robdylan

Time to regroup


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 14 Sep 2016 at 09:49
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , ,

With the Sharks having picked up just a single log point from their last two games, 2016′s Currie Cup campaign has started to go alarmingly pear-shaped. Saturday’s game against the EP Kings in Durban represents a chance to pick up some much-needed points and get things moving in the right direction again, but the climb from here is a steep one, given the mounting injury toll.

The stark reality is that the Sharks of 2016 – young though they may be – have battled against strong opposition and while they may have built up an impressive early tournament lead, that was on the back of three bonus-point wins against weaker teams. Their opponents, by and large, still have to face some of those teams and are likely to make up significant ground on the log. With only a single win against a fellow top-5 team to their credit, the Sharks really do face the unenviable task of picking up points in Johannesburg in their final fixture. Fail to do so, and they might just miss out on the knock-outs altogether.

That would be nigh on disastrous if it happened a second year running.

Robert du Preez’s challenge, though, is to ensure the team doesn’t get too far ahead of themselves; while that trip to the Lions’ den will loom large in the players’ minds, if they don’t pick up a full house of log points against the Kings this weekend, the season will be over as a contest long before then. The Sharks face enough of a challenge putting together a reasonable team for the weekend as is, with every member of the identified leadership group unavailable for the game. Du Preez face some tough selection choices and will need to get these right (while hoping for a few miraculous recoveries during the bye week that follows).

First priority is to find a leader and with Jean Deysel under a cloud, it must surely fall to Chiliboy Ralepelle and Michael Claassens (the latter as deputy) to steer the ship this week. Both will need to move into the starting team, one would fancy. Du Preez will also need to look at the front row and perhaps consider whether a starting combination of Johnny Meyer and Thomas du Toit might work better for him. Deciding how to compose a back row, given the scarce resources available, will be another challenge. Francois Kleinhans might need to play a makeshift role at the back of the scrum, allowing Khaya Majola and Jean-Luc du Preez to operate in their regular positions at flank.

Du Preez may not want to tinker with the backline more than is necessary, but we know two new wings will be needed. Both Wandile Mjekevu and Rhyno Smith did well as replacements against Free State, so it’s a possibility they could come straight in, or du Preez could turn once more to Neil Maritz, who looked impressive early in the season.

Another interesting factor will be whether Pat Lambie is deemed ready for some action this week. One fancies that if the Sharks are going to pull off an unlikely win at Ellis Park in a fortnight’s time, they’ll not do it without Lambie at flyhalf, making any game time he can pick up prior to that trip very valuable indeed.



59 Comments

  • 2 steps forward and 3 steps back… Seems like we just cannot continue improving. This has been a problem for last couple of years. Many reasons. Injuries etc. But a franchise like The Sharks should be able to make progress regardless. Why the heck can we not score tries. What would we do if Bosch was not there. All the points and game play is where he is involve. Rugby is 15man sport. Not even the Bulls style of 10 man rugby ever required 1 player. This is rubbish man. We started of season well. And with team that had least number of bok player loss and fewest injuries. All of a sudden 15 guys on field forgot how to play the game. Come on… I cannot change sport. I will not.

  • Comment 1, posted at 14.09.16 10:00:41 by ebenp Reply
    Under 21 player
     
  • Sharks definitely need to right the ship against the Kings in terms of both getting the win and 5pts but also in terms of reducing the crazy amount of errors and penalties that have crept into their game of late.
    The team id like to see : 1. DuToit. 2. Chilliboy. 3 Meyer 4. Oosthuizen 5. Botha 6. Majola 7. DuPreez 8. Kleinhans 9. Claasens 10. Bosch 11. Mjekevu 12. Esterhuizen 13. Am 14. Maritz 15. Smith. Bench: Schoeman/Kramer/Majola , Marais, Astle, Droste, Ungerer, April/Lambie, Williams

  • Comment 2, posted at 14.09.16 10:11:12 by SheldonK Reply
    SheldonKAssistant coach
     
  • Very glad I’m not RdP snr who has to select the team!!!
    Go Sharks!!!! and good luck RdP!!!!

  • Comment 3, posted at 14.09.16 10:12:52 by JD Reply
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  • unfortunately the fact is that Sharks can field a very competitive first choice 23/22 for SR and CC (with Bok call ups) but depth is sub standard and one injury is a problem but multiple ones a disaster.

    A serious rethink of resource allocation is required or the current situation will continue for a few years. There is a lot of talent and the cohesion will come but looks like not this CC yet. Unfortunately also a lot of non performing / undelivered potential. Not too long ago Franna, Khaya, Franco, Ungerer, Williams, Whitehead, Sbura, Venter, Zeilinga, Prinsloo, Fisher were all seen potential stars but only to some extend Franco and Sbura has stepped up but for the rest I am sorry it has been a non realization of clear potential. the ones I am most disappointed with are Franna, Whitehead and Ungerer as less than 18 months ago I still thought they would really push through any moment.

    At some point the franchise will have to stop investing and look to other avenues as when the guys are called upon, things are going horribly wrong. We need a replacement for MC as KD cant be our only option for 6 and JLDP cant be expected to lead yet – he will get there soon but against top teams it is still too soon.

    Fortunately the Kings are first up and it has to be last chance saloon for Franna

  • Comment 4, posted at 14.09.16 10:14:44 by Kabouter Reply

    KabouterCurrie Cup player
     
  • @SheldonK (Comment 2) : would not mind if that’s the side for Saturday but don’t see the Sharks beating the Lions with that forwards!

  • Comment 5, posted at 14.09.16 10:19:15 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 5) : Agree with you there

  • Comment 6, posted at 14.09.16 10:20:45 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
     
  • @Kabouter (Comment 4) : Fully agree with you there. Been saying it for a while now that i think the Sharks continue to invest in players that offer no return. The CC qualifying and u21 results show exactly that lack of depth.

  • Comment 7, posted at 14.09.16 10:22:46 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
     
  • @SheldonK (Comment 7) : no where to hide anymore

    the team on paper that played in CC qualies did not look bad and should never have lost to most the sides but as they say proof is in the pudding and it was a major flop. If those guys performed, the Sharks could have kept most u21s in the age group and walked the competition.

    Lets be honest there are still major potential in the system but how they are managed has to improve drastically The Bulls way of spreading a massive net and hoping one or two stars are found is also not the way, so the challenges for Teich just mounts.

    what worries me the most is that I dont know if Franna backs his body to give his all as he should be a quality 6 and a leading star at CC level. Does nayone know how long his contract is still? I think he has 160 mins to prove he should stay

  • Comment 8, posted at 14.09.16 10:34:33 by Kabouter Reply

    KabouterCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Kabouter (Comment 8) : As i said i think the Sharks have too many guys under contract that arent showing any return. I also think like you said there is a lot of god potential in the system, or so we like to think. I do however think that by and large Sharks players throughout the system are not as fit and conditioned as other teams. So there are 3 things that need attention from Gold and Teich and co. 1. Trim the fat in terms of contracted players not offering value 2. Get the players in the system up to scratch in terms of conditioning standards 3. Increase the quality of the 21-23yr old players that can supplement the Super rugby/CC side and remain at the Union for a couple years.

  • Comment 9, posted at 14.09.16 10:52:18 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
     
  • What gave us the good platform with those first 3 games was a dominant scrum. As soon as Adriaanse was called up we had to move Thomas to TH but with Chadwick stepping up at LH we were still dominant. As soon as we lost Chadwick our scrum started to look creaky and against the Cheetahs we were going backwards far to often. Our scrum is a place of concern, we need to fix that and our loosie combination as with the absence of Keegan, Dan & The Ninja we are looking very unbalanced.

  • Comment 10, posted at 14.09.16 11:04:11 by Hulk Reply

    HulkSuper Rugby player
     
  • @Hulk (Comment 10) : reality is the first three games were against weaker teams,the real test then came to see where Sharks are at, and they lost, but agree with others above

  • Comment 11, posted at 14.09.16 11:14:07 by benji Reply
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  • @Hulk (Comment 10) : You are so right,i would sell the kitchen sink and find the money to buy Ox Nche,

  • Comment 12, posted at 14.09.16 12:29:29 by The hound Reply
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  • @benji (Comment 11) : Granted we probably would have fared better in the last 2 games had we not been going backwards at scrum time.

  • Comment 13, posted at 14.09.16 12:39:33 by Hulk Reply

    HulkSuper Rugby player
     
  • @The hound (Comment 12) : Would you then persist with DuToit at tighthead? Nche has a lot of potential and if he fixes the small technical issues at scrum time he can become very good. He is a guy id take on End of Year our and play against barbarians even off the bench

  • Comment 14, posted at 14.09.16 12:41:25 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
     
  • @SheldonK (Comment 14) : No move him back to the other side,and with him Chilli and Ox that is a formidable front row

  • Comment 15, posted at 14.09.16 12:46:37 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 15) : Ox is a loosehead so thats why i asked about DuToit staying at tighthead

  • Comment 16, posted at 14.09.16 12:51:05 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
     
  • @Hulk (Comment 10) : @benji (Comment 11) : to be fair Sharks often lost to Pumas and Griekwas so although they’re “weak” opposition at least with a dominant scrum Sharks easily beat both. Have to agree with Hulk think Sharks would have done a lot better in WP and Cheetahs games if scrums was better.

  • Comment 17, posted at 14.09.16 13:02:24 by JD Reply
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  • So question…Garth April was dropped for discipline reason and thn kept out the team as Inny Radebe was playing well. However, does the recent performances by Inny Radebe still warrant his inclusion ahead of April? Is it fair on April to still be excluded when Radebe has been pretty average in last 2 games? Its a tricky question as Radebe still coming to terms with rugby at this level and he is young with future potential.

  • Comment 18, posted at 14.09.16 13:07:01 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
     
  • @SheldonK (Comment 16) : @The hound (Comment 15) : after what happened against the Cheetahs I’m a bit concerned about Thomas at 3. He will have to work really hard if he want the move to work.
    Personally I’d prefer him to stay at 1 as I think it’s his best position (and chance to play for Bokke). He showed last year as a “baby” that he could not only hold his own he could be dominant and those runs that he made (that seemingly now has all but disappeared) was also impressive!

  • Comment 19, posted at 14.09.16 13:10:27 by JD Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 18) : personally I think it’s time to play April/Bosch or Bosch/Smith combo. However I do not know what’s happening in trainings so a bit hard to just call for a switch because of April’s pre June form. Ultimately I have to believe that RdP snr will select the best possible team even if I do not agree with him!

  • Comment 20, posted at 14.09.16 13:15:01 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 19) : Whichever he choose she needs to firstly get fit and in shape. He seems to be on the Matt Stevens/Coenie training plan currently. When he first arrived he was a strong explosive prop…now he is relying on his weight. He will get away with a lot more technically at loosehead (just ask Beast). if he wants to play tighthead he better up his technical game

  • Comment 21, posted at 14.09.16 13:16:33 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
     
  • @SheldonK (Comment 21) : “Whichever he choose she needs to firstly get fit and in shape”….. are we still talking about his shift from loose head to tight head or are we now talking about his dating options? Hahahaha ;-)

  • Comment 22, posted at 14.09.16 13:28:00 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 20) : Thats fair enough. You do make a good point that we dont see what happens at training and thats what the coach goes on when comparing guys

  • Comment 23, posted at 14.09.16 13:28:54 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
     
  • @JD (Comment 22) : hahaha didnt even notice that…oh what a difference a tap of the spacebar makes hahaha

  • Comment 24, posted at 14.09.16 13:31:26 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
     
  • @SheldonK (Comment 18) : As much as I feel we need to be patient with inexperienced guys a drop in performance must be dealt with too. Now on saying that I feel Inny has not performed in the last 2 games and on that alone I’d move him to the bench. So if that means April comes in at FH, or move Bosch to FH and Smith to FB so be it but guys can not keep making errors and just expect to be selected week in and week out.

    JLDP also had a nighmare of a game last week, not all was his fault, he isn’t an 8th man and that is what he was forced to do last week and would give him another run this week (granted we don’t have much of a choice) but I’d let him know he needs to show improvement in those areas, especially taking of the kick-off.

  • Comment 25, posted at 14.09.16 13:34:12 by Hulk Reply

    HulkSuper Rugby player
     
  • @SheldonK (Comment 24) : thats what she said last night

  • Comment 26, posted at 14.09.16 13:34:48 by The hound Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 24) : sorry I just had to ;-)

  • Comment 27, posted at 14.09.16 13:35:51 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 27) : Was too good not to mention

  • Comment 28, posted at 14.09.16 13:38:50 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 23) : everything that I’ve been told I have to believe that RdP snr is not the type of persone that would let personal issues and other stuff influence his selections.

  • Comment 29, posted at 14.09.16 13:39:50 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 20) : I would keep Bosch at 15 as he’s doing good there, no need to disrupt his play and development now. I’d give April a shot at 10, it’s not the toughest opposition anyway so maybe he can get back to his usual self in a ‘low key’ game.

  • Comment 30, posted at 14.09.16 13:47:21 by Quintin Reply

    QuintinSuper Rugby player
     
  • Whatever side is selected this weekend, there is no excuse to not get the full 5 points. if we do not drill this EP side, we are in trouble.

  • Comment 31, posted at 14.09.16 15:40:42 by Vonno13 Reply
     
  • This is like a rugby version of that television series “seconds from disaster” where the guy with the radio voice narrates a blow by blow as to what went wrong, and small variables compound to produce an epic cluster(you know what). It all hinges on the next two weeks, and like many I’m concerned that the Sharks youngsters may not have the self belief.

  • Comment 32, posted at 14.09.16 16:35:16 by SeanJeff Reply
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    SeanJeffSuper Rugby player
     
  • @Quintin (Comment 30) : ja maybe a good game to give April some game time.

  • Comment 33, posted at 14.09.16 18:37:51 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 22) : classic JD

  • Comment 34, posted at 14.09.16 23:11:08 by benji Reply
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  • @Vonno13 (Comment 31) : yes this Kings nonsense should not even be in CC so this had better be a gimme

  • Comment 35, posted at 14.09.16 23:12:39 by benji Reply
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  • @benji (Comment 34) : hahaha thanx I try to please ;-)

  • Comment 36, posted at 15.09.16 00:04:38 by JD Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 12) : I’d even sell Beast with immediate effect. Things got pear shaped when we lost our defence coach, we have moved from the best defensive team during SR to leaking tries in the CC….a competition inferior to SR. Why we keep on releasing players early from their contracts is just amazing. Time to bring April back, we need his skills at 10. Botha for me is a big disappointment. Frana and Majola also disappointed me last week. These guys unfortunately are not up to standard and should be allowed to go finish their rugby in Port Elizabeth.

  • Comment 37, posted at 15.09.16 05:00:56 by GreatSharksays Reply

    Assistant coach
     
  • @benji (Comment 35) : Careful you sound a lot like Mallett at the start of the Rugby Championship
    ”Argentine have no rights to be in this championship”

  • Comment 38, posted at 15.09.16 07:20:13 by The hound Reply
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  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 37) : Why sell? He has had a very long season with SR CC and bok duty. He may just need proper break.

  • Comment 39, posted at 15.09.16 07:34:12 by coolfusion Reply

    coolfusionTeam captain
     
  • @The hound (Comment 38) : hahaha ja those words came back to bite him!!! But somehow taking into consideration the current state of EP rugby I can’t see them doning the same!?

  • Comment 40, posted at 15.09.16 07:37:57 by JD Reply
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  • @coolfusion (Comment 39) : maybe it’s just my “black & white tinted glasses” speaking but is Beast really that bad?! Yes he’s not doing a lot of his old trademark runs but for me he looks solid in the scrums?!

  • Comment 41, posted at 15.09.16 07:40:51 by JD Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 38) : the fact that there is doubt just shows the depths Sharks rugby has plummeted to but really if they do somehow contrive to lose and I get bitten,the Sharks must then pack up and go play tiddlywinks

  • Comment 42, posted at 15.09.16 07:58:54 by benji Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 41) : JD mate Beast has for a few seasons only been playing on past reputation,he developed the curse of the “slap chip” legs,drops to ground the moment he gets contact or even just touched,he was great but no more

  • Comment 43, posted at 15.09.16 08:03:38 by benji Reply
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  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 37) : mate that is probably the biggest concern for me is the fact that the Sharks do not have good enough quality players coming in, yes a few,but not enough to build proper depth for SR

  • Comment 44, posted at 15.09.16 08:11:00 by benji Reply
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  • @benji (Comment 43) : Question is who do the Sharks have to replace him at loosehead? He may not be one of the best in the world currently but he is still better than those we have at the Sharks

  • Comment 45, posted at 15.09.16 08:11:39 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
     
  • @benji (Comment 43) : Agree 100%,he and Habbanna,so long past their sell by date.

  • Comment 46, posted at 15.09.16 08:15:45 by The hound Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 45) : agree but hence my other comment which goes to kak forward planning as well as the old Sharks curse of hanging onto and playing players trying to run around the field with oxygen tanks

  • Comment 47, posted at 15.09.16 08:18:22 by benji Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 46) : in fact mate the sell by date has even faded

  • Comment 48, posted at 15.09.16 08:19:06 by benji Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 45) : Thats kinda like being the smartest moron at moron school.

  • Comment 49, posted at 15.09.16 08:19:32 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 49) : Perhaps yes…but id still want the smartest not the 2nd or 3rd smartest…

  • Comment 50, posted at 15.09.16 08:37:40 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
     
  • @SheldonK (Comment 50) : the scary part is that we have no backup unless Tank decides to abandon the tighthead experiment or Coenie is cleared to play loosie for extended periods.

    On that note, how long do we still have Coenie for?

  • Comment 51, posted at 15.09.16 08:56:18 by Kabouter Reply

    KabouterCurrie Cup player
     
  • @benji (Comment 43) : @SheldonK (Comment 45) : yes I already agreed with his running not being as good as in the past but he still does his work in the scrums so for me he’s definitely not the worst loose head in SA. But that’s my opinion and yours may differ.

  • Comment 52, posted at 15.09.16 09:00:09 by JD Reply
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  • @Kabouter (Comment 51) : sorry to say but I’d prefer Beast to Coenie.

  • Comment 53, posted at 15.09.16 09:01:46 by JD Reply
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  • @Kabouter (Comment 51) : Really not sure what the Coenie situation is…saw his name pop up in 1 sharks injury report but nothing since. Wouldnt be surprised if he ducked overseas.

  • Comment 54, posted at 15.09.16 09:27:07 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
     
  • @JD (Comment 52) : Yeh look as i said…he may not be the best loosehead in the world currently but what other options do we have in SA that are that much better?

  • Comment 55, posted at 15.09.16 09:28:02 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 55) : I’m with you on this, he’s not a world beater anymore but we lack any real options at the moment. I also think the guy has been playing a fuck load of rugby the last couple of years. He needs a break.

  • Comment 56, posted at 15.09.16 09:51:13 by Quintin Reply

    QuintinSuper Rugby player
     
  • @Quintin (Comment 56) : He definitely need a break big time. Id probably either leave him out of the games in SA or play him off the bench

  • Comment 57, posted at 15.09.16 09:55:53 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
     
  • @SheldonK (Comment 57) : Yeah, he’s been a really good servant to both Springbok and Sharks rugby so if he decides to cash in oversees in his twilight years I would wish him all the best. Will never forget how he held up Anton Bresler, a couple of times, at kick-off when Anton fell backwards on the jump, awesome power! Must be one of the coolest things that comes as a bonus to a game I’ve seen on a rugby field.

  • Comment 58, posted at 15.09.16 10:12:49 by Quintin Reply

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  • @Quintin (Comment 58) : He just needs his game time managed better. I still think he can produce better…and if there were guys much better id say play them but none really standing out

  • Comment 59, posted at 15.09.16 10:23:19 by SheldonK Reply

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