robdylan

Sharks mix panache with pragmatism


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 23 Aug 2010 at 10:35
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I’m starting to run out of superlatives here, after yet another seriously good Sharks victory this weekend.

To me, the major difference here is all about game plan and tactics and it is truly amazing to see pretty much the same bunch of players that stuttered and stalled in the Super 14 playing such a thrilling (and, more importantly, winning) brand of rugby in the Currie Cup.

Far too often in the past we’ve seen Sharks teams prepared to kick hard-win possession away and rather let the opposition do all the playing. With a strong defensive formation, coupled with game breakers who could pounce on opposition mistakes, this strategy often worked. The reality is, though, that defending makes you tired and increases the likelihood of injury. With the new laws benefiting the team with ball in hand the Sharks seem to have discovered that possession is sacrosanct. What’s more, they’ve become quite scarily good at hanging onto it.

To my mind, the most pleasing thing about the win against Western Province on Saturday was the way the Sharks used their superior pack and surfeit of ball to end the game as a contest, despite the visitors’ solid defence limiting them to two tries on the night. Stefan Terblanche and John Plumtree need to take the credit here for the manner in which the team strangled the life out of Province through retaining possession, applying relentless pressure and – most importantly – building a mountain for Province to climb by taking any points on offer. Ryan Kankowski’s superb score may have swung the game in the Sharks’ favour, but it was Lambie and Terblanche’s contributions with the boot that nailed the lid down.

The late try to Nick Koster was an unfortunate blight on an otherwise exemplary defensive performance and it is key to note that the Sharks, before that score, hadn’t conceded one in over 220 minutes of rugby. They’ve conceded only two tries in the last three games, while scoring 14, a clear indication of a side that has both attack and defence properly configured.

Of course, it’s far too early to get properly carried away here, but with the Sharks in this sort of awesome form, is it completely premature to start looking at the by now rapidly-shortening odds on them retaking the Currie Cup from the Blue Bulls? Managing the expectations of a squad in which virtually every player is performing out of his socks is likely to be the biggest obstacle between Plumtree and that prize.



43 Comments

  • Keeping possession is the key. I really hope that Plum and the guys have taken that to heart.

  • Comment 1, posted at 23.08.10 10:44:09 by Jarson Reply
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  • one player that is changing my mind, is keegan. i haven’t really liked him as a starter, but he has been brilliant so far. my only concern is having ryan and keegan on at the same time. we lost too much ball at the breakdown, so we ended up having to tackle a lot more than we would have had botes started. botes protects tackled players effectively, keegan and ryan aren’t as effective.

  • Comment 2, posted at 23.08.10 10:48:10 by try time Reply

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  • Stoked for our Sharks – what changed between the S14 and the Curry Cup – why didnt we play like this then – is it the level of competition or just some fine tuning?

  • Comment 3, posted at 23.08.10 10:50:56 by Just a Fan Reply

    Just a FanCurrie Cup player
     
  • @try time (Comment 2) : 100% with you on that.

  • Comment 4, posted at 23.08.10 10:52:22 by Letgo Reply
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  • @try time (Comment 2) :

    I would start with Botes every game, but who do you drop?

    Botes gets to more rucks than Kanko and Keegan put together..

  • Comment 5, posted at 23.08.10 10:53:52 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 5) : Drop Keegan and play him 40/30 minutes in the second half. In place of Kanko/Alberts/Botes depending on how the game is going.

  • Comment 6, posted at 23.08.10 11:01:39 by Letgo Reply
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  • I predict that the guys cleaning out this week was Sykes and Al…the rest of them only a little. Bissie was there quite a bit, but both he and Beast seemed more interested in carrying the ball…witch is fine when you have Botes on the field, but not fine with Kanko and Keegan…Alberts also stays away from the ruck and concentrates on carrying more. Botes is the only guy willing to do the donkey work…when really he could run with the ball quite well himself. There needs to be a balance.

  • Comment 7, posted at 23.08.10 11:05:08 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 7) :

    Really interested to see the stats come out this week..

  • Comment 8, posted at 23.08.10 11:15:41 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • One of the secrets to our success is that we get players back in numbers when the opposition kicks deep, so whoever catches the ball has support on the counter attack.

    Plus we are seeing players work hard to get into position during phase play, so Charl has options aplenty on attack.

    I also thought we mixed our attack up nicely and didn’t just run everything, but alternated with pick-and-drives and some selective kicking.

    Great all round performance.

  • Comment 9, posted at 23.08.10 12:31:48 by rhineshark Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 8) : The Stats are out, the Beast was a Beast at ruck time with 40, 37 on attack. But they are all pretty evenly spread out. High twenties, low thirties.

  • Comment 10, posted at 23.08.10 13:08:10 by Letgo Reply
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  • Looking at the stats, maybe Beast should have gotten MOV

  • Comment 11, posted at 23.08.10 13:08:59 by Letgo Reply
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  • Bissie did have 20 ball carries though…that’s huge. No one came close to that.

  • Comment 12, posted at 23.08.10 13:09:56 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 12) : Or Alberts did actually…15. I’m I spoiling Rob’s by the numbers article…I’ll stop now.

    Rob wright your article.

  • Comment 13, posted at 23.08.10 13:11:00 by Letgo Reply
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  • For anyone interested in the Mapoe saga, the whole cheetahs not paying him adequately is true. He was on 10k a month and they promised him 25k a month is he played super 14, which he did. However the cheetahs never upped his salary and his agent thought this could be grounds for breach of contract. When the sharks brought him over here, he was put up in the same flat that they had hired for Andy Goode. An apartment overlooking the sea. So he went from the fields of the free state, paying rent and a 10k salary to a beachfront apartment in umhlanga. Then when the cheetahs said he must head back he schemes ‘Nee meneer!”, and rightly so!

  • Comment 14, posted at 23.08.10 14:40:32 by juz Reply

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  • @Letgo (Comment 13) :Rob is spoiling his wife for their anniversary…I reckon numbers are the last thing on his mind right now! :lol:

    Go ahead Letgo! Why don’t you write it? :wink:

  • Comment 15, posted at 23.08.10 14:48:34 by Ice Reply
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  • It’s far too early to make predictions about the final outcome, but one mus admit that – should the Sharks maintain their current form – they’re sure to dominate every team they play against. To think that we ran in two tries against the ‘best’ defensive side in the comp and that both these tries came as a result of breaking down their defence through decent running lines (no pouncing on mistakes here boys and girls, just plain attacking genius). Come on the Sharks!

  • Comment 16, posted at 23.08.10 14:54:59 by frikie se pa Reply

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  • @juz (Comment 14) : Shame how can you blame him? Would you move to Bloem for 10k ???

    I might be willing to pay 10k never to see it again! ;-)

    @Ice (Comment 15) : Anniversary in the rugby season?! Hmmmm I would`ve had a lot of explaining to do every year . . . :shock:

  • Comment 17, posted at 23.08.10 14:58:18 by Original Log Leader Reply
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  • @Original Log Leader (Comment 17) : jip! I made sure our anniversary is in the middle of December! LOL

  • Comment 18, posted at 23.08.10 15:04:49 by Ice Reply
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  • I’ll write that arti later guys ;) appreciate the enthusiasm

  • Comment 19, posted at 23.08.10 15:11:58 by robdylan Reply
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  • @juz (Comment 14) : but whats the latest about mapoe? the sharks trying to buy him out or have the sharks given up on the situation?

  • Comment 20, posted at 23.08.10 15:12:09 by VanWilder Reply

    VanWilderCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Ice (Comment 15) : @robdylan (Comment 19) : I’d rather wait for Rob, just now I get in trouble for stealing his articles… :|

  • Comment 21, posted at 23.08.10 15:20:05 by Letgo Reply
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  • can anyone tell me how Mcloed played, as we had the Kockett vs McLoed debate last week??

  • Comment 22, posted at 23.08.10 15:28:03 by VanWilder Reply

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  • @VanWilder (Comment 22) : Superbly! Showed why he is first choice!

  • Comment 23, posted at 23.08.10 16:00:12 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 23) : great!! anyone seen Jackal on the site? :cool:

  • Comment 24, posted at 23.08.10 16:05:51 by VanWilder Reply

    VanWilderCurrie Cup player
     
  • @VanWilder (Comment 22) : He played well, there was a lot of pressure on him and I sometimes felt that he actually needed to slow things down a bit and bring it back to the forwards closer to the ruck.

    He tried to make a few runs and offload to players in space, but the players were just never there and the passes never got made. He lost possession like that a few times, so I was a little disappointed with that part.

    I felt like Province also slowed the ball down effectively, got away with it a little, re ref didn’t really blow them up for that, so McLeod wasn’t really always aloud to play his usual game of super fast ball. It still came out as soon as it was available, but by then it just wasn’t as effected and I really felt like he should have adjusted his game and settle it a little.

    I actually thought Plumtree should have brought Kockett on a little earlier, simply because he would have made more noise when WP transgressed at the rucks and maybe would have gotten the ref to notice more of their slowing down tactics. Also I felt like there was more room around the ruck than out wide. McLeod spreads the ball to the back real quick, but Kockett has always been a keep it close to the ruck scrummy. I felt when he came on we kept possession a little more, since the forwards was forced to stay close to the ball, instead of stand around in the back.

    Rory actually ordered a bunch of the forwards into the ruck area a few times, and for the 10 min he was on, I felt like we played a more effective game.

    Both McLeod and Rory had good games when they were on…Rory had the more effective style for this specific game. I would have brought him on earlier.

  • Comment 25, posted at 23.08.10 16:08:56 by Letgo Reply
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  • Oh, ja…and then there is Letgo’s novel of an opinion… :wink:

    Letgo – are you sure you have not played in a former life? Or perhaps you are not a feshark as we think?? :lol:

  • Comment 26, posted at 23.08.10 16:12:53 by Ice Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 19) : Hey Rob . I mailed you an article that you can use.

  • Comment 27, posted at 23.08.10 16:18:16 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 25) : thanx letgo. i`m a fan of both of them, but i cant help thinking that Mcloed quick and accurate passing at the moment is what sparked our once hopeless back-line. Dont get me wrong, Kockett on his day can spark a team on his own, but have to agree with you. in a close contested, around the fringes type of game, kockett is more suited than Mcloed and in a spread-it-wide, run with everything game mcloed should be first choice.

  • Comment 28, posted at 23.08.10 16:19:02 by VanWilder Reply

    VanWilderCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Pokkel (Comment 27) : hey pokkel, you going to loftus also?

  • Comment 29, posted at 23.08.10 16:20:06 by VanWilder Reply

    VanWilderCurrie Cup player
     
  • @VanWilder (Comment 29) : No. I live 350 km away from Gauteng so I don’t see too many games.

  • Comment 30, posted at 23.08.10 16:21:36 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @VanWilder (Comment 28) : how do u know beforehand what type of game its gonna be?

  • Comment 31, posted at 23.08.10 16:21:57 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 31) : Wanneer kry ons jou artikel??

  • Comment 32, posted at 23.08.10 16:23:05 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 32) : sodra ek die kamera het!

  • Comment 33, posted at 23.08.10 16:24:24 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 31) : as the legendary Peter de Villiers use to say, horses for courses… :grin:

  • Comment 34, posted at 23.08.10 16:31:45 by VanWilder Reply

    VanWilderCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Pokkel (Comment 30) : waar bly jy dan?

  • Comment 35, posted at 23.08.10 16:34:52 by VanWilder Reply

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  • Hey Rob ol’ buddy ol’ pal, when is FL gonna be updated :smile:

  • Comment 36, posted at 23.08.10 18:52:48 by Jarson Reply
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  • Jarson, I did it yesterday bro

  • Comment 37, posted at 23.08.10 19:09:34 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 37) : I’m still 3rd :shock: I expected to drop down, that’s why I didnt notice I guess :oops:

  • Comment 38, posted at 23.08.10 19:33:09 by Jarson Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 26) : No, no…I’m a feshark, just always loved rugby more than anything. I played with dolls, but my dolls knew how to pass a rugby ball.

    Does playing rugby in my back yard with my sister and my two brothers count… or passing the ball in the park with my cousin, or just kicking the ball around when no one is willing to join?

    I did play one rugby game, but that was a disaster. When I graduated Primary School the girls in my grade thought it would be a neat idea to play a rugby game for fun, the boys was going to play a netball match so we could play rugby. :???: We had maybe three practice session in two weeks. I played flank, but it didn’t really matter since 99% of all the players from both teams were bunched around the ball, all the time. I stood in the back, covering loose balls and kicks coming through and the one girl standing in the back-line from the other team. On the score board my team lost the game, but to everyone else watching both teams were losers. Girls aren’t meant to play rugby. I made 4 tackles and felt like I was in a car crash for weeks. The female body is not built to do that. :smile:

    But I can watch rugby and talk rugby and love rugby. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 39, posted at 24.08.10 08:31:42 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 39) : and you do it damn well!! I am jealous! :wink:

  • Comment 40, posted at 24.08.10 08:38:50 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 40) : That’s okay I represent all the Fesharks on this site… :smile:

  • Comment 41, posted at 24.08.10 09:09:20 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 41) : all fair, but you make us others who love the game, but might not know all the ins and outs look like bimbo’s ! :lol:

  • Comment 42, posted at 24.08.10 09:39:08 by Ice Reply
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  • Then again.. I like being a bimbo! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 43, posted at 24.08.10 09:40:07 by Ice Reply
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