For the last few seasons the Sharks have taken a lot of criticism from their fans, sometimes just, other times not. As I did criticise John Plumtree’s squad on Thursday, I feel it only fair I should eat a little humble pie.
I was concerned with 3 selections and 1 player’s decision making. Those being having both Du Plessis brothers on together, Keegan and Ryan starting, JP Pietersen and Stefan’s habit of making stupid decisions when it counts.
Firstly the Du Plessis brothers. Here I’ll only take a small bite of the pie, because both players did get penalised. Although Jannie’s was acceptable, Bismarck’s was plain stupidity. So my concern wasn’t totally without merit. But what they bought to the team in commitment is where I will take the pie and eat it. They were trojans and deserve a load of credit for the work they did.
Secondly Keegan and Ryan both starting. I will eat an extra large piece of humble pie here, because John got this selection spot on. Both players complimented eachother perfectly and in tandem with Willem Alberts were destructive. Keegan Daniel definitely needs a special mention, as he has matured into a great player. Although there will always be a question over his size, it is his passion and commitment that has turned this player into an indispensable member of the team. Ryan not throwing 50/50 ball was also commendable and although it meant we may not have scored more tries, the Sharks also never gave away tries.
Unfortunately JP never proved either John or myself right as he injured himself within 20 minutes. But Odwa definitely proved his worth when he came on.
And Stefan, the player that is brilliant 99% of the time, but when he messes up, he does it good. Everyone remembers a Currie Cup Semi Final where Stefan took a quick throw in and gave the ball to a Lion’s player, that ran off and scored giving the game to the Lions. On Saturday he captained well and the collective Sharks on-field leaders did well. The only flaw I found in his armour was his decision to go for posts when the Sharks had the Bulls on a warning. In the 53rd minute the Bulls number one was given a final warning for constant infringements and had Stefan called a scrum instead, he may have been able to get a Bulls player yellow carded. Unfortunately he took the easy option and effectively took the bite out of the Sharks dominance in the game and gave the Bulls 27 minutes to test the Sharks defence. I will eat the humble pie though as his faith in himself and his team got them to the final.
So we have two weeks now to look at the WP team that thrashed Free State. The Sharks may have won the biggest battle, but they still don’t have the Cup, and only a similar or better performance will give them back the Silverware the team has fought so hard for. Go Sharks, bring back the trophy on the twenty year anniversary of the Sharks first Currie Cup campaign victory.Tweet