After a disappointing lose to be Brumbies on Saturday the Sharks will face the Melbourne Rebels at Kings Park this weekend. The Rebels enjoyed a bye last week after losing 23 – 13 against the Reds a week before.
Last week the Sharks had a shocking 29 – 10 home defeat at the hands of the Brumbies and their former Springbok World Cup Winning coach Jake White. The Brumbies scored a few quick tries early in the first half to seal the game. The Sharks were never really in the game and were out played and out muscled at every ruck. They only had to few players contesting at the ruck and were even out scrummed at times.
An area where the Sharks have always struggled was with the so called “fetcher”. Richie McCaw, David Pocock, George Smith and Heinrich Brussow to name a few are all players thats been labeled under the fetcher role. Should this role just be left for one specific player on the field or should it be any player in a position to steal or rip the ball?
The closest the Sharks have been to a player like that is in Jacques Botes, a player thats more utilized from the bench as an impact player and someone that can win you the game with 20 minutes to go.
The problem when playing Ryan Kankowski, Keegan Daniel and Marcell Coetzee in the starting 15 is that they are all 1st receiver, not really players that would hit the rucks and steal the ball. Not saying they would not assist when needed but is it their primary focus? They would be very dangerous when its an open game but when it gets tight like it was on Saturday and they don’t get much front foot ball they could be very ineffective.
Coetzee did hit 8 rucks in 80 minutes but so did Kyle Cooper in 40 minutes, Kankowski and Daniel hit 5 each, Pieter Steph du Toit hit 1 more in his 35 minutes on the field and Patrick Lambie, JP Petersen, Francois Styen, Paul Jordaan and Louis Ludik did more. And its not just about how many rucks and mauls you hit in a game, but if you are not where the action is you would not be in a position to possibly win the ball for your team.
John Plumtree has made a few changes for this week’s game, some might be on form others might just be rotating the players. Botes will be starting ahead of Kankowski which seems strange after he scored the only try against the Brumbies. Lwazi Mvovo will be back in the team, with Riaan Viljoen coming on the bench and Odwa Ndungane dropping out of the match day 22. Viljoen is an exciting player and being left out of the team should be enough motivation for him to show Plumtree what he can offer if he gets the opportunity. Meyer Bosman is also swapping places with Steyn who is not looking like the player we remembered before he left for France.
Bottom line is it was a very poor and frustrating performance from the Sharks. You can’t just blame one or two players and one might think it is still early days in the competition, which is true but the fact is last weekends game was a home game for the Sharks and by not even getting a point out of the game should be unacceptable for any top side.
Lets hope with all the changes against the Rebels it will not be too disruptive for the Sharks and they can pull it together on the day, score some tries and get that winning bonus point which they so desperately need.Tweet