Having taken note of some comments, and having taken a step backwards and given time for the loss to sink in, and then get over it, I thought it would be a good idea to look at the current set-up and try to find some reasoning behind the Sharks lack of success (if you can call 60% wins unsuccessful), and came up with a few areas I think we need to take note of.Personnel: Someone like Jannie du Plessis should be offering a lot more and I find myself hugely disappointed in his lack of impact, as a Springbok and a member of the successful Cheetahs side that won 3 Currie Cup finals. That’s one player and just an example, although he’s one of many. I think it is time to start jettisoning some players. Stefan Terblanche has long been a favourite of mine, but he has overstayed his welcome. He used to be the best player of the high ball in South Africa. Yesterday he launched (yet another) high ball, chased it and ran past the opposition catcher without A. trying to regather or B. put the player under pressure. Our wings have been totally left out of the cold all season because he either kicks high balls or tries to run through three players.
Henno Mentz offers absolutely nothing to the team and if he was indeed dropped for Wes Bodmer to try wake him up, it didn’t work. Plum, please drop him back to Club rugby, pay off his contract and look to the future. This guy is dead-weight. Waylon Murray either needs a rest or a wake-up call. He’s a classy player, but it’s deserted him right now. Give him a break.
Injuries: This has obviously been out of everyone’s control, although rushing Brad Barritt back for the Valke game was in my mind a very inadvisable act that back-fired. He needs time to get his body back in shape and he’s too important to risk long term injury. We’ve also been hard-hit without Rory Kockott and Jean Deysel. Pat Cilliers could also light a fire under Jannie’s butt to show that there is competition for places.
Springboks: It doesn’t help having lost so many players to the Bok cause – compared to the Lions and Cheetahs, we’re really disrupted and again this is no-one’s fault and planning for this eventuality perhaps rests on Straeuli’s shoulders, or the coaching staff. To the latters’ credit, Chris Jordaan has been a revelation and my sincere hope is that they stick with him. I believe he is a fullback at club level, and so why not give Stefan a break and try him there. Especially when we get Odwa and JP back. But there aren’t world class players hanging around waiting to get snapped up by a Union who needs players.
Until we get our Boks back and have class and experience (and leadership) back, we cannot simply keep plodding along, winning the easy games and losing the tough ones. A champion side would have won yesterday and until we have the manpower, we cannot hope to get into the position of a home semi/final with the current side.
In conclusion, I think the time is ripe, right now, to make some drastic and changes. Drop the deadwood, give the youngsters a chance, don’t overplay your stars or play too early those returning from injury. And the players need to take ownership. They are responsible to the coaches to show pride for the honour that has been bestowed on them. They need to show hunger for the game and the result. John Plumtree – be brave, please.
As a postscript, I see Rob has also put up a poll which seems to cover similar sentiments as the above.Tweet