharks have played each other 15 times and the Bulls have won 8 of those matches and they have drawn once.
On average the Bulls score 18 points against the Sharks who score 21 points against the Bulls.
When the two teams play at Loftus the Bulls score 19 points on average and the Sharks score 20 points against the Bulls.
The Bulls have played the Sharks 7 times at Loftus and both teams have won 3 matches each and there was a draw in 2000.
At three wins each and the Sharks having the higher points average on paper the Sharks edge ahead of the Bulls.
The Bulls and the Sharks will know exactly what they have to achieve in this match when it kicks off. Their targets will be set by the Waratahs who play in the match preceding this one.
If the Waratahs lose to the Brumbies then the result between the Bulls and Sharks will only decide who they play next week as they will both have qualified.
The Sharks have taken a big gamble in naming Frederic Michalak at 10 and moving Patrick Lambie to fullback and Stefan Terblanche to centre.
Michalak has only been with the Sharks for a couple of weeks but their entire season now rests on his being familiar with his new team mates but also on him having a good game in a stadium he has not played in for three years.
The home side will take a lot of confidence into the game. They beat the South African Conference leaders, the Stormers, at Newlands last week (19-16), which was their sixth consecutive victory after an ordinary start to the season.
The Bulls will have the added momentum of having beaten the Sharks in their last encounter, on 21 May in Durban, by 32-23.
Even though both teams scored two tries on that occasion and the team from Pretoria’s discipline wasn’t good enough, the defending champions were strong in the set piece and accurate when they had the opportunity to kick at goal.
The Sharks have always been one of Super Rugby’s better team’s but this year they have struggled to stand up to the bigger names. They have blow away the minnows but when it comes to the big occasions they have not performed. The worry for Sharks fans is that doesn’t get much bigger than this.-SUPERXV.com