Big Fish

Head to head amongst the Pretty Boys

Written by (Big Fish)

Posted in :Bulls, Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 17 Oct 2008 at 10:05

The game of rugby certainly does begin amongst the forwards, but contrary to what Rob likes to say, it does not end there too.
Then again, we are talking about an ex-lock who thinks that numbers 9-15 are just there to get tackled, run over and creatively abused whenever the forwards need a change from the real game of rugby.

So, in line with my illustrious friend’s take on the forwards, here is a little comparison of the respective backs.

9) Pienaar v du Preez – Very tough to call. Much will depend on the ball they receive, but both are truly world-class, and while the man with 2 surnames is widely regarded as the best in SA, if not the world, Ruan is showing that with an extended stint in the 9 jersey, his feel for the position and instinctive play is miles ahead of when he is a utility back. In addition to superb decision-making, he has added some sublime kicking to his repertoire this year. My gut says Ruan a shade over du Preez, but based on historical performance, I’ll score this 5-5.

10) Frederic “The French Magician” Michalak v Morne “Die Tshwane Towernaar” Steyn – Both have had awesome seasons this year, with Freddie showing that he can thrive in the physicality, pace and intensity of Southern Hemisphere rugby, while still remaining a creative force, and Steyn showing that he can step out from behind the homo-erotic shadow that Derrick “The Darling of Danville” cast over thousands of love-struck, horn-wearing gentleman up North. While Steyn might have caused the end of the “Kom Terug Liefling” group on Facebook and the studio-bound death of the Steve Hofmeyr produced mash-up of Liefling and De la Rey with some fine performances, his ability under pressure remains open, and crucial 3-pointers and clearing kicks could break him. 6-4 to Freddy.

11) Pieterson v Habana – I’m not even gonna pretend that I’m not a big fan of JPP’s, and that I believe that he is a special player. That said, Bryan broke my heart in the 2007 S14, and that memory, as well as seeing oubaas topless, is one that is hard to forget, despite the medication. On form, JPP is ahead, and I feel that this is not a temporary thing with him. However, Bryan is world-class, so on history, I am gonna give this to Habana. 4-6 to Bryan.

12) Francois Steyn v Wynand “Timotei” Olivier – Wynand has been awesome this year – the best I have ever seen him. It seems he has had some lessons with Sheryl Calder and is finally able to differentiate between a wing and a touch-judge. He has looked pacy, strong, has shown a great step, and some sweet passing. That said, he is up against one of the most prodigious talents in modern rugby. Frans, like Ruan, has benefitted immensely from consistent selection in the 12 jersey, which I feel suits him at this stage f his career. He is a rock-solid tackler, can break the line, will punish any errant clearances from the Bulls (likely in their style of game), and can be a great distributor. The only concern is his temperament (as per the 2007 S14 Final). On this basis, I would give it 6-4 to Frans.

13) Adrian Jacobs v Marius Delport – Adi has shown his class for the Boks this year, but has looked tired since getting back. That said, I fully expect him to lift himself for this final hurdle. Marius Delport is not a 13, and has never really done anything noteworthy. 7-3 to Adi.

14) Odwa Ndungane v Akona Ndungane – Odwa has come on in leaps and bounds, and while his brother is also a solid, very consistent performer, he lacks Odwa’s explosiveness on attack. 6-4 to Odwa.

15) Stefan Terblanche v Zane Kirchner – Interesting one this. Stefan has really improved in the latter half of this season – less aimless kicks, great positioning, very good at the kick and chase, and still quick and powerful on the run. Kirchner brings similar speed and power to the table, but lacks the guile and experience of Stefan. This could be a name-making game for Kirchner, but on the back of his experience, Stefan shades it.6-4 to Stefan.

Amongst the reserves, its no contest. Barrit, Murray and Kockott against the likes of Heini Adams, John Mametsa and Burton Francis? 7-3 to the Sharks Young Guns.
Sharks 47; Bulls 33.

So again, the message, ON PAPER, is that the Sharks could win.

Go ahead, call my bluff.

I double dares yer.


  • I agree wholeheartedly with woev analysis fish. Especially the terblanche part. If irritates of immensely as a player but he does seen to deliver even when it doesn’t look good. Pienaar over fourie is a huge call! Bit of bias there?

  • Comment 1, posted at 17.10.08 10:14:04 by VinChainSaw Reply
    VinChainSawTeam captain
  • good one bf dare we say this sharks team is better than the final s14 one?

  • Comment 2, posted at 17.10.08 10:18:57 by dragonshark Reply

    RUGGA BUGGAUnder 19 player
  • Oh, forgot to add. I wonder if the old addage that ‘the forwards decide who wins the game and backs decide by how much’ will be true this time round!

  • Comment 3, posted at 17.10.08 10:20:46 by VinChainSaw Reply
    VinChainSawTeam captain
  • I agree mostly , but would have scored flyhalf 5 – 5 and possibly no 11 a 5 – 5 as well( who cares about reputation )

  • Comment 4, posted at 17.10.08 10:23:01 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
    Assistant coach
  • Thanks manne.

    @VinChainSaw (Comment 1) :
    Probably is a bit of bias, but I did score it 5-5. :wink:

    I reckon the 9-10 axes are gonna be big deciders in the game, and even outwide, a moment of brilliance or idiocy could decide it.

    @Pokkel (Comment 4) :
    That could work too. :lol:

  • Comment 5, posted at 17.10.08 10:25:34 by Big Fish Reply
    Big FishAssistant coach
  • Compliments returned. :wink:

    This was not only good, it was really good: ‘ Frederic “The French Magician” Michalak v Morne “Die Tshwane Towernaar” Steyn.’ :lol:

  • Comment 6, posted at 17.10.08 10:26:24 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver FoxCurrie Cup player
  • @Big Fish (Comment 5) : I do have my doubts about Morne Steyn’s BMT and let’s hope Freddie comes to the party,cause he hasn’t really lived up to his reputation. I do think that Freddie likes the ‘BIG’ games and the pressure and will either have a blinder or a shocker

  • Comment 7, posted at 17.10.08 10:30:06 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
    Assistant coach
  • @Big Fish (Comment 5) : Well written article and I’m relly looking forward to the individual duals. Esp. Kanko vs Spies and Ruan vs Fourie . I think Ruan is playing the better rugby at the moment and I can’t be happier, because I was one of his biggest critics

  • Comment 8, posted at 17.10.08 10:34:02 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
    Assistant coach
  • Kanko versus Spies is going to be my personal highlight of the game – no doubt about that!

  • Comment 9, posted at 17.10.08 10:46:52 by VinChainSaw Reply
    VinChainSawTeam captain
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 9) : Everybody always says how quick Spies is , but that doesn’t help if you try and run over everybody. Kanko is as fast and takes a gap most backs would be proud of. GO KANKO

  • Comment 10, posted at 17.10.08 10:51:59 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
    Assistant coach
  • 9 – Fourie, this man is absolute class and has performed at the highest levels consistently. In fact, I think Kockett is better than Pienaar on the form displayed in the S14.

    10 – Steyn, Frenchie can be as brilliant as he can be absolutely shyte. I don’t think any 10 comes close to Steyn tactically, which is what you need for a final.

    11 – JPP, current form he kicks Habs ass who has been poor this year.

    12 – Meisiekind by a country mile. He has been the best 12 apart from JDV this year.

    13 – Adi, how Delport can even make a rugby side is beyond me.

    14 – Odwa, has always been better than his brother for me and can cover 15 too.

    15 – As much as it pains me, Stefan.


    9 & 10 – Bulls
    12 & 13 – Sharks (just because of Delport)
    Back three – Sharks, as a unit they are better.

  • Comment 11, posted at 17.10.08 11:08:41 by MorneN Reply
    MornéTeam captain
  • Front row – 50/50, set pieces I actually think without Smit the Bulls have the edge.

    Locks – No Bakkies, makes this the Sharks

    Loosies – Gonna be great, 50/50 but if I have to make a call I reckon the Sharks hunt better as a unit, but the Bulls’ loosies defends better as a unit.

  • Comment 12, posted at 17.10.08 11:10:32 by MorneN Reply
    MornéTeam captain
  • @MorneN (Comment 12) : This is not the Super 14 and Ruan has shown huge improvement . Their is no way that I would chose Kockott over Ruan on current form.

  • Comment 13, posted at 17.10.08 11:15:36 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
    Assistant coach
  • No politics here, please

  • Comment 14, posted at 17.10.08 11:20:24 by robdylan (Go Sharks!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
  • @MorneN (Comment 11) :
    9) FDP is superb, but if you haven’t noted a difference in Ruan since he has had an extended run, then you haven’t been watching him play. I call it very close.

    Front Row – When, in the last few years, have we ever been shaded in the scrum by the Bulls? :wink:
    10)Steyn has bombed under pressure every time.

  • Comment 15, posted at 17.10.08 11:37:41 by Big Fish Reply
    Big FishAssistant coach
  • @Pokkel (Comment 13) :

    Ruan only had a handfull of games since returning from the Boks. Not enough to put him ahead of Fourie in my view and personally even a case for Kockett looking at the influence and form Kockett had in the S14.

    Of all the S14 guys, only JPP has shown a significant improvement in form for me.

  • Comment 16, posted at 17.10.08 11:39:05 by MorneN Reply
    MornéTeam captain
  • @Big Fish (Comment 15) :

    Steyn had one bad game this year. Not enough to judge him – how many howlers have Froggie had?

    Ruan is playing better, no doubt. Defence close in still suspect for me however and his distribution a bit slow still. But nonetheless, an improvement.

  • Comment 17, posted at 17.10.08 11:40:50 by MorneN Reply
    MornéTeam captain
  • @MorneN (Comment 17) :
    Not the first time – even prior to this year he was poor under pressure, which is why he was played behind the Darling.

    Last year’s S14 Final, he gave us a few sniffs by being unable to clear his line under attack very well.

    He kicks well tactically when protected, but is brittle – I hope that our loosies will demonstrate that again next week.

    @MorneN (Comment 17) :
    Hey, like I said, I could be just plain biased here. :lol:

    However, I think he has played very well for us – he doesn’t break on his own too much, he directs the forwards very well, and, something I have been begging for considering our very talented backline; he doesn’t wait too long before shifting the ball wide.

  • Comment 18, posted at 17.10.08 11:45:49 by Big Fish Reply
    Big FishAssistant coach
  • @robdylan (Go Sharks!) (Comment 15) : Sorry Rob. I just wish we could all have the attitude of being South African…full stop.

  • Comment 19, posted at 17.10.08 12:04:16 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
    Assistant coach
  • @Pokkel (Comment 19) : Agree.

  • Comment 20, posted at 17.10.08 12:15:05 by robdylan (Go Sharks!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
  • @Big Fish (Comment 18) :

    I think you underestimate Steyn at 10. He is playing consistent rugby.

    Froggy is the one I will be worried about.

    And of course you are bias, I would not expect anything less! :)

  • Comment 21, posted at 17.10.08 12:28:15 by MorneN Reply
    MornéTeam captain
  • How did Bryan’s shadow manage to score more than JP?

  • Comment 22, posted at 17.10.08 12:34:10 by just blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!Super Rugby player
  • @MorneN (Comment 21) :

    I agree…but what I like about Freddy is that (I Think) he is rather a unselfish player..he does what’s good for the team in such a non-chalant way that yu dont realise he is doing fricken brilliant things….wheras Morne…well, we all know a Blue Bull attitude on the (and off) the field..

  • Comment 23, posted at 17.10.08 13:10:52 by Ice Sharkadelic Babe Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    IceAssistant coach
  • @Ice Sharkadelic Babe (Comment 23) :

    If he fires, he is better, depends which Freddie shows up I guess.

  • Comment 24, posted at 17.10.08 13:20:49 by MorneN Reply
    MornéTeam captain
  • It seems he has had some lessons with Sheryl Calder and is finally able to differentiate between a wing and a touch-judge.

    Canning myself. Brilliant!

  • Comment 25, posted at 17.10.08 14:10:15 by billy Reply

    billyVodacom Cup player
  • @Ice Sharkadelic Babe (Comment 23) :

    I am partial toward Fred..but even if I wasn’t I’d have to agree that he just does things and it isn’t until after the try and you’re watching the play being repeated that you find that it all started from some blind or between the legs pass from Fred.

    He hasn’t let me down yet when I’ve been counting on him the most so I doubt he’ll be in anything but top form for the final.

  • Comment 26, posted at 17.10.08 17:30:03 by Milissa (Go Sharks!) Reply

    MilissaVodacom Cup player
  • I think that Freddie is the kind of player that has to have time to settle into a team. In the Super 14, it seemed that half the time, his team mates, like the opposition, had no idea what he might do next. It seems with time, his team mates are more comfortable with what he will do next, so now it is only a surprise to the opposition. :grin:

  • Comment 27, posted at 18.10.08 23:39:58 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing BearTeam captain

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