I think it’s pretty safe to say that all Sharks fans are happy with the team’s turnaround. A five match losing streak turning into a three match winning streak has brought relief, the latest victory being a come from behind win against the dangerous Reds.
This begs the question, what exactly was the problem in the Sharks camp for those first five weeks. I am not convinced it was the much publicised front row personality clash. In fact, I think the 2009 seasons of both the Sharks and Springboks may have played a big role in the bad start.
The spectacular drop in form of the Sharks in the latter stages of the 2009 Super 14 was put down to player fatigue and Plum did vow to right those wrongs this year and ensure his team were not out of gas at the business end of this year’s Super 14 competition. To achieve this, I believe, he took a leaf out of his predecessor’s book by “underpreparing” his team in pre-season. This approach worked in 2007, where the Sharks made the final against another team which also performed better in the latter stages. This was a great bit of thinking from Plum, as he sought to learn from his mistakes – always a good trait in a coach. But he did possibly take this approach a little too far and combined with a physically demanding 2009 Springbok season, his players were a little “too” underprepared for the opening stages.
What has to be said is if a few refereeing decisions went their way, the Sharks would be in a much better position than what they are now, probably in the semifinal spots already. It showed tremendous fighting spirit to halt a five match streak in Dunedin of all places and following that up with a win in Wellington. The Sharks had to deal with jetlag as well as a 12 point deficit in the second half against the Reds, this showed me that not only is the team spirit very much intact, but the fitness levels are also higher than what they were in the opening few rounds.
Here’s hoping the Sharks continue on their upward curve while other teams stutter and falter and hand the Sharks a semifinal spot. Possible? yes. Probable? time will tell.Tweet