robdylan

Too little success, or too much?


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 21 May 2010 at 14:18
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Looking at the situation that the Sharks are in at the moment, with a dearth of quality depth amongst the backline, a lot of fingers are being pointed at the Academy structure, asking why we’re not seeing swathes of talented young players coming in to fill the gaps.

The more excitable amongst us are then tempted to go a step further, labelling the Academy a complete waste of time and money, claiming that it “never produces anything” and that the Sharks “just buy all the time”. Funny thing is, I reckon we can trace the current situation back to Dick Muir’s first season in charge, when he virtually chucked out all the mediocre rubbish that was clogging the system and brought in a clutch of youngsters fresh from the Academy. If anything, the problem that ensued was a result of too much talent coming through all at once, rather than too little.

Managing the playing resources in a professional sporting team is always going to be a delicate balancing act, as you attempt to maintain the right mix of experienced older campaigners and young up-and-comers. You can’t afford to mistreat your stalwarts, or they’ll leave en masse, leaving you without an established core of leaders. By the same token, if you don’t provide enough opportunities for the youngsters to establish themselves and progress, they too will seek greener pastures elsewhere. It’s a thing that some unions manage to get right, but it would be somewhat inaccurate to say that the Sharks have made a good fist of the hand they were dealt, particularly once Muir left in 2008.

To consider the scope of the problem, though, I urge you to try and put together a backline that contains Ruan Pienaar, Rory Kockott, Butch James, Brad Barritt, Frans Steyn, Brent Russell, JP Pietersen, Waylon Murray, Adi Jacobs, Odwa Ndungane and Percy Montgomery that is going to allow each to settle in his favoured position and play there consistently? That, more-or-less, was the problem that the Sharks coaches sat with a few years ago and while the response to the situation undoubtedly left much to be desired, the reality is that they were never going to keep everyone happy. Something had to give and once the departures started, they just seemed to keep coming with no let-up in sight.

When Russell left and Montgomery followed, we thought little of it. James’s time had come and gone as well and we had ample backup with Fred Michalak on his way in. Things settled down a little, with Frans Steyn’s inability to find a regular starting spot in a position he fancied the only major headache. Then Adi Jacobs ended up back in the Bok starting lineup and threw the cat amongst the pigeons once again. Brad Barritt was the first of the talented young crop to see what was coming and decide to follow the England dream instead. Things would have been fine had Steyn himself not followed soon afterwards, coupled with Murray entering a dramatic form slump from which he has still not emerged. Pienaar’s on-again, off-again flirtation with the flyhalf jersey had a negative impact not only on his game, but that of Kockott as well, while a procession of foreign flyhalves did little to benefit anyone other than themselves.

In short, the lack of a clear plan, with clearly-defined roles and career paths for all concerned resulted in a shambles, where half of the young talent buggered off, with the other half ending up confused and low on form, not to mention confidence. Expectations were poorly managed and far too often one got the feeling that neither the players, not the administration had the faintest clue about who was meant to be playing where, or who the first, second and third choice players were in each position. In many cases, those in the next tier simply got fed up and left as they saw journeymen in the system regularly preferred to them, leading to the situation we have now, where there is precious little depth apparent anywhere.

I’m afraid that the Sharks once again have little option but to buy in a few marquee players of established pedigree to rebuild the team and the brand, but it is vital that whoever comes in now is charged not only with delivering a high standard of play themselves, but also mentoring the younger generation currently in the system, but currently a year or two away from being ready to take the next step up. The natural progression in Sharks rugby has been completely disrupted and it’s vital that steps be taken to restore this balance, lest the team never achieve any form of sustainable success.



49 Comments

  • Dude do you ever do any work?? :lol:

  • Comment 1, posted at 21.05.10 14:21:50 by klempie Reply
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  • Great article Rob.

  • Comment 2, posted at 21.05.10 14:23:55 by Uli Reply
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  • Absolutely SPOT ON Rob :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 3, posted at 21.05.10 14:25:59 by SharksRTB Reply

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  • The only issue is, you are describing the problem……
    What about a solution man……….

  • Comment 4, posted at 21.05.10 14:26:40 by SharksRTB Reply

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  • @klempie (Comment 1) : do you ever have anything positive to say?

  • Comment 5, posted at 21.05.10 14:27:00 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : Geez man. Lighten up! :roll:

  • Comment 6, posted at 21.05.10 14:31:52 by klempie Reply

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  • @klempie (Comment 6) : dude, it’s like you take a perverse pleasure in pissing all over everything I do. Don’t tell me to lighten up about that. Rather focus your energies in doing something yourself… so much more fulfilling than simply criticising what other people have built.

  • Comment 7, posted at 21.05.10 14:41:23 by robdylan Reply
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  • Am i going to have to alert a moderator here lads ! :???:

  • Comment 8, posted at 21.05.10 14:43:21 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : I wasn’t pissing on it. It’s a good article. I just genuinely don’t know how you find the time as a professional in IT to be a journo as well. I repeat. Lighten up!

  • Comment 9, posted at 21.05.10 14:43:36 by klempie Reply

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  • WPW ….sort this out KSA is in Bahrain today ! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 10, posted at 21.05.10 14:44:26 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @klempie (Comment 9) : Maybe its that blue sign behind the hand thats pissing on all the Sharks fans here…lol

  • Comment 11, posted at 21.05.10 14:45:38 by Uli Reply
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  • @Uli (Comment 11) : The finger is firmly directed at the blue sign. ;)

  • Comment 12, posted at 21.05.10 14:49:42 by klempie Reply

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  • @SharksRTB (Comment 4) : do you ever have anything positive to say?

  • Comment 13, posted at 21.05.10 14:51:56 by klempie Reply

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  • Good read rob – again it brind me to the conclusion there is very little intelligence in the way the Sharks are being managed.

  • Comment 14, posted at 21.05.10 14:52:35 by Worcestershire Sauce Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : :lol: :twisted:

  • Comment 15, posted at 21.05.10 14:53:41 by wpw Reply
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  • @SharksRTB (Comment 4) : Fire Rudi – get a flyhalf

  • Comment 16, posted at 21.05.10 14:54:23 by Worcestershire Sauce Reply
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  • @klempie (Comment 9) : shush – Rob is multitasking (perhaps he is a woman :-)

  • Comment 17, posted at 21.05.10 15:01:31 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 17) : You don’t need to come to my aid. Save yourself! :shock:

  • Comment 18, posted at 21.05.10 15:03:20 by klempie Reply

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  • We do complain but the truth of the matter is that Sharks are also providong a lot of Boks and this inevitably leaves the team depleted in various key positions. Last year both sharks fls : Ruan and Steyn got call-ups for example.

  • Comment 19, posted at 21.05.10 15:03:56 by rekinek Reply
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  • @klempie (Comment 18) : :shock: I thought I was coming to Rob’s aid. :lol: I promised to be nice today.

  • Comment 20, posted at 21.05.10 15:05:33 by rekinek Reply
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  • @klempie (Comment 13) : P :!: SS Off you undercover blue ball suporter :x

  • Comment 21, posted at 21.05.10 15:23:24 by SharksRTB Reply

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  • “In short, the lack of a clear plan, with clearly-defined roles and career paths for all concerned resulted in a shambles, where half of the young talent buggered off, with the other half ending up confused and low on form,”
    Huh, and who would these be?

  • Comment 22, posted at 21.05.10 15:23:27 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • Rob, I thought you liked Barritt.
    You portray him here as a soothsayer who left because he saw ominous things ahead and wanted to protect his own arse, feeling nothing for the Sharks.

  • Comment 23, posted at 21.05.10 15:26:58 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • Great article Rob.

    I think its time for a clear out myself. Same same like the Dolphins did a few months ago.

    Sweep out Oom Stef & Oddone in the backs, add Andries Strauss into that equation too.

    Then in the pack, Muller and Carstens’s departure are at a good time me thinks. Personally would have got rid of Botes as well.

    Its time to let Hargreaves, Herbst, Cilliers, Daniel, Rhodes etc have some time in the sun in the pack. And Stemmet, Richards, Mvovo, Vulindlu in the backs.

  • Comment 24, posted at 21.05.10 15:31:36 by Oubaas2009 Reply

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  • @SharksRTB (Comment 21) :

    Why so agressive??

    Klempie supports the Sharks and hates the Bulls!!

  • Comment 25, posted at 21.05.10 15:39:43 by wpw Reply
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  • good article if we were totally sure of all the facts , sadly we are not and thats why i will reserve judgement when the truth comes out

    if it was indeed sneeky poaching then yes it should stop and be handled right , like was the case when the sharks wanted to buy brussow.

    in this case things seem different , and irrespective if you like van zyl or not he is no fool , as the lions found out

    and he was cleared of wrong doing

    as for the sharks haters , they will always be there , if some think its because of players being bought ur wrong

    1) its a professional era , get over it
    2) for years our players were stolen in the name of military, police etc , and no natal was not paid for them lol

    bit of pay back time i say

    that has been left till his contract runs out

  • Comment 26, posted at 21.05.10 16:01:38 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • also what happens is if you players and team is succesful over seas scout for europe will take note and but ur top players

    again leaving sudden gaps in the quality of your team

  • Comment 27, posted at 21.05.10 16:29:51 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • @sharks_lover (Comment 26) : did you meant to post this on the other thread? :)

  • Comment 28, posted at 21.05.10 16:33:41 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 22) : the ones that buggered off… Barritt, Steyn, etc

    The ones that are confused and (at times) low on form… Kockott, Pienaar, Murray, Pietersen, etc

    That make is clearer?

  • Comment 29, posted at 21.05.10 16:35:34 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 28) : yup :lol:

    and good day mate

  • Comment 30, posted at 21.05.10 16:53:06 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 29) :
    And I thought that you had single handedly hounded Steyn out of the Sharks team.
    Barritt and Steyn left for money but thats hardly half the young talent.
    As for those mentioned being confused or losing form, you can just as well PDivvy for that in Pienaars and Rockets case

  • Comment 31, posted at 21.05.10 16:57:17 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • My weekend is here.

    Go Bulls.
    Go Stormers.

  • Comment 32, posted at 21.05.10 17:08:05 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @sharks_lover (Comment 30) : howzit bro

  • Comment 33, posted at 21.05.10 17:09:35 by robdylan Reply
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  • I’m going to the soweto match tomorrow

  • Comment 34, posted at 21.05.10 17:20:48 by walter van Lions World Reply

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  • @walter van Lions World (Comment 34) : lekker, geniet dit, as ek nie werk more gehad het sou ek ook daar gewees het, ek gaan wel na die Bokke se toets teen Italie in Witbank, kannie wag nie!

  • Comment 35, posted at 21.05.10 17:23:45 by war1 Reply
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  • @walter van Lions World (Comment 34) : me too :cool:

  • Comment 36, posted at 21.05.10 17:25:51 by rekinek Reply
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  • Great article Rob. I think you hit the nail right on the head. I also agree with everything you say, my only concern is that I’m not so sure that lessons were leart, nor do I think that the Sharks brain trust shares your views. There really is nothing more I’d enjoy then to see the Sharks team full of players that came through the academy ranks.

  • Comment 37, posted at 21.05.10 17:26:52 by Farlington Reply

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  • @war1 (Comment 35) : Are Boks playing Italy in Witbank :shock: :?:

  • Comment 38, posted at 21.05.10 17:27:25 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 38) : YES! Probably one of the few venues available due to the Soccer World Cup preparations

  • Comment 39, posted at 21.05.10 17:29:19 by war1 Reply
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  • @war1 (Comment 39) : Which date.

    I love going for games to these weirdest places that you would never go to otherwise :cool: :mrgreen:

    Witbank not too far away maybe the Half won’t be moany.

  • Comment 40, posted at 21.05.10 17:39:20 by rekinek Reply
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  • Great article Rob.

    What should have been done? I think we should have listened to Jake White sooner, as soon as Butch and Monty left we should have played Pienaar at 10 and Steyn at 15; perhaps letting Michalak play 10, with Pienaar slotting in at Pivot for the last half hour or so of a match. We should have let them settle there for a few seasons. That would have let Barritt stay at 12 (probably would have helped his Bok ambitions too) and would have probably meant Murray would retain his form of 2007. Russell would still have left and probably Adi Jacobs too, but that’s where the Academy would have been allowed to naturally fill the gaps with the Lambies, Vulindlus and the Mvovos coming through gradually. Yes, that’s all well and good in hindsight, even though JW & Eddie Jones called it at the time.

    But, as they say, if my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle…

  • Comment 41, posted at 21.05.10 17:44:20 by MerckZ Reply

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  • @MerckZ (Comment 41) : Agree with you on Pienaar. With Barrit unfortunately Bok coaches didn’t seem to rate him, plus he played 10 when Boks (including Pienaar) were away. Barrit was displaced in 12 jersey by Steyn and Murray by Adi – at some point Adi and Steyn were a good combo.

  • Comment 42, posted at 21.05.10 17:48:24 by rekinek Reply
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  • I would also have loved to have seen Jake White installed as head coach of the Sharks, with Plum as Forwards’ Coach after 2007; probably would have meant Eddie Jones as Backline Coach. I know that wouldn’t have happened, but one can always dream, ne?

  • Comment 43, posted at 21.05.10 17:50:26 by MerckZ Reply

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  • @rekinek (Comment 42) : I’m not so sure about that – de Villiers coached Barritt at Emergent Bok level, and we all know how loyal Div is to his kids. I reckon he would have got a chance at 12 if he’d stuck around.

    I don’t think Steyn and Jacobs really made that great a combination. Compared to Swanepoel/Terblanche however…

  • Comment 44, posted at 21.05.10 17:58:38 by MerckZ Reply

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  • @rekinek (Comment 40) : 19th June. Only 21000 tickets, you will need to make it snappy to get one ;-) (or so I’m led to believe)

  • Comment 45, posted at 21.05.10 18:42:00 by war1 Reply
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  • Magic arti dude.

    I will repeat what I said when I critted Plum and was heavily cirticised for it.

    Trust.

    there seems to be none in Sharks ranks.

    It is time for the leaders to stand up.

  • Comment 46, posted at 21.05.10 19:28:10 by Morné Reply
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  • it,s official I give up on supporting the sharks while brian van zyl is there ,I just can,t waste my time anymore .what the hell do they do at sharks HQ .sharks should jus bring in heynke meyer instead of rudolf f*#K brian van zyl

  • Comment 47, posted at 22.05.10 00:30:01 by zvision10 Reply

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  • @zvision10 (Comment 47) :a little behind on current events. Meyer already has a job with the Bulls

  • Comment 48, posted at 22.05.10 07:59:40 by robdylan Reply
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  • come on rob ur letting urself down here ,I would have nominated u for sharks C.E.O b4 ur comment .If the sharks gave heynke the same deal he had when he first got to the bulls where he could set the structures and execute his plan and give him the right amount of money I can bet my dog he,d come ,the only reason the bulls gave him a job is so he couldn,t go to another team ,he applied for the lions job and I bet if the sharks try to get a new coach he,ll apply for the job .A man who can take a side from last on the super rugby log and win a championship with that team ,is a man who likes a challenge and the shrks would be a challenge and the beach is a perk .I really don,t understand why the sharks exec,s don,t see this ,his tried and tested ,I like running rugby but if he wants to play bully rugby who cares at least we,ll have a trophy ,could write a whole essay on this but basically if the sharks really wanted heynke they could get him ,I enjoy your articles though my man

  • Comment 49, posted at 22.05.10 22:08:51 by zvision10 Reply

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