It was really not a great first half for the Sharks- our midfield had gaps the size of the Grand Canyon-allowing guys like de Villiers, Bobs and Chavanga to create one-way traffic. Sharksworlder Blackshark gives his views.
I was watching the game with a bunch of friends who were very vocal and shall I say “arrogant” before kick-off, but I noticed that this was quickly replaced with shock and frustration as the Stormers looked very threatening while the Sharks were careless in the rucks and very indecisive when they had the ball possession. It didn’t come as a surprise when the Stormers managed to turn one of the waves of attacks into a try-which was well grounded by man of the moment Gcobani.
Three missed penalty kicks later, it was halftime, and no points on the board for the Sharks. I received a “friendly” sms from a friend at Newlands and quickly replied “ We’ll be back” – half hope and half faith. During the tough times in the first half I said this to my mates…” I don’t know about the Stormers but I know that the Sharks will keep getting better with every minute that passes. I just hope that by the time they click the damage will still be repairable.”
Straight after kick off it was evident that the Sharks emerged as a better team- going at the Stormers- even with Jean still on the field. As the Sharks got better, the Stormers didn’t-and I’m sure we all agree that JdV’s injury had a lot to do with that. I think it’s partly psychological but the Stormers started to look withdrawn and allowed the Sharks into their territory. If you invite the Sharks to the table- the dinner will be YOU. The rest is history.
Few negatives just off my head:
*Keegan didn’t look ready to wear a jersey with a single digit. Maybe I’m too used to seeing the red scrum cap everywhere but Keegs was invisible for most of the first half. We like it when you score tries but you still need to get down and do the dirty work. Botes better start against the Lions, who have dangerous loose trio.
*Sykes needs to toughen up. In his defence – he did improve as the game progressed but I think he is one of the guys who made a bigger contribution when it came to wasting possession and taking wrong options in the first half.
*Ruan/Steyn/Adi – tried out some things as individuals but as an attacking and defensive unit they didn’t excite me. Ruan – we like your darting runs but they work better when they come as a surprise. I know you have more tricks in the bag- use them. Steyntjie – a strong laatie like you should have a better technique of dealing with tackles-take some lessons from Rory and yes you are allowed to use your boot now and then at 12. Be creative man, especially if Ruan seems to be struggling-that’s what you are there for. Adi- ou maat, make your presence felt out there- by the opposition and your teammates. There’s no place for being an introvert on the rugby field.
*Odwa – Dude, what’s happened to your defence/tackling in the off-season?
*Front row – it just feels great to know that we can work with so many combinations and still have a killer front row. Enough said.
* John Smit – the man who has a lot to do with stabilising our front row – no matter where he stands in the scrum. Add that to the wonderful work he does on the loose, the experience and the positive attitude that radiates from this guy and I say “ Thank goodness he plays for us.” I’m not too sure about that up and under – but that just shows you how much determination he has.
*Rory – I did say that he’s going to step it up and he did. I didn’t watch too much rugby this weekend but Rocket did an outstanding job. Even when we were still trying to find our rhythm he’s one of the guys who tried to make things happen. I can’t fault his work-rate, his distribution and bravery – the kicking was just a bonus. I hope Peter De Villiers will keep an eye on this guy.
I’m sure there are more positives and negatives but I wouldn’t be too concerned at this stage. Let’s not forget that this was our first game against decent opposition since the Currie Cup final. We didn’t just return from Cape Town with 4 points but we also got something that the Pumas and the Bulls were not able to give us – a run for our money. If the catfight on Friday is anything to go by, it looks like we have another test waiting for us on Saturday with the Lions looking much stronger than they did in the previous competitions, and for that – I thank them in advance.Tweet