robdylan

Joe wants more attacking play


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, In the news, Sharks on 25 Jun 2009 at 11:00
Tagged with : , , , ,

Sharks Captain Johann Muller has hinted at a plausible explanation why The Sharks finished the Vodacom Super 14 season off the pace they set and maintained in the first three quarters of the tournament.

Mike Marnewick writes for www.sharksrugby.co.za.

While The Sharks set themselves up perfectly in the early stages of the competition, winning seven of their first eight games, it was a run of success built off the back of outstanding and committed defence, feeding off opposition mistakes. But therein lay the possible downside – bodies could handle only so much battering.

Having held the British & Irish Lions to a narrow 7-3 lead at half-time, Muller hails the first half defensive effort, but his insight shows that a change in the way The Sharks will play in the Absa Currie Cup is on the cards.

“I thought our defence was outstanding in the first half [against the Lions], but it’s the same old story as in the Super 14, you can’t defend for 70% of the game, you need ball in hand and need to get your attack right.

“It showed that we have a lot of hard work ahead of us in the weeks to come. Even though we played against Internationals, I think it’s a huge challenge for us, that we get some decent ball and then keep it, to build the pressure through the phases and make it count.”

He admits that The Sharks will be looking to focus on their attacking play this season, saying, “It’s not giving away any secrets, I don’t think any side in the world would be happy with an average of 40% ball possession in any tournament and I think that’s why we ran out of steam in the latter part of the Super 14 competition.

“We were the team that probably defended the most in the competition and it’s important for us to take the lessons we learnt out of the Super 14 and carry them through into the Currie Cup, making sure we get more ball possession and making sure we keep that ball.”

The Sharks will start the defence of their title once again going into the tournament missing key players to the Springboks for the remainder of the Lions tour and the Vodacom Tri Nations.

“For any side to lose 10 guys to the national side, it’s always going to be tough, that’s nearly half or our Super 14 squad,” Muller explains. “It will hurt any side, but it’s a great opportunity for the youngsters to come through, a guy like Guy Cronje who played Under 19 last year, Luzuko Vulindlu and then Waylon Murray is back from injury, so there are a few guys who can make a mark in this Currie Cup and show that they can play at this level.

“It’s going to be a tough eight or ten weeks for us and it’s important that we set the standards early and maintain them throughout the tournament.”

Having enjoyed a break after the Lions game, The Sharks captain admits that bodies and minds are refreshed and ready for the challenge that lies ahead. “The break we had was important, your mind and body get tired, so the two weeks break was vital and the excitement is back – the campaign is just around the corner.”

Talking of which, The Sharks play Western Province away in first game – on Saturday 11 July – a tough prospect first game up. “That’s their Super 14 squad, they’ve lost about 4 players so it’s going to be a huge challenge for us down in Cape Town,” he admits.

“The Currie Cup starts on a tough note, like the Super 14 did for us this year, but it’s a challenge we have to face and they have to come to Durban later in the competition, so we have to embrace it and make sure we are ready for the challenge.”

Despite the loss of players to the national cause, it is not a new phenomenon for The Sharks, and faced with a similar scenario last year, they went on to win the trophy. Muller agrees that The Sharks might not have had the ideal start in 2008, but once again it is all about showing mental and physical fortitude.

“If you look at last year’s Currie Cup, we lost two of the first four games and we didn’t get any bonus points, it was a really slow start for us. But it showed that after a while we got right what we wanted to do and it worked out perfectly. A guy like Jean Deysel who didn’t even start the tournament was Currie Cup Player of the Year, so again, it’s a great opportunity for a new guy to come through.”



20 Comments

  • Who’s Joe :?:

  • Comment 1, posted at 25.06.09 11:52:14 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 1) : Joe Muller

  • Comment 2, posted at 25.06.09 11:59:42 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 2) : Was that your idea or is it his nickname in the team or invented by Mike Marnewick. :roll:

    Hoekom wil jy nou die arme man ver-engels?

  • Comment 3, posted at 25.06.09 12:13:48 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 3) : it’s his nickname… a lot of Johann’s become Joe…

    And there’s nothing wrong with being English. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 4, posted at 25.06.09 12:14:45 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 4) : Nothing wrong with being English as long as your not British :lol:

  • Comment 5, posted at 25.06.09 12:20:03 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 5) : I’m going to back away from this conversation now, Xenophobosaurus! :)

  • Comment 6, posted at 25.06.09 12:28:01 by robdylan Reply
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  • Lions team has been announced. 5 changes from the last test.

    All Welsh frontrow, Simon Shaw in for Alun-Wyn Jones, Fitzgerald in for Monye and Kearney for the injured Byrne!

  • Comment 7, posted at 25.06.09 13:54:02 by Villie Reply
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  • we all want more attacking play from the Sharks, the thing is: can they deliver

  • Comment 8, posted at 26.06.09 11:41:33 by JarsonX Reply
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  • robdylan, how are things coming along with the FL, LMS etc??

  • Comment 9, posted at 26.06.09 11:44:04 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Comment 9) : almost ready… will try launch on Monday

  • Comment 10, posted at 26.06.09 11:52:30 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 10) : good :cool:

  • Comment 11, posted at 26.06.09 11:54:20 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Comment 11) : it doesn’t help that SA Unions don’t believe in releasing squads or keeping their websites up-to-date

  • Comment 12, posted at 26.06.09 11:58:32 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 12) : uh huh! Ive come to realise that. Now we have to make haste of selecting ours

  • Comment 13, posted at 26.06.09 12:07:30 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Comment 13) : come to think of it: i havent even seen the full fixture list yet

  • Comment 14, posted at 26.06.09 12:12:36 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Comment 13) : zigacktly

    head over to Justrugby.net and pre-register, if you like. Let me know if there are any players you want that aren’t there yet

  • Comment 15, posted at 26.06.09 12:22:42 by robdylan Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Comment 14) : got that at least. Need to put it up here, I guess

  • Comment 16, posted at 26.06.09 12:25:55 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 15) : Done, because thats what the games are going to cause me :razz: i’ll have a look at the players over the weekend

  • Comment 17, posted at 26.06.09 14:29:04 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 16) : that will be great :wink: a nice brand spanking new nokia n97 will be nice as a prize :razz:

  • Comment 18, posted at 26.06.09 14:33:11 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Comment 17) : ive selected my players,captain and starting 15, but im stressed. please let us know when you’ve got the full list of players :idea:

  • Comment 19, posted at 26.06.09 17:36:28 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Comment 19) : I will only have the full list for sure once the first round’s team have been announced!

  • Comment 20, posted at 26.06.09 23:14:23 by robdylan Reply
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