Super 14 final far too close to call

It's far too close to call. That is the consensus of opinion among knowledgeable rugby fans who have swarmed into Durban for the Super 14 final between the Sharks and the Bulls at King's Park tomorrow.

It's far too close to call. That is the consensus of opinion among knowledgeable rugby fans who have swarmed into Durban for the Super 14 final between the Sharks and the Bulls at King's Park tomorrow.

So the advice is that if you are a betting man take whatever odds you can get on either side because they will get no better the nearer it is to kickoff time than they are right now.

In essence, it is a case of saving the best for last with a fitting climax to the 2007 Super 14 competition as a whole, as the Bulls travel to Durban for a second time in a high-octane match.

For one thing, there is going to be another awesome forward battle. Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Gary Botha, Rayno Gerber, Guthro Steenkamp, Danie Rossouw, Wikus van Heerden, Francois Schouwenburg, Hilton Lobberts and Pedrie Wannenburg of the Bulls are seasoned "tough men".

For the Sharks John Smit, Deon Carstens, BJ Botha, Johann Muller, Johan Ackerman, AJ Venter, Bobby Skinstad, Jacques Botes, Warren Britz, Ryan Kankowski, Albert van den Bergh, Bismarck du Plessis and others are ready to stand up to any tactics the Bulls may attempt.

Behind the expected battle of the packs are the skilled runners of both sides who will surely feed off any mistakes. Both teams have men who can turn a game in an instant.

Bulls fullback Johan Roets, wings Akona Ndungane and Bryan Habana, and centres JP Nel and Wynand Olivier thrive on speed of foot and handling skills - something that has let the Sharks down at crucial times - and scrumhalf Fourie du Preez (or even Heinie Adams if the former fails to make the starting block) is the ideal partner for flyhalf Derek Hougaard.

On the Sharks side flyhalf Butch James has a vital role to play. While the forwards may dominate, it is the backs of both sides who in one moment of brilliance could ignite proceedings to make this first-time Super 14 final between two South African sides something to remember for decades to come. - Sapa

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