It is time that the Sharks move away from completely relying on a player like Jean Deysel or Willem Alberts to dominate the advantage line because against a good defence like Province’s they cannot regularly get the required go forward to get enough momentum to attack off of.
It is not a coincidence that the Sharks only really kicked into gear this weekend when Jacques Botes came on. Moves stopped ending with Deysel because Botes would either run into space rather than into somebody or he would pass/offload. Having a tactic of bashing it up in the first channel by Deysel or Alberts just means that there are more rucks and therefore more opportunities for the opposition to steal the ball. We saw much less of Boom Prinsloo stealing ball once Deysel went off. This was not because our cleaning of rucks was any better but rather that moves lasted longer and there were fewer rucks. This weekend’s game showed that having a player who runs into space and who passes/offloads is better than a player who simply runs straight into contact.
Now I’m not knocking Deysel or Alberts as I am a big fan of both of them but I believe that they are being over utilized as ball carriers when they could be used more often to clean out at rucks.
Botes is very good in the above mentioned capacity, but Tera Mtembu is even better. Our standout performances this season were against the Cheetahs and Lions. It is no coincidence that Tera started both of these games. He runs into space and is very good at offloading the ball in contact and creating space for others. He is also a smart player and does the basics very well. Arguably our best performance in Super Rugby this year came against the Chiefs and, again, it was no coincidence that he started that game. He stood out in that game and made a huge difference to the Sharks team.
Since the Lions game 3 weeks ago he has not featured at all and the Sharks have not looked as good a side, especially on attack, in the games against the Bulls, Province and Cheetahs respectively.
The way to break down Province’s defence is not by having Deysel or Alberts smash into defenders in the first channel because they will be stopped by gang tackles by the Province players, and guys like Deon Fourie and Duane Vermuelen will steal the ball on the ground. The way to break down their defence is by running into space and offloading the ball in contact. And that is why I believe that our best loose forward combo for this game is Keegan, Marcell and Tera, leaving Deysel/Alberts on the bench as an impact player where they are both very effective.Tweet