pierre_mackie

Where to from here?


Written by Pierre McLeod (pierre_mackie)

Posted in :Original Content, Super Rugby on 6 Jun 2013 at 11:25
Tagged with : , , , ,

The Springboks are gearing up to face the Azzurri on Saturday, but before we put our Sharks jerseys way back in our cupboard, let’s have a look at the Super Rugby season thus far to see where we can possibly go from here.

Before we get to the Sharks’ dismal season, let’s have a look at the other South African teams that are flying the South African flag as high as they possibly can. There are two unlikely candidates leading the South African chase this year, oh well maybe not the Bulls but definitely the Cheetahs.

The Bulls are currently leading the South African pack with 10 wins from 13, 6 bonus points and are cruising on 54 log points, which puts them 2 points behind the combined log leaders, the Chiefs. The Bulls still need to face the Kings and Sharks at home and their last game will be against the Stormers in Cape Town. They have also been rewarded for their form by 12 of their players being called up to represent the Springboks during the Incoming Tour fixtures against Italy, Samoa and Scotland, with only two of those players not featuring in the first test. The Bulls can possibly take the top spot at the end of the round robin, with the Chiefs still to play the Hurricanes, Crusaders and Blues.

The second South African team among the log leaders is the Cheetahs; a team that normally find themselves at the bottom end of the Super Rugby log are treading unfamiliar territory and are currently 5th on the combined log with Crusaders breathing down their necks. With 9 wins from 14, 6 bonus points and 46 log points, they are in a good position to reach the play offs, something they could only ever accomplish when they joined forces with the Lions and played as the Cats. The Cheetahs still need to play the Stormers in Cape Town and the Blues at home. The Cheetahs have 6 players in the Springbok group with 4 of them playing against Italy. A surprise inclusion is exciting Willie le Roux, a player that our National coaches would normally stay away from because of his unpredictability. He is not scared to back himself when the opportunity presents himself and definitely has the ability to create something from nothing.

The Sharks are probably the biggest disappointment from a South African point of view. They have played in two consecutive Currie Cup finals and showed great character to overcome all odds to play in last year’s Super Rugby final, but with no success. If you would have asked any supporter about the Sharks chances for this year, they would have called for a Super Rugby Final win in Durban. On paper the Sharks had the best team, but injury, poor form and poor management have conspired against the names on that paper. The Sharks welcomed back Francios Steyn, Ryan Kankowski and Butch James and a few promising players put their hands up during 2102. The Sharks have hit by an injury infection that took out players like Keegan Daniel, Bismarck du Plessis, Willem Alberts, Jean Deysel, Tim Whitehead, Frans Steyn, Lwazi Mvovo, JP Petersen, Louis Ludik and the list goes on. Poor management of players left the Sharks without the services of Ryan Kankowski. Off the pace and out of form was the reason given for his exclusion from the tour, seriously? In all of this one player has really stood out and will still make a big impact for the Springboks. Pieter-Steph du Toit was named in the Springbok squad and would have probably started this Saturday against Italy but had to withdraw due to injury, but the team can still boast with 7 players in the squad and 4 in the match day 23. Things to look forward to for the Sharks will be du Toit recovering from injury and getting his chance to represent the Springboks and John Smit taking up his role as the Sharks CEO and what changes he will make to take the Sharks back to the top. The Sharks still need to play the Blues at home, Bulls away before returning home to face the Southern Kings.

Another disappointing team is last years Super Rugby Semi Finalists and Currie Cup Champions the Stormers. Many would have believed Alister Coetzee has a good thing going last year and they will just build on that momentum. They have also made use of the services of Elton Jantjies, showing their lack of confidence in their own Demetri Catrakilis who was so vital in their Currie Cup victory over the Sharks last year. The Stormers continued with their defensive approach to the game and conceded the least amount of tries, but they have also scored the least tries and winning 6 from 13 games puts them on a zero points difference with scoring 264 points and conceding 264. The Stormers are currently 4th on the South African log but should safe from not finishing at the bottom, they could even still finish ahead of the Sharks. They still need to play the Cheetahs at home, travel to Port Elizabeth for their return match again the Kings and then finish off the Super Rugby season against the Bulls in Cape Town.

The last South African team who has surprised many of us, are the Southern Kings. The Kings playing in their début season proved so many wrong after winning their first match against the Force in Port Elizabeth. Lets be honest the Kings have not caused major waves with only 3 wins and 1 draw from 13 games but they have played some exciting rugby at stages. They managed a draw against then log leaders the Brumbies in Australia scoring 4 tries, followed by their first win over seas against the Rebels. They failed to build on that momentum when they returned home, but they keep impressing and gaining experience after every game. They showed great fighting spirit in beating the Highlanders at home and scoring 4 tries in the process. Players unknown to the International ruby scene like, Jacques Engelbrecht, Cornel du Preez, Wimpie v d Walt, Shaun Venter and Sergeal Petersen household names in the Eastern Cape but now also known in Australia and New Zealand. Sergeal Petersen was called up for the Baby Boks but had to withdraw due to injury, another player in Demetri Catrakilis was invited to join the Springboks training camp but was left out of the final squad. Kings can only go from strength to strength if they can retain their spot in Super Rugby but they also need to get that promotion into the Premier Division of the Currie Cup.

Its been a disappointing Super Rugby for many of us, but individual players has surly stepped up and they have been rewarded for that. So lets unite under the Springbok banner as they start their quest of wold dominance this weekend.



9 Comments

  • We do what we do every weekend Pienkie, this weekend we take over the world!

  • Comment 1, posted at 06.06.13 11:54:04 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    JDAssistant coach
     
  • I’m starting to seriously believe that the Sharks are the franchise version of the French.

    The French have reached some 3 odd wc finals and haven’t won one. They are able to beat NZ in NZ, yet at the same time able to lose to Italy.

    The French murdered the 6 Nations last year (much like the SHarks in SR 2012 part 2) but were the worst team in 6N 2013 (just like the Sharks in SR 2013).

    The French are able to produce some of the most exciting rugby ever displayed on a rugby field, able to match and beat any team physically whilst displaying some seriously mind blowing interplay and handling skills. At the same time they are able to produce the most mind numbing rugby ever.

    That’s right guys, the Sharks are the scaled down version of the French international rugby team.

  • Comment 2, posted at 06.06.13 11:55:32 by FireTheLooser Reply

    Assistant coach
     
  • I think you have nailed it.

    It also explains why I love French rugby and why the French like playing for the Sharks.

  • Comment 3, posted at 06.06.13 12:04:03 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the SubtleAssistant coach
     
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 2) : that’s maybe why Freddy enjoyed the Sharks so much ;-)

  • Comment 4, posted at 06.06.13 12:10:12 by pierre_mackie Reply
    Author
    pierre_mackieTeam captain
     
  • :shock: We only have one fit lock left with Bresler and PSDT injured!! Peet Marais is our only lock left active at the Union now that Jandre has moved to France!

    Anybody know who else we can call on once Franco leaves??

  • Comment 5, posted at 06.06.13 12:18:16 by ChrisS Reply
    Author
    ChrisSSuper Rugby player
     
  • @pierre_mackie (Comment 4) : Freddy and Sharks rugby was a mutually beneficial relationship. They both blossomed together and fell apart when separated.

    Sharks should make Freddy a permanent offer, at least HM can’t get to him. Ship Lambie off to the Bulls. (can’t believe I just said that, but it’s true)

  • Comment 6, posted at 06.06.13 12:18:32 by FireTheLooser Reply

    Assistant coach
     
  • @ChrisS (Comment 5) : our only senior lock, maybe. There are some good junior options, but probably the simplest thing to do will be to use Deysel at 4 until Bresler and Steph recover.

  • Comment 7, posted at 06.06.13 12:41:22 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : Yep, he was quite good when he packed down at 4 for us in the cc.

  • Comment 8, posted at 06.06.13 13:53:31 by King Shark Reply
    Author
    King SharkVodacom Cup player
     
  • Great article there Pierre and well timed.

  • Comment 9, posted at 08.06.13 22:47:40 by Gerhardt Reply

    GerhardtCurrie Cup player
     

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