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.Tweet