Have the Sharks turned a corner?

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super 14 on 8 Mar 2010 at 05:00
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I’m really in two minds about Saturday’s Sharks game, having had the benefit of two days to think about it. After the match, we were all caught up in a very emotional sort of euphoria – bitterly disappointed to have lost in such a controversial manner, yet still so, so pleased to have seen a better showing from the team. Was this really the start of the revival, though? Or perhaps just the dreaded “dead cat bounce”?

Now that last half an hour really was pretty good – the Sharks played with real fire in the belly and finally started to keep the ball in hand and string a few phases together. The passage of play that culminated in Adi Jacobs’ try was simply breathtaking and reminiscent of Sharks rugby at its best; forwards and backs working together in unison to retain the ball through umpteen phases of play, before finally exploiting the gap that inevitably must open up. The performance of the pack as a whole really picked up in the second half too and the rolling maul, as well as pick and drive finally started to bear fruit. Willem Alberts, Jean Deysel and Bismarck du Plessis – hell, Beast too – all started to really look the part again as they repeatedly drove the Tahs defenders back.

None of this takes away from the fact that the Sharks, yet again, were a disorganised, ill-disciplined mob in the first half and seemed completely bereft of any ideas or motivation. The period in which first Jannie du Plessis and then Andy Goode were yellow carded for cynical foul play might well go down in the annals of Sharks infamy – about as poor as the infamous Taione head-butt or the Kockott face-slap in terms of good sportsmanship. Were it not for a piece of typical Kankowski individual brilliance the Sharks would have been dead and buried by half-time and one has to concede that in this period, the Tahs did a fair amount to lose the match.

Whatever happened within the team to spark the late turnaround, we’ll never know – although we can at least be sure that it wasn’t a fiery John Smit team talk, since he wasn’t on the field at the time. All of a sudden, as a result of one of those strange things that can happen on a rugby field, the Sharks turned from a bunch of battling no-hopers into the team we all know they can be – and have been in the past. The saddest part of all is that they could have – nay, should have – won the match, had it not been for some inept officiating from home-town ref Paul Marks. I guess, based on what we’ve come to expect from the team this season, even that doesn’t matter too much. Just seeing the boys having fun, backing each other and playing good rugby felt almost as good as a win anyway.

The real test, though, will come against the Brumbies. We need the Sharks to stand up and show us that the last 30 against the Tahs wasn’t just a false dawn and that whatever has happened in the past, all 30-odd men on this tour are committed to making Sharks rugby great again. Come on, boys – we’re counting on you to go one better this weekend!


  • Hey Rob,

    I thought the Sharks were average for most of the match. It took the desperation of playing with 13, and then later in the match a chance to win it for the Sharks to actually play any rugby and look half-decent.

    A good side can maintain that sort of intensity and focus for much longer because they demand of it themselves.

    The biggest sign of where this side is came for me after the match. Yes the ref was poor, but a good side (like the Bulls!) would look at themselves, the things they can control and take responsibility rather than blame the ref as Plumtree did.

    Perhaps that is why week after week they run sideways, have a poor scrum and can’t put in an 80 minute effort. If they admitted their shortcomings, I can’t see why it is so hard to practice running straight and passing the ball. I would expect to be able to teach a monkey how to do that! But if you don’t look hard enough at yourself you won’t ever overcome your weaknesses. A great example is how the Bulls have worked on their scrum this year. If they can do it, the Sharks can do it.

  • Comment 1, posted at 08.03.10 06:22:59 by sanjaydeva Reply
    sanjaydevaUnder 21 player
  • @sanjaydeva (Comment 1) : Actually he didnt he admitted that the sharks should have won the game and it was their own fault that they lost “basic errors had cost his team and they had allowed the Waratahs to score a couple of soft tries.”

    “In the second half we were dominant with some pretty good rugby. We had many chances to win this match and it was our own fault.”

    He was asked about the “try” and said “That was definitely a penalty try,Ryan would have scored had he been allowed to take that pass. That was a cynical decision and that was the game.”
    please check your facts before making such statments as it only fames a flamable situation

  • Comment 2, posted at 08.03.10 07:00:37 by Fattmann Reply
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  • @Fattmann (Comment 2) : This is taken from a post on

    ‘That was a cynical decision,’ Plumtree said after the match. ‘That should have been a penalty try. That was the game.’

    Phil Waugh got away with murder at the breakdown and this wasn’t picked up enough by the ref,’ said Plumtree. ‘It made it hard for us to get our game going.

    ‘Basic errors cost us points tonight. Soft tries. In the second half we were dominant with some pretty good footy. We had many chances to win this match and it was our own fault.’

    The same quote is on Sport 24. Esentially he is saying the ref made an error. He may have, but the fact is the Sharks weren’t good enough to win. Terblanche should have been able to draw and pass. That is a basic skill.
    I stand by my original comment.

  • Comment 3, posted at 08.03.10 07:17:31 by sanjaydeva Reply

    sanjaydevaUnder 21 player
  • @sanjaydeva (Comment 3) : Who do you support? If I can go back a couple of yesrs in crucial games the 50/50 calls always went against the Sharks. So why don’t you just shut the hell up. :evil: :evil: :evil:

  • Comment 4, posted at 08.03.10 08:14:27 by SharksRTB Reply

    SharksRTBCurrie Cup player
  • I am really fed up of these inconsistent pricks refereeing our games.This is a most definate win stolen from us. second one of the campaign. This can make or break you, even Phil Waugh said it after the game. “We propably got lucky at the end there.” I say again shut the hell up sanjaydeva……..

  • Comment 5, posted at 08.03.10 08:23:41 by SharksRTB Reply

    SharksRTBCurrie Cup player
  • @SharksRTB (Comment 4) : I support the Bulls! Mind you I support all SA sides.

    2 Years ago I was calling for Ludeke’s head as the Bulls were in a similar place to the Sharks now. What turned it around was a change in attitude more than personnel. Ludeke has impressed me so much by what he has learnt. More importantly he was willing to change.

    Even at the begginning of this year I didn’t think the Bulls would be the side that adapted best to the new law variations and that is because they want to, so they have found solutions and come up with strategies to make things work for them.

    Let’s be honest, the Sharks aren’t any more prejudiced against than any other SA side.

    I would like the Sharks to be strong for SA rugby’s sake. Until attitudes change, the results certainly won’t get any better.

  • Comment 6, posted at 08.03.10 08:27:54 by sanjaydeva Reply

    sanjaydevaUnder 21 player
  • @SharksRTB (Comment 4) :

    Dude, there is no need for personal attacks!!

    Sanjaydeva is entitled to his opinion the same way as you’re entitled to yours!!

    I suggest you step away from the keyboard for a few minutes and return once you’ve calmed down!! ;-)

  • Comment 7, posted at 08.03.10 08:29:06 by wpw Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 7) : Thanks, you said it before I could. :???:

  • Comment 8, posted at 08.03.10 08:31:44 by diablo Reply

    diabloVodacom Cup player
  • @sanjaydeva (Comment 3) : now that i understand where you get your “facts” from i can see how you have been missinformed Please get the transcript of the presser and you will see that what is quoted is not what was said.

  • Comment 9, posted at 08.03.10 08:32:03 by Fattmann Reply
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  • @Fattmann (Comment 9) : Anything written in quotes I would assume is what was actually said, but if you have the transcript I’d love to hear it.

    The rest of what was written in the article seemed spot on as I did listen to Smit after the game, and I do understand how words can get twisted around, and journalists can alter the tone of the article by the comments and words they put around the quotes.

  • Comment 10, posted at 08.03.10 08:44:07 by sanjaydeva Reply

    sanjaydevaUnder 21 player
  • agree with Wes. Please guys, let’s not start laying into each other here, or the big stick will come out :-)

  • Comment 11, posted at 08.03.10 08:49:53 by robdylan Reply
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  • @sanjaydeva (Comment 6) : Lucky the Bulls didn’t listen to you that time hey?

  • Comment 12, posted at 08.03.10 09:01:03 by Baldrick Reply

    BaldrickCurrie Cup player
  • @sanjaydeva (Comment 10) : Should have known you are a bulls supporter. If you were playing against the ref in times where you are somewhat struggling you will be pretty p### of ass well.

  • Comment 13, posted at 08.03.10 09:08:48 by SharksRTB Reply

    SharksRTBCurrie Cup player
  • @Baldrick (Comment 12) : LOL yes lucky not too many people listen to me!

    What impressed me most about Ludeke is how much he has learnt. Although it took him some time!

    I guess the question in professional sport is how long do you let a coach get away with substandard results? Hugh Reece-Edwards got one season, Putt from memory 2? Plumtree for my mind has had long enough at the top level and worringly for me, his results are on the decline.

    If we followed Ludeke’s example, then Straeuli deserves another chance. I guess one of the big things with Ludeke’s appointment is that it was backed heavily by Heyneke Meyer.

    What do you think? Should Plumtree stay on regardless of this season’s results?

  • Comment 14, posted at 08.03.10 09:15:14 by sanjaydeva Reply

    sanjaydevaUnder 21 player
  • @SharksRTB (Comment 13) : I believe the SA sides get the raw end of the deal as evidenced by Steve Walsh’s attitude and demeanour against the Lions on Friday night too.

    The point is what can we do to change it if our administrators won’t do anything about it, and armbands clearly don’t work!

    Therefore we have to simply rise above another adversity. Our sides shouldn’t allow themselves to get themselves into situations where the refs can influence how we play (well as much as we can anyway). Rather than blame refs, I’d rather see them focus on controlling what they can do better. I would hope that is more constructive.

  • Comment 15, posted at 08.03.10 09:19:58 by sanjaydeva Reply

    sanjaydevaUnder 21 player
  • @sanjaydeva (Comment 15) : i agree

  • Comment 16, posted at 08.03.10 09:36:48 by robdylan Reply
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  • All teams are at some time or another on the wrong end of bad refereeing decisions. Sometimes they go your way and sometimes not. Nobody with half a brain can deny that Paul Mark’s shocking ineptitude on this occasion cost the visiting side.

    There were at least 4 forward passes by the Tahs that he missed, yet he blew a perfectly legal flat pass by the Sharks, which would very likely have resulted in a try under the posts.

    Then the Beal incident. If the slap-down happened 10m from the tryline nobody would have been asking “would Kanko have caught the ball” so why are people giving that as an excuse that it wasn’t a penalty try just because he was 30m out. There was no cross defense in sight. Beal was the only defender, which is why he had to cheat to stop the try.

    Then the ridiculous obstruction call at the lineout. Even the Aussie commentators and the Sydney Morning Herald call the Tahs win lucky, because of the ref.

    However, at the end of the day we cannot deny that the Waratahs were absolutely useless. They couldn’t catch or pass and kicked every single ball that we gave them on a plate right back to us. When was the last time we heard the Sydney crowd boo their team?

    Even having played like complete palookas they managed to beat us when we played our best rugby of the season.

    I am not yet getting too excited about the future.

  • Comment 17, posted at 08.03.10 09:40:58 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
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  • @sanjaydeva (Comment 3) : Well, I really don’t understand the logic that ‘we weren’t good enough to win’. A 50/50 call went against us that could have and would have won us the game. Surely that means we were good enough to win the game?

  • Comment 18, posted at 08.03.10 09:43:22 by CapeShark Reply
    The Great Couch SharkSuper Rugby player
  • @rhineshark (Comment 17) :

    “Even having played like complete palookas they managed to beat us when we played our best rugby of the season.”

    True, but it just shows you how a poor ref can keep them in the game. We had them on the ropes in the last 20 minutes but Skid-Marks kept giving them reprieves…

  • Comment 19, posted at 08.03.10 09:47:21 by CapeShark Reply
    The Great Couch SharkSuper Rugby player
  • @sanjaydeva (Comment 10) : Ok transcript available from SAPA

  • Comment 20, posted at 08.03.10 10:27:49 by Fattmann Reply
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  • @sanjaydeva (Comment 15) : Also true story picked up by News 24

  • Comment 21, posted at 08.03.10 10:29:30 by Fattmann Reply
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  • @Fattmann (Comment 20) : please go check the Fantasy League thread… think you might have been affected

  • Comment 22, posted at 08.03.10 10:40:48 by robdylan Reply
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  • @CapeShark (Comment 19) : Skid-Marks :lol:

  • Comment 23, posted at 08.03.10 10:43:38 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
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  • If the Sharks take the last 15 minutes of Saturdays game and build on that then I will be pleased. Although I hate losing if the Sharks go down fighting then it makes it a little easier to stomach…

  • Comment 24, posted at 08.03.10 10:51:36 by lostfish Reply
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  • Who’s the Ref for Saturdays game? Aside from that little detail, I think the Sharks are ready for a big game this weekend…big as in, wasting the Brumbies.

    The things that really helped this weekend was, firstly Ruan at 9, no one has commented on that yet. Adi 13…please never put him at 12 again. And like some people has commented before Stefan holding on to the ball a couple of times, and I think this weekend the Sharkies will know to to all these things again.
    Plus Jannie will not play, because of his brain fart and our discipline will be better.

    Kockett needs to cut at lest 55second out of his passing the ball from the ruck time. Or Plum should only use him when all our reserves has been used and injuries forces the move.

  • Comment 25, posted at 08.03.10 11:07:07 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 25) : yes we have on the other thread.

  • Comment 26, posted at 08.03.10 11:08:32 by try time Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 22) : HI Rob I had 9 trades before the weekend now i have 8 i did change 2 but they appear to be back in my team please check

  • Comment 27, posted at 08.03.10 11:31:05 by Fattmann Reply
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  • @Fattmann (Comment 27) : according to the database, it looks right.

    You have made 3 trades in total…

    McAlister out, Nonu in (rd 3 on)
    Horwill out, Bekker in (rd 4 on)
    Brussow out, Braid in (rd 5 on)

    That sound right?

  • Comment 28, posted at 08.03.10 11:44:48 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 28) : ok will make others now

  • Comment 29, posted at 08.03.10 11:48:55 by Fattmann Reply
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  • @CapeShark (Comment 18) : No one ever wants to see a game decided by the ref. 30m out I don’t think anyone can be certain a try would have been scored. I think the ref was always going to be criticised whichever way he ruled.

    In my view, if the Sharks were completely honest with themselves, they’d know they didn’t deserve to win. Two key moments were Terblanche not passing early enough (not sure why no one else is talking about that?) and Ruan Pienaar’s big error at the kickoff which led to the Waratahs scoring after the Sharks had scored. That’s 14 points right there. Until those sorts of errors are corrected on a more permanent basis, I can’t see the Sharks consistently winning. If they want to be disappointed with anyone, it is themselves.

  • Comment 30, posted at 09.03.10 03:28:53 by sanjaydeva Reply

    sanjaydevaUnder 21 player
  • @sanjaydeva (Comment 30) : This is what the law says…

    A penalty try must be awarded if the offence prevents a try that would probably otherwise have been scored.

    PROBABLY – not certain

    It takes a ref with a lot of balls to award a penalty try.

    One of the reasons I believe it should have been a penalty try is that the one eyed Aussie commentators were both saying that a penalty try should be awarded. Another reason is I am certain that a try would have probably been scored.

  • Comment 31, posted at 09.03.10 10:25:35 by lostfish Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 25) : I agree – the Brumbies are in big trouble.

  • Comment 32, posted at 09.03.10 11:27:20 by MysticShark Reply
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