Keep it simple – keep it tight

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super 14 on 1 May 2008 at 09:51

For the Sharks to stand any chance of prevailing in Christchurch tomorrow, we will need to see 80 minutes of the same game plan that was employed against the Hurricanes in the first half.

The prediction for Friday night in Christchurch seems to indicate wet weather. This may well play into the Sharks hands, as any help in limiting the Crusaders’ free-flowing game will be invaluable.

The Sharks have the pack to dominate the Crusaders, even without Bismarck du Plessis in the mix. Craig Burden has a huge job on his shoulders, but the youngster has the heart (and dare I say the guile?) to make up for what we lose in sheer physicality and aggression by not having the “Bethlehem Bakleier” in the mix. All eight of the guys who will start have spent enough time under Plumtree’s coaching by now to know how to approach a game like this. Retention will be crucial, as will effectiveness and commitment at the breakdowns. No more standing back and watching can be tolerated; we need every forward hitting every ruck to ensure our ball stays ours and that any they get isn’t worth much due to how slowly it comes back.

As for the backs, well, that’s where it gets more difficult. We need our fancy boys to focus on keeping the errors down and helping each other out. In a team full of talented individualists, we need a collective performance, pretty much for the first time this season. In Kockott, Pienaar, Steyn and Pietersen we have a core of players who are playing primarily for themselves and it shows. What we need is for each man to play his part in a structured game plan; aimed at ball retention and sensible tactical kicking. Against the Hurricanes, we showed that we have the personnel to play the percentages, to ensure that the kicks find touch and to keep the pressure on the opposition by playing in their half.

Problem is, we only did it for 40 minutes against the Canes. We’ll need 85 minutes or more of the same committed play to take the Crusaders. Even then, a fair bit of a luck and a referee who knows what he’s doing will have to play their part.

If the Sharks can pull this one off, it will stand up as one of the greatest victories of all time.


  • A thought occurs. Perhaps it would play into our hands if we were to lose Steyn early and end up with Strauss at 12. He’s just the sort of guy you need in a game like this.

  • Comment 1, posted at 01.05.08 10:02:01 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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    robdylanHead Coach
  • terrible news about bismarck, i really dont think the pack can match the Saders without him, too soft, but will be supporting them fully.

  • Comment 2, posted at 01.05.08 12:03:34 by cab Reply

    cabVodacom Cup player
  • cabbo! Been dying of boredom here. Guess it’s only us European types at work today

  • Comment 3, posted at 01.05.08 12:16:06 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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    robdylanHead Coach
  • Have to say I tend to agree. Having Muller back tends to swing the odds back our way a little, but the loss of Bis is huge.

    I’m sure Craig will fight for 80 minutes, though… problem is the missing 14 kgs. At least with AJ back at the side of the scrum, our pack is generally heavier. I’d have preferred AJ at lock with Muller and Deysel in the starting 8. Not sure this is the sort of game that would suit Big Al.

  • Comment 4, posted at 01.05.08 12:18:48 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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    robdylanHead Coach
  • hehe Rob, yip off to amsterdam tomorrow, u got the weekend off?

  • Comment 5, posted at 01.05.08 12:19:16 by cab Reply

    cabVodacom Cup player
  • I have Monday off, at least. I guess today is a holiday across most of quasi-socialist Europe, right?

  • Comment 6, posted at 01.05.08 12:22:53 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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    robdylanHead Coach
  • yip it is, bout to head off, nice weather the last few days coming to summer…good luck with your bous tomorrow.

  • Comment 7, posted at 01.05.08 12:26:46 by cab Reply

    cabVodacom Cup player
  • thanks dude. Enjoy the break, especially in the Dam.

    I heard that they are trying to “clean up” the city centre, so it might not be as fun in the future.

    The boys are going to need a miracle tomorrow, but it can always happen…

  • Comment 8, posted at 01.05.08 12:30:20 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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    robdylanHead Coach
  • well spun

  • Comment 9, posted at 01.05.08 12:32:03 by try time Reply

    Super Rugby player
  • Pick ‘n drive… pick ‘n drive… possession… possession… in their faces… in their faces… keep them defending on the back foot… the back foot… swing it… swing it… hit the ball on the angle… on the angle… OVA… and again!

    Only way we’ll win (or be competitive)…

    We can only dream…

  • Comment 10, posted at 01.05.08 12:41:35 by bryce_in_oz Reply

    bryce_in_ozCurrie Cup player
  • Sharks should have picked up at least 8 points from the Canes & Brumbies games. This match could ruin their season. But I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

  • Comment 11, posted at 01.05.08 12:48:30 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

    McLovinAssistant coach
  • TT… it’s a completely different arti ;)

  • Comment 12, posted at 01.05.08 12:48:40 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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    robdylanHead Coach
  • rd i know, but i couldn’t resist.

  • Comment 13, posted at 01.05.08 12:55:06 by try time Reply

    Super Rugby player
  • tch!

    Your articles will go up after tomorrow’s match, I think… particularly the second one will have a lot more context.

  • Comment 14, posted at 01.05.08 12:58:08 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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    robdylanHead Coach

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