State of the URC: Sharks to make a play for the top four


The Sharks’ impressive bonus-point win over the Lions at Ellis Park at the weekend has put the Durban franchise in a great position to make an assault on the United Rugby Championship (URC) top four.

The Sharks have moved up to seventh on the log on 38 points, but they have a game in hand on the two teams above them, the Bulls and Munster in sixth and fifth respectively.

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Glasgow Warriors sit in fourth spot on 43 points, with Ulster a point above them in third, both having played the same amount of games as the Sharks.

This weekend’s clashes could thus see the Sharks making a big move on the URC log, as they make a late play for a home playoff.

The Sharks take on a weakened Ulster side, who are without their internationals on Six Nations duty, in Durban, offering a great opportunity for them to pick up a good win over a top four challenger.

Should the Sharks welcome back a few of their fringe Springboks who have been resting over the past month, such as captain Thomas du Toit, that will also give them a big boost going into the Ulster match.

Massive favour

They will then be looking to the side they beat last week, the Lions, to do them a massive favour and beat Glasgow at Ellis Park on Saturday.

The Lions have been in dreadful form of late, but a combination of desperateness and facing a weakened Glasgow on the Highveld could be the perfect recipe to see them clinch a big win.

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If things go to plan for the Sharks this weekend, they could rise to fifth or fourth on the URC table, which is a great position to make a play for a top-four finish over the last four games of the pool stage.

After this weekend’s game, the Sharks will play the Stormers and Scarlets away, and Benetton and Munster at home.

The Stormers match will be an incredibly tough one, but the Sharks should back themselves against Scarlets and Benetton, with their top four hopes possibly then resting on a huge final game against a resurgent Munster.