Sharks the biggest losers?
OPINION: Momentum is everything in Super Rugby and the Sharks just lost it.
With six wins from their seven games before the tournament was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sharks looked well on their way to mounting a serious challenge for the title this year.
They are sitting at the top of the overall standings.
However, they have played one game more than the Brumbies and the Crusaders, who are both just a point behind them in the standings.
What was going for the Sharks was that they already finished their tour, which was a successful one – with three wins from four games, and then they followed it up with crucial wins over their nearest conference rivals
In their last two matches in Durban, they outplayed the Jaguares 33-19, before a hard-fought 24-14 win over Stormers.
That win over the Capetonians put them seven points clear at the top of the SA Conference with eight more games in South Africa (five in Durban) and one in Buenos Aires still to play.
Their closest rivals in the conference, the Stormers and the Jaguares, still had to travel to New Zealand and Australia for tough encounters and the Sharks could have opened a massive lead in the coming weeks.
There would have also been a return match with the Stormers at Newlands and could it be safe to say the Sharks would have been favourites for that clash with all the injuries John Dobson’s side has at the moment.
After winning their first four games in a row, the Stormers slumped a bit over the last few weeks – with an embarrassing loss to Blues (14-33) at Newlands before their defeat in Durban.
While the Sharks, Brumbies and the Crusaders make up the top three, not far behind is the Blues, who are finally coming together as a team.
After several seasons of underperforming, it seems Leon McDonald and the rest of his coaching team have found the right formula and it can be seen in their recent form.
After a slow start with two defeats from their first three games, the Blues went on two win their next four games in a row.
What is more impressive is that three of those wins all came on the road against the Bulls (Pretoria), Stormers (Cape Town) and kiwi rivals the Hurricanes (Wellington)
The last win before the suspension came against the Lions in Auckland, which put them just one point outside of the top three.
They were certainly building a head of steam and like the Sharks, this disruption to the tournament could not have come at a worse time.