Morné

Done and dusted


Written by Morné Nortier (Morné)

Posted in :Original Content, Super 14 on 22 Jan 2009 at 10:05

A new coach, new combinations, some interesting selections and a massive weight of expectation could see the Sharks rise to the occasion, or capitulate under pressure in the toughest competition in the world.

No matter what any list says, the Sharks has been South Africa’s most successful Super rugby franchise. Yet, every year, they seem to fail at the final hurdle or two in the Super rugby competition.

In 2008 they managed to shake the bogey of the Currie Cup in which they followed a similar trend, which expectedly now has the Sharks fans expecting something similar for the Super 14.

They came close in 2007, losing out to the Bulls in the final seconds of the match. But it is a story all too familiar for Sharks supporters. So close, yet so far…

With the British and Irish Lions coming to South Africa later this year, every supporter can expect that the top and fringe players to be going at it hammer and tongs to be considered for selection in this once in a lifetime, historic tour – and with so many current Springboks and fringe players in the Sharks squad one can forgive Sharks supporters for almost demanding a faultless display from their team.

But it is not going to be easy.

The first hurdle the squad face is the fact that it is expected of them to not only make the play-offs, but possibly secure a home semi-final and then progress to the final given their recent history, and current form and talent within the squad.

It is impossible to explain to people how the expectation from fans influences the players, but take my word for it, it has a massive influence.

John Plumtree will also go into this year’s Super 14 as the head coach for the first time. He has achieved great success in 2008 with the Currie Cup, but as any seasoned Super 14 player and coach will tell you – this competition is a different kettle of fish.

Plumtree also opted to select Johann Muller as captain of his team ahead of the seasoned and experienced Bok skipper, John Smit. Muller did extremely well as captain in the absence of Smit and let’s not forget he also skippered the Boks in the past, but given the scenario they find themselves in currently, you can expect all eyes to be on Johann and his game and captaincy to be dissected in the finest detail – especially when things do not go so well.

Something I believe most guys miss which is vitally important to any team, are the combinations – and in the Sharks setup you have quite a couple of new combinations being employed this year.

In the front row John Smit will seemingly be taking on the role the national coach wants him in when he will take his place at tighthead prop. And although every single person in that front-row are by now seasoned internationals, the jury is still out on them as a combination.

Like most other South African teams, the Sharks have very talented loosies where Kankowski will look to stake his claim as first choice 8 for the Boks ahead of the current incumbent Pierre Spies. Deysel, as big a revelation as he was, will also enter his second season of top flight rugby at this level and one has to wonder whether the dreaded second-season syndrome will hit him?

When one looks at the backline, you will be forgiven to feel both extremely excited but also very apprehensive.

You more or less have new combinations at 9 and 10, 10 and 12, and 12 and 13. Only the back three are settled where JP Pietersen will look to continue his great form in the latter stages of 2008, Stefan Terblanche wanting to prove he is not just a good Currie Cup player, and Odwa Ndungane showing everyone that he is indeed better than his Bulls brother.

The backline does display a great sense of versatility where in the case of emergency a lot of players can cover crucial positions, but there must be a concern when it comes to seasoned, experienced back up players in the case of injuries to positions 9, 10, 12 and on wing.

What does count in the Sharks’ favour are two crucial points. They have a favourable draw, and this team knows how to make it to the play-offs.

Given the squads overall experience and talent there is no reason why they should not either, but together with a new coach in his first full Super 14 season, a couple of new combinations which is untested at this level, and a competition which is no doubt the longest and toughest competition in the world, the Sharks will have to remain grounded and focussed if they are to repeat their Currie Cup feat at Super rugby level.

The Sharks might be our best hope for Super rugby success, but nothing in this competition is done and dusted.



42 Comments

  • Stooooormeeers!!! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 1, posted at 22.01.09 10:07:31 by McLovin Reply
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  • @McLovin (Comment 1) :

    That chant and that avatar go SO WELL together. :lol:

  • Comment 2, posted at 22.01.09 10:08:37 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 2) : Thought it’s a bit early for they stormers cry and outfit, but I can’t wait any longer. :grin:

  • Comment 3, posted at 22.01.09 10:10:59 by McLovin Reply
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  • @McLovin (Comment 3) :

    :lol:

  • Comment 4, posted at 22.01.09 10:14:57 by KSA Shark © Reply
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  • as much as I hate to admit it, Morras has a real point here. as talented as Kockott, Pienaar, Steyn and Jacobs are individually, their game time as a combination is absolutely zero. That could come back to bite. If Steyn doesn’t have absolute faith in the men around him, he will try and do it all on his own.

  • Comment 5, posted at 22.01.09 10:36:43 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 5) :

    The Sharks will miss Barritt big time this season… kyk net…

  • Comment 6, posted at 22.01.09 10:41:08 by wpw Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : Doesn’t he (Steyn) anyway? :wink:

  • Comment 7, posted at 22.01.09 10:44:18 by McLovin Reply

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  • Kockott, Pienaar, Steyn will become a great combination PROVIDED thay are given time to play there. None of this kak from last year where the guys play all over the place. (Steyn being the best example of that)

  • Comment 8, posted at 22.01.09 10:46:49 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • i think it will be fine, steyn takes the crash ball, and then pienaar, jacobs and stefan nails them

  • Comment 9, posted at 22.01.09 10:46:49 by willa Reply

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  • @wpw (Comment 6) :

    At the risk of facing the wrath of Rob and a few others. I don’t think we will actually.

  • Comment 10, posted at 22.01.09 10:47:59 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 5) :
    Aargh…Morne :mad: …ever the voice of reason… :grin:

    I don’t expect them to struggle that much…good thing we start with softer opposition :twisted: so they’ll have a bit of time to build partnerships in the middle. I really can’t complain much about our draw this season.

    We’ve got a very strong 22 and then some… my only concern is injuries. I really hope the rugby gods will be kind to us in that department.

    Sharks forever!

  • Comment 11, posted at 22.01.09 10:51:36 by blckshrk - PROTEAS Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!Super Rugby player
     
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 10) :

    I had a discussion with my brother last night RE Rob’s lovechild. It was one of the few times we agreed on anything rugby.

    I do not think, and have mentioned this before, that Brad was a class 12 with a future for the Boks as a 12 – to my mind they should have shifted him to 10, he has the best hands I have seen in a player for quite some time.

    I also mentioned to Rob some time ago that the best game I saw Brad play was when he (in my mind) almost single handedly destroyed the Bulls at Loftus in a Currie Cup match, playing…

    You guessed it…

    Flyhalf.

  • Comment 12, posted at 22.01.09 10:51:52 by MorneN Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : Fransie just need to pass the ball more often… :roll:

  • Comment 13, posted at 22.01.09 10:58:15 by Charlie Reply

    CharlieSuper Rugby player
     
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 10) : @MorneN (Comment 12) :

    I think it always helps to have “a Brad” around.

  • Comment 14, posted at 22.01.09 11:00:22 by blckshrk - PROTEAS Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!Super Rugby player
     
  • @MorneN (Comment 12) :

    You sure you not confusing Brad with JDV??? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 15, posted at 22.01.09 11:00:40 by wpw Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 15) :

    Well now that you mention it… :)

  • Comment 16, posted at 22.01.09 11:16:53 by MorneN Reply
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  • @MorneN (Comment 12) : I remember that game. That was about the last time Deon “Jou Mo£r” and I agreed on anything. KSA was also there.

  • Comment 17, posted at 22.01.09 12:16:41 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 17) :

    Yeah I remember, I organised a host of things for that game, TG was there too was he not? And Brand?

  • Comment 18, posted at 22.01.09 12:20:28 by MorneN Reply
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  • @MorneN (Comment 18) : no, not Brand.

    The infamous list read as follows:

    Robdylan
    KSA Shark
    KSA Sharkette
    DeonJouMo£r
    Tafelberg
    TG
    DavidS
    Mrs DavidS
    The erstwhile partner of TG

  • Comment 19, posted at 22.01.09 12:27:57 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 19) : oh crap – I forgot Aldo and Mrs Aldo

  • Comment 20, posted at 22.01.09 12:29:56 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 20) :

    Oh ja, the plumber!

  • Comment 21, posted at 22.01.09 12:33:06 by MorneN Reply
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  • @MorneN (Comment 21) : ha ha. Man, but he has only disappeared ENTIRELY from the blogosphere since finding his wrench and baggy jeans…

  • Comment 22, posted at 22.01.09 12:34:49 by robdylan Reply
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  • the it plumber

  • Comment 23, posted at 22.01.09 12:36:06 by PJLD Reply
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  • @PJLD (Comment 23) : And an oke that will look you in the eye and shake your hand while stabbing you in the back with the other one…

    Ok, let me rather not get into that.

  • Comment 24, posted at 22.01.09 12:40:12 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 22) :

    Popped in sometime late last year, but it was just a quick hello and tata again.

  • Comment 25, posted at 22.01.09 12:40:13 by MorneN Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 24) : fully,lets not.

  • Comment 26, posted at 22.01.09 12:41:24 by PJLD Reply
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  • @PJLD (Comment 26) : my apologies. Some wounds just take a while to heal, you know? Still, can’t say I have anything to really be upset about, given the way everything turned out.

  • Comment 27, posted at 22.01.09 12:42:56 by robdylan Reply
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  • Morras u perhaps know if your boet is gona be at Newlands for the curtain raiser as well?

  • Comment 28, posted at 22.01.09 12:43:27 by PJLD Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 27) : drop me a gmail if u wanna skinner,im always keen :mrgreen:

  • Comment 29, posted at 22.01.09 12:45:25 by PJLD Reply
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  • @PJLD (Comment 28) :

    Yes he will be dude.

    You are sitting next to each other again I see.

  • Comment 30, posted at 22.01.09 12:57:40 by MorneN Reply
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  • @PJLD (Comment 29) : going to go and gaze at my son rather :) Increase my inner calm

  • Comment 31, posted at 22.01.09 12:57:40 by robdylan Reply
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  • @MorneN (Comment 30) : just noticed that myself

  • Comment 32, posted at 22.01.09 12:59:57 by PJLD Reply
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  • I also wanna skinner… :roll:

  • Comment 33, posted at 22.01.09 13:15:11 by wpw Reply
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  • me too

  • Comment 34, posted at 22.01.09 13:21:02 by molly Reply
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  • you guys can always email me any skinder :)

  • Comment 35, posted at 22.01.09 13:25:26 by robdylan Reply
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  • @molly (Comment 34) : :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    So lets skinner about Rob while he’s not here… :roll:

  • Comment 36, posted at 22.01.09 13:25:46 by wpw Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 36) : damn, let me remove that comment… :shock:

  • Comment 37, posted at 22.01.09 13:26:23 by wpw Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 36) : just for that, you owe me a Sharks babygrow

  • Comment 38, posted at 22.01.09 13:34:49 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 38) : hehehe

    Uhm, how about ‘NO’??? :grin:

  • Comment 39, posted at 22.01.09 13:39:35 by wpw Reply
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  • This is gonna be the season that the LEGEND of JPP is made

  • Comment 40, posted at 22.01.09 14:08:58 by Big Fish Reply
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  • yup, there’s going to be a massive baby-boom of boys with the name JP this year.

  • Comment 41, posted at 22.01.09 14:20:04 by molly Reply
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  • I am really looking forward to this years S14. The game is going to be completely different. I somehow don’t think the Crusaders are going to be quite the same, without Carter, Hamilton etc & lets not forget Dean’s. From early season showing the Blues aren’t that Flash. The Ausie teams are in a bit of turmoil. The Force might have a chance, but how happy is John Mitchell the Ausies have Whinged and whined so much that he has been cut off at the knees. The Ausies talk about whinging Poms, but they are the masters. I suppose in the end they are the actual Poms ( Prisoners of Her Majesties)

  • Comment 42, posted at 22.01.09 22:01:39 by Dynamite Reply

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