robdylan

Sharks – unknown entity or surprise package?


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 2 Feb 2015 at 10:49
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The water cooler talk this morning, it seems, mostly relates to the Bulls and just how well they performed in their weekend victory over Saracens. In trumping the strong North London club, Frans Ludeke’s men did what no other SA Super Rugby franchise has yet managed to do in pre-season; the Sharks and Stormers have both failed in the same objective in the recent past.

The Stormers won again, handing the Cheetahs their second successive loss (although the visitors did have the better of the second half) and along with the Bulls, the Cape side appear to be “riding high” on the pre-season log, talk of coach Allister Coetzee’s impending departure for Japan notwithstanding. Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske is already bemoaning a lack of tight five depth before the competition has yet begun and while the early indications are that his orange-clad side are again unlikely to feature amongst the finalists, it’s at the other end of the table that speculation continues to mount.

The Bulls and Stormers, based on pre-season form, are running pretty hot and their opening fixture, which sees them take on one another, should be a fascinating one and lay down a strong marker in the race for South African conference honours. Where the Sharks stand in this equation, though, we simply do not know and cannot tell based on their own, rather subdued, pre-season program.

I must say, I’m quite intrigued – but also excited – that the Sharks have opted not to “show their hand” in pre-season fixtures against the local boys. A closed practice game against two club sides will have revealed nothing and while Thursday’s game against Toulon will certainly give the wider world something to talk about, I’m not too sure how much we’ll be able to read in to the result of that fixture, given the difference in where the two teams are from a season perspective. For the visitors it will be, once again, the first competitive outfit under a new coaching staff so some hiccoughs are definitely to be expected.

All things told, there will be plenty of surprises in store, both for Sharks fans and for the opposition, during those first few weeks of Super Rugby action. We should probably expect a relatively slow start as the boys find one another, but hopefully not one that leaves the team too far off the pace by the time the first month of the competition draws to a close. As fans, we’re really just going to have to sit back and wait for the ride; hoping like hell that it’s going to be an enjoyable one.

Come on – it’s time for Sharks rugby again!



42 Comments

  • ja not sure what to expect from the Sharks but hope they can find each other quickly!!!!!!!!

  • Comment 1, posted at 02.02.15 10:54:57 by JD Reply
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  • For those who have not seen this on the old thread, Springbok wing JP Pietersen is a champion in Japan after his side won the Japanese Top League final on Sunday.

    Pietersen plays for the Panasonic Wild Knights, who secured their second consecutive Top League title, defeating Yamaha Jubilo 30-12 in the final in Tokyo.

    Pietersen came on as a replacement for Australian Berrick Barnes in the 56th minute and performed adequately.

    He played an influential role in the Wild Knights’ fourth try, when he gathered a loose ball and off-loaded to the wing to seal the title.

    The Wild Knights are coached by former Wallaby coach Robbie Deans.

  • Comment 2, posted at 02.02.15 11:01:30 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • Nog net 11 slaapies :mrgreen:

  • Comment 3, posted at 02.02.15 11:08:51 by JarsonX Reply
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  • I enjoy the fact that the Sharks are mostly under the radar thus far and for once, our boys are not the preseason favorites.

  • Comment 4, posted at 02.02.15 11:13:11 by FireTheLooser Reply

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  • I’ll certainly be watching this game! Here’s hoping that we see some enterprising running rugby.

  • Comment 5, posted at 02.02.15 11:15:44 by PTAShark Reply
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  • Just a thought…are the Sharks perhaps not trying to take a leaf out of the most successful team, the Crusaders, playbook in that they arent trying to peak in preseason and hit the competition at 100% but rather hit the comp at say 85% and build into it so they peak come the latter stages rather than fade off?

  • Comment 6, posted at 02.02.15 11:20:56 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 4) : ja 100% correct love the underdog thing!!!!!!

  • Comment 7, posted at 02.02.15 11:21:23 by JD Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 6) : hell I hope so otherwise it might be a looooong season.

  • Comment 8, posted at 02.02.15 11:22:14 by JD Reply
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  • Year in and year out the South African media focus on the Bulls and Stormers (I think it is a pro Afrikaans conspiracy :D ) and in recent times both teams have struggled only for the media to half way through the season jump on the Sharks bandwagon. Honestly I feel all these pretty season games are meaningless because nothing is super rugby, and it is all down to media hype.

  • Comment 9, posted at 02.02.15 11:23:07 by Seth101 Reply
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  • @Seth101 (Comment 9) : Hmmm just ran into a little bug Rob, commented on my phone only to realise it says Africans instead of Afrikaans, but even when using PC I can’t edit the comment?

  • Comment 10, posted at 02.02.15 11:25:39 by Seth101 Reply
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  • @Seth101 (Comment 10) : well, it’s more a lack of feature than a bug :)

    I fixed it for you. Now wait for the flame war.

  • Comment 11, posted at 02.02.15 11:50:37 by robdylan Reply
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  • Well as we all know, the Stormers and Bulls will play in the final and the Sharks will be last on the combined log. :cool: Let’s keep that story going, we all know how well our boys do when they are written off.

  • Comment 12, posted at 02.02.15 11:59:48 by KingRiaan Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 6) : The thought has certainly crossed my mind but at the same time I’m wary of any sort of comparison to the Crusaders

  • Comment 13, posted at 02.02.15 12:01:49 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 13) : Well we do both have black in our kits…both play with 15 guys on the field mostly…id say we pretty similar hey

  • Comment 14, posted at 02.02.15 12:11:13 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 14) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 15, posted at 02.02.15 12:14:46 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 11) : Haha thanks man.

  • Comment 16, posted at 02.02.15 12:21:03 by Seth101 Reply
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  • Watched the game myself and was quite impressed with the Bulls. Saracens wasn’t at full strength, but neither was the bulls. Thought JJ was looking motivated, he played with a high work rate.

    Jan looked at home in the 12 jersey.

    Hougaard had a solid run, pretty quick from the base of the ruck and not many errors.

    Pollard was quiet in his 30 mins. Played like a guy assured of his spot compared to JJ and for that matter JLP.

    First time I saw Jesse Kriel and now I know why I’ve heard so much about him even before he’s played much. He’s electifying, a real danger-man. He needs to temper his enthusiasm at times though, but is the Bulls the right team to temper it, instead of kill it??

  • Comment 17, posted at 02.02.15 13:34:38 by Letgo Reply
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  • Bulls scrum was out-muscled though. Maybe that was the one area pre-season fitness showed the most.

    Jacques du Plessis at 4 reminded me of Etzebeth when we first saw him – minus the awful hair.

  • Comment 18, posted at 02.02.15 13:38:35 by Letgo Reply
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  • I think the performance of the Bulls has put a little pressure on the Sharks for the Toulon game. An average performance here could have us going into the start of Super Rugby on the back foot.

  • Comment 19, posted at 02.02.15 13:42:03 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 19) : I think we need to put all our efforts into a solid outing against the cheetahs. I’m not sure how the game against Toulon will change which “foot” we use for that game, unless we pick up injuries. :)

  • Comment 20, posted at 02.02.15 13:44:52 by robdylan Reply
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  • got to remember the Bulls got 0 log points for beating Saracens, just the same number we will get from the Toulon game, regardless of result.

  • Comment 21, posted at 02.02.15 13:45:27 by robdylan Reply
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  • For me it looked more like the Saracens guys was just going through the motions, and only kicked on when the score line was looking pretty embarrassing. The most ridiculous moment of the whole match was were Spies just receives the last pass and just dots down the ball, and every one and their dog starts celebrating as if it is the second coming of the mesiah.

  • Comment 22, posted at 02.02.15 14:05:42 by KingRiaan Reply

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  • Saracens did not look like they really wanted to be there anyway. I realize it counts for nothing, but I think putting a good performance in against a top team could help with confidence … then again, the Sharks has always been better when less are expected of them.

    I’m actually just hoping for a little more creativity on attack.

    Also, can’t wait to see I PSDT goes after his long injury. Also would like to see what midfield combo the Sharks field and how they fair against a top team. Esterhuizen/Williams & Sburu/Murray.

  • Comment 23, posted at 02.02.15 14:05:51 by Letgo Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 21) : ja boet 100% correct!!!!!!!

  • Comment 24, posted at 02.02.15 14:41:38 by JD Reply
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  • I wonder what the thinking was when they decided to play the European champions as the only pre-season game?

    Is it merely a publicity stunt, or do they feel that such a big game will serve as the best preparation for SR?

    Personally I prefer the route the Lions went…very low key pre-season.

  • Comment 25, posted at 02.02.15 14:42:50 by FireTheLooser Reply

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  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 25) : getting away from the SA vs SA thing so rather play other teams and also maybe get some branding in Europe if we leave Super rugby for Europe.

  • Comment 26, posted at 02.02.15 14:50:48 by JD Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 23) : going to be a hard game for the youngsters but I do think they will do ok.

  • Comment 27, posted at 02.02.15 14:54:15 by JD Reply
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  • I personally think this trip is an inspired move,take the team out of their comfort zone,put them on the road,and into a tough game against good opposition.Best bonding exercise ,better than a sweat at K.P. at this time of the year.Everything is unfamiliar,the cold, hard grounds the ref ,the language
    If you are a coach you can learn more about the quality,resilience and adaptability of your players than in four games against familiar opposition you played four times last year.

  • Comment 28, posted at 02.02.15 15:45:59 by The hound Reply
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  • The reason behind the overseas preseason from what ive been led to believe is for the team to practise travelling and playing a game. So yes the performance is important, result less so. But its more about the guys getting back into travelling and playing so they arent caught off guard when comp starts

  • Comment 29, posted at 02.02.15 15:59:37 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @JD (Comment 26) : @The hound (Comment 28) : @SheldonK (Comment 29) : I guess my concern has got more to do with me wanting the Sharks to beat Toulon, and show Europe how much stronger SR teams are….

    which will probably not happen as this is only a warm-up match. We can’t read anything into the result (and we shouldn’t).

    So let’s hope you guys are correct and this game is a window for the coaches into the character of the squad.

  • Comment 30, posted at 02.02.15 16:17:59 by FireTheLooser Reply

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  • I was at the Stormers Cheetahs game and while the Stormers weren’t good the Cheetahs were just awful. You could see the home side were using the game as a chance to have a proper knockabout and not much else but the Bloem boys just went onto the pitch to get pummelled

  • Comment 31, posted at 02.02.15 17:06:21 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
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  • @Seth101 (Comment 9) : Well it seems you missed two years of media hype!! For the past two seasons, its been the Sharks who have hogged the media hype.
    Sharks have a good squad, but the Bulls and Stormers are looking good too.

    Cheetahs aren’t expected to do well after finishing last in the comp last year, and losing some good players.

    That said, from feedback I have received the scrum was solid against the Bulls, and if the Cheetahs scrum can compete they might well exceed expectations. They have some exciting backs to play with.

    Most Sharks are expecting an easy win in two weeks time, well it is always dangerous to underestimate a Cheetahs team. Especially from the Sharks

  • Comment 32, posted at 02.02.15 20:05:08 by KingCheetah Reply

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  • @The hound (Comment 29) : that’s some really good points you’ve made. Just hope the players are ready for the game.

  • Comment 33, posted at 02.02.15 22:59:25 by JD Reply
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  • @KingCheetah (Comment 33) : boet there’s never an easy game when two SA teams play as they always save the big hits for the local games!!!!!! Good luck for the season.

  • Comment 34, posted at 02.02.15 23:01:56 by JD Reply
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  • The players, the staff, the vibe – everything is there to produce silverware, and the coaches can only take you that far, I am quietly confident (yet again) – but come the hour, come the man – the boys need to produce this year. A squad as good as this should have had a trophy or two, but moving on – everything is in place for a very good future.

  • Comment 35, posted at 03.02.15 09:40:52 by Richard Southey Reply

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  • @sharks_lover (Comment 2) : Does anyone know whether JP started regularly? Or dud he warm the bench in Japan?!

  • Comment 36, posted at 05.02.15 08:27:48 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 19) : Look, I am glad we are not playing the Bulls in the first game. We shouldn’t underestimate the Cheetahs, but I prefer that as our first game…

  • Comment 37, posted at 05.02.15 08:32:02 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 37) : I’m going to regret saying that aren’t I?

  • Comment 38, posted at 05.02.15 08:32:40 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @KingCheetah (Comment 32) : I find myself agreeing with you…on all points… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 39, posted at 05.02.15 08:36:40 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Clayton(PJLD) (Comment 31) : Smoke and mirrors from the Cheetahs then?

  • Comment 40, posted at 05.02.15 08:47:37 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Clayton(PJLD) (Comment 31) : @KingCheetah (Comment 32) : By media accounts the Cheetahs scrum against the Stormers was woeful.

  • Comment 41, posted at 05.02.15 08:55:38 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 39) : I really hope not!!!!!

  • Comment 42, posted at 05.02.15 09:11:28 by JD Reply
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