Seeing as well all consider ourselves to be coaches of the highest order, all-knowing, all-seeing, having perfected it into a science with 20-20 hindsight, we decided to offer the best coach in the Super 14, John Plumtree a 10 point plan. The Sharks coach has shown his astute reading of the role by including coaches from other codes, always ready to listen to advice and so here we go, our advice.
Here we go Plum, 10 ways to win the game and the tournament (a joint effort from Baldrick and robdylan):
1. Our loose forward trio is not working. This is through no fault of your own because of the injury to Jean Deysel. In his absence, or limited role returning from injury, you simply have to change the dynamic of the current back three. Ryan Kankowski is a shadow of his former self as he is sucked
into a greater defensive role. Our 6-7 combo is too similar. Deysel was the charging rhino, Botes the lion that assists the hunting pack and Kankowski the cheetah. I’d bring in a Justin Downey or Michael Rhodes at this stage. We miss bulk.
2. Rory Kockott possibly needs a break. He has been in fine form for much of the season, but when he’s off, the team suffers. Against the Reds and Cheetahs his passing was woeful and while you don’t want to lay the blame for the losses on him, you can’t argue that our attacking prowess has been good, we are scoring tries off turn-over ball, not carefully constructed movements, bringing us to our next point.
3. We need to show more patience and protect the ball carrier with more support. We have turned over too many balls when we had quality possession and territory. Losing out in the opposition 22 is criminal.
4. As the log leaders, we also need to be the pace setters in our own matches. If we are so good, we need to dictate the pace of the game. Against both the Reds and Cheetahs, they started out at a million miles an hour and we embraced that pace. It was wrong in both counts and we lost in both counts.
5. Our kicking game is amongst the best, but we need to be even better. Last week, I’d have to say we probably threw away 9 out of 10 balls by not even challenging for the regather. If you aren’t going to pressure the high ball, you either don’t employ that tactic or you rather kick low, hard and for territory.
6. We know that you’re stuck for depth, especially in the backline, but when you do have the opportunity to bring someone in, pick a sensible option. Andries Strauss would have been a far more sensible replacement for Ruan Pienaar, given that he’s a natural leader and has played Super rugby in the past. Likewise, why you didn’t pick Lwazi Mvovo as the stand-in for JP Pietersen we’ll never know. Have you checked the Vodacom Cup top try-scorers list? And taking Ross Cronje on tour? Didn’t really work, did it?
7. Procurement of three good blindside flank options has to be a priority. It has long been a recognised weakness in the squad and we find the same thing happens every time we lose Jean Deysel or Ryan Kankowski. Rassie Erasmus is rightly vilified for only buying loose forwards and not props – are we any better for getting it the other way round? Or is it a case of having the right guys in the system, but just not giving them any opportunities?
8. Where is the Super Rugby quality flyhalf backup to Ruan Pienaar? We have seen that Frans Steyn is really no better than a stopgap here, whereas Monty Dumond hasn’t ever really impressed enough at lower levels to suggest he may be the answer. We all had a lot of hope that Len Olivier might be the next big thing, but he seems destined to never get a chance. Do we have someone in our sights? What about Jacques-Louis Potgieter? He looked pretty good behind a dominant pack this weekend.
9. What’s up with our first-time tackling? In the days of James, Barritt and Murray, there was simply no way through the Sharks midfield, period. Is the current malaise about players, technique or pattern? Either way, it’s something we need to shore up – and fast.
You will notice that point 10 has been tantalisingly left out… ovr to you, Sharksworldians. What have we left out here?Tweet