war1

Pride and passion aplenty


Written by Warren Smith (war1)

Posted in :Bulls, Original Content, Sharks on 18 Jun 2011 at 23:40
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It was billed as the swansong of a golden Bulls generation. This would be the last time the light blue army would get to see the likes of Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Danie Rossouw and Fourie du Preez on their beloved home ground. On top of that this match also marked the century of Bulls caps for the hardman Bakkies Botha. This was effectively a knock out game and the Bulls are notoriously difficult to beat in that type of game, even more so at Loftus. Surely the Bulls with their momentum of six consecutive wins and homeground advantage would prove too much for the Sharks who had stuttered their way towards the end of the Super rugby season. Somebody had forgotten to read that script to the Sharks.

Very few people gave the Sharks a chance in this match even after the movement of the Golden Lamb to fullback to make way for the fancy Frenchman in a move that certainly raised its fair share of eyebrows. Hindsight says that a cheeky dropkick, typical of Michalak’s style, was ultimately the difference between the two teams when the final score was in.

What gave the Sharks a chance in this game was intensity and bloody-minded determination which seemed to be missing from their most recent encounters. Still, many an intense and determined team have come to Loftus and still walked away defeated. The Bulls may have been tired after a big game at Newlands but they still needed to be put away. This was a game where the Sharks had to step up and dominate. I have not seen the breakdowns contested as fiercely by the Sharks this season before this game. With and without the ball, the hits were big as the Sharks looked to have the better of the collisions and wrestle control of the game. Men such as Bismarck Du Plessis, Gerhard Mostert, Jean Deysel and Willem Alberts had to get momentum while the rest of their pack followed and contested the rucks ferociously. Keegan Daniel was his usual livewire self and his passionate play is exemplary for any player who is told he is not big enough for top class rugby. Meyer Bosman and Stefan Terblanche put in some big hits in midfield as they looked to improve an area which has proved problematic this season. The Sharks took the lead early in the first half and were never behind and ultimately clung on for an epic win despite the Bulls, in typical fashion, scoring at crucial times with both Sharks tries followed shortly by Bulls replies.

It is not just the players who deserve our praise after such a win. The selection of Michalak was a bold move and the result was bold rugby being played like we have not seen this season from the Sharks except perhaps a somewhat madcap last thirty or so minutes at Coke Park. Much credit must be given to Plum for making that brave decision; it was ultimately him who would take the flak if it did not work out. In hindsight the decision to bring the players up to altitude early was also a good one and I’m sure it helped to galvanise the team and crucially took the players out of the media glare and allowed for a healthy amount of relaxation. There is no point having a focused team if they are mentally exhausted from stress and pressure leading up to their big game.

However, when the euphoria of knocking the defending champions out of Super rugby at their home fortress fades away, we must not fall into the trap of thinking that this victory suddenly makes this season a successful one. As the Sharks ponder an away trip to New Zealand and a slightly more distant Currie Cup campaign, the emphasis needs to be on building on this win and how it was done and use this phenomenal experience to build the bonds of brotherhood in the team all the while continuing to work on the insufficiencies which may prevent this good team from being a great one. Remember this day boys, don’t let your successes be in vain, you showed us you can do it, you showed you are a team. As a team, go on to bigger and better things.



57 Comments

  • lets savior this till monday morning ,then back to the drawing up of next w/ends battle plans

  • Comment 1, posted at 19.06.11 00:34:29 by ruggabugga Reply
    ruggabuggaVodacom Cup player
     
  • the “aura” and leadership of john smit was not needed on the field of play today because the FIT and mobile players were conditioned & motivated enough to do the job sans the “aura”. well done sharks

  • Comment 2, posted at 19.06.11 00:45:38 by Megatron Reply
    MegatronSuper Rugby player
     
  • @Megatron (Comment 2) :
    Cheers Meg.

    The Sharks played really well today. Key for me was the gameplan change and emphasis on smart rugby – we didn’t get suckered into a brawl, but stood up well, and kicked and ran intelligently.

    I really liked how the Sharks worked at exposing Basson on defence – we made many yards with JPP running him ragged.

    Will be a huge game against your boys next week: may the best team win!

  • Comment 3, posted at 19.06.11 01:25:16 by Big Fish Reply
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    Big FishAssistant coach
     
  • @Big Fish (Comment 3) : Maybe PdV is not so silly for Leaving Basson out of the squad. He showed Yesterday that he is nowhere near where he needs to be on defence.

  • Comment 4, posted at 19.06.11 07:12:15 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • Sharks :cry: :smile:

  • Comment 5, posted at 19.06.11 08:12:54 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
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  • Beautifully-written article, war! Well done

  • Comment 6, posted at 19.06.11 08:31:27 by robdylan Reply
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  • My 1st ever LIVE game and the Sharks WON and that at Loftus :mrgreen: Haven’t felt this great in a long time.

  • Comment 7, posted at 19.06.11 08:43:15 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 3) : @KSA Shark © (Comment 4) : JPP made Basson his little bitch :twisted: Bjorn has a nose for the tryline, but the deficiencies in the rest of his game are too significant for him to run out for the Boksburg.

  • Comment 8, posted at 19.06.11 08:47:30 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @Jarson (AddicteD) (Comment 7) : I LIKE.

  • Comment 9, posted at 19.06.11 08:52:12 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • Well done lads! Now do us a favour and go klap the Saders.

  • Comment 10, posted at 19.06.11 09:15:35 by Morné Reply
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    MornéTeam captain
     
  • @Morné (Comment 10) : Yeah. For the Saders CT is almost a home game :)

  • Comment 11, posted at 19.06.11 09:28:55 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @Culling Song (Comment 8) : That should be Boks, not Boksburg. :roll: $€#$^%#* predictive text on the phone!

  • Comment 12, posted at 19.06.11 09:37:39 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 11) :

    Exactly!

  • Comment 13, posted at 19.06.11 09:37:42 by Morné Reply
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    MornéTeam captain
     
  • @Culling Song (Comment 12) : :lol:

  • Comment 14, posted at 19.06.11 09:40:33 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 6) : Thanks Rob, REALLY enjoyed writing this one. I am SO proud of the boys!

  • Comment 15, posted at 19.06.11 09:41:40 by war1 Reply
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    war1Super Rugby player
     
  • Nice article War1.

  • Comment 16, posted at 19.06.11 09:43:00 by Puma Reply

    PumaCurrie Cup player
     
  • @war1 (Comment 15) : Indeed. It almost feels like we’ve just won the final. :razz:

  • Comment 17, posted at 19.06.11 09:45:41 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
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  • Reading the papers and see the Sharks had the option to leave for NZ tonight. Straight out of Joburg and not returning back to Durbs. BUT they have decided rather to leave on Tuesday night. Not sure if that is a good idea. We will only arrive in NZ Wednesday night.

    Takes more than 3 days to get over jetlag. So hope we have made the right decision. I know Bulls always leave late, but that allows them to keep their altitude conditioning, that only lasts 2 weeks. With us we a coastal team, so it don’t matter for us. I feel we should have left tonight. Especially seeing we are still in Joburg this morning. The earlier we get there the better I feel.

    Anyhow. Good luck Sharks for next week. Done us really proud by making the play offs. :cool:

  • Comment 18, posted at 19.06.11 09:53:40 by Puma Reply

    PumaCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Jarson (AddicteD) (Comment 17) :

    And that will be your biggest challenge in the next week, to realise this was not your final, but that there is still work to do.

  • Comment 19, posted at 19.06.11 10:00:20 by Morné Reply
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    MornéTeam captain
     
  • @Morné (Comment 19) : I agree. It wouldve been nice though :smile:

  • Comment 20, posted at 19.06.11 10:08:23 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
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  • I was there at loftus and boy oh boy were the sharks playing brilliant rugby…the bulls could not keep up with the tempo…i have never seen the sharks play like this…yes my bulls team did put up a fight but the best team won…the faces of some of the bulls supporters told the whole story we were just beaten by damn good side it was a sad ending to a wonderfull dynasty…the bulls senior players have left a legacy…yes the power has shifted BUT i know the bulls will bounce back…..how good is lambie at full back :shock: the bulls had no idea on how to contain lambie…
    Well done sharkies i hope you win the super 15 comp as you all know i HATE the stormers.
    I will be behind the sharks and yes the crusaders can be beaten it’s not impossible they are human after all :mrgreen:

  • Comment 21, posted at 19.06.11 10:26:35 by Muzi Reply

    MuziVodacom Cup player
     
  • @Muzi (Comment 21) : Hey dude, I thought Spies played a lot better too.

  • Comment 22, posted at 19.06.11 10:32:28 by war1 Reply
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    war1Super Rugby player
     
  • @Puma bugging me too… Really thought our bags shoulkd’ve been packed. Anyone know if the ash might have been a factor?

  • Comment 23, posted at 19.06.11 10:52:19 by catfish Reply
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    catfishCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Muzi (Comment 21) : You must be one of the nicest bulls supporters out there!! Well done to your team for making this a nailbiting spectacular! I am one relieved Sharks supporter! ;-)

  • Comment 24, posted at 19.06.11 12:30:02 by Ice Reply
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  • @catfish (Comment 23) : According to Kankowski He will be at Sun Coast Casino Celebrating the Victory and Father’s day at 3pm.

  • Comment 25, posted at 19.06.11 13:13:19 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 25) : at Vacca Matta.

  • Comment 26, posted at 19.06.11 13:16:03 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @catfish (Comment 23) : Ash was a major factor. SAA cancelled all flights. ORTIA was closed.

  • Comment 27, posted at 19.06.11 15:01:47 by SharonvanWyk Reply
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    ShazCurrie Cup player
     
  • @SharonvanWyk (Comment 27) :what do u think will happen if the sharks can’t get over to nz..or if they get there too late..

  • Comment 28, posted at 19.06.11 15:21:43 by shaniboi Reply

    shaniboiVodacom Cup player
     
  • @shaniboi (Comment 28) : It’s the prevailing winds which caused the problem yesterday. These seem to have swung away from the southern part of the continent today, and everyone flew home to Durbs today. Hopefully things will improve by Tuesday. I am sure a back-up plan will be put in place and all efforts made to accommodate teams affected by natural disruptions like this, especially after what happened in Christchurch earlier this year.

  • Comment 29, posted at 19.06.11 15:39:46 by SharonvanWyk Reply
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    ShazCurrie Cup player
     
  • I think that after such a megagame yesterday the team needs to take stock and account for all the aches and pains. Tuesday departure may be a little late but the team knows what has to be done and now they know how to do it. The Crusaders, a great team, have shown moments when they are quite vulnerable and I think that if The Sharks can present the same intensity as yesterday the Kiwis will be on the back foot from the start. They need to control a game completely to be effective; that is where their weakness lies. The Sharks just have to be in their faces right from the start and hit them hard. Go Sharks. Again.

  • Comment 30, posted at 19.06.11 18:22:38 by Donald Reply

    DonaldUnder 21 player
     
  • @SharonvanWyk (Comment 29) : sharry?? what happened to your article?

  • Comment 31, posted at 19.06.11 20:21:32 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • @Muzi (Comment 21) : Nice post Muzi.

    Thanks buddy.

  • Comment 32, posted at 19.06.11 21:16:04 by Puma Reply

    PumaCurrie Cup player
     
  • @sharks_lover (Comment 31) : I wonder too. Was coming to answer to a poster on that thread and it has disappeard :shock:

    Thought Shaz wrote a good article with some good points.

  • Comment 33, posted at 19.06.11 21:19:35 by Puma Reply

    PumaCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Puma (Comment 33) : agreed bro , i too was trying to answer someone and then poof, :shock:

  • Comment 34, posted at 19.06.11 21:29:24 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • I am eating my hat so to speak. Was pretty confident in mind. Not in hart. Now, I’m convinced.

  • Comment 35, posted at 20.06.11 08:06:54 by SharksRTB Reply

    SharksRTBCurrie Cup player
     
  • I have been debating this all weekend, so thought I would throw it out here.
    Was the improved backline performance due to:
    a) Fred Michalak
    b) Charl MacLoed making fewer handling errors and giving the backline more ball,
    c)Meyer Bosman showing the form we last saw many moons ago,
    d)Stefan Terblanche playing the most clinical rugby of his career,
    e)Pat Lambie being used as an utility back from the fullback position,
    f)or all the above?

  • Comment 36, posted at 20.06.11 09:07:45 by waje Reply

    Under 21 player
     
  • @waje (Comment 36) : I never mentioned JP or Mvovo as we know they play good rugby when the players inside them give them ball.

  • Comment 37, posted at 20.06.11 09:10:27 by waje Reply

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  • @waje (Comment 36) : al except Ban I am still not happy with McLeod, especially his kicking

  • Comment 38, posted at 20.06.11 09:16:18 by franshark Reply
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    FransharkTeam captain
     
  • @franshark (Comment 38) : And this little breaks he tried to make made me cringe, but he did play much better than the Lions game.

  • Comment 39, posted at 20.06.11 09:26:18 by rekinek Reply
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  • @waje (Comment 36) : what about the forwards getting a better ball to McLeod and from there on it just dominoed in better performance.

  • Comment 40, posted at 20.06.11 09:27:24 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 40) : Nah, all season the Sharks frontline have done their job. Yes they may have been a little predictable at times, but they have gotten the Sharks the distance. The backline has been the Sharks achilles heel and in the last 95 minutes of rugby they have finally come to the party and played their part.

  • Comment 41, posted at 20.06.11 09:34:06 by waje Reply

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  • @waje (Comment 36) :

    My Answer would be F

    I think the backline move was a great one by Plum – and I said it last week. Lambie could slot in at almost any position in the backline during the game and his attacking play lent another dimension to the game.

    The fact that this combination was only played for a few minutes in the Lions game, gave the bulls nothing to work with – so i think the element of unpredictability was a big factor.

    Macleod did really lose most of his raindance, which also assisted. It also looked like the backline did not stand so deep on got over the line much quicker which I think gave us a fantastic attacking opportunity.

    That, all of your boxes and the fact that the guys believed…I think that was the factors….and offcourse our massive support for them at Loftus.

  • Comment 42, posted at 20.06.11 09:34:25 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner IceAssistant coach
     
  • @rekinek (Comment 39) : He played better than he has all season.

  • Comment 43, posted at 20.06.11 09:36:18 by waje Reply

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  • @rekinek (Comment 40) : that one gets my vote

  • Comment 44, posted at 20.06.11 09:36:21 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 42) : :lol: Yes all those Sharks supporters paying for Bakkies and Matfields farewell party. At least they (you) were rewarded with the best games of the season. Pity Kaplan couldn’t get things right, but it all added to the drama.

  • Comment 45, posted at 20.06.11 09:39:30 by waje Reply

    Under 21 player
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 44) : Then why in your player ratings do you give the backline higher ratings than the forwards :?:

  • Comment 46, posted at 20.06.11 09:44:05 by waje Reply

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  • @waje (Comment 46) : valid point… Pack as a whole gets 10/10, though… it’s what you call synergy! :)

  • Comment 47, posted at 20.06.11 09:47:33 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 47) : :lol: I thought the “Synergy” between the full 22 was the best we have seen all year. But the backline in particular played the best rugby of the season.

  • Comment 48, posted at 20.06.11 10:11:19 by waje Reply

    Under 21 player
     
  • @waje (Comment 48) : I think we can thank Fred for that and of course Charls` timely return to form.

  • Comment 49, posted at 20.06.11 10:18:59 by Original Pierre Reply
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    Original PierreSuper Rugby player
     
  • @waje (Comment 36) :
    A and E. The two go together but Fred has been monumental and this also impacts on the centres. Shucks I suppose that if Fred was not getting decent ball from McCeod then it too wouldnt have workred and obviously the scrummy needs the scrum to ensure decent ball. Team effort at the end of the day.

  • Comment 50, posted at 20.06.11 10:30:43 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @sharks_lover (Comment 31) : @Puma (Comment 33) : Maybe Rob didnt want to get sued for preaching it as gospel that Stegman was lunching on Daniel.

  • Comment 51, posted at 20.06.11 10:33:27 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 51) : Rob doesn’t want the sort of site that only attracts Sharks fans and makes everybody else feel distinctly unwelcome.

  • Comment 52, posted at 20.06.11 10:42:40 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Megatron (Comment 2) : Ha, ha you just have to bitch about something. Filed all those templates of how Meisiekind kept the revolving doors at centre turning. As for Smit, whether on the field or the bench the calming influence is there and anyway Plum kept him for the last passage of olay knowing that the Sharks could still lose it in the last minute. :mrgreen:

    By the way congrats on your team beating Portugal and winning the tournament.

  • Comment 53, posted at 20.06.11 10:47:12 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 52) : Makes sense.

  • Comment 54, posted at 20.06.11 10:51:59 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • Wonder if some salt shouldn`t be rubbed into the wounds today.

    Wouldn`t it be brilliant if Bakkies and Olivier gets Cited as well ?? :twisted:

  • Comment 55, posted at 20.06.11 10:53:11 by Original Pierre Reply
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    Original PierreSuper Rugby player
     
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 54) : fact is, there were some very valid points raised in that piece, but I felt that we needed to tone down some of the rhetoric.

  • Comment 56, posted at 20.06.11 11:03:50 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Original Pierre (Comment 55) : :twisted: haven’t heard anything :|

  • Comment 57, posted at 20.06.11 11:09:45 by rekinek Reply
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