Sharks march to Pretoria with more than hope
The Durban side, however, will have to improve if they are going to stretch the Bulls
Sharks coach Sean Everitt will be drawing comfort if not inspiration from his team's league match win over the Blue Bulls as they march to Pretoria for a second consecutive Currie Cup final next weekend.
The Sharks advanced to the competition's climax with a hard-fought 28-24 win over a spirited Griquas team in Durban on Saturday and earned the right to again confront the high-flying Blue Bulls on home soil.
Since Jake White's arrival at the franchise, the Bulls' blue blood qualities have been restored and they have been all-conquering in laying their hands on all the trophies on offer.
It includes last season's Currie Cup crown in which they required extra time to finally see off the challenge of the Sharks.
If the Sharks can take some pointers from that lofty occasion, it is from the more recent 35-28 league win.
Earlier success can be repeated
Everitt made the point after their semifinal win that if they beat the Bulls once this season, there is no reason they cannot repeat the feat.
On that occasion in early August, the Sharks had to dig deep after seeing Dylan Richardson and Thembelani Bholi go into the sin bin. They prevailed outscoring the Bulls by four tries and three.
What is clear, however, is the Sharks will have to vastly improve on their semifinal performance if they are going to challenge the Blue Bulls in the final. They made heavy weather of beating a plucky Griquas and had to hang on in the last minute or so for victory.
The Sharks certainly cannot afford to repeat the lethargic start they made to their semifinal and will be mindful it was in that period the Bulls pretty much beat down the challenge of Western Province in the earlier semifinal.
The Sharks started the match far too passive and fell foul of the law on too many occasions which allowed Griquas a foothold. The visitors dictated terms in the first quarter and it was only around the half-hour mark that the power and the cohesion of the Sharks' pack impacted the game.
Sharks tightfive need to step up again
Phepsi Buthelezi and Le Roux Roets grew in stature while excellence at scrum time and the line-out helped turn the tide against the visitors. Their aerial superiority allowed them to deploy their maul and it is from that facet that Kerron van Vuuren scored two tries.
The boot of Curwin Bosch also helped separate the two teams.
Everitt would have been mightily pleased with the effort of his tightfive. It is an area in which they will have to at least match the Bulls next weekend.
They will have to stunt the Blue Bulls momentum but as Western Province discovered that is easier said than done.