robdylan

You can’t win if you don’t score points: Sharks go down again


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super 14 on 2 May 2008 at 14:57

It’s been the same story all season and now it’s really starting to bite. The Sharks went down to the Crusaders in Christchurch this morning in a game they would have won if they’d just been sharper on attack.

Apart from a nightmare second half performance against the Waratahs and another far more sinister referee-inspired collapse against the Brumbies a week earlier, the Sharks have been pin-point on defense all season. Today’s match was no different; defensively, the Sharks were on the ball and, given the quality of the opposition, did well to restrict the Crusaders to just 18 points. The one area of clear weakness last week, namely misaligned defense from turnover ball was remedied this week as the forwards committed their bodies and souls to achieving parity at the breakdown.

But we just couldn’t score any points! Kankowski is the exception, of course, as he is just magic, but how many of the Sharks tries on this tour haven’t been as a result of inspired individualism from the number 8? Let’s just go back and count… we scored none against the Canes, Kanko scored the second against the Highlanders on his own, scored one against the Brumbies and set the other up and then set up the try against the Waratahs last week. That’s right – only Ndungane’s score against the Highlanders came as a result of something other than individual brilliance from Ryan Kankowski.

So we have a team unable to score tries, bristling with goal-kickers who between the lot of them can’t seem to get more than half of their kicks over. Not really surprising, then, that we’re going to bomb out of the top 4 this weekend and face the fight of our lives to get back into it come semi-final time.

For the Sharks, the challenge is clear. Find a way to start scoring some tries and fast. Pick a goalkicker and stick with him. Keep the defence solid and let the forwards build on a good foundation.

Fail in any of the above and it’s yet another campaign that started with a lot of promise, but yet again yielded no silverware.



44 Comments

  • so what is the problem here? The backs are getting ball, but they seem hell-bent on kicking it all away. Anything that isn’t kicked is just shoveled down the line willy-nilly until the wings get it with no space to do anything.

  • Comment 1, posted at 02.05.08 15:06:10 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • and then the wings get the blame and dropped :sad:

  • Comment 2, posted at 02.05.08 15:41:54 by Cru-El (BABVA) Reply

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  • well, exactly.

    One of the wings has been very good and the other awful

  • Comment 3, posted at 02.05.08 15:45:20 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • rob,

    I’ll repeat what I said after the last loss. It’s not easy and pains me sopmewhat to say it but in reality, despite some early success, I dont really think this as good a side as we were lead to believe.
    There are some immensely talented players but as a side I really dont think they are very good. Maybe its rotation but lack of leadership is definitely up there as a reason for this.

    In my book the sharks probably over-performed in the first half of the comp.
    It’s a common fact that the better drilled team will beat the more skilful team 9 out of ten times. If you’re putting out a different side every week how do they get drilled?

    They have a few good players but most are still kids and have some serious work to do on their decision-making.

    As for the dearth of tries – I’m gonna put my neck out here and blame the likes of Fransie Steyn and his effect on the side.
    There seems to have been a an attitude creeping into the Shakrs players that individual magic causes tries and that they no longer need to be constructed.
    I suppose when you see 20 yearolds nailing 55m droppies then it becomes believable.

    This is the biggest difference between a side like the Saders and the Sharks.
    They’re simialr sides with similarly talented individuals but the Saders construct their tries.
    You get the impression that they’re always trying to develop a field position from whcih they can score. Set up the ruck, move it a little to the left, get another three metres, move it a wee bit to the right and then BAM! try time.

    SA teams, to a lesser degree the sharks but they’re also guilty, rely on a line-break and then their forwards and ball-carriers picking up the pass or bashing their way up. Generally if they dont finsih off the move after the initial break its all over. There just seems to be less of a plan after the first move.

    Actually there seems to be no plan except for getting over the gainline.
    Seems they only think from ruck to ruck or from set piece to the next ruck without trying to position themselves where they can take advantage of this or that.

  • Comment 4, posted at 02.05.08 15:45:37 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • Vin – as much as I would like to, I can’t argue with that.

    What’s worrying me about the Sharks is that we’re not seeing the talented youngsters moving on at all… they are still playing like raw newbies when some of them are into their 3rd/4th season of Super rugby.

    Shit, a few of them have World Cup winners medals too… why are we not seeing that experience coming through?

    Maybe they are given too much freedom and not enough pressure within the Sharks setup?

  • Comment 5, posted at 02.05.08 16:07:55 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • It pains me to say this, but the problem is not having extremely talented individuals in a team – it is having those individuals perform within a team dynamic – and that is all down to the coach.

    Campo got the best out of these guys, and now he is gone, and it shows.

  • Comment 6, posted at 02.05.08 17:53:10 by MorneN Reply
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  • Morne. :wink:

    Don’t let Bryce hear you say that. Campo has not done very well at Northwood.

    To me the problem is the talented individuals are playing as individuals.

    Oh and can someone please stick their hand up and say “I’ll straighten the line, while Barritt is out”

  • Comment 7, posted at 02.05.08 17:56:36 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply

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  • Hang on, KSA… did you just say what I think you just said? :)

    I am working on a plan, here… I have the perfect guy in mind to take over and I have already approached him.

  • Comment 8, posted at 02.05.08 18:14:53 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • so what is the problem here? The backs are getting ball, but they seem hell-bent on kicking it all away. Anything that isn’t kicked is just shoveled down the line willy-nilly until the wings get it with no space to do anything.

    Comment 1 of 7, posted at 02.05.08 15:06:10 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!)

    FRANS STEYN JP AND STEFAN.

  • Comment 9, posted at 02.05.08 18:15:32 by try time Reply

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  • so would it be better if we had a backline without any of them in the mix?

    9 – Rocket, 10 Pienaar, 11 Mentz, 12 Barritt, 13 Jacobs, 14 Murray, 15 Ndungane?

  • Comment 10, posted at 02.05.08 18:23:49 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • Are we short on talent, or do we have the right guys and we just need to get them playing right?

    We need a proper flyhalf, but we will have to make one out of what we’ve got… that means playing a guy until he settles. My call is Barritt, but I guess it could be Pienaar as well.

    If we pick the following combo and then STICK WITH IT come hell or high water, I think we’ll see results

    9 Kockott, 10 Barritt, 11 Pietersen, 12 Steyn, 13 Murray, 14 Ndungane, 15 Pienaar.

    A few proviso’s.
    1 – Barritt to have a full-time kicking coach, working with him every single day. Naas Botha?
    2 – Ruan to have a full-time defensive coach, as above. Henry Honibal?
    3 – Steyn and JP to have a full-time head coach. Get Tim or whoever having focused sessions with these guys to get their minds into the game.

  • Comment 11, posted at 02.05.08 18:28:18 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • one positive is that at least we can go with that combination pretty much right through the Currie Cup, because none of those guys are anywhere near a Bok call up at this stage. PDev might want Steyn as an insurance policy, in which case we bring Adrian in at 12.

  • Comment 12, posted at 02.05.08 18:29:26 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • typical – just when I get into full-on problem solving mode, everyone else ducks.

    Guess we’ll have to pick this up next week.

  • Comment 13, posted at 02.05.08 18:31:22 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • Naas Botha did wonders for Joel Stransky’s kicking. :roll:

  • Comment 14, posted at 02.05.08 18:48:08 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • I’ll tell you something for free – the Sharks really need some grafters in the backs.
    Guys who put their heads down and just play without the drama and flash.

    You simply cannot have a team with such showboats such as Pienaar, Steyn, Freddie etc all playing in the same side.
    Something less is more.

    I’ll also predict that nobody will want to touch Steyn with a barge pole in a season or two unless he starts doing the basics well consistently.

    Kicking a droppy or penalty is all very good and well but if your next move is to throw a wild pass that is intercepted or miss a vital tackle (or get carded again) then you’re really not much value to anybody.

    That’s laregly why I’m quite a Peter Grant fan – he’s not flash and does the basics well and isnt scared of the grunt work.

  • Comment 15, posted at 02.05.08 18:51:51 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • #8

    I THINK so :wink:

  • Comment 16, posted at 02.05.08 18:54:38 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply

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  • That’s why I like Brad so much

  • Comment 17, posted at 02.05.08 18:55:05 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • So you’ve also noticed that we only lose when Brad isn’t on the field? :-)

    statistics are a wonderful thing

  • Comment 18, posted at 02.05.08 18:57:22 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • Rob you guys need to be very carefull now not to make knee-jerk assessments.

    JP, Steyn, Pienaar and the lot did all of a sudden become bad players!

    Most teams would give their left nut to have all that talent in their team but I would suggest the following.

    Firstly stop this rotation policy crap please. One fundamental thing I disagreed with Jake White was his belief in the jack-of-all-trades philosophy. I have written many articles as you would know on how certain positions are interchangeable but if you want a champion team, get guys to specialise in positions – if their skills and talents give you depth to cover brilliant, but do not brand them as the Jacks of this world please. Let Steyn, Pienaar and the lot settle in positions and if we as supporters agree with it or not does not matter, but stop phaffing around please – you are destroying these guys’ careers.

    Secondly, and this is coaching, you have to protect indvidual brilliance and teach these type of players, of which you have a couple in the Sharks, to play as a team, not as individuals.

    I mentioned to you specifically I would have loved to see Dick manage Frans this year after the WC because of the huge expectation on this youngsters shoulders. He should have started off the bench more than in the first 15.

    These youngsters have to learn, and appreciate team dynamics ahead of personal goals and belief. You will shine in a team that is winning and scoring tries, but the most talented individual will look like shit if the team is doing badly so it should always be team first, individuals second – and that is a management process which starts at coaching.

    The problem with the Sharks backline is at 10 and 12 – and I can get very technical as to why, but the short of it is that you have guys playing as individuals and not in combinations. Guys are relying on individual talent to succeed where it should be a question of total team dynamics and the guy next to you covering your weaknesses while your strengths covers his.

    Leadership – and surprisingly cause I rate Muller – is lacking both on and off the field.

    Small changes, mostly in mindset will turn this team around (like it did with the Stormers) which is why I asked last week, what the fuck is Tim doing in SA????

  • Comment 19, posted at 02.05.08 18:59:27 by MorneN Reply
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  • :oops:

  • Comment 20, posted at 02.05.08 18:59:28 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply

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  • So you’ve also noticed that we only lose when Brad isn’t on the field?

    statistics are a wonderful thing

    Comment 18 of 20, posted at 02.05.08 18:57:22 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Edit

    Solly Tjibilika…

  • Comment 21, posted at 02.05.08 19:01:22 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • Morne :smile:

    Did you get more worked up as the comment progressed or did you use your writing skills to make it seem that way. :wink:

  • Comment 22, posted at 02.05.08 19:02:24 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply

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  • My second paragraph should read “DID NOT all of a sudden become bad players”

    In addition, I was flabbergasted when I read some comments on people saying Frans should play 15 because of his skill on drop goals…

    Hell he will probably get 3 chances in a game, and what is his success rate? 33%? Then why play a guy in a position where he has almost no influence in the game?

    People need to think with their heads and bring these youngsters down to earth very quickly, as Vin said, basics first, flash crap second.

  • Comment 23, posted at 02.05.08 19:02:33 by MorneN Reply
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  • KSA,

    I reckon you have read enough of my comments in the past to know it is a case of making certain guys will respond and getting them more worked up than I will ever be!!! :)

  • Comment 24, posted at 02.05.08 19:05:04 by MorneN Reply
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  • hehehehe :smile:

  • Comment 25, posted at 02.05.08 19:09:36 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply

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  • Game time, chat later.

  • Comment 26, posted at 02.05.08 19:10:04 by MorneN Reply
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  • Most teams would give their left nut to have all that talent in their team but I would suggest the following.

    Comment 19 of 21, posted at 02.05.08 18:59:27 by MorneN Edit

    You can only have guys that that on your side:

    a) when they’re playing well,
    b) when the rest of the side is laying the platform for them to sparkle.

    No platform, no sparkle.

  • Comment 27, posted at 02.05.08 19:11:37 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • Sparkle? Oh my word!

  • Comment 28, posted at 02.05.08 19:23:44 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • I have said several times the Sharks backline are poor….but I was labeled being a sour LION….

    I said the Sharks and the LIONS are in comp for having the worst wings and center paring….Freddie has been good…Barrit surprisingly getting over the advantage line…and Terblanch the only one resembling an attacking player…must say that Kokkett has done well on occasion individually as well….as much as I dislike him…fact is fact…

  • Comment 29, posted at 02.05.08 19:41:23 by Hmmm Reply

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  • I will be very concerned if ANY of the Sharks backline players get selected for the Bokke…VERY

  • Comment 30, posted at 02.05.08 19:44:23 by Hmmm Reply

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  • However the LIONS center parring look better with Venter and Boshoff…and the Sharks have not improved any with Steyn in the middle…

    And the LIONS have looked better with the Ludik/Rose combo….but with Terblach the Sharks still pip the LIONS…

  • Comment 31, posted at 02.05.08 19:47:17 by Hmmm Reply

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  • The Sharks only scoring 17.3 points a game….the ONLY team worse than them are the LIONS with 14.8

    But at least the LIONS have an excuse that they don’t get the same quality ball….what is the Sharks excuse…

    I’d say their backline…

  • Comment 32, posted at 02.05.08 19:54:04 by Hmmm Reply

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  • Terblanche has been kak the last 3 weeks, dude

  • Comment 33, posted at 02.05.08 21:26:04 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • Terblanche has done more than most in the backline mate… And that does not mean he has been good at all – but it shows how the backline has operated for the last 3 weeks.

  • Comment 34, posted at 02.05.08 21:28:06 by MorneN Reply
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  • I have been mixing Fosters with flu meds. Not going to try arguing with you now!

  • Comment 35, posted at 02.05.08 21:32:17 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • Please give us your very technical analysis about what’s going wrong at 10 and 12, though. A nice 1000 word article will do :-)

  • Comment 36, posted at 02.05.08 21:34:01 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • Will work on that one mate, as well as where Frans Steyn should play, or should be used.

    And I cannot believe you do not want to argue with me given my ‘love’ for Stefan Terblank and my comment about him above…

    It was almost like saying Barritt has been the best 12 in SA for the last 4 years… :twisted:

  • Comment 37, posted at 02.05.08 21:37:08 by MorneN Reply
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  • Yeah, reading your comment again, I realised what you actually meant and that I agree with you 100 per cent. So no need to argue.

    I’m well over Terblanche now. Think we need to dump him and move forward

  • Comment 38, posted at 02.05.08 21:40:16 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • Sweeet! Will give you and arti in the next 2 days, but for now I am calling it a night – have a goodie, we will celebrate a loss for both our teams by this time tomorrow.

  • Comment 39, posted at 02.05.08 21:46:03 by MorneN Reply
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  • Mr Cheerful! Sleep tight and love to the family, dude

  • Comment 40, posted at 02.05.08 21:47:08 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • You too mate, have a goodie.

  • Comment 41, posted at 02.05.08 21:49:28 by MorneN Reply
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  • They’ve missed far too many penalties too this seasons… would be interested in the stats but I reckon they are averaging a missed 9 points a game…

  • Comment 42, posted at 03.05.08 05:05:15 by bryce_in_oz Reply

    bryce_in_ozCurrie Cup player
     
  • Cliche of note, but could we maybe start a petition to call this “The season of missed opportunities”

  • Comment 43, posted at 03.05.08 06:37:27 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply

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  • Continuity in selection will lead to better kicking at goal. It’s all about rhythm, which requires consistent match practice. Even Brad was an 80 per cent kicker in his youth

  • Comment 44, posted at 03.05.08 08:52:51 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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