How to beat a team that doesn’t lose?

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Stormers, Super Rugby on 22 May 2012 at 09:00
Tagged with : , , , , ,

While it’s fair to say that it’s the home side who have received more plaudits for the style of rugby played in recent weeks, only a fool would instil them as favourites as the Sharks take on the table-topping Stormers at Kings Park this weekend.

Fact is, that while the Stormers have been forced to endure a number of criticisms of their game – that they don’t score tries, play a boring brand of rugby and so forth – a quick glance at the log to the right of this text shows that despite all this talk, they have racked up more wins than any other outfit in the competition. With only a single loss in eleven starts (that being away to the Crusaders), the simple truth is that whatever the Stormers are doing, it’s clearly working for them.

It’s somewhat ironic, I find, that the team once noted for their beautiful running game (one which far too often saw them come a-cropper against the far more pragmatic Bulls) are now the ones adopting the self-same pragmatic approach, with a forwards coach hailing from the barren North one of the key architects of that strategy. There’s nothing new under the sun, or so they say!

The Sharks, in contrast, have been up and down and it’s a testament to the team’s character and resolve, I guess, that they’ve managed to stay in touch with the likes of the Stormers despite losing 5 times(!) as many games. The Sharks have managed to win well (or rather, score 4 tires) when they have won – and lose narrowly when they haven’t and the result is a staggering imbalance in the number of bonus points accumulated by the two teams; the Sharks have 9, the Stormers just one.

So then, we have the team that (sometimes) likes to score tries against the team that never concedes any (well, 12 tries in 11 starts, which amounts to about the same thing) and the question on everybody’s lips is, of course, which of them will prevail. Those watching the Stormers in recent weeks will be marvelling at the fact that they’re managing to keep up a winning streak that makes the Sharks’ recent (and unprecedented) 3-game run look a little puny by comparison. The Stormers have been hit by the injury curse and are battling week by week to find a fit set of loose forwards, yet somehow, every week, they remain committed, capable and cohesive as ever. In fact, it’s starting to look as though the only thing that’s really keeping them winning is the fact that they’ve forgotten how to lose.

The Sharks will have a trick or two up their sleeve as well, though and while it’s the visitors earning all the praise for their forward play, we need to point out that when these sides met in Cape Town back in week two, the forward contest was very evenly matched, with only a late penalty sealing a narrow win for the hosts. While it’s a given that the Durbanites will need to improve their discipline markedly this week, surely the fact that the Sharks are frankly overflowing with fit forwards at the moment has to work in their favour? Could this game be decided purely in terms of which side has the healthier, deeper squad at this stage of the season? The Sharks, I suspect, will be banking on this and we should probably expect that the presence of at least two, but possibly three, capped Springbok loose forwards on the bench may strike something of a psychological blow against the Stormers, who now list an imported Canadian as their only back rower of international standard.


  • How to win against the Stormers? Easy! Keep the ball. Give fast ball to our backs. Keep the ball in the tackle, clean out the ruck and give fast ball to our backs Keep the ball in the tackle, clean out the ruck, fast ball to the backs……………..Easy!

  • Comment 1, posted at 22.05.12 09:07:49 by Stef Reply
    Under 21 player

  • Comment 2, posted at 22.05.12 09:08:27 by Just a Fan Reply
    Just a FanCurrie Cup player
  • I think the way to beat the Stormers is to play them at their own game. I think play a defensive/counter attack game against them and force them into an attacking game that they dont want to play.

    It is risky but if you fan out and are resolute in defence it might be profitable. The chances are they will make mistakes on attack and then we can blitz them on the counter attack when their defence is unsettled.

  • Comment 3, posted at 22.05.12 09:10:02 by Pat Reply
    Under 21 player
  • Forwards were evenly matched but now we have the BEAST!!! Two words- Game. Over :D

  • Comment 4, posted at 22.05.12 09:11:03 by jessi Reply
    jessiUnder 21 player
  • I expect a close game, with penalties being the deciding factor. Go Sharks!

  • Comment 5, posted at 22.05.12 09:12:27 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @Pat (Comment 3) : Is that you Pat Lam? Just kidding :wink:

  • Comment 6, posted at 22.05.12 09:14:56 by JarsonX Reply
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  • Clearly my E an R changed places on my keyboard :lol:

  • Comment 7, posted at 22.05.12 09:15:51 by Just a Fan Reply

    Just a FanCurrie Cup player
  • Firstly the Stormers have disappeared in the second half for most of their recent games. Match them in the first half and they are there for the taking – especially if our super subs can be brought on at the right time

    Our biggest worry – the number of penalties we concede. We need to cut down drastically – otherwise they will take the game away from us

    Expect a lot of kicking from them – so the back three need to be on their toes. For that reason I would bring Ludik back at 15

    The areas where they do shade us is line-out and scrum time to a lesser extent.

  • Comment 8, posted at 22.05.12 09:17:15 by Bokhoring Reply

    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • Also expect a close game, Sharks just need to be rock solid on their defense and don’t give away any penalties in kicking range, be patient and wait for the opportunity to attack, put enough pressure on them and the gaps will start to open up.
    Would be an interesting match up in the midfield.

    Stormers WE COMING FOR YOU!!!

  • Comment 9, posted at 22.05.12 09:22:07 by pierre_mackie Reply
    pierre_mackieTeam captain
  • If we improve on how we played against the cheetahs like we have been doing the last couple of weeks, i see no reason why we can’t win, i believe even replicating the Cheetahs performance will be too much for a battered and tired Stormers side.

    But i say Stormers r the favourites ;-)

  • Comment 10, posted at 22.05.12 09:30:06 by JJR Reply
    JJRCurrie Cup player
  • The Sharks will beat the Stormers this weekend. :roll: :???:

  • Comment 11, posted at 22.05.12 09:31:31 by wpw Reply
    wpwAssistant coach
  • Who’s the ref?

  • Comment 12, posted at 22.05.12 09:33:35 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    LetgoAssistant coach
  • @Letgo (Comment 12) : Jaco Peyper (doochbag)

  • Comment 13, posted at 22.05.12 09:41:01 by jessi Reply

    jessiUnder 21 player
  • @Letgo (Comment 12) : Oh yes, that could be an issue…i think it’s peyper…he’s a biased little Ref, and a useless Ref when it comes to the scrum laws.

  • Comment 14, posted at 22.05.12 09:41:38 by JJR Reply
    JJRCurrie Cup player
  • @Letgo (Comment 12) : Jaco Peyper.
    hmmmm Not good for us then.

    Throw in our tendencey to concede silly penalties and Peter Grants` 90% kicking stat.

    But our forwards and home ground advantage can still swing it in our favour I believe!

  • Comment 15, posted at 22.05.12 09:41:55 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original PierreSuper Rugby player
  • @jessi (Comment 13) : That could be a problem for us. Recall he is quite a pedantic ref

  • Comment 16, posted at 22.05.12 09:42:02 by Bokhoring Reply

    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 16) : and he likes the stormers, how come we always seem to get him?! As long as jannie stays on his feet at the breakdown and doesn’t give away penalties on the 5m..sharks can totally dominate the stormers- I have faith :)

  • Comment 17, posted at 22.05.12 09:46:54 by jessi Reply

    jessiUnder 21 player
  • Keep the ball away from the Stormers in the first half and grind the ball up and keep them pinned in their own half and try to milk as many penalties as possible from them in the first 40.

    Open up in the second half and run at them from all angles as they go to sleep and crack their defence open.

  • Comment 18, posted at 22.05.12 09:47:37 by Butchie34 Reply
    Currie Cup player
  • @Butchie34 (Comment 18) : Sounds good; but reckon Sharks should just keep doing what they did against the Cheetahs keep the ball and strike big early, and keep the momentum going the whole 80 min, with the help of our powerful bench.

    We in a lot better physical condition as a squad, ATM. Stormers are hardly hitting the field anymore just to get everyone fresh.

    I reckon we should make it even harder for the tired Stormers, we need to utilise Alberts and Deysel a bit more this week, IMO.

  • Comment 19, posted at 22.05.12 09:51:00 by JJR Reply
    JJRCurrie Cup player
  • The problem is…the Stormers always manage to win most of their games, topping the logs, yet they have an empty trophy cabinet? So whilst whatever they are doing throughout the playing round might work, when it comes to crunchtime, they fail miserably…year in, year out.

  • Comment 20, posted at 22.05.12 09:54:14 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner IceAssistant coach
  • @JarsonX (Comment 5) : And the usual culprits on the Sharks side accounting for more than their fair share. :(

    The way to beat these guys is to stop giving away penalties.

  • Comment 21, posted at 22.05.12 09:54:52 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 21) : agreed but doesn’t mean we must play safe boring rugby- we have to play our game and dominate at set pieces and especially the breakdown…keep basics

  • Comment 22, posted at 22.05.12 10:01:13 by jessi Reply

    jessiUnder 21 player
  • The Stormers cancelled their training yesterday on advice from the team medical staff citing the players as being battered and exhausted.

    Are we about to see an end of season implosion? The signs have been there for all to see in the last 2 weeks.

  • Comment 23, posted at 22.05.12 10:02:42 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • @Ice (Comment 20) : Well they are the 2012 Vodacom Cup champions, so there is at least one trophy in the cabinet that they have not awarded themselves. :wink:

  • Comment 24, posted at 22.05.12 10:04:53 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 21) : The problem is how to get Bismarck to deliver his aggro game without the penalties.

  • Comment 25, posted at 22.05.12 10:06:18 by Bokhoring Reply

    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 8) : The Stormers do so much defending no wonder they are disappearing in the second half.

  • Comment 26, posted at 22.05.12 10:07:24 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
    lostfishSuper Rugby player
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 24) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 27, posted at 22.05.12 10:13:35 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner IceAssistant coach
  • @lostfish (Comment 26) : In terms of tackles made that is actually not true. The Sharks have been consistently the team that makes the most tackles this season – 1992 vs Stormers 1621. However for those tackles they have managed to concede only 12 tries = whereas we have conceded 24.

    Similarly they actually spend more time attacking than us. Last 4 games for each in minutes attacking:

    Stormers: 42, 38, 37, 49
    Sharks: 40, 29, 35, 38

  • Comment 28, posted at 22.05.12 10:17:01 by Bokhoring Reply

    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 28) : That 49 in the last game is from the Waratahs kicking EVERYTHING at the Stormers though.

  • Comment 29, posted at 22.05.12 10:22:17 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 25) : Tell him that Deon Fourie is the next Bok Hooker. It seems to have worked against Strauss :twisted:

  • Comment 30, posted at 22.05.12 10:24:14 by JarsonX Reply
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  • Know this is off the topic, but Rumours are that Kockott is planning to return to the Sharks? Any truth in this?… Also see Scott Mathee is back in Durbs in search of some Currie cup action…

  • Comment 31, posted at 22.05.12 10:24:25 by fetcher Reply

    fetcherUnder 21 player
  • @JarsonX (Comment 30) : I don’t think the aggro bit is the problem – that comes naturally.

  • Comment 32, posted at 22.05.12 10:25:46 by Bokhoring Reply

    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • @fetcher (Comment 31) : Brilliant news.

    Hope Kockott the Rocket signs at least a short term contract `till Hoffman gets it together.

  • Comment 33, posted at 22.05.12 10:28:28 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original PierreSuper Rugby player
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 32) : He might give in another performance like Saturday’s if he thinks his spot is going to someone else :smile:

  • Comment 34, posted at 22.05.12 10:28:48 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Comment 34) : I think he is going to a marked man this weekend. Hopefully some of the others in the pack can step up in a big way too.

  • Comment 35, posted at 22.05.12 10:36:42 by Bokhoring Reply

    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • My SR 2007, CC 2008 and CC 2010 confidence is back! Go boys, I know we are going to win this Saturday, we need to take the game to them…, we need to dish out the pain…physicality, brutality, accuracy and determination is going to be the order of the day.Go Sharks!!!

  • Comment 36, posted at 22.05.12 10:48:26 by GreatSharksays Reply

    Assistant coach
  • Not sure we can beat the Stormers if we just run at them. Their defence has shown that they can manage most teams.

    I think we need to play the territory game (which the Waratahs tried to do but executed badly) and try to get them constantly retreating. The gaps will open if they do not have time to organise.

    If we play too much in our half, they have a 90% kicker, and a great maul and lineout, and the knowledge that we give away buckets of penalties.

  • Comment 37, posted at 22.05.12 10:51:01 by Big Fish Reply
    Big FishAssistant coach
  • @lostfish (Comment 26) : Although having said that, the Sharks have made way more tackles than the Stormers

  • Comment 38, posted at 22.05.12 10:55:17 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
    lostfishSuper Rugby player
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 28) : I noticed that when checking the stats just now. So we should in effect be a lot more tired than the Stormers. We have attacked more and tackled more ;-)

  • Comment 39, posted at 22.05.12 10:56:30 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
    lostfishSuper Rugby player
  • @lostfish (Comment 38) : Think they are just getting more value for their tackles. Shows that they have a good defensive system and we don’t

  • Comment 40, posted at 22.05.12 10:56:44 by Bokhoring Reply

    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 33) : I want kockett in and Hoffmann out. When hoffmann plays well, he plays the same game that Mcloed plays, Kockett gives us some different options, and the presssure he can put on the opposing 9/10 is better than most 9′s i’ve seen. It is a huge help to also have a physical, aggressive scrummie, IMO.

  • Comment 41, posted at 22.05.12 10:57:01 by JJR Reply
    JJRCurrie Cup player
  • @lostfish (Comment 39) : We have attacked less and tackled more

  • Comment 42, posted at 22.05.12 10:57:15 by Bokhoring Reply

    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • “only a fool would instil them as favourites as the Sharks take on the table-topping Stormers at Kings Park this weekend.” Then i sir… Am a fool… I think the Sharks will not only win, but they will win comfortably, and by that i mean by more than 3 points… Rugby is a simple game in principal, keep the ball, and play in your opposition’s half, not in yours.

  • Comment 43, posted at 22.05.12 11:03:52 by The Quirk Reply
    The QuirkVodacom Cup player
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 25) : Bismarck only gave away two penalties against the Cheetahs for apparently shoulder charging.

  • Comment 44, posted at 22.05.12 11:20:25 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    LetgoAssistant coach
  • @Letgo (Comment 44) : He has actually been pretty OK in recent games – 5 penalties in the past 4 games

  • Comment 45, posted at 22.05.12 11:27:03 by Bokhoring Reply

    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 42) : I was being a bit sarcastic because we have scored more tries.

  • Comment 46, posted at 22.05.12 11:31:25 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
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  • @JJR (Comment 41) : You forget that Kockett before he left was known as the scrummy who takes the longest time to get the ball out of the rucks and although some of his runs was successfully he tried to go on his own way to much, losing the ball because he would isolate himself. He also had a very high error rate for a person who touches the ball the most in a rugby team.

    If he improved on some of these issues then I’d be happy to welcome him back as he could add value and depth to the team, but I don’t know that Kockett would have changed anything he was doing before, because it didn’t seem like he was willing to do it when playing for us before.

  • Comment 47, posted at 22.05.12 11:32:32 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    LetgoAssistant coach
  • @Letgo (Comment 47) : But McLeod played his best rugby with Kockett just behind him on the bench. Maybe having some competition will help improve his game.

  • Comment 48, posted at 22.05.12 11:33:43 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    LetgoAssistant coach
  • @Letgo (Comment 47) : IMO he was useful in the period of the ELVs when scrummies had to kick everything away for fear of losing posession, but not in this era, now that we have Lambie running the plays from 10. I also always thought he had a big attitude problem as well, which is divisive in a team environment.
    I recall a radio interview with Keegan Daniel awhile back, where he was asked for a couple of words to describe each player. When he was asked about Kockett, he simply replied “No Comment”.

  • Comment 49, posted at 22.05.12 11:39:44 by neilster Reply

    Vodacom Cup player
  • :twisted: I have blogged about the 5 killer APPS we lacked and we worked hard on them. We just need to do the following basics right:
    DEFENCE: We need to stop them behind the gain line.
    HANDLING: Our passes need to be accurate.
    DISCIPLINE: We must be disciplined. Penalties will sink us – no cards
    UNITY: When we support, we score and we score beautiful.
    ACCURACY: We need to be sharp at kick-off times. This is when we are at our weakest. Kicking must be planned and accurate.
    Referee: Remember the man in the middle!!

  • Comment 50, posted at 22.05.12 11:52:18 by KILLER SHARK Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    KILLER SHARKTeam captain
  • @neilster (Comment 49) : But still, he has so much potential, if his stint in Europe helped him mature a little then maybe he could be an asset to the team. I would much rather have Ruan back, or have Plumtree back Reinach, but given that neither of these things are likely to happen I won’t be to upset if Kockett comes back and strengthens our depth.

    I always liked him as an impact, he was so determined to prove that he can be just as quick as McLeod (or as McLeod was at that stage) that he delivered some awesome 20 minute performances.

  • Comment 51, posted at 22.05.12 11:53:51 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    LetgoAssistant coach
  • @lostfish (Comment 46) : Well they seem to get more bang for their buck on defense, whereas we get a lot more return for our effort on attack i.t.o. tries scored. We are now at joint 3rd with Brumbies on tries scored – 33 each. Canes at 40 and Bulls at 37 ahead of us.

  • Comment 52, posted at 22.05.12 11:55:39 by Bokhoring Reply

    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • @KILLER SHARK (Comment 50) : The 5 APPS should always be in place.

    I think accurate kicking will be quite important in this game. If we can keep them in their half with good kicks, they almost never counter, they usually just kick it back, so if our kicks are better than theirs and we can play in their half. We can then apply enough pressure to crack them.

    I think kicking, not just bombs, finding your wings with an accurate kick and grubber/chip kicks could also be a very smart attack, as the Stormers’ defending is very flat and a good chip or grubber could easily be the way to break their defence.

    And against one of the best defensive teams, patience will always be very important.

    Just chip away. Don’t get panicky.

    O and on our own line-outs we’ll need to take the safe route, make sure of possession first.

  • Comment 53, posted at 22.05.12 11:59:59 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    LetgoAssistant coach
  • @Letgo (Comment 51) : Perhaps. A stint in Europe did wonders for me :)

    Getting Ruan back would be monumental. He’d know by returning that the scrumhalf berth was his to lose, and that he’d be considered a specialist there, and there only.
    He has played in a Heineken cup final, what more does he have to achieve over there, it could happen.

  • Comment 54, posted at 22.05.12 12:03:42 by neilster Reply

    Vodacom Cup player
  • @Letgo (Comment 53) : The Crusaders used a very clever angled running game to unlock the Stormers defense.

  • Comment 55, posted at 22.05.12 12:03:49 by Bokhoring Reply

    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 55) : Probably a bit beyond our backline coaching brains trust :) , however I saw the Waratahs catch them napping on the blindside a few times.

  • Comment 56, posted at 22.05.12 12:08:00 by neilster Reply

    Vodacom Cup player
  • We need to be solid in the scrums, make sure we get our ball in the line outs and stop their maul from getting going.

  • Comment 57, posted at 22.05.12 12:09:27 by Bokhoring Reply

    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • @neilster (Comment 56) : I am talking forwards and backs

  • Comment 58, posted at 22.05.12 12:10:08 by Bokhoring Reply

    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • Ruan Pienaar has extended his current contract till 2014

  • Comment 59, posted at 22.05.12 12:39:38 by Bite me Reply

    Bite meVodacom Cup player

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