Morné

Will they learn?


Written by Morné Nortier (Morné)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 27 Feb 2008 at 14:54

The Sharks had better shape up or they will be in for a surprise this weekend when they travel to Loftus.

I don’t think many Sharks supporters will disagree that they seemed a bit undercooked in their two games so far in the Super 14 where they struggled against the Force, and struggled even more against (let’s be honest) an average Stormers team where they could not cross the line once in 80 minutes.

Much has been said about the Sharks attacking potential and their ability to flourish under the new ELV’s in this year’s Super 14, and with players like Pienaar, Michelak, Steyn and Murray, those predictions might have been justified pre-season, but so far, we have seen nothing of this.

I have maintained in the pre-season build-up that the Sharks have arguably one of the best, most balanced packs in the tournament, but as the Crusaders and Blues proved, only the very best from the backs will set you apart and possibly get you to the last 4.

My prediction about the Sharks pack has been vindicated somewhat when one studies the statistics from the Stormers game – but it also shows a complete disregard or no respect for possession which will cost them dearly against tougher opposition.

Many believe that the Sharks helter-skelter type rugby and their love for giving the ball air would be the reasons they will be successful this year, but strangely enough it is actually because of this they will fail.

For any team to convert possession and territory into points, you need structure, otherwise you simply run from side to side on a rugby pitch with ball in hand not really accomplishing that much – a more logical statement might be that the Sharks seem undecided what to do with the ball once they have it – and they’d be right.

To prove this point let’s look at the game against the Stormers. The Stormers had to make 130 tackles in the match meaning there was more than enough opportunity to run at the Stormers and exploit their defense. More interesting however is that for the amount of time the ball was in play, which was 35 minutes, the Sharks had the ball for 20 minutes! The Sharks ran 513 meters with the ball compared to the Stormers’ 431 (remember my statement about running side-to-side and not really getting anywhere?).

Most concerning for the Sharks though is that they turned over their own ball 26 times to the Stormers, gifting them possession compared to the Stormers doing this only 18 times. The Stormers also made many more meters (almost 300) through kicking than the Sharks.

Many will now of course say that the Stormers deliberately slowed the ball down but do you really expect it to change or get easier against the likes of the Crusaders or Blues? Nah, it is going to get even tougher against the likes of McCaw and let’s not forget that this was against a Stormers team that played with 14 men for 20 minutes.

If I was on the Sharks coaching staff I will be less concerned about the negative play of the Stormers and look at those figures and be really concerned on how to turn that around so they can use the opportunities they have to score points – because no matter how much you bitch and moan at the end of the day, what is on the scoreboard is the only thing that counts.

So where does the problem lie for the Sharks?

Like it or not, I believe Ruan Pienaar is a weak link at 9 where no momentum is gained through phased ball. Obviously the 10 and 12 combination still need to settle but with any backline move in structured or first phase play (as the Blues have shown) this is where momentum and speed is created, and the Sharks have none which basically nullifies the strengths of Murray and the try-machine JP Pietersen.

Although an attacking fullback with flair will give extra a dimension to any team, the first priority or most important aspect for me is to get someone solid there with experience to which they have none better than Stefan Terblanche (yes I said it).

Importantly I think Muir should also look after his youngsters especially Francois Steyn of whom so much is expected this year. I would alternate and even rest Steyn for matches with the likes of an experienced Adi Jacobs and Brad Barritt at 12 (my preferred position for Steyn) knowing Steyn can also cover Terblanche or Pienaar at 15 and even Michelak at 10.

Pienaar at 15? Are you mad?

No I am not. In Rory the Sharks in my mind has one of the most exciting scrummies in South Africa – not only exciting, I think he has the full package.

There is one more change I would seriously consider and that is to play a loose-forward combination of Kankowski, Botes and Keegan Daniel. AJ provides great cover and mobility at lock and loose-forward and let’s face it, the man is getting old and the legs might not go a full 80 minutes where players are expected to run 8 km in a match now.

Let me be frank – if the Sharks go to Loftus with the same game-plan and mindset in application or execution this weekend they are in for a hiding. The Bulls are hurting and would want to prove they are not as bad as the 50-pint hammering they received against the Crusaders. The Bulls also have a much better defense than the Stormers, making this challenge away from home much tougher for the Sharks.

Will they learn from their mistakes? Only time will tell, but as things stand now the Sharks can forget of smelling a semi-final spot – and from a South African point of view this is disturbing since they are our best hope.



59 Comments

  • I must say it seems a very similar start to last year’s S14 season. We really didn’t seem to fire on all cylinders to start and weren’t scoring tries. Sound familiar!

    I agree that AJ just doesn’t seem to have the legs for this new style of running rugby. I am glad Rory is playing – think he would have been the right choice for this game anyway.

  • Comment 1, posted at 27.02.08 15:00:28 by Nessa Reply
    NessaCurrie Cup player
     
  • Great arti, Morne.

    Agree 100% on Ruan and AJ… they are clearly where it’s not coming together at the moment. We know at least that Rocket will start this week, so let’s see if the Kockott-Michalak-Barritt axis can get the line going at pace. We also need Murray and JP to start showing a little more balls in attacking the line.

  • Comment 2, posted at 27.02.08 15:08:48 by robdylan Reply
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  • On the Daniel topic… PaarlBok and I discussed this exact point a week or so ago. I was all ready to give Keegan another go, but his childish pushing and shoving last week makes me realise that he still doesn’t have his head right. My plan is to pick Albert can den Berg at 7 for this match and let AJ cover lock from the bench

  • Comment 3, posted at 27.02.08 15:10:18 by robdylan Reply
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  • By the way, I’ve heard Stefan Terblanche has a poster of you on his wall ;)

  • Comment 4, posted at 27.02.08 15:10:51 by robdylan Reply
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  • “I don’t think many Sharks supporters will disagree that they seemed a bit undercooked…”

    Undercooked? Pfff, they were positively raw.
    This weekend is the weekend the Sharks need to shift up a gear – at the very least for their confidence before they head abroard. We were lucky to pull off the win vs the Stormers last weekend, & so a loss to the Bulls is just not-negotiable. And they will be up to it.

  • Comment 5, posted at 27.02.08 15:12:54 by Le Requinny Reply
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    QuinnysharkCurrie Cup player
     
  • The Sharks have great mobility from numbers 4 to 8 with Hargreaves even possibly an option – where is he currently?

    On Keegan and being loskop, a well timed PK from AJ should sort that out.

  • Comment 6, posted at 27.02.08 15:12:57 by MorneN Reply
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    MornéTeam captain
     
  • I don’t think Keegan would recover!

    Hargreaves is set to captain the Wildebeest to yet another record loss this weekend :(

  • Comment 7, posted at 27.02.08 15:14:54 by robdylan Reply
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  • another factor, of course, is that the Sharks hands might just improve playing away from Kings Park…

  • Comment 8, posted at 27.02.08 15:15:17 by robdylan Reply
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  • Wildebeeste captain, PA…

    Seems like Natal want to keep Hargreaves at lock, Nikolai Blignaut is the one they are trying to develop at flank…

    We are starting to scrape the barrel in terms of loose forward depth though…

  • Comment 9, posted at 27.02.08 15:15:32 by Le Requinny Reply
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    QuinnysharkCurrie Cup player
     
  • From what I remember from Hargreaves at age-group level specifically was his pace – could be a great option for loosie that kid.

  • Comment 10, posted at 27.02.08 15:17:17 by MorneN Reply
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    MornéTeam captain
     
  • yeah, if anything Hargreaves still really needs to bulk up in order to contend for a senior lock berth, it is strange why they chose to push Blignaut at flank rather than Hargreaves… you’re right PA, I reckon Hargreaves would beat all our fowards bar Kankowski for pace.

  • Comment 11, posted at 27.02.08 15:19:51 by Le Requinny Reply
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    QuinnysharkCurrie Cup player
     
  • Bliggies doesn’t have the hands or the pace for flank, but he’d be a great tighthead lock. Serious mongrel and very aggressive.

  • Comment 12, posted at 27.02.08 15:20:26 by robdylan Reply
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  • the game is changing. Number 4 lock is becoming more of a specilist position, whereas a fast 5 and 7 are becoming more similar.

    Rassie was right too – 6 and 8 are moving a lot closer to each other now as well

  • Comment 13, posted at 27.02.08 15:21:24 by robdylan Reply
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  • rob, I like your notion of Albert at 7. He is coming into his prime Albert is, and has the pace and stamina for this game.

    I would prefer to see Steyn at 12 above any player in SA. He must be allowed to make this posi his own. At the Sharks the pecking order for 12 should really be Steyn, Adi, Barrit. When last did Barrit make something special happen in that backline ?

    Agree with the arti on Ruan, he must look to a future at 15, 10 or wing. We have many talented scrummies in SA, F du P is still young and will be the Bok first choice for years to come.

  • Comment 14, posted at 27.02.08 15:23:28 by yossarian Reply

    Under 19 player
     
  • yoss – clearly you didn’t see Terblanche’s try against the Force ;)

  • Comment 15, posted at 27.02.08 15:27:16 by robdylan Reply
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  • rob, he he. You are factually correct. I watched the game at KP and was otherwise occupied at that crucial moment. Did not tape/record the game and have not seen any replays ;)

  • Comment 16, posted at 27.02.08 15:29:30 by yossarian Reply

    Under 19 player
     
  • not the frans at 12 argument again. we all agreed to disagree. give him 2 more games at fullback before we start that argument again. and epi will be here so we can add him to the mix.

  • Comment 17, posted at 27.02.08 15:30:11 by try time Reply

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  • Starting to think we need to establish two clubs here at Sharksworld… the PBC (Pro-Brad Club), which I will lead, and the evil ABC (Anti-Brad Club) with the Machiavellian KSA Sharks at the helm…

  • Comment 18, posted at 27.02.08 15:30:27 by robdylan Reply
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  • My rugby wathing this year ito of the Sharks has consisted of 2 massive booze ups at the stadium. I know more about the play of most other teams, having seen some matches televised :D

  • Comment 19, posted at 27.02.08 15:31:39 by yossarian Reply

    Under 19 player
     
  • Yoss… Brad Barritt was head and shoulders the best 12 on display in the first round and was pretty much unanimously in every team of the week I’ve seen ;)

  • Comment 20, posted at 27.02.08 15:34:07 by robdylan Reply
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  • DAMMIT, TT. Epi is not going to play centre for us!!!!! ;)

  • Comment 21, posted at 27.02.08 15:34:28 by robdylan Reply
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  • yoss,
    yes agree, pienaar should consider 10 or 15. He has always looked danerous on the wing too, but like 9 this possie is AA reserved unless you FdP. Michelak i thought played very well at 10 last week. I also think AJ and Ackerman were both outstanding and are going to be crucial for the Blues, Crusaders and Chiefs.

    9. Kockott 10. Michelak
    12. Steyn 13. Murray
    11. Pienaar 14. JP 15. Terreblanche

    Barrit played well last week and tho not fast, he is a centre, in otherwords injects pace onto the ball and distributes well. actually looked ok last weekend, but Steyn at 12 always looking to try it on and closer to michelak with the speed merchant murray outside – could be very dangerous.

  • Comment 22, posted at 27.02.08 15:34:43 by cab Reply

    cabVodacom Cup player
     
  • the PBC (Pro-Brad Club), which I will lead, and the evil ABC (Anti-Brad Club) with the Machiavellian KSA Sharks at the helm…

    27.02.08 15:30:27 – robdylan

    Hmmmm, but I am in a grey area somewhere in the middle, cause I’d like Frans to play 12 but then that would mean there is a chance of Henno coming back whilst Brad sits on the bench – in place of Adi, who must be in the 22-man squad… So can I head up the IDRKWBSS (I Don’t know whether Brad should start club)?

  • Comment 23, posted at 27.02.08 15:37:56 by Le Requinny Reply
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    QuinnysharkCurrie Cup player
     
  • If Frans can’t manage to break the line playing at 10 or 15, how is he going to do it at 12? Still hasn’t shown any signs of being willing/able to pass… about the only thing he has done right so far this year is tackle and we know Brad can do that too.

    Sorry, I like Frans, but I’m not convinced.

  • Comment 24, posted at 27.02.08 15:38:15 by robdylan Reply
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  • oh my God! schism after schism!

  • Comment 25, posted at 27.02.08 15:38:44 by robdylan Reply
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  • Le Requinny , this is a tough country. fence sitters get electrocuted here ( workmanship not guaranteed due to load shedding )

  • Comment 26, posted at 27.02.08 15:41:32 by yossarian Reply

    Under 19 player
     
  • Yossarian, did you fall in love with the chaplain the first time you laid eyes upon him? :D

  • Comment 27, posted at 27.02.08 15:42:43 by Waz Reply

    WazUnder 21 player
     
  • I stopped reading that book after the opening line ;)

  • Comment 28, posted at 27.02.08 15:43:51 by robdylan Reply
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  • ‘Twas such a bloody crawl to get through, I must say. Not my cup of tea at all.

  • Comment 29, posted at 27.02.08 15:44:38 by Waz Reply

    WazUnder 21 player
     
  • Frans needs to step up and stop playing like he can do it on his own.

    Maybe if Dick dropped him will he catch a wake up call.

  • Comment 30, posted at 27.02.08 15:46:59 by wpw Reply
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    wpwAssistant coach
     
  • Rob, if Frans can do at 12 in the WC he can do it in the S14. Barrit is not a bad player in S14 squad level, but I have lost the faith that he is gonna be a real world class. Hope he proves me wrong.

    All I can say is I am feeling a tad depressed about the way all the SA sides have played so far. Is this the best we’ve got ?

  • Comment 31, posted at 27.02.08 15:47:42 by yossarian Reply

    Under 19 player
     
  • “I was all ready to give Keegan another go, but his childish pushing and shoving last week makes me realise that he still doesn’t have his head right.”

    RD – I wondered if you had seen that – silly boy!!!

    Hi Waz! :grin:

  • Comment 32, posted at 27.02.08 15:47:49 by Nessa Reply

    NessaCurrie Cup player
     
  • 27.02.08 15:44:38 – Waz

    Yes, and looking at your picture I have fallen in love with you too.

  • Comment 33, posted at 27.02.08 15:49:20 by yossarian Reply

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  • #

    Yes, and looking at your picture I have fallen in love with you too.
    27.02.08 15:49:20 – yossarian

    :shock: :shock: :shock:

  • Comment 34, posted at 27.02.08 15:50:42 by wpw Reply
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  • oh my god. Stormersworld here we come ;)

  • Comment 35, posted at 27.02.08 15:52:47 by robdylan Reply
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  • Yoss – you are right about one thing… we haven’t really seen good play from ANYONE yet. We are nitpicking about who has been less crap, right now

  • Comment 36, posted at 27.02.08 15:53:36 by robdylan Reply
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  • rob, nail hammer hit head

  • Comment 37, posted at 27.02.08 15:54:16 by yossarian Reply

    Under 19 player
     
  • Ja wohl. It’s a talent of mine that I don’t use very often.

    So, point is this. Until we get that whole backline firing, there’s not much point in splitting hairs about individual positions. I mean, Murray and JP keep overruning the pass… so how’s it going to help changing the 12? Unless Frans has found a cunning way to pass forward without being blown up…

    One change that I am thinking about, though, is moving Murray to right wing. Jacobs (or maybe even STEYN???) could probably do a better job at 13 right now…

  • Comment 38, posted at 27.02.08 15:57:33 by robdylan Reply
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  • Not just a pretty face hey Rob :grin: Like your thinking.

  • Comment 39, posted at 27.02.08 15:59:11 by Nessa Reply

    NessaCurrie Cup player
     
  • Sharks just have to play fast and throw it wide, those one dimension bulls will have the same result as last week, but then again they always show their strength when playing a SA team, strange bunch those kop stampers

  • Comment 40, posted at 27.02.08 15:59:29 by djgap Reply

    djgapUnder 19 player
     
  • “throw it wide” is the secret! We seem to get as far as Waylon and then the ball stops there!

  • Comment 41, posted at 27.02.08 16:04:32 by Nessa Reply

    NessaCurrie Cup player
     
  • why does everyone accuse me of not having a pretty face? Trying to tell me something? ;)

  • Comment 42, posted at 27.02.08 16:08:04 by robdylan Reply
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  • lol, watching the force game, bismarck only ironed out giteau, lekker.

  • Comment 43, posted at 27.02.08 16:09:01 by cab Reply

    cabVodacom Cup player
     
  • Mannemerak…

  • Comment 44, posted at 27.02.08 16:10:24 by Le Requinny Reply
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    QuinnysharkCurrie Cup player
     
  • RD – :mrgreen: that’s not what I said!

    Cab – it was great. Poor Matt bounced off him.

  • Comment 45, posted at 27.02.08 16:10:45 by Nessa Reply

    NessaCurrie Cup player
     
  • Quinny… :evil:

  • Comment 46, posted at 27.02.08 16:12:09 by robdylan Reply
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  • haha … and now he’s ironed out Henjak…by far the best hooker…yoh he’s physical.

  • Comment 47, posted at 27.02.08 16:15:39 by cab Reply

    cabVodacom Cup player
     
  • oh my god. Stormersworld here we come

    27.02.08 15:52:47 – robdylan

    Not at all. The chaplain was a scream. yossarian loved him like a brother. not a CT flat mate ;)

  • Comment 48, posted at 27.02.08 16:15:43 by yossarian Reply

    Under 19 player
     
  • :wink:

    you’re just missing a nice shiny silver suit…

  • Comment 49, posted at 27.02.08 16:15:59 by Le Requinny Reply
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    QuinnysharkCurrie Cup player
     
  • aren’t we all?

  • Comment 50, posted at 27.02.08 16:36:10 by robdylan Reply
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  • Starting to think we need to establish two clubs here at Sharksworld… the PBC (Pro-Brad Club), which I will lead, and the evil ABC (Anti-Brad Club) with the Machiavellian KSA Sharks at the helm…

    27.02.08 15:30:27 – robdylan Edit

    JUST saw this comment. :evil: can’t turn my back for 10 minutes and i get given a shot. Is your name bruto? :grin:

  • Comment 51, posted at 27.02.08 19:14:37 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • You forgot to add though that the older wiser group will obviously be in KSA’s club. :lol:

  • Comment 52, posted at 27.02.08 19:17:16 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • can’t turn my back for 10 minutes and i get given a shot

    welcome to stormersworld. Nice ass ;)

  • Comment 53, posted at 27.02.08 19:18:16 by robdylan Reply
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  • I just like the word Machiavellian

  • Comment 54, posted at 27.02.08 19:18:39 by robdylan Reply
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  • Nice ass

    27.02.08 19:18:16 – robdylan Edit

    For a better ride go wide!!! :oops:

    No wait isn’t that a tyre advert. :lol:

  • Comment 55, posted at 27.02.08 19:22:34 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • built for comfort, not for speed ;)

    OK, I am starting to feel dirty.

  • Comment 56, posted at 27.02.08 19:28:25 by robdylan Reply
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  • What a great article.

    Been saying the same things too MorneN.

    Lets hope the boys are as smart as you and I! :cool:

  • Comment 57, posted at 28.02.08 10:28:41 by Big Fish Reply
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    Big FishAssistant coach
     
  • he’s a clever oke, this inebriated ant

  • Comment 58, posted at 28.02.08 10:53:42 by robdylan Reply
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  • That he is.

    I guess you have to be pretty smart if you can talk rugby even though you fully support and watch a netball team. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 59, posted at 28.02.08 10:58:49 by Big Fish Reply
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