robdylan

A good few ticks (and a couple of question marks too)


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 9 Feb 2015 at 10:00
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I’ve had the benefit of a second, more detailed, viewing of the Sharks’ match against Toulon and wanted to highlight a few things that stood out for me.

All-in-all, I remain rather impressed with the performance as a whole, given that it really was the first competitive hit-out for most of these players in rather a long time. I’ve taken note of the (oft scathing and somewhat unwarranted) criticism from some of you and while I have to agree that it certainly wasn’t a perfect performance, nor a particularly pretty one, I nevertheless found a number of aspects from which to take great confidence ahead of the Super Rugby season.

Intensity

Paul Anthony is in a new role this year – a somewhat unusual (and rather revolutionary) “off the ball” coaching position. Now I’m far from an expert in what this entails, but my understanding is that it is all to do with ensuring that the players maintain a high tempo and keep their intensity up during the game. If we look at the contribution of many of the players, with some of the tight forwards in particular standing out, I think the effects of his work are already showing. Quite simply, the Sharks were streets ahead of Toulon in terms of the intensity they brought to the game, with the commentators in complete awe of the sheer amount of work players like Mo Botha, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Marcell Coetzee were able to get through. I’ve heard it said a number of times that the boys are incredibly fit this year and you can definitely see that in the way the guys get around the park.

Applying pressure

While the Sharks didn’t really do much playing (more on that later), it was incredibly impressive to see how they went about smothering Toulon and stifling their hosts’ attack by applying defensive pressure. Sure, there were one or two occasions were the rush defence was their undoing, but for the most part, the boys got bodies to the ball carrier in numbers, behind the advantage line and used that presence to force mistakes and turn overs. Such a surfeit of turnover ball, on a drier day with a slightly more “gelled” backline, will, I’m sure, result in many tries.

New boys stepping up

Botha and Renaldo Bothma, on debut, were both superb. It’s a little harder to rate some of the backs, who had little ball and frankly not much to do on a night when “Bulls rugby” won the day, but when it comes to our new forward acquisitions, I am very impressed indeed. The “blond broers”, with such similar last names, look ready to die for the cause, which is just what we want.

Halfbacks in control

Now, we may not love the fact that the Sharks didn’t play much, but one thing is for sure – all four of the halfbacks on the night knew exactly what the intended to do, took control of matters and executed the plan with decent accuracy, given the stage of the season. Sure, there were a few charged-down or misdirected kicks, but for the most part, the play was kept in the right parts of the field. More importantly, though, there was a real sense of calm about the men directing the game; I don’t recall ever feeling that Pat Lambie and the others felt anything other than in complete control of what was going on.

Attack? What attack?

Well, there was an interesting period in the opening ten minutes when the Sharks actually did keep ball in hand through a number of phases and actually looked pretty good. Whether they opted to rather keep their “real plans” under wraps, or (perhaps more likely) due to the unfavourable conditions, that approach was very quickly shelved in favour of pragmatism. My view is that it’s pretty unfair to say anything much about the performances put in by anyone wearing a number higher than 10, given just how little they had to do on the night. SP Marais has come in for some criticism and while it’s true he did miss a catch or two, it just wasn’t the sort of game where his skills could be expected to come to the fore. He’ll be much better when we start attacking more (as will all of the others, I’m sure).

Turnovers won, turnovers lost!

Bismarck du Plessis, Marcell Coetzee, Kyle Cooper….. man! I lost count of how many times one of these men poached the ball off the deck. It’s just a pity that we seemed to concede almost as many as we won, through some poor technique, both in placing and in cleaning. While it’s fantastic to be able to effect these sorts of turnover almost at will, the boys need to ensure that it doesn’t happen to them in return; the second try, for example, came directly from turnover ball and really should have been avoided.

Set pieces

Line-outs were good, scrums less so. I felt that a lot of the scrum issues were down to slipping, though, with Matt Stevens in particular losing his footing on a number of occasions. There were some decent shoves there, in amongst the back peddling and given that few Super Rugby sides boast a scrum to rival that of the Toulonaise, I’m not feeling too terribly concerned about this aspect.

Discipline

Wayne Barnes, to me, was a little overeager in terms of punishing robust play. Renaldo Bothma’s yellow card was harsh, if not unjustifiable in the most literal, technical sense. A calmer ref would probably have let that one go, along with at least two other incidents where the Sharks were penalised for rather marginal high tackles. The boys need to be a bit careful, but I certainly wouldn’t say that they were on the wrong side of the line in this game.

So there you have it. I’m glad we won and I saw some exciting hints of things to come. We’re far from the finished article, but I for one am actually glad that the coaches opted not to give away any real secrets about an attacking game that is sure to evolve as the season progresses.

Well done Sharks – new champions of Europe!



63 Comments

  • Agreed. A big season ahead, but the camp looks good, I am sure we will see more in terms of attack when the competition kicks off and we are settled. I’m excited for this season, very impressed with Botha and Bothma on debut and PSDT who has been out for so long looked pure Bok.

  • Comment 1, posted at 09.02.15 10:08:06 by Richard Southey Reply
    RichardCurrie Cup player
     
  • Toulonnais, allez allez allez, allez allez allez, allez allez allez.

  • Comment 2, posted at 09.02.15 10:10:00 by lostfish Reply
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  • I merely think the attack was lacking because the boys summed up the conditions and decided to play to win. But for how long can SP’s blunders be defended? I can’t recall him making one clean catch the whole game, plus being caught out of times and the one time when we had a clear over lap he goes and kick the ball away.

  • Comment 3, posted at 09.02.15 10:11:22 by KingRiaan Reply

    KingRiaanTeam captain
     
  • I agree with most of this Rob except that SP was poor.
    He did not catch high balls and all the sides would have seen this and will test him! I would like to see him get his play sorted in Vodacom cup and only return to super rugby once he did this 100% If the Sharks play him he will cost us.
    Don’t get me wrong I like SP and I think he’s a talented youngster and I’m not bashing the guy, I just feel it will not be good for him to play Super rugby now.

  • Comment 4, posted at 09.02.15 10:13:29 by JD Reply
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  • I think everyone bashing SP needs to give him a few games to settle in. The weather was awful and it was freezing cold. Perhaps he was a little starstruck. Toulon is an excellent team. One warm up game cannot define his season.

  • Comment 5, posted at 09.02.15 10:17:45 by lostfish Reply
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  • My apologies if this has been mentioned before but will there be LMS this year???? ;-)

  • Comment 6, posted at 09.02.15 10:19:25 by TheLegend Reply
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  • Is Tonderai Chavanga still with the Sharks?

  • Comment 7, posted at 09.02.15 10:19:35 by Argex Reply

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  • @lostfish (Comment 5) : He has been poor since last season, maybe it’s time that we rather try Lionel Cronje or even (shudder) Swiel, although I would like to see Van Tonder backed for a couple of games.

  • Comment 8, posted at 09.02.15 10:20:14 by KingRiaan Reply

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  • @JD (Comment 4) : I really feel the lad has not fully recovered from JW and needs a bit more time to do so!!!!!!!!!!
    I’ll once again state it I like him and he’s a tallented youngster but needs some game time where he will not be under the presure that Super rugby brings!!!!!!

  • Comment 9, posted at 09.02.15 10:22:00 by JD Reply
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  • @lostfish (Comment 5) : I’m not bashing him I just feel he needs more time to get over JW!!!!

  • Comment 10, posted at 09.02.15 10:24:10 by JD Reply
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  • Reinach’s kicking was erratic again. Too many pointless kick to no where land, He could have done better by giving Lambie the ball and let him decide what he should do with the ball. The rest of his play seems to be coming on.

  • Comment 11, posted at 09.02.15 10:27:50 by Uli Boelie Reply
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  • @lostfish (Comment 2) : sounds familiar :)

  • Comment 12, posted at 09.02.15 10:29:41 by robdylan Reply
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  • @TheLegend (Comment 6) : sorry, but no.

  • Comment 13, posted at 09.02.15 10:30:13 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Uli Boelie (Comment 11) : I’m not sure what’s more surprising – the fact that you made a negative comment about Cobus, or the fact that you managed to add something more positive t the end of it! :)

  • Comment 14, posted at 09.02.15 10:32:34 by robdylan Reply
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  • @KingRiaan (Comment 8) : think he needs time to get over JW!!!!!!!!!!!! Man that guy stuffed up (or tried to) a couple of players!!!!!

  • Comment 15, posted at 09.02.15 10:32:47 by JD Reply
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  • @lostfish (Comment 2) : @robdylan (Comment 12) : what does it mean: “Toulon they lost they lost they lost”?

  • Comment 16, posted at 09.02.15 10:39:36 by JD Reply
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  • I think that’s a fair assessment Rob. I think SP’s taking a little extra flack because of his defense on that one try. Remove that slip-up and he probably wasn’t much worse than a lot of the others.

    @JD (Comment 16) : Catchy :mrgreen:

  • Comment 17, posted at 09.02.15 10:47:45 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 17) : thanks. :twisted: :mrgreen: :twisted:

  • Comment 18, posted at 09.02.15 10:52:51 by JD Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 12) : It has been in my head for days. Then I thought it was gone until I head yellow submarine on the radio this morning.

  • Comment 19, posted at 09.02.15 10:58:48 by lostfish Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 12) : Bouillabaisse!!

  • Comment 20, posted at 09.02.15 11:03:06 by lostfish Reply
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  • Given the excellent news of our depth increasing – our set-piece is due to be dominant. Claasens is classic in the 9 channel, quick ball, good kick, consistent… The last word being the most important, consistent. That is something where our current group need to step up, but there is a wealth of depth there. As for 15, I still advocate Lwazi going there, it started a healthy debate on an earlier thread, but with a full squad all fit, there are simply too many class players you can’t leave out, and Lwazi is a fantastic prospect at the back. He has express pace, good on the carry and a good decision maker, with a left boot that is becoming very educated, SP doesn’t make my team, not because of form alone, but for a number of reasons. Someone needs to put pressure on the 15 jersey and other than Van Tonder, Lwazi is my man.

  • Comment 21, posted at 09.02.15 11:05:51 by Richard Southey Reply

    RichardCurrie Cup player
     
  • The game was a preseason hit out in wet and muddy conditions so i dont think the coaching staff would have wanted to take very much out of it other than giving guys time to play together in a full on match. They would have also set a few basic objectives that they wanted to achieve however. Things needed to be aware of going into this weeks game- the number of soft scrum penalties. The number of ruck turnovers in our half.

  • Comment 22, posted at 09.02.15 11:10:42 by SheldonK Reply

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  • The trickiest and most difficult thing as a coach is to identify what the ceiling of a player is and put your balls on the block backing it.

    While I think most coaches with experience (Currie Cup and up) has a great feel for identifying this, very few has the balls to make the call.

    I have seen many players who I reckoned were great Currie Cup players, but not quite in the Super Rugby league and will almost never be. Or they might just be good enough (read average) for Super Rugby but there is no way in hell they will ever play for the Boks unless the first choice 8 all gets injured in the same month.

    Shit thing is, these average okes are almost always the hardest workers and the nicest guys, which makes it even tougher for you to drop them.

    WP had a couple I can think of, the Sharks sits with one or two themselves.

  • Comment 23, posted at 09.02.15 11:16:18 by Morné Reply
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  • @KingRiaan (Comment 8) : I agree. The “bashing” is not because of one game this year. Its consistent bad form continuing from last year. And if a player has been under performing for that long its only fair to other players and the team as a whole that you give someone else a shot. maybe SP spends some time in the Vodacom cup to see if he can regain his form but Cronje, Swiel(not so sure about him yet) Jaco van Tonder all need some time now

  • Comment 24, posted at 09.02.15 11:21:48 by coolfusion Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 14) : :mrgreen: I told you he is starting to do some good things too ;)

  • Comment 25, posted at 09.02.15 11:23:51 by Uli Boelie Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 23) : Good points. Often a coach and i have done so myself will push a guy into a position or team in the hope he excels but with the knowledge that he probably isnt really capable of performing at that level.

  • Comment 26, posted at 09.02.15 11:26:48 by SheldonK Reply

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  • A very good, balanced accurate analysis, Rob. There are one or two things I would say though:
    - In terms of set pieces am still slightly concerned by our back up front row:
    a. In terms of scrumming, and
    b. In terms of Cooper’s lineout throwing.
    - And I’m willing to give SP a chance to re-settle…but his defensive work (and I’m talking more about his work under the high ball) does concern me.
    There are things to work at…but there looks to be much that is good re: where we’re at right now!

  • Comment 27, posted at 09.02.15 11:40:33 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 23) : @SheldonK (Comment 26) : but sometimes a player will do good with one coach and not perform with another coach. It’s also about how a player responds to a coach and how the coach handles a player that will allow a player to blossom or fade away.
    Some players just need a bit extra “attention” from a coach to blossom!

  • Comment 28, posted at 09.02.15 11:50:48 by JD Reply
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  • @lostfish (Comment 2) : Are you also Toulon supporter?

    Did you and Robdylan meet up?

  • Comment 29, posted at 09.02.15 12:05:45 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 28) :

    A talented player under a coach he relates to will become exceptional. Thing is, the fact that he has talent already sets him apart from the average okes and you know (as an outside observer) he is something special.

    But no matter how good a coach you are, you cannot make an average player talented – they have a ceiling and when they hit it, it is where they will remain.

  • Comment 30, posted at 09.02.15 12:22:43 by Morné Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 30) :

    Let me back this up by examples you will relate to as Sharks supporters…

    Talented players in your ranks who has not yet lived up to, or do their talent justice (and this can be for many reasons one of which is game time, trust, coach’s relationship etc) are guys like Lionel Cronje and Tim Swiel.

    There is something special about those guys, but they are far from where they should be. This can of course change in the right environment, with the right coach, right backing, support structures, confidence etc (all you mention).

  • Comment 31, posted at 09.02.15 12:25:32 by Morné Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 31) : Great points Morne. Always enjoy your point of view.

    What is your job description at SARU?

  • Comment 32, posted at 09.02.15 12:50:45 by StevieS Reply
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  • @StevieS (Comment 32) :

    I wish I had one that makes sense. But lucky enough to see the best coaches in the world in action (inside and outside of SARU), whilst helping to manage various projects that will hopefully improve our rugby as a whole in SA.

  • Comment 33, posted at 09.02.15 12:58:57 by Morné Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 31) : I get what you’re saying and yes it is true no coach can make a player talented.
    Unfortunately I do not think SA currently has enough Super rugby quality players (playing in SA) for all 5 our franchises to field teams with reserves consisting of only Super rugby quality players.
    Thus the thing is to get as much out of a good lesser quality player as possible and there not all coaches are equal. I believe that guys like BV can get a better performance out of a lesser quality player than some could out of a top quality player.
    Unfortunately (or fortunately for those of lesser quality depending on were you stand) all the players in a squad must stand up and deliver to the best of their ability.

  • Comment 34, posted at 09.02.15 13:12:29 by JD Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 31) : Agree on both those players have super talent. Cronje shows glimpses of it now and then, has had many coaches but has not “shone” under any one of them yet. He did seem to be more settled and happy last season at the Sharks though.

    Swiel playing under John Dobson seemed to be the real deal. Not quiete Super Rugby but he sure showed that he had talent.

  • Comment 35, posted at 09.02.15 13:15:54 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 34) :

    Some coaches are better than others, just like some doctors are better than others.

    Where I cannot agree however is that we do not have 150 players of quality (30 per squad for our 5 squads) or even 180 if the Kings join in South Africa.

    The problem (strangely) is that we have too many professional players.

    We spent 80% of our resources managing hundreds of (average) professional players. Shouldn’t we rather just focus on the top 150 – 250 as country rather than the current 1000 odd players that we currently call professional?

  • Comment 36, posted at 09.02.15 13:23:15 by Morné Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 35) :

    Lionel displayed stupidly talented skills at U19 & U20 level – who was his coach then? Wasn’t a certain Mr. Venter involved?

  • Comment 37, posted at 09.02.15 13:24:25 by Morné Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 36) : yes we should concentrate on those top 200 (top 13-14 in every position) players and the rest can be semi professional. The problem I have is that those top 200 are not all playing in SA and that’s causing the problem of not fielding Super rugby quality players.

  • Comment 38, posted at 09.02.15 13:31:56 by JD Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 36) : Sometimes coaches persist in playing under performing players,not so much in the belief that the player will come right but that the coach himself will be proved right in picking the player.I point most of Spies’s 50 plus caps at the expense of amongst others Duanne Vermullen,the majority of Morne Steyn’s caps and please how else can we justify the number of caps side Show Bob,was given.
    Super rugby is such an intense competion that every game is important,and we cannot afford any player the luxury of playing himself back into form in a Super rugby match.
    I for one think that S.P has had enough chances.

  • Comment 39, posted at 09.02.15 13:41:59 by The hound Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 36) : only way to get to this would be central contacting with a drafting system if one team have to many quality players in one position. Another drafting system could also then be used for the school boys.

  • Comment 40, posted at 09.02.15 13:43:36 by JD Reply
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  • With Stevens at 3, the scrum is always going to be an issue. He is a very poor scrummager. Not sure why the Sharks wasted money on this guy.

    Jannie will improve that department.

    The Sharks need to find a back-up tighthead

  • Comment 41, posted at 09.02.15 13:45:44 by Saffex Reply

    SaffexCurrie Cup player
     
  • If there was anyone who needed time to settle in it was Du Toit and look what a performance he put in after a years inactivity.My point is I think SP will cost us big time in super rugby and he needs to go find form somewhere else.Mvovo for fullback!!!

  • Comment 42, posted at 09.02.15 14:06:52 by tigershark Reply

    tigersharkCurrie Cup player
     
  • @tigershark (Comment 42) : I’d rather have JPP at fullback then to be honest. I just don’t see the sense in using our best wing at fullback.

  • Comment 43, posted at 09.02.15 14:26:36 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 43) : I’m happy with JP at fullback.

  • Comment 44, posted at 09.02.15 14:35:25 by tigershark Reply

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  • @Saffex (Comment 41) : I think Thomas du Toit should be that backup tighthead you speak of.

  • Comment 45, posted at 09.02.15 14:42:20 by coolfusion Reply

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  • @tigershark (Comment 44) : with Sithole and Mvovo on wing? Or if Jack Wilson proves to be good enough he and Mvovo, which will free up Sithole for Center.

  • Comment 46, posted at 09.02.15 14:43:44 by coolfusion Reply

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  • Does anyone know if Thomas can do tighthead?

  • Comment 47, posted at 09.02.15 14:53:38 by tigershark Reply

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  • @coolfusion (Comment 45) : problem with that is then we have a problem at loose head

  • Comment 48, posted at 09.02.15 15:00:29 by JD Reply
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  • @tigershark (Comment 47) : Shifting him to 3 will leave the Sharks with a problem at 1. Problem is not solved it’s just changed.

  • Comment 49, posted at 09.02.15 15:07:03 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 49) : Well lets hope Adriaanse can get back to his best very soon!

  • Comment 50, posted at 09.02.15 15:16:03 by tigershark Reply

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  • @tigershark (Comment 50) : ja boet either that or Matt must start to perform!!!!

  • Comment 51, posted at 09.02.15 15:36:20 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 51) : I don’t know if we are going to see any firworks from old Matt.He seems to be a bit of a sluggard that just floats through the season!

  • Comment 52, posted at 09.02.15 16:04:06 by tigershark Reply

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  • No need for us to hit top gear early but our backline showed very little respect for the ball that the forwards worked so hard for.
    Toulon scored 2 tries because of this and we need to offload more to create opportunities.
    All in all a good but boring match.

  • Comment 53, posted at 09.02.15 16:40:31 by KILLER SHARK Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 51) : We had an excellent TH and we let him go like idiots, :cry: Herbst was that man……. :evil:

  • Comment 54, posted at 09.02.15 18:33:02 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • @tigershark (Comment 52) : he did scrum better than Adriaanse?!

  • Comment 55, posted at 09.02.15 18:50:35 by JD Reply
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  • @sharks_lover (Comment 54) : ja but unfortunately that ship has now sailed!!!

  • Comment 56, posted at 09.02.15 18:52:54 by JD Reply
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  • @sharks_lover (Comment 54) : I hear you…we miss Wors!

  • Comment 57, posted at 09.02.15 18:55:01 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 56) : Part of that, though, might have been having Bismarck next to him though…

  • Comment 58, posted at 09.02.15 18:56:01 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @tigershark (Comment 50) : Adriaanse is very average in the scrums and very poor in general play

  • Comment 59, posted at 09.02.15 19:20:01 by Saffex Reply

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  • @pastorshark (Comment 58) : don’t think so. The trouble started when Adriaanse arrived and then they started to use him at 1, he shifted to third choice 3 and thus moved on.

  • Comment 60, posted at 09.02.15 19:47:30 by JD Reply
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  • @Saffex (Comment 59) : Well then my question is, what is the guy still doing there taking up space?

  • Comment 61, posted at 09.02.15 19:50:02 by tigershark Reply

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  • @Saffex (Comment 59) : don’t know why but it seems as if the climate in Durbs is working for him as he used to be a an ok player and actually did not scrum to bad.

  • Comment 62, posted at 09.02.15 19:50:13 by JD Reply
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  • @tigershark (Comment 61) : no he’s honouring his contract and hopefully gets back to form before it’s done!

  • Comment 63, posted at 09.02.15 19:59:52 by JD Reply
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