robdylan

Looking in the mirror


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Bulls, Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 3 Mar 2015 at 10:34
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I was all set to spend this morning poring through the recording of Saturday’s Loftus debacle, to catalog the numerous errors made by the match officials during that game and build a case – or rather a stronger case – for the Sharks having been done in.

The bad news for those of you looking for such an article is that I’ve had a change of heart. While it might be an interesting, albeit frustrating, way to spend a couple of hours, the reality is it will accomplish absolutely nothing. It’s time for all of us, players, management and fans, to “let it go”, in the words of an unfortunately famous Disney song and rather look at controlling the things that will have a direct impact on our success.

Whether the Sharks did enough to win at Loftus is moot. The scoreboard tells us that they didn’t and that a debatable try decision either way aside, the Sharks were comprehensively outscored in the try stakes anyway. The real killer blows struck by the Bulls were the tries either side of half time, the legality of which cannot be called into question. The Sharks weren’t good enough in some rather basic areas of the game: ruck defence, workrate and tempo and individual discipline. The commentators picked up on this a few times, mentioning with some surprise that the match appeared to lack intensity at times and that the Sharks, in particular, didn’t seem all that keen to pick themselves up off the floor and get back in line when the Bulls had the ball.

That’s pretty worrying, regardless of what the ref may or may not have done; the good news is that it’s something that the team has identified, acknowledged and spoken (in same cases shouted) about and that they are all committed to putting it right this weekend. A good, honest look at what they did wrong – the “controllables” that they can fix – is ultimately going to mean a lot more for the Sharks going forward than petty attempts to retrospectively crucify an inexperienced ref. I’m glad the team has got that message – time for the fans to get on side too.



53 Comments

  • Only way to solve the problem is to move on and look ahead, looking back was Mondays problem, Tuesday Is the way forward :mrgreen:

  • Comment 1, posted at 03.03.15 10:39:32 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • Couldn’t agree more. The bulls exposed a huge defensive hole twice. We know about it now, now we have to fix it. I guarantee the stormers are going to hit that channel a few times.

  • Comment 2, posted at 03.03.15 10:42:11 by PTAShark Reply
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  • Rob, I guess it is a case of: control what you can, let go of what you can’t. We can control our way going forward and make things right to get back on the winning track.
    I just wonder what it does to a player when a ref is having a mare on the day, and it seems no matter how hard you try the whistle always blows in favour of the other team. Would that not contribute to the attitude of the players on the field?

  • Comment 3, posted at 03.03.15 10:43:38 by Another Nick Reply

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  • Im not worried. Sharks to kill Stormers. they are pissed off enough.

  • Comment 4, posted at 03.03.15 10:43:49 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • @Another Nick (Comment 3) : that’s why you have experienced players in your team, guys with cool heads who have been in that position before and know how to manage/play their way out of it.

    Anyone remember the 1996 Currie Cup Final?

  • Comment 5, posted at 03.03.15 10:48:06 by robdylan Reply
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  • Sharks sucked vs. Tsietas = Hard Team talk on Monday, everybody takes responsibility.

    Sharks murder Lions on Saturday = Everything is hunky-dory come Monday, everybody is praised and they all sleep well at night.

    Sharks get hammered by bulls on Saturday = Hard Team talk on Monday, everybody takes responsibility.

    :roll:

    Time to win big, and keep winning. Not just play well when you are hurting.

  • Comment 6, posted at 03.03.15 10:54:54 by FireTheLooser Reply

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  • Good article, fair points. I can’t resist chucking a: did you see Kaplan’s article? Umm…very diplomatic…but fair enough…though confirming most of the basic issues. Right…that put to rest…onward and upward…

  • Comment 7, posted at 03.03.15 10:58:23 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : Do I ever remember that final! Andre Watson tried his best…and tge boys still blew the Lions away! The Rolls Royce was at his best…and included the most brilliant behind the back pass by Jeremy Thompson I have seen!! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 8, posted at 03.03.15 11:00:27 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 6) : Yebo yes…

  • Comment 9, posted at 03.03.15 11:01:13 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : True, yes. Time for the senior players to stand up and take the lead. @FireTheLooser (Comment 6) : Amen to that!

  • Comment 10, posted at 03.03.15 11:06:56 by Another Nick Reply

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  • @Another Nick (Comment 3) : that is precisely why im not worried about our team. The character they showed to stay in it till the end was telling

  • Comment 11, posted at 03.03.15 11:09:47 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 8) : Sigh. The good old days when Natal rugby still knew how to use a midfield.

    Then came the Halstead era and we’ve been stuck with carthorses (or expecting thoroughbreds to be carthorses) at 12 ever since.

  • Comment 12, posted at 03.03.15 11:22:31 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
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  • Really great article Rob. You said what I have been trying to say much more eloquently than I did.

    Lets bank and move on – I felt that a lot of fans have been a bit whiney about the officiating over the last few days; we need to rather focus on what we can impact.

  • Comment 13, posted at 03.03.15 11:25:38 by Big Fish Reply
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  • If we want to turn things around we need a playmaker at 9, not just a linkandkickatron.

  • Comment 14, posted at 03.03.15 11:26:16 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 8) : exactly, but it was your point that I was trying to make.

    The Sharks lost Watson early in the second half, but showed great composure, with Teich, the Rolls and the other seniors leading the way, to play through it and take the ref out of the equation.

    Where were Bissie, Jannie, Marcell, Kanko, Pat, Waylon, Lwazi and Oddy on Saturday?

  • Comment 15, posted at 03.03.15 11:29:42 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 13) : high praise indeed. Thank you sir.

  • Comment 16, posted at 03.03.15 11:31:49 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 15) : Don’t think you are being fair on Odwa and to some extent Marcell.

  • Comment 17, posted at 03.03.15 11:32:40 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 15) : I dont know, besides Bissie stepping into the trap Matfield laid, I thought they fought back really well. But I do get your point.

  • Comment 18, posted at 03.03.15 11:34:37 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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  • Not to worry folks. Our backs are up against the wall. We will beat the Stormers well. It really is no secret any more that we only play well when we’re up against it. Huge mental problem in this team. :roll:

  • Comment 19, posted at 03.03.15 11:44:50 by Ben Reply
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  • Well, if we see the same sort of controversy vs the Stormers then Wakaberry are going to kak and betaal judging from the wonders such a thing does for site hits. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 20, posted at 03.03.15 11:46:34 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
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  • Even though some folks might say we played well against the Bulls, but we lost because of other factors. Nah, we didn’t play well enough.

  • Comment 21, posted at 03.03.15 11:47:00 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 21) : True, we didn’t. How does a guy like Spies get through a gap untouched and JOG our 22 to touch down under the sticks? :shock:

  • Comment 22, posted at 03.03.15 11:49:06 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
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  • Rob – a really interesting stat would be a comparison of possession retention from kicking.

  • Comment 23, posted at 03.03.15 12:22:51 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • ok, deep breath ……………… and lets move on.

    Yes, there were definitely elements of the game that we can work on, in my mind specifically:
    - the huge gaps that were left around the fringes as has already been noted.
    - too many aimless kicks again
    - securing our lineouts (yes, yes, I know Matfield was there)
    - ability to break the gain line and come up with innovative and creative plays that keep the opposition guessing
    - discipline, and mental toughness

  • Comment 24, posted at 03.03.15 12:26:04 by stevovo Reply
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  • @Spirit of Rugby (Comment 22) : Unacceptable! :roll:

  • Comment 25, posted at 03.03.15 12:26:40 by Ben Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 17) : ok, take your point re Odwa.

    Marcell nearly got sent off, so I’ll stick to my guns on that one

  • Comment 26, posted at 03.03.15 13:17:35 by robdylan Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 23) : let me see if I can find something

  • Comment 27, posted at 03.03.15 13:17:48 by robdylan Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 23) : @Spirit of Rugby (Comment 22) : @Spirit of Rugby (Comment 14) : right there were the biggest problems that need fixing and add to that the problem of Bambie not being able to get the backline forward momentum

  • Comment 28, posted at 03.03.15 13:38:33 by benji Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 27) :

    Thanks Rob. I know they track it in the UK. They were mentioning it during the Ireland/England game and the stat was less than 20% retained if memory serves.

    Given that its the pillar on which Brendan Venter bases his gameplan it would be interesting to see.

  • Comment 29, posted at 03.03.15 14:23:25 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 23) : Probable less than 10% in the Bulls game. Worked better in the Lions game though.

  • Comment 30, posted at 03.03.15 14:24:42 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @Spirit of Rugby (Comment 14) :

    Did you see the influence of Conor Murray on the Irish gameplan against England?
    He was immense.

  • Comment 31, posted at 03.03.15 14:28:09 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 30) :

    Yeah, thats my point.
    If this is the gameplan then id like to see how successful it is.
    If youre giving away 9/10′s of your possession and not gaining ground then its not an effective use of ball.
    I seem to remember Venter talking about letting the other team play and giving stat examples based on 2 rounds. I thought it was BS at the time.

    I mean really – if youre giving possession away 9 out of 10 times, is it really any surprise that the Sharks arent scoring tries?

  • Comment 32, posted at 03.03.15 14:30:36 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 32) : Problem for the Sharks though is that they struggle to hold onto the ball for long periods on attack against any decent defensive system. So the coaches all go back to the old SA formula – that works now and then.

  • Comment 33, posted at 03.03.15 14:34:13 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 31) : Yes! An absolute pleasure to watch his option-taking. He isn’t even the classic scrumhalf with his size, but man does he have rugby brains. :cool:

  • Comment 34, posted at 03.03.15 14:50:19 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
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  • I know Kaplan and others say that the rookie shouldn’t have been assigned the game, but I’m curious now, who makes the assignments? A nameless administrator? Watson? The union hosting the game? Interesting question. Also, I enjoyed the Ireland-England game on Sunday: good skills, clear ref, not too much emotion. Why can’t the Sharks protect their ball at the breakdown like the Irish did? The Irish used the up and under well. Why can’t we?
    It feels like a month since the Sharks won, and it’s only been a week and a half, but that’s relativity I suppose. We can beat the storming pants-boys but whether the guys are motivated enough is another matter. My heart says the Sharks ought to bury the stormers 60 feet under

  • Comment 35, posted at 03.03.15 16:31:17 by SeanJeff Reply
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  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 6) : My thoughts exactly. This was the same sentiment after the loss to the Chetahs. Hope this time it sticks in their heads that you have to play every game 90-100% if you want that trophy.

  • Comment 36, posted at 04.03.15 09:17:33 by T-Shark Reply

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  • @SeanJeff (Comment 35) : SANZAR makes the appointments based on who is available from their panel.

    I’m led to believe that van Heerden was close to a “last resort” for the game given that nobody else was available

  • Comment 37, posted at 04.03.15 10:37:43 by robdylan Reply
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  • @SeanJeff (Comment 35) :

    Sean,

    These refs need to start somewhere and I think the reality is that a Bulls Sharks game isnt quite as high profile as it was a few years ago… :cool:

  • Comment 38, posted at 04.03.15 14:21:05 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 38) : Ouch

  • Comment 39, posted at 04.03.15 14:26:29 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 39) :

    Lol. More a reflection on the Bulls… ;-)

  • Comment 40, posted at 04.03.15 18:41:58 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 39) :

    Not like the ref has to judge many try efforts… lol

  • Comment 41, posted at 04.03.15 18:42:45 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 29) :

    I counted 7 kicks by the Sharks from attacking positions. They regained possession 3 times and gave it up 4 times.
    There was also the missed DG.

    3/8 is actually not bad.

    There was also the cross-kick, that almost led to a try, but possession was not at stake then.

  • Comment 42, posted at 04.03.15 21:52:44 by fyndraai Reply
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  • @fyndraai (Comment 42) :

    You’re right – that’s not bad at all!

  • Comment 43, posted at 05.03.15 13:36:28 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 43) : to nitpick, you’d like to get 50%…. but agree it’s a reasonable return.

  • Comment 44, posted at 05.03.15 13:42:26 by robdylan Reply
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  • @fyndraai (Comment 42) : What is your definition of an attacking kick? At around the 60 minutes mark SS showed a stat that the Sharks kicked 41 times by then. Would you define the other 33 (at least) as defensive?

  • Comment 45, posted at 05.03.15 13:44:33 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 45) : I went and checked on rugbystats.com.au – according to them the Sharks kicked 29 times (excluding kickoffs). So that still leaves 21 defensive kicks then?

  • Comment 46, posted at 05.03.15 13:49:30 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 46) : there’s nothing wrong with a defensive kick. Only an idiotic coach will prevent his team kicking for territory when in their own half.

    Cough cough Harry Viljoen.

  • Comment 47, posted at 05.03.15 13:56:00 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 47) : That is not my argument. Don’t have a problem with judicious attacking kicks either.

    I am just querying Fyndraai’s numbers. I am pretty sure we kicked more than 8 times outside of of our 22. I saw plenty up and unders from around our 10 m / half way line.

  • Comment 48, posted at 05.03.15 13:58:45 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 48) : oh I see.

  • Comment 49, posted at 05.03.15 14:40:05 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 49) : so for me it’s simple. A kick in your half is defensive, a kick in the opposition half it attacking.

    Maybe over simple, but I think it’s a defensible point.

  • Comment 50, posted at 05.03.15 14:40:46 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 50) : To me anything inside your 22 is defensive, anything past your own 10 m line attacking (especially if you have at least one chaser), and anything in between 22 and 10 is a grey area.

  • Comment 51, posted at 05.03.15 14:56:39 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 47) : ja boet I really hate this bashing up tactics in our own 22, FFS kick the ball and stop playing there!!!!

  • Comment 52, posted at 05.03.15 16:46:27 by JD Reply
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  • I counted kicks from outside the 22 where the Sharks had good possession from a set-piece or ruck and thus had options other than kicking.

    Ping-pong bouts were not counted.

    Other subjective criteria applied also.
    eg. The charged down box-kick by Reinach was not counted because the outcome could not really relate to the kick (high-tackle penalty by JJ on Lambie).

  • Comment 53, posted at 06.03.15 00:29:44 by fyndraai Reply
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