Andrews says it has to be Sharks

A year ago Mark Andrews predicted the Stormers would beat his beloved Sharks. Not this year, he says.

It hurt Andrews to make the prediction of a year ago, such was the state of the Sharks team under Kevin Putt, but in a year Andrews has seen enough in Dick Muir’s team to predict a change of fortune in Durban this weekend.

Andrews, speaking to the Argus’s Dale Granger, said: “I’m in India, so it may be difficult to give a long-distance prediction. But I’ve watched the Sharks play a few times this year and believe they’ll do it based on two factors.

“The Stormers did well to beat the Crusaders with a huge effort. But it will have taken a lot out of them and it’s very difficult to lift yourself two weeks in a row.

“The Sharks may have lost to the Bulls, but they’ve got more to prove. So as a betting man, my money is on the Sharks.

“I’ve been very impressed with the Sharks under Dick (Muir) this season. He’s created an environment in which it’s easy for the players to perform. He’s got the mix right with older and younger players. Senior players like John Smit, AJ Venter, Johan Ackermann, Percy Montgomery and Warren Britz are leading from the front and they’ve got great talent in the backline.

“In the early years of Super 12 they never troubled us. Then we lost 13 Boks and they had all the Boks in their side. We were in a re-building phase while the balance of experience and talent swung their way.”

Now Andrews is confident the roles have changed again.