robdylan

Cooper call-up mystifies pundits


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 5 May 2015 at 10:07
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , ,

The decision to call up Kyle Cooper as tour group replacement for the injured Sharks scrumhalf Cobus Reinach is confusing indeed. In a season where not much is going right for the franchise and embattled coach Gary Gold, this kind of decision only serves to further infuriate those observers hoping beyond hope for some evidence of a plan.

Let’s talk about the decision itself, first. Naming a 27-man tour squad for a four-week tour is hard – and needlessly so, I feel. I myself raised this concern with SANZAR – stating that since South African teams face longer tour (with the higher risk of injury) they should be allowed to pick larger squads – but the response was that since no South African franchise had ever raised it as an issue, it had never been looked at. Given that a match-day squad currently comprises 23 players, you only have room to take four “spares”. Logic would dictate that since losing a player in any of the truly specialist positions – hooker, scrumhalf or prop – on the eve of a game would leave you in serious trouble, three of your four spare positions should go to men who can cover those areas. That only really leaves you with one space to play with, which I guess you can then fill as best suits the needs of your squad.

The Sharks got most of that right, picking Matt Stevens and Stefan Ungerer as additional cover at prop and scrumhalf respectively, but then got a little confused, it seems, neglecting a third hooker and instead picking five locks. As above, you’d expect to have room for only three locks in a squad of 27, so in this case, the extra second-row men meant only three recognised loose forwards in the group, a foible that was exposed very early on, when Renaldo Bothma was knocked out at training last week. Faced with no other options, Etienne Oosthuizen played flank (poorly – again) with the unlikely duo of Giant Mtayanda and Mouritz Botha providing cover off the bench. At least the gods were kind and they didn’t lose a hooker on the eve of the game; in that case, they’d probably have had to forfeit. That may actually have been easier to stomach than the eventual result, but I digress.

Fast forward to Reinach’s unfortunate injury. It now seems that a third scrumhalf is no longer needed on tour, hence the decision not to call up Cameron Wright. Perhaps somebody has remembered that Fred Zeilinga can play scrumhalf at a pinch, but who knows. It’s since been decided, I guess, that a third hooker is now non-negotiable, hence Cooper’s call up. The loose forward issue remains, though, meaning we can expect to be subjected to at least another three weeks of pretending that Oosthuizen and Botha are anything other than locks (with very poor ball skills) while either Cooper or Franco Marais enjoys a very expensive holiday.

The lack of logic here is baffling. Either tour with three hookers, or don’t. Tour with three scrumhalves, or don’t. But for goodness sake, if it’s blindingly clear that you have too few loose forwards, rather send one of those over at the earliest opportunity. It’s hard to imagine any scenario where Khaya Majola plays worse at flank than Oosthuizen – really it is.

Now it’s perfectly possible that the coaches have a sound and logical reason for making this call, but the deafening silence from Sharks HQ on this matter (along with so many others) makes it impossible for the man in the street (and the educated rugby pundit) to follow the thread. Reinach’s injury occurred on Friday – as of Tuesday, there is no sign of any confirmation from the Sharks’ PR machine that Reinach even suffered an injury or that Cooper has been sent to replace him, much less any explanation as to the thinking behind the switch.

The combination of poor play, baffling decisions and absolutely zero attempt to reassure fans through good communication creates a perfect storm of discontent. Time to learn that lesson, Sharks and learn it well.



44 Comments

  • I think “baffling” would be the best word to describe the sharks at the moment. From selection to the lack of defensive fortitude to the deathly silence from HQ… Wtf is going on?

  • Comment 1, posted at 05.05.15 10:14:37 by The Quirk Reply
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    The QuirkVodacom Cup player
     
  • We’ve been receiving poor drips and drabs of info from the Sharks for a while now. Hence the reason why I don’t even bother to check their website for updates or news. Not sure what their PR are doing, but obviously keeping the public informed is not part of their job description.

  • Comment 2, posted at 05.05.15 10:15:57 by Another Nick Reply

    Another NickSuper Rugby player
     
  • Here’s the truth; the Sharks’ decision making strategy involves asking questions of one of those magic 8-balls. It’s the only sensible explanation.

  • Comment 3, posted at 05.05.15 10:16:46 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling SongTeam captain
     
  • #LIKEarticle #sharewithCoaches #ccCEO #bccExecBoard ;-) :mrgreen: :twisted:

  • Comment 4, posted at 05.05.15 10:17:33 by RedSharkUtd82 Reply

    RedSharkUtd82Super Rugby player
     
  • Who is in charge of the Sharks PR? So far this season we have got awful adverts all over the TV and Internet, but when it comes to communicating with the fans about important stuff, silence?

    Basically they are trying to market a brand, without actually connecting with the fan base at all.

  • Comment 5, posted at 05.05.15 10:17:39 by Seth101 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Author
    NostrasethTeam captain
     
  • i have given up trying to understand anything the people in charge do. we are the laughing stock of south african rugby right now. even my pool guy who hates rugby knows we losing and asked me what’s happening to the sharks :roll:

  • Comment 6, posted at 05.05.15 10:19:42 by Poisy Reply
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    PoisyTeam captain
     
  • Déjà vu. I well remember these communication blackholes during the Plum era. Hello darkness my old friend.

  • Comment 7, posted at 05.05.15 10:25:08 by vanmartin Reply
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  • Is Michael Marnewick still doing the Sharks website?

  • Comment 8, posted at 05.05.15 10:29:08 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 7) : Carefull, Eskom may be considered as political. :mrgreen: :twisted:

  • Comment 9, posted at 05.05.15 10:31:51 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 7) : Now for the “…at least during the Plum era…” brigade ;-)

  • Comment 10, posted at 05.05.15 10:31:58 by FireTheLooser Reply

    Assistant coach
     
  • @vanmartin (Comment 7) : Im sure that when Smittie took over he said that they would be big on open, honest communication.

  • Comment 11, posted at 05.05.15 10:33:07 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 10) : At least during the Plum era there werent articles like this written, and the team never took 50 pointers at home etc, etc.. :mrgreen:

    Hope you feel better.

  • Comment 12, posted at 05.05.15 10:37:31 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 8) : he is, yes, but he’s not choosing what to write. At least, I don’t think he is.

    I think blaming him for this would very much be shooting the messenger

  • Comment 13, posted at 05.05.15 10:40:44 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 11) : I also remember something along those lines.. :???: Geez, nowadays we’re lucky if we get an injury report once in a blue moon.

  • Comment 14, posted at 05.05.15 10:44:30 by Another Nick Reply

    Another NickSuper Rugby player
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 13) : No ways am I blaming him, as you say he can only spin whats given to him.

    Communications in the past were way better than what they are now. BTW I dont think its the coaches role to drive PR despite some Plum haters trying to imply that is an additional duty of the coach.

  • Comment 15, posted at 05.05.15 10:45:50 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
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  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 10) : @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 12) : Gentleman it pains me to be the bearer of sad tidings – that particular horse died a violent and prolonged death in the threads preceding this one. Apparently Plum, Paul Jordaan and a ban on mountain biking is all that was needed to turn the situation around.

  • Comment 16, posted at 05.05.15 10:47:04 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 15) : Neither do I by the way, my previous comment on the matter was only to provide context regarding the period in which we were starved of communication but in no way do I lay that blame at Plum’s door. I wouldn’t know who was responsible for the lack of PR in those days.

  • Comment 17, posted at 05.05.15 10:50:51 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 16) : Yep the Plum era is done and dusted but all that was needed was to install a world cup winning captain as chief honcho to turn things around. Go read the comments. How to turn things around after that I dont have any clue…maybe ban motorsport as well.

  • Comment 18, posted at 05.05.15 11:00:17 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 15) : oh hell no – definitely not.

    I never expected Plum to do the communicating. But *somebody” needed to be doing it. Instead we got Arya Stark

  • Comment 19, posted at 05.05.15 11:09:13 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
     
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 18) : time for the CEO to show his fabled leadership abilities and work with team? less MTB, Motorsport and TV adverts, maybe :shock:

    ok, his public image is important to the brand but the drivel being dished up is depressing and heartbreaking. does anyone know if JS has gone over to join the team?

  • Comment 20, posted at 05.05.15 11:10:38 by Kabouter Reply

    KabouterCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 18) : I’ve read them all and the only thing I’m convinced about is that someone at the union (I don’t care who) needs to take charge of the current status quo and continually slap sense into it. That will automatically alienate anyone who no longer belongs there.

  • Comment 21, posted at 05.05.15 11:13:37 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Kabouter (Comment 20) : No, he is scheduled to do a motorsport event this weekend, The Sugarbelt something or other.

  • Comment 22, posted at 05.05.15 11:13:48 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
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  • It’s bloody stupid thats what it is! I’d rather they took Jordaan over.

  • Comment 23, posted at 05.05.15 11:15:26 by Dragnipur Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    DragnipurSuper Rugby player
     
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 22) : damn, not the best message when team is getting hammered. would think some Laager trek would help

  • Comment 24, posted at 05.05.15 11:15:48 by Kabouter Reply

    KabouterCurrie Cup player
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 19) : :lol: enter stage left The Hound.

    But seriously, communication is the single most important tool that any organisation has, in good and bad times. This is the era of communications, clam up and people perceive it as that something is wrong, especially in trying times.

  • Comment 25, posted at 05.05.15 11:20:09 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
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  • Sorry to say but hell I’m glad I don’t even bother to watch rugby anymore!!!!! Words can’t describe the poor state that the Sharks are in!!!!!!

  • Comment 26, posted at 05.05.15 11:20:27 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    JDAssistant coach
     
  • Also quiete amazing is that the extended squad due to the 4 week tour has never been brought up by a SA franchise.

  • Comment 27, posted at 05.05.15 11:23:12 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 27) : Borders on the ridiculous. It’s a wonder any SA franchise has ever managed to win it.

  • Comment 28, posted at 05.05.15 11:29:30 by vanmartin Reply
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    vanmartinAssistant coach
     
  • I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy nut but no one can be this incompetent. Even a complete moron would get at least some things right even if by accident. Is the te something more sinister happening at the sharks? All off the “unfortunate events and decisions” culminating into such a perfect storm, seems too coincidental to believe. And yet they just continue adding up? No this must be something else some planned self sabotage. How else can you explain doing exactly the wrong thing making exactly the opposite call the situation calls for?

  • Comment 29, posted at 05.05.15 11:34:38 by coolfusion Reply

    coolfusionTeam captain
     
  • Sharks need to learn marketing only works over the long term if you have a primary product to sell. The product is falling apart faster than a Dacia bakkie.

  • Comment 30, posted at 05.05.15 11:39:28 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • Please please please can we just show up this weekend? Give the Hurricanes a good game? That would be a vast improvement.

  • Comment 31, posted at 05.05.15 11:53:52 by Dragnipur Reply
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    DragnipurSuper Rugby player
     
  • Lets be honest here…since preseason started they have looked confused and clueless in everything they have done from signings to trainings etc. So Brendon Venter was in charge but they never did defense- are you joking? Nobody knew when Gold would arrive. Why the thousand assistant coaches. No adequate backup in key positions. No thought out planning regarding the Bok required rest. Zero evidence of a game plan other than mumblings about attack in the media. Advertising banners cover half the stadium as tickets cant be sold. This ship needs some serious repair work…

  • Comment 32, posted at 05.05.15 11:57:00 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
     
  • When did the sharks become the lions and vice versa?

  • Comment 33, posted at 05.05.15 12:21:19 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 33) : Pass.

  • Comment 34, posted at 05.05.15 12:23:51 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 33) : When Straeuli left the Sharks to join the Lions – cough cough.

  • Comment 35, posted at 05.05.15 12:27:32 by Bokhoring Reply
    Administrator
    BokhoringAssistant coach
     
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 35) : Interesting observation.

  • Comment 36, posted at 05.05.15 12:43:38 by Uli Boelie Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    Uli BoelieTeam captain
     
  • @Zibbie (Comment 33) : You sure you want to make that comparison keeping in mind that the Sharks have a nasty habit crash-and-burn habit come Super Rugby playoffs? ;-)

  • Comment 37, posted at 05.05.15 12:43:55 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 26) : Dont have DSTV. Almost replaced it with season tickets. What a waste of cash that would have been.

  • Comment 38, posted at 05.05.15 12:46:05 by Uli Boelie Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    Uli BoelieTeam captain
     
  • Stupefying. Mystifying. Confusifying. Headscratchifying.

    I honestly think I could do a better job than Smit. Actually I have more corporate management experience than him, so I guess that’s probably right.

  • Comment 39, posted at 05.05.15 13:35:50 by Feather Reply

    Gold's MemberTeam captain
     
  • @Feather (Comment 39) : Pretty sure the CEO of the company doesn’t interfere with team selections mate.

  • Comment 40, posted at 05.05.15 13:49:56 by Dragnipur Reply
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    DragnipurSuper Rugby player
     
  • @vanmartin (Comment 37) : I wont mind the lions making the play offs at all. Crash and burn might be ok for a season or 2 :p

  • Comment 41, posted at 05.05.15 13:58:06 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner
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  • @Dragnipur (Comment 40) : I had more in mind the communication breakdown (or clampdown). All businesses need excellent communication.

  • Comment 42, posted at 05.05.15 14:16:14 by Feather Reply

    Gold's MemberTeam captain
     
  • @Dragnipur (Comment 40) : A CEO should manage better than that & have trust in the people he put there!
    Is Bothma going to play in any of the tour games?I have a vision (or is it a nightmare – no more coffee for me) of Mvovo at scrumhalf,Esterhuizen at flank,Zeilings on bench as SH backup & Cooper as replacement loosie!Nooooooooooooo!Why don’t we have faith in our locks & let them play where they are meant to (this goes for other positions as well).Why do coaches insist on the “versatility” factor? Look what it did to Brent Russell & Frans Steyn & Hougaard.(Lambie might fall into that as well).If a player is a specialist let him be it. Is Pierre Spies better off @ 8 or wing likewise Hougaards @ scrumhalf.If you have a solid base with a round hole in it & you have piece of silicone square cord, if you manipulate it enough it will fit in the hole for a while.Coaches & team management – listen up. For the best results,use the the best product for the team. :roll: :o Sorry,had to vent my frustration. :grin: The management are lucky I did not sermonise this otherwise it would have been fire & brimstone :lol:

  • Comment 43, posted at 05.05.15 14:25:30 by markm Reply

    markmVodacom Cup player
     
  • @markm (Comment 43) : yeah, Renaldo is fit to play this week

  • Comment 44, posted at 05.05.15 14:37:56 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
     

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