Sharks now at Kiwis’ mercy

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 6 Jun 2012 at 08:30
Tagged with : , , ,

It’s amazing just how much damage can be done to a side’s ambitions in 80 minutes, isn’t it? In failing to pitch for Saturday’s derby at Coca Cola Park, the Sharks have gone from the position where they could be pushing strongly for SA conference honours the Super Rugby season draws to close, to being dependent on other results going their way to even sneak into the play-offs at all.

Those 4 (or rather 5) dropped log points are now the difference between second on the conference log (and fourth overall) and the Sharks’ current position of seventh, where they are now sure to be stuck in a three-way dog-fight with the Hurricanes and the Reds for the final qualifying spot. Ironically, the Sharks’ upcoming bye is now a distinct disadvantage to them for two reasons; one, it means that they can earn at most 14 points from the last three rounds, while the Reds can manage 15 and two, it means that they can now add at most two to the figure in their “wins” column, which is now more important than points difference. That could prove telling if teams end up on equal points.

Assuming, just for a minute, that the Sharks manage that full complement of 14 points (no small feat, seeing as it means bonus-point wins against the Bulls and Cheetahs in successive weeks) they will still need a number of other results to suit them. Fortunately, the Hurricanes have something of a nightmare run-in, with matches against the Chiefs and Crusaders sandwiching their own bye. The smart money should be on them losing at least one, but quite probably both of those matches, opening the door for the Sharks to move ahead of them. That said, the New Zealand conference has had its share of ups and downs this year and a lot of different permutations could yet play themselves out; hell, even the Crusaders are still vulnerable should they conspire to lose to both the Chiefs and the Hurricanes. In that unlikely scenario, the Sharks could still move ahead of them.

The real challenge, though, comes from the Reds, who are currently only a point behind the Sharks and with three games coming up, can quite foreseeably end up going through ahead of the Durbanites as long as they get maximum points from each fixture. Even if the Sharks do get to 59 log points (their maximum) by the time the Cheetahs game ends, the Reds could already have amassed that same total and would go through by virtue of 11 wins to the Sharks’ 10. Ewan McKenzie’s side play the Rebels away, follows by home games against the Highlanders and the Waratahs and it’s probably the middle game there that Sharks fans will be hoping they lose; in other words, we’re looking to a Kiwi team to do us a huge favour and win in Brisbane. Banking our hopes on the Waratahs to somehow prevent the Reds from picking up a bonus point in the final game is probably not an area we want to be in.

Whatever the case, though, the 2012 season, from a Sharks point of view, really did start to go the shape of a pear on Saturday afternoon at Coca Cola Park and while we’ll obviously always back the boys, it’s probably time for the fans to once again put away their championship hopes and expectations. A Super Rugby title in 2012, for the Sharks, has become a distant, if not completely fanciful, prospect indeed.


  • Bok Barometer for week 15:
    15. Andries Coetzee (Lions) 14. Akona Ndungane (Bulls) 13. Lionel Mapoe (Lions) 12. Butch James (Lions) 11. Bryan Habana (Stormers) 10. Peter Grant (Stormers) 9. Francois Hougaard (Bulls) 8. Josh Strauss (Lions) 7. Rynardt Elstadt (Stormers) 6. Siya Kolisi (Stormers) 5. Franco van der Merwe (Lions) 4. Eben Etzebeth (Stormers) 3. Pat Cilliers (Lions) 2. Tiaan Liebenberg (Stormers) 1. Deon Carstens (Stormers).

  • Comment 1, posted at 06.06.12 08:31:41 by Mutley Reply
    MutleyTeam captain
  • Let’s be realistic – a Super 15 title was never really a prospect this year. Only the top 2 on the log really stand a chance. Even the Crusaders found last year’s playoff travel just one bridge too far

  • Comment 2, posted at 06.06.12 08:38:34 by Bokhoring Reply

    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • Horrible to say, but I sincerely hope the Sharks don’t qualify. Class acts make the playoffs on their own merits, and are not perpetually at the mercy of other teams’ results going their way. The only hope left is that failure to qualify for the playoffs will lead to the kind of shake-up the Sharks need to start performing to their potential.

  • Comment 3, posted at 06.06.12 08:39:07 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling SongTeam captain
  • @Culling Song (Comment 3) : Can we please get Carlos down to the Sharks? I would love him to teach all his little tricks to Pat and co rather than being wasted in the Vodacom Cup

  • Comment 4, posted at 06.06.12 08:45:51 by Bokhoring Reply

    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 4) : We need:

    Balie Swart – scrums
    Victor Matfield (ugh!) – lineouts
    Matthew Proudfoot – forwards
    Carlos Spencer – backs
    Stormers defence coach (name eludes me now) – defence
    Sheryl Calder – skills/mental
    Nick Mallet – Super Rugby coach/DoR

    That’s not too much to ask for, is it? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 5, posted at 06.06.12 08:52:44 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling SongTeam captain
  • @Culling Song (Comment 5) : Nienaber

  • Comment 6, posted at 06.06.12 08:55:08 by Bokhoring Reply

    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • Just like last year, the fans are being asked to endure another season with the reward of possibly scraping into 6th place by the skin of our teeth. Just like last year, when we had to beat the Bulls on the last day, a slip up or other results going against us will see us ‘knocked out’.

    But seriously, what is so special in finishing 6th anyway? Before last year, 6th place was (and still is) mid table mediocrity. There is no honour in finishing 6th, and certainly no reward in an away quarterfinal, away semifinal and away final. Winning 3 away play off games is nigh impossible.

    Nah, nothing to celebrate in my books.

    I am still utterly shocked by the loss to the Lions, particularly when a result in this game would have meant so much. It is a result that has unfortunately become rather typical for the Sharks.

    This is just another season of mid table mediocrity and failing to reach potential.

    Plumtree and his inadequate coaching staff must go at the end of this S15 season.

  • Comment 7, posted at 06.06.12 09:06:18 by siorc Reply

    Gold's MemberTeam captain
  • @Culling Song (Comment 5) : Wow. Thats a better coaching side than the Boks have!! :smile: :smile:

  • Comment 8, posted at 06.06.12 09:08:58 by Caratacus Reply

    CaratacusCurrie Cup player
  • @Culling Song (Comment 3) : I feel kindof the same way. To me it would just mean prolonging the agony.

  • Comment 9, posted at 06.06.12 09:25:11 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
    lostfishSuper Rugby player
  • Same sh*t, different year I’m afraid. :roll:

  • Comment 10, posted at 06.06.12 09:32:12 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    BenAssistant coach
  • @Ben (Comment 10) :


  • Comment 11, posted at 06.06.12 09:36:53 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
    Assistant coach
  • @Culling Song (Comment 3) : Totally agree with you!!!

  • Comment 12, posted at 06.06.12 09:44:53 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's DudetteSuper Rugby player
  • @Culling Song (Comment 5) :
    Keep your grubby little paws off our coaches.

  • Comment 13, posted at 06.06.12 10:31:57 by Leviathan Reply

    Under 21 player
  • @Culling Song (Comment 5) : Speaking of changes in coaching staff, has KSA followed though on his threat not to post one here should the Sharks lose again this season and until such time as Plum is replaced?

    Haven’t seen him around since our loss to the Lions.

  • Comment 14, posted at 06.06.12 10:54:04 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    vanmartinAssistant coach
  • @Leviathan (Comment 13) : :lol: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 15, posted at 06.06.12 10:55:45 by wpw Reply
    wpwAssistant coach
  • @Culling Song (Comment 5) : The only problem with having the Stormers defensive coach will be that you will have to endure that boring dross of scoring 1, maybe 2 tries week in and week out while your main game plan is based on the chance that your opponent will get pinged in a kickable position. Winning is great, yes but hell if I have to watch that all year and then still fall short of achieving the holy grail I will end up more frustrated than your average Sharks supporter in a bad year.

  • Comment 16, posted at 06.06.12 11:26:46 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the SubtleAssistant coach
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 16) : Don’t think you can lay that blame squarely on Nienaber’s shoulders. He’s just responsible for the defence – not the overall game-plan.

  • Comment 17, posted at 06.06.12 11:33:30 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    vanmartinAssistant coach
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 16) : That is why you need a decent head coach; the defensice coach devises as system of defense, but the head coach has to determine when to employ it, and to what extent your game plan must be based on it.

    I agree with what you’re saying regarding the boredom factor though; right now the Stormers appear to have taken over the mantle of dullest (succesful) team ever from the Waratahs.

  • Comment 18, posted at 06.06.12 11:55:41 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling SongTeam captain
  • The frustrating part about this situation is that we are also at the mercy of the incredibly weak Australian conference. The Reds should do well against the Rabbles and the Tahs so I think our chances are increasingly slim unfortunately.

    That being said, we lost to the weakest team in the competition ever so I have no idea how this season will end. I am still excited about it, just not putting any money down.

  • Comment 19, posted at 06.06.12 11:57:52 by Orelando_G Reply

    Orelando_GUnder 21 player
  • @vanmartin (Comment 17) : True, but dont you think that defence is the cornerstone of their whole system and that all is built and planned around it.

  • Comment 20, posted at 06.06.12 11:58:52 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the SubtleAssistant coach
  • this is an old problem with the Sharks,so not sure why so many are surprised lol

    In the CC most of the time, come semi’s for example ,the Cheetahs take us out,

    SR its someone else, it always happens that come a must win match to end on top etc we fail and play like nuggets :sad:

  • Comment 21, posted at 06.06.12 12:09:17 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    sharks_loverAssistant coach
  • @sharks_lover (Comment 21) : Maybe that points to lack of a mental coach more than anything

  • Comment 22, posted at 06.06.12 12:11:07 by Bokhoring Reply

    BokhoringAssistant coach
  • @Culling Song (Comment 18) : True but I don’t think you’d find many of us complaining if the Sharks were pushing for top spot on the overall log and had just achieved an unlikely win at Loftus. We’d most likely be praising our coaches for their boring brand of rugby :grin:

    @Salmonoid (Comment 20) : Yes definitely but I suspect that decision was made by AC and not Nienaber.

  • Comment 23, posted at 06.06.12 12:17:41 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    vanmartinAssistant coach
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 22) : exactly mate

  • Comment 24, posted at 06.06.12 12:29:44 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    sharks_loverAssistant coach
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 22) : Thing is this, look how they were prepared for the Stormers match 2 weeks ago??

    Why not the same again??

  • Comment 25, posted at 06.06.12 12:30:35 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    sharks_loverAssistant coach
  • @vanmartin (Comment 23) : Absolutely, I think Nienaber is a genius, but will his methods be successful with any other form of playing the game. Im not so sure it will because to my mind the Stormers, with their good scrum and classy, fast backline players should be scoring more tries than they are at present.

  • Comment 26, posted at 06.06.12 12:47:18 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the SubtleAssistant coach
  • @sharks_lover (Comment 25) : and the Cheetahs in Bloem a week earlier. They really seemed to have found their mental edge and mojo. Some have suggested that those that had been selected for the Boks already knew that they were in the squad, judging on their play this could be possible and that they had their minds on a week ahead and worried about injuries.

  • Comment 27, posted at 06.06.12 12:55:09 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the SubtleAssistant coach
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 26) : Ah, good point and a question worth asking. Would have been fascinating to seem involved with a more attacking minded team like the Sharks or Cheetahs (or even Lions?) to see if the two could be effectively combined.

  • Comment 28, posted at 06.06.12 13:30:35 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    vanmartinAssistant coach
  • Plumtree must stop spending all his time at Kearsneys coffee shop watching his son practice rugby… And he must actually start focusing on the sharks! It makes me mad when I see him chilling at the coffee shop every monday and wednesday when he should be coaching the sharks…

  • Comment 29, posted at 06.06.12 18:36:34 by KC_Sharks Reply

  • i know a few are not impressed with 6th place or even finding worth with mid table, but i am shocked with that. On the day, anything can happen, all you want is to have a chance. Even if they lose, surely its some good experience in the long run.

    Remember fairy tales dont just happen, there is always some obstacle to overcome or some evil dragon to defeat. Of course, I would prefer not having to do stuff (i.e qualify) the hard way each time, but If it turns out that way, i’d take it any day over just being an ordinary spectator.

    If i cast my mind back to last years must win vs the bulls, i only remember the immense excitement my group shared at Firken at Pavilion, Those memories are priceless.

  • Comment 30, posted at 06.06.12 20:09:58 by Jeremiser Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    JeremiserVodacom Cup player
  • @Jeremiser (Comment 30) : Ja I guess if you are a beggar at the traffic lights you might celebrate being given R50.

    Raise your expectations boet – the Sharks are capable of a lot more.

  • Comment 31, posted at 06.06.12 22:50:36 by siorc Reply

    Gold's MemberTeam captain
  • @siorc (Comment 31) : I actually wish I was more like Jeremiser. Happy with mediocrity.

  • Comment 32, posted at 06.06.12 23:10:09 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    BenAssistant coach
  • lol if thats what you want to take from my post, so be it; but 2nd place is just first loser anyway. i definitely know they are capable of more and im sure they realise that themselves too, and dont have to hit rock bottom to understand it. All im saying, take the highs and the lows. If you are so frustrated, i would imagine that they are probably feeling worse.

  • Comment 33, posted at 07.06.12 07:46:48 by Jeremiser Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    JeremiserVodacom Cup player
  • I have to agree with almost everybody here… If you go back the last 10/15 years (Except for the 3 where we were pretty shit in the S12), and you count all the semis where we were the comprehensive favorites, include the finals where we actually managed to win the semi, and still being favorites…. If you put those opportunities together, we should’ve dominated for two decades in a row now, and should’ve been the best franchise in world rugby… But always failing in the semi, final, or not using a good opportunity like Saturday, against a lesser team is not good enough! When are the MANAGEMENT going to learn that they need to get some advise in to help the players get over that expectation and final hurdle?

  • Comment 34, posted at 07.06.12 07:51:24 by SharksRTB Reply

    SharksRTBCurrie Cup player
  • @SharksRTB (Comment 34) : Because the players and the team is just that good they they almost go into every comp as favourites!!!!

  • Comment 35, posted at 07.06.12 07:54:22 by SharksRTB Reply

    SharksRTBCurrie Cup player
  • @Ben (Comment 32) : Mediocrity is unacceptable for the Sharks – not with all the money and talent at their disposal. Leave the Mediocrity to the Cheetahs.

  • Comment 36, posted at 07.06.12 08:00:10 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
    lostfishSuper Rugby player

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