robdylan

Better discipline the key


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 12 Aug 2013 at 16:27
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While most Sharks fans – still in shock after an unexpected loss against Griquas on Friday – are battling to take any positives from the game, the match statistics point to a somewhat different picture. In the final analysis, but for a few areas, the Sharks probably will feel they really should have won this contest.

I need to start, though, by owning up: I got this one completely wrong. I completely underestimated the impact that a solid three month preparation block would have for Griquas, versus the scant three weeks that the Sharks enjoyed. I also underestimated – or perhaps forgot – quite how much it weakens the Sharks pack when the likes of the du Plessis brothers, Beast Mtawarira, Willem Alberts and Marcell Coetzee aren’t there. What I’m trying to say here is that the expectation of a big win (I called a 15-pointer for the Sharks) was very wrong, but I do feel we could have and should have been able to pull through with a more realistic margin of victory.

Now, it’s commonly accepted that the set piece was a disaster for the Sharks; while it’s true that the side battled to gain quality possession from either the scrum or the lineout, the match statistics will tell us that only a single line-out was lost on own ball. The Sharks won 15 lineouts in total, to 11 from Griquas. The Sharks only fed 3 scrums – and received usable possession from 2 of those and a free kick from the third – while Griquas fed 10 scrums, but could only use that ball on 6 occasions. Further, of those 10 scrums feeds for the visitors, 2 resulted in lost possession and a third resulted in a penalty for the Sharks. While it is true that Griquas certainly applied a huge amount of pressure on every scrum and that this might have had a psychological impact, the impression that their victory was built on scrum dominance is probably wide of the mark.

The Sharks were also no slouches on defence; in fact, their tackle completion % of 86.9 was by far the best of any team in the opening round – and certainly far better than Griquas’ 71.3%. This statistic is probably a little misleading, though, since it hides the fact that Griquas were allowed to make far too much ground around the ruck fringes. Griquas crossed the advantage line 36 times in total, with a guy like Carel Greeff, for instance, responsible for 10 of those all on his own, just in the last quarter of the match. That said, in all of the key areas indicating the chance to create a score, the Sharks did better; line breaks (8 to 4), broken tackles (33 to 17), metres run (647 to 566) and advantage line crosses (41 to 36). Perhaps most damning was the fact that the Sharks, who edged overall possession, spent 43% of the time that they had the ball, inside their opponents’ 22m area. That sort of combination of possession and territory really should see most games of rugby won. Griquas, on the other hand, spent only 27.4% of their possession time in the Sharks’ 22 – a little over 5 minutes in total.

So where did the Sharks lose? I think it’s pretty simple and it’s one that has reared its ugly head in the past. The Sharks’ discipline let them down far too often and that, ultimately, was what cost them the match. In a game where the side scoring fewer tries ends up winning, it’s generally a given that penalties have played a decisive role. With neither kicker missing a thing on the night, the fact that Nico Scheepers was presented 6 opportunities to add 3 points to his teams’ tally (against just 3 for Butch James) proved telling. The Sharks conceded 14 penalties in total – more than any other team in week 1 – against 11 conceded by Griquas. The key thing, though, is that 13 of those 14 were conceded on defence, meaning a greater likelihood that they would be in their own half. Griquas conceded only 7 penalties on defence and a rough calculation will reveal that half as many penalties on defence resulted in half as many points conceded via penalty kicks at goal.

Charl McLeod was the only backline player to concede a penalty; Jacques Botes and Tera Mtembu the only forwards not to concede at least one. A pretty clear area for the coaches to hone in on ahaed of Friday’s game against the Lions.



14 Comments

  • I think an are that the sharks could work more on is stopping the driving mall. I know it’s pretty hard to do that without giving away a penalty for sacking or entering from the side, or for some other obscure season, but as we saw in super rugby this is one of the main weapons South African teams rely on toscore tries and win penalties.

  • Comment 1, posted at 12.08.13 17:53:20 by RuckingFun Reply
    RuckingFunTeam captain
     
  • @RuckingFun (Comment 1) : but the Sharks did this very well against Griquas. Sure, they scored their first try from a driving maul, but after that, the Sharks handled them pretty well.

  • Comment 2, posted at 12.08.13 17:59:44 by robdylan Reply
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  • Driving mauls, I dinna like em. No matter what anybody does to stop them, the ref usually has other ideas on ”illegal”. But very true, give away less penalties and you give away less chance for the opposition to score or set up a – driving maul close to the line.

  • Comment 3, posted at 12.08.13 18:06:10 by Caratacus Reply

    CaratacusCurrie Cup player
     
  • So the fear of losing is out of the way now, now watch us bounce back :twisted:

  • Comment 4, posted at 13.08.13 08:20:58 by JarsonX Reply
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  • We all know its going to be a tough season with the new coaches and structures coming into effect. We shouldnt have lost against the Kwasse especially not at home but we did. I’m sure there was lessons learned and the guys will come back stronger. Let’s just back them.

  • Comment 5, posted at 13.08.13 08:26:14 by JarsonX Reply
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  • I can’t see why we can’t blame the ref if penalties were the most influential factor. He definitely got a few wrong and though he might have also gotten a few wrong against Griquas, it was clearly in the areas of the field where it didn’t have as big an impact against Griquas.

    I thought his second half was more against Griquas though and we didn’t use the opportunities we did have.

    Obviously it’s not just the ref, the Sharks will have to pick up their game and look at discipline, or at least get an idea of what the next ref will be looking at closely, but if Jafta is happy with his performance over the weekend, then I expect their will be more teams this season restraining themselves from blaming the ref.

  • Comment 6, posted at 13.08.13 09:12:07 by Letgo Reply
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    LetgoAssistant coach
     
  • I thought the ref (what’s his name) for the Bulls/Stormers game was pretty spot on, there was one call I thought he got wrong, when he penalised De Allende for not releasing, when the replay showed he clearly lifted his hands of the player before stealing the ball. One mistake in a game for a ref, is an excellent performance though.

  • Comment 7, posted at 13.08.13 09:14:56 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 7) : that was Rasta Rashivenge, no?

  • Comment 8, posted at 13.08.13 10:02:45 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 6) : Agreed. The one impression I got after reading this article is that Griquas are one disciplined team – considering how much time the Sharks spent in
    their 22 and how few penalties they gave away there while under pressure as compared to what went on at the opposite end of the field (for a shorter time period)

  • Comment 9, posted at 13.08.13 10:07:00 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 7) : Agree again, he was running the touch lines in the Sharks game and he picked up a few things and alerted the ref to them. Things I feel the ref should have picked up himself (Charl’s fumble in particular)

  • Comment 10, posted at 13.08.13 10:13:29 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 8) : Yes.

  • Comment 11, posted at 13.08.13 10:13:50 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @RuckingFun (Comment 1) : I would like to see that if a team has a line out on close/on our 22 and we know the drive is coming that the Sharks disengage completely and retreat. If no sharks player bind to the maul, it isn’t a maul, just obstruction which will lead to a penalty to us.

    I saw this happen a few years ago, but not since. I’ve always liked the simplicity of this tactic.

  • Comment 12, posted at 13.08.13 11:33:59 by PTAShark Reply
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    DragnipurSuper Rugby player
     
  • @PTAShark (Comment 12) : I saw this not so long ago – takes rugby to a whole new level.

  • Comment 13, posted at 13.08.13 11:50:27 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 13) : And it nullifies the 20m maul. Wouldn’t want to try it from 5m out except if discussed with the ref before the game.

  • Comment 14, posted at 13.08.13 13:37:14 by PTAShark Reply
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