robdylan

The forwards get the ball – the backs score the tries


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 3 Nov 2011 at 08:34
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So often in today’s complicated modern world, we allow ourselves to become weighed down – swamped – by complexity. Everything, it seems, is really complicated and the more complicated it gets, the more difficult it is to see clearly and figure out exactly what we’re trying to do. Fortunately, though, rugby is not really such a complicated game, or at least doesn’t need to be all that complicated.

For the benefit of the Sharks, I’ve decided to come up with a very simple 2-step rugby philosophy that cuts through all the superfluous crap and takes the game back to its simplest principles. I know this might seem like an unnecessary revisitation of stuff that should be common knowledge, but watching the boys get thumped in the Currie Cup Final made me wonder if we haven’t perhaps lost sight of these basics, in our attempts to progress.

Step 1 is this: The forwards get the ball

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But it’s not really that simple, because once you’ve got the ball, you have to keep it. You get it by winning your set pieces, scrums, lineouts, kick offs and so on. That generally implies having specialists in the right positions, of course – so a hooker who can throw, locks who can dominate in the air (erm herm Jean Deysel), props who can scrum and so on are mandatory. Problem is, once you’ve got it, you have to retain it through multiple phases as you work your way towards the opposition try-line. As it turns out, the other buggers ALSO want the ball – here in fact is another way to get the ball, by effecting turnovers. To do that, you need to have a ground player in your pack, typically a fetching open-side flank. Whatever the case, though, a pack schooled and disciplined in the art of arriving at the breakdown in numbers, with good technique, to ruck over and past the ball will ensure that you keep the ball that was yours to start with and also, possibly, disrupt the ball that wasn’t yours. You might even turn it over through counter rucking. All good, it would seem.

That’s kind of forward play in a nutshell, isn’t it? Oh – one more thing, of course. Penalties are bad. This is where technique and discipline comes in. You don’t want to concede a penalty by doing something stupid when the ball is yours anyway. That’s just giving the ball – and often points – to the bad guys. That happened A LOT during the Currie Cup final.

Let’s move on to Step 2: The backs score the tries

This should be easy, shouldn’t it? You’ve now got the ball and if your forwards are doing their job, it’s good clean ball and the momentum should be with your team. This generally implies a retreating opposition and plenty of options, so now all we need is for the seven fleet-footed and highly skilled men wearing the higher numbers on their backs to find a way to the tryline. Sure, the bad guys are going to try and stop you, but if they do, your forwards know how to ensure that the ball comes back so that the other blokes can try again – hopefully you’ve managed to make some progress up field by this stage. Surely, though, there’s got to be someone amongst all these highly-paid backline professionals who can find a way to beat an opposition defender, force a line break and send a flying teammate in for the try? Shouldn’t be too difficult and I’ve seen it done before. The key here is a combination of individual skill, team work and good coaching. Erm.

And that’s all there really is to rugby. Oversimplified perhaps, but this plan does get away from one thing in particular. At no point does it advocate a slew of forwards lining up amongst the backs to operate as “ball carriers” while the real backs take a holiday. The funny thing with that approach is that it tends to be ridiculously easy to defend against, once you know that it’s going to happen. Forwards aren’t as quick as backs, usually and they’re bigger, so also easier to spot. They also have ankles, which are roughly the same size as the backs’ ones, making them quite easy to tackle as long as you go in low.

The other issue, of course, is perhaps quite a basic one… if all these forwards are carrying the ball and trying to score the tries, who’s actually getting the ball in the first place? A point to ponder indeed.



77 Comments

  • Love it :twisted:
    Can Chris Latham coach? What about Andre Joubert? Trying to think outside the box here :mrgreen:

  • Comment 1, posted at 03.11.11 08:43:49 by JarsonX Reply
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  • WOW easy game isn’t it? ;-)

  • Comment 2, posted at 03.11.11 08:45:10 by Pokkel Reply
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  • This is an extremely Bold approach, extremely Bold.

    (referring to all the comments, recents posts and recent comments)

  • Comment 3, posted at 03.11.11 08:48:22 by Mocho Reply

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  • Well done Rob! I think u hit the nail on the head here! I think in SA we try overcomplicate things and think we need to be flashy and intricate like some other Nations. We are a simple lot believe it or not. We need to go back to our traditional strengths.

  • Comment 4, posted at 03.11.11 09:09:18 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @Mocho (Comment 3) : better? I’m not good in the early mornings…

  • Comment 5, posted at 03.11.11 09:20:03 by robdylan Reply
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  • Rob, you may have simplified the game, but if you saw the excerpt I posted from the Sharks coaching manual, the problem is that the Sharks rely on an even simpler game plan. :sad:

  • Comment 6, posted at 03.11.11 09:21:07 by Culling Song Reply
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  • I want the Sharks to lose their predictability tag. We need a playbook that makes our opponents feel uneasy and threatened. Too often while sitting at games, I can see how 1D our formations are. There is no guesswork for defences. Add to this the fact that we had hopelessly few genuine linebreakers or creativity in the backs and one can see it’s a recipe for disaster.

    Something that attracted me to Jake White and turned me into a supporter of his (while he was Bok coach) was his first 2 seasons in charge which produced 2 of our best 3N campaigns to date, was his willingness introduce a Crusader-like counterattacking approach esp on turnovers. The Sharks should adopt this approach. To me Sharks players look far to fast to sleep to take advantage of opportunities unfolding on the pitch at times. We need to develop an adventurous attack-minded culture in which NZ style ballplayers can flourish.

    Quickball is another thing that’s made the Crusaders. We need to go there. We blame the scrummies for waiting too long to pass the ball out. I think it’s part of the game plan that allows us to regroup and play to our strength – the forwards near the fringes. Quickball is however still possibly the best way to crack a well organised defence.

    I however don’t want to paint a negative picture. I think our forwards are doing a good job but I’d like our lineout accuracy to improve. It wasn’t so good in SR 2011. When I look at the personnel that the Sharks have for next season’s SR, barring the midfield issue and possibly a little concern at no.4 lock created by Plum’s ditching of specialists in favour of Deysel, it’s a really healthy looking squad. Our goal going into next season must be to win it overall. I know this is every team’s goal. But not every team has a realistic shot. We still do (we might not still have this kind of quality available in 2013).

    If I had control of the chequebook and the budget allowed for it, I would still look to bring in 1 more reliable centre in addition to Whitehead and a no.4 lock to provide cover.

  • Comment 7, posted at 03.11.11 09:21:15 by beet Reply
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  • @beet (Comment 7) : Hey beet, everyone (myself included) wants us to get another decent centre. But realistically, what are our available options?

  • Comment 8, posted at 03.11.11 09:31:17 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : Much easier on the eye Boss man ;) talking about Bosman will he recover by time SuperRugby starts.

  • Comment 9, posted at 03.11.11 09:38:20 by Mocho Reply

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  • @Culling Song (Comment 8) : True. But I wasn’t ruling out going offshore to get one.

  • Comment 10, posted at 03.11.11 09:38:58 by beet Reply
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  • @Mocho (Comment 9) : I believe so

  • Comment 11, posted at 03.11.11 09:44:44 by robdylan Reply
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  • @beet (Comment 7) : Ur a wise man hey! I think the one thing that the Sharks can change that would be a massive difference is that quick ball! And no its not the scrummies fault…in fact our scrummie is very quick to the ball but is then under instruction to wait for the forwards to set up. We need more speed in our forwards…i think they a bit lazy! Quick ball will mean our big boys running at their backs and you will see our backline look potent!

  • Comment 12, posted at 03.11.11 09:45:32 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @beet (Comment 10) : Even offshore, who would be our options (cue Bergsharks to jump in with a Ronnie Cook comment)?

  • Comment 13, posted at 03.11.11 09:49:24 by Culling Song Reply
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  • We have plenty good wings, maybe 1 can be converted :idea:

  • Comment 14, posted at 03.11.11 09:55:37 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 13) : Are you narrowing Beets options down to Frans Steyn?

  • Comment 15, posted at 03.11.11 10:00:39 by Mocho Reply

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  • @Culling Song (Comment 13) : I was thinking of a player with international experience who has fallen out of favour and wants a change in scenery or just has a desire to play in the S/H premier compo. Similar reasons to the likes of Haskell or Cipriani or Michalak.

    Someone like Florian Fritz or Dan Hipkiss maybe. But I’m fishing. I have no idea what the market is like or who is available. I’m just putting my thoughts out there. We want to come second coz the team on the field wasn’t good enough not coz we failed to secure the best possible team available.

  • Comment 16, posted at 03.11.11 10:09:14 by beet Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 6) : I think I red that, some-where onlong the lines of pass the ball to Alberts… ;)

  • Comment 17, posted at 03.11.11 10:09:46 by Franshark Reply
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  • @beet (Comment 16) : I like your thinking; it would be cool if someone with a better idea of what’s happening in Europe could provide a list of possible candidates to discuss. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing Yannick Yauzion (not sure of spelling) in a Sharks jersey.

  • Comment 18, posted at 03.11.11 10:14:18 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @Franshark (Comment 17) : You left out a part of it; it’s actually “Pass to Alberts. If that doesn’t work, pass to Alberts again as soon as possible. If that doesn’t work, pass to Alberts again as soon as possible. If that…”

  • Comment 19, posted at 03.11.11 10:15:39 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 18) : That wud be something awesome hey. The Jauzion offload working its magic at Kingspark. Just imagine how many extra season tickets sales a guy like that might be responsible for alone.

  • Comment 20, posted at 03.11.11 10:17:41 by beet Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 18) : Damien Traille.

  • Comment 21, posted at 03.11.11 10:18:02 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 21) : Ben I want us to target a guy who promotes attacking rugby. Traille just doesn’t do it for me in that respect. In fact apart from the wonderful boot, he reminds me a lot of Bosman – a bit static.

  • Comment 22, posted at 03.11.11 10:20:53 by beet Reply
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  • rob rob rob good point, isnt that kind of how the bulls play?My coach drums it into us ,dont play rugby in your 22 ,kick. Play buddy rugby and so on…

    I would like to see our basics more accurate ,such as carrying the ball in the correct arm into contact ,leading with the correct shoulder , would like to see our cleaning out improve and making the ball availble for the scrummy faster.

    I believe Jean Deysel and Alberts should swop ,we need a near specialist on the flank

  • Comment 23, posted at 03.11.11 10:30:06 by Talent Reply
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  • What about ronnie cooke at 13..? @ culling song: ;-) :-D

  • Comment 24, posted at 03.11.11 10:33:48 by bergshark Reply

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  • Quick ball from the breakdown is also largely dependent on “speed of deployment” of the attacking options.
    Players need to get in position quicker ,clean ball must be presented quickly,scrummie must be aware of where the best attacking options is( bindside,openside 2nd channel etc), and we must create and exploit miss matches.
    Can remember sharks missing out on a try vs blues in dbn this year when we had a 3 on 1 situation..still pointed it on the discussion but was told not to worry,the sharks coaches do train the players for these situations..well,I’m not sure..:-|
    It is about quick ball,scanning for the 3 vs 2,5 vs 4 or whatever and exploiting it immediately.also have the right players to exploit the overlap,ie not the front row vs 2 centres and 30m to go to the tryline..
    Need to up the fitness and the handling skills.

  • Comment 25, posted at 03.11.11 10:43:23 by bergshark Reply

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  • Personally id liek to see the Sharks not buy another player for 5yrs and see how we do with the guys coming through. Im not saying dont entice youngsters to come to the Union…but dont go buy an established player!

  • Comment 26, posted at 03.11.11 10:52:56 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @hendrikp: is jp du plessis at the lions for next season?

  • Comment 27, posted at 03.11.11 10:57:52 by bergshark Reply

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  • @beet (Comment 22) : Look no further than Adi Jacobs! ;)

  • Comment 28, posted at 03.11.11 11:02:01 by Ben Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Comment 14) : you’re on the right track… watch this space

  • Comment 29, posted at 03.11.11 11:32:22 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 28) : oops

  • Comment 30, posted at 03.11.11 11:36:08 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Talent (Comment 23) : you play rugby? for some reason I thought you were a girl! oops…

  • Comment 31, posted at 03.11.11 11:38:04 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 29) :

    Rob knows something we don’t!

  • Comment 32, posted at 03.11.11 11:46:40 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 29) : I don’t know what you know, but I would like to see Sithole given a run at center..

  • Comment 33, posted at 03.11.11 11:58:02 by Franshark Reply
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  • @beet (Comment 7) : There is enough depth at no 4 lock, Bressler and Marais will do just fine. The coach must just have faith in them. How do you get experience? By playing on the field and not watching from the couch at home. I agree with Rob rugby is easy, play the right player at the right position and it will work

  • Comment 34, posted at 03.11.11 12:08:19 by FS Shark Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 26) : Hip Hip hurray at last, please say it loud in the sacred corridors of KINGSPARK.

  • Comment 35, posted at 03.11.11 12:13:42 by FS Shark Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 31) : im sure sharon and letgo know as much rugby as any guy here, and actually kzn have some good women rugby players aswell . Also if you did think I was a girl I would be worried for all the women out there becuase of the confrontational tone you take with me .Nope your lame attempts to bait me into saying something worthy of a ban are futile and transparent :)

  • Comment 36, posted at 03.11.11 12:14:13 by Talent Reply
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  • Not our backs at the moment.

  • Comment 37, posted at 03.11.11 12:15:13 by Honey Badger Reply

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  • @Pokkel (Comment 32) : more than one thing, usually :)

  • Comment 38, posted at 03.11.11 12:19:19 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Talent (Comment 36) : or something…

  • Comment 39, posted at 03.11.11 12:19:59 by robdylan Reply
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  • @FS Shark (Comment 34) : I back you 1000% on this.

  • Comment 40, posted at 03.11.11 12:21:07 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Franshark (Comment 33) : Sithole”s defensive lines are pretty bad…it could be a disaster.

  • Comment 41, posted at 03.11.11 12:21:57 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 39) : I dont understand what that means, any way re the article ;has some valid concepts but I still believe that the sharks basics could do with some polishing up ,shouldnt have to be done at this level but correcting them may prove usefull to the sharks

  • Comment 42, posted at 03.11.11 12:23:04 by Talent Reply
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  • @FS Shark (Comment 34) : bresler is a good player ,he tackles hard and his work rate is really up there however he doesnt fit the mould as an enforcer ,and an enforcer is something plumtree is looking for -I think we should show faith in marias. The other side of the argument is the value these players bring onto the field in loose play ,in general play who do you want ? Forget set piece ,i think it has to be Deysel or Alberts at lock -the game has changed and I think we will see more loosies at lock in years to come becuase of the focus on the breakdown

  • Comment 43, posted at 03.11.11 12:28:33 by Talent Reply
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  • What’s the news on Fred.

  • Comment 44, posted at 03.11.11 12:30:12 by Honey Badger Reply

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  • @Talent (Comment 43) : furthermore , one player can destroy a dominant team -look at the boks world cup exit , a specialist breakdown flank is vital nowdays-something keegan is not -which is why I would play deysel at 7 and alberts at lock ,just to rectify the LF combo balance. But all of this has been said over and over

  • Comment 45, posted at 03.11.11 12:31:43 by Talent Reply
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  • either deysel at 7 and alberts at lock or play bismarck from the bench where he has huge impact in the final 30 on the breakdown, just my girly opinion

  • Comment 46, posted at 03.11.11 12:34:31 by Talent Reply
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  • @FS Shark (Comment 34) : I support Bresler and both Marais’. I want them to succeed but I want to win the Superugby title more. Next year I feel we have a realistic shot. We are under no illusions. The coaching staff is under pressure to deliver. We have a good uninterupted break to work on our weaknesses. However we must not get into a position where lack of depth (be it coz of the coach’s lack of faith in certain players – like locks or Adi or JLP) is an issue that gets in the way of us doing well on the field.

    While Plum is the coach, he must do his best to bring in players that he feels comfortable with.

    We need 5 locks in the squad anyway in my opinion.

    The coach is yet to express his opinion on
    1.Deysel continuing as a lock.
    2.Using Alberts as cover at lock
    3.Promoting Peet Marais
    4.His level of faith in the likes of Bresler and Marais

    If he has his doubts about 1,2 and 3 then he must go out and get an extra lock. At the very least, this would be a risk adverse acquisition.

    Ideally I’d like Jandre to start at 4 with a physical type backup for him in the squad.

  • Comment 47, posted at 03.11.11 12:35:28 by beet Reply
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  • Just sort out our center combo.

  • Comment 48, posted at 03.11.11 12:39:49 by Honey Badger Reply

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  • I actually think the Sharks have enough players for the S15. All we need now is a creative backline coach.

  • Comment 49, posted at 03.11.11 12:40:36 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 49) : I agree. We have plenty of players.

    There are many ingredients that go into winning SR. One of them is having good players not just many players.

    Match what we have up against last seasons pace-setters: Reds, Crusaders and Stormers

    We have a good squad so we come out pretty well in a head-to-head. However there are one or two places where we are still weak.

  • Comment 50, posted at 03.11.11 12:48:41 by beet Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 49) : If we sign frans steyn we will stand a good chance of being in the final and we will be the dominant force in south african rugby

  • Comment 51, posted at 03.11.11 12:51:13 by Talent Reply
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  • @beet (Comment 50) : Yipes when I do this test, scrumhalf doesn’t come out so good either and scrumhalf is an absolute key position to be strong in if you want to win SR. Damn! We need one of guys to step up big time in 2012.

  • Comment 52, posted at 03.11.11 12:55:54 by beet Reply
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  • @Talent (Comment 51) : we’re not signing Frans Steyn… he’s going to free State.

    Do I need to write ANOTHER article explaining it again? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 53, posted at 03.11.11 13:02:04 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Talent (Comment 43) : tell you what (discussions about Anton aside for the moment) based on tackles and ruck attendance per minute of game time, Jandre Marais is the best tight forward the Sharks have. The kid’s work rate is LEGENDARY

  • Comment 54, posted at 03.11.11 13:03:53 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 53) : I can always dream
    @robdylan (Comment 54) : Yeah I have liked what I have seen from the guy ,same sought of player as Marcell Coetzee in terms of what they do around the park ,in time he will be a good enforcer type lock for the sharks . Put Marias in the gym harden up his upper body and he will be a legend ,lets hope he is the type of player that rises to the occasion becuase I think the sharks will call on him in super rugby and blood him there.

  • Comment 55, posted at 03.11.11 13:07:41 by Talent Reply
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  • @beet (Comment 52) : Reinach. Reinach. Reinach.

    Everybody else in the whole country can see how good this kid is. Why can’t we?

  • Comment 56, posted at 03.11.11 13:11:17 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Talent (Comment 55) : thing is, it’s very rare to find a young guy who is already hard… in fact, about the last guy that was already an enforcer in his early 20s was Mark Andrews. It’s quite usual for a lock to take his time to develop that edge, which is why the best 4s are typically already in their 30s.

    I’m not worried about blooding Jandre at four for the next few years because it’s not like our (local conference) opposition are that far ahead of us in terms of what they have in the position.

  • Comment 57, posted at 03.11.11 13:13:14 by robdylan Reply
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  • @beet (Comment 50) :

    What would do with Viljoen in the team next year?

    I would start Viljoen at 15 or perhaps try him at 13. If he plays 13 then Ludik at 15.

    Lambie must start at 10 with Freddie on the bench covering 9 and 10

  • Comment 58, posted at 03.11.11 13:14:57 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 56) : Do you think by letting Ross go that the Sharks management are putting faith in Reinach. I certainly hope so.

  • Comment 59, posted at 03.11.11 13:15:19 by war1 Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 57) : true ,only really the bulls -flip is a beast! But I agree, one only has to look at ross skeate and how he has matured with age .

  • Comment 60, posted at 03.11.11 13:33:44 by Talent Reply
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  • @Talent (Comment 60) : Flip is a little raw, though… discipline and technique are a wee bit of an issue. Not too late for others to catch him… Roodt, Elstead and hopefully Jandre will be pushing him hard for that Bok 4 spot next year

  • Comment 61, posted at 03.11.11 13:42:41 by robdylan Reply
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  • @war1 (Comment 59) : ja… or they could be trying to lure Rory Kockott back.

  • Comment 62, posted at 03.11.11 13:43:08 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 62) : To play for the guy who kept criticising him publicly?

  • Comment 63, posted at 03.11.11 13:54:57 by war1 Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 61) : I think flip is the answer or bakkies -hope the others do come through

  • Comment 64, posted at 03.11.11 14:04:33 by Talent Reply
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  • @war1 (Comment 63) : stranger things have happened…

  • Comment 65, posted at 03.11.11 14:05:36 by robdylan Reply
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  • So is kockott set to return to the tank..? Hmmmm..?

  • Comment 66, posted at 03.11.11 16:35:45 by bergshark Reply

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  • @robdylan: mike tyson was a world heavyweight boxing champ at 20- I concur with Talent: put the kid in the gym,work on his technique,let mark andrews spend time with him..and unleash him on the opposition..!!

  • Comment 67, posted at 03.11.11 16:40:37 by bergshark Reply

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  • We need to get inside these youngsters’s heads..they have all the talent..they just need to start producing sooner than sharks expected perhaps..nothing wrong in having your ability tested..makes you discover how much better you actually are..

  • Comment 68, posted at 03.11.11 16:47:45 by bergshark Reply

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  • How much talk was there of Lambi on this site before he became SuperPat?

  • Comment 69, posted at 03.11.11 16:52:34 by Franshark Reply
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  • @Franshark (Comment 69) : quite a lot… some of us (i.e. me) have been backing him for years…

  • Comment 70, posted at 03.11.11 16:54:59 by robdylan Reply
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  • @beet: do you think the sharks should sign a lock for cover at sr ’12( more realistically,the signing will be 2 seasons)?who would you sign up?if you could?perhaps fondse? (And no,I’m not trying to “lead” you into saying fonde lol)
    Can fondse play at blindside flank also?
    Okay,I’m not leading..really lol

  • Comment 71, posted at 03.11.11 17:07:48 by bergshark Reply

    bergsharkSuper Rugby player
     
  • Skeate , hargreaves , bresler , jandre marais .
    Peet marais , pieter-steph du toit.

  • Comment 72, posted at 03.11.11 17:10:41 by bergshark Reply

    bergsharkSuper Rugby player
     
  • I just wish the rugby will just begin all ready!!!

  • Comment 73, posted at 03.11.11 19:19:15 by sharktooth Reply

    sharktoothUnder 19 player
     
  • @sharktooth (Comment 73) : :shock: :lol:

  • Comment 74, posted at 03.11.11 19:38:21 by Franshark Reply
    Author
    FransharkTeam captain
     
  • @bergshark (Comment 72) :
    Exactly. We don’t need another lock. We have them.

    We also don’t need to go and buy another centre. I believe Riaan Viljoen will be used at 13 with Ludik at the back. Also, we have youngsters waiting to step up who are able enough imo

  • Comment 75, posted at 04.11.11 08:59:17 by JustPlainSHARK Reply

    JustPlainSHARKCurrie Cup player
     
  • And as for scrummie, we have Reinach, McLeod and Hoffman. With Freddy to cover

  • Comment 76, posted at 04.11.11 09:00:38 by JustPlainSHARK Reply

    JustPlainSHARKCurrie Cup player
     
  • Re: hoffman: he needs to gain some muscle asap

  • Comment 77, posted at 05.11.11 12:00:51 by bergshark Reply

    bergsharkSuper Rugby player
     

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