pastorshark

Sharks hit high in a “puppet on a string” season


Written by Udo Lütge (pastorshark)

Posted in :Lions, Sharks, Super Rugby on 6 Apr 2019 at 09:24

“Love is just like a merry-go-round
with all the fun of a fair
One day I’m feeling down on the ground
Then I’m up in the air.”

Sandie Shaw sang the ditty “Puppet on a String” – featured in the movie “Apocalypse Now” – that contains these words. They sure could be a Sharks Supporters anthem!! The Sharks completely outplayed the Lions at Ellis Park last night to thump them 42-5!!

From the very first minute the Sharks displayed intensity not seen before this season and just completely outplayed their opponents from Johannesburg. After 20 minutes the statistics made the dominance of the Sharks obvious: possession – 82%, territory 78%!! For a full 18 minutes, the score had remained 0-0 and there was a bit of frustration that the Sharks had not made more of their opportunities. But the dam wall was about to break…

The Sharks scored at the end of the first quarter, Curwin Bosch sparking the move from the back – neither for the first nor for the last time on the evening – and after several phases in which the Sharks kept the ball alive wonderfully well, Jacques Vermeulen – who himself had his best game for the Sharks – scored in the corner. Within in 8 minutes their try tally had reached 3! And by halftime it was 4 and the score had reached 25-0 despite several missed conversions.

Sharks supporters could hardly believe what they were seeing. Every man had played well and the complete performances that fans had been baying for was on the cards. Several players deserve a special mention, though. First up, the legend: Beast Matawarira played in a record 157th Super Rugby game and he marked the occasion with a lively performance. In the first quarter alone he chalked up almost double figures in carries and he put in some big hits for good measure. The fact that all 157 of those record caps were for the Sharks, shows the great loyalty Beast has displayed to the Sharks and it is just so appropriate that his teammates rewarded him with such a magical performance. Now the Sharks just have to find a way to motivate themselves like that every week!

Curwin Bosch was the standout player on the night. He beat 10 defenders and made 98 running metres…man, and were those a thing of beauty or what? Bosch will feel very chuffed with his performance after not receiving as much game time as he might have this season. He has definitely made it clear that he deserves to be a regular starter. There will be calls for him to be the starting flyhalf, though I must confess that I am still not convinced of that…at least for now. Bosch was brilliant at 15 and almost every occasion when he was dangerous came from the back. I think that is no coincidence: he is magic when he has space. And fullback offers him that. Robert du Preez, while having another shaky day from the tee, handled the closer confines of the 10 channel well. His line kicks were really good and him taking the ball flat at 10 stood out as one big contributing factor to the huge pressure the Sharks were able to put on the line. I believe that Bosch can develop jnto a worldclass 10, but I am also convinced that flat game is just not Bosch’s game. So I am happy to back RdP af 10, while rotating Bosch in at 10 for certain opponents. But Bosch has to be the preferred starter at at 15 after yesterday.

Jacques Vermeulen was the standout forward for me. He had a huge game and his strong carries were rewarded with the first try. His defence was also great. Kerron van Vuuren was also very impressive. There were some fears that Malcolm Marx would school him but there was none of that. He played almost the whole game, was steady at scrum time, really good at lineout time and very busy in general play. Might the Akker ban have been a blessing in disguise? A special mention must also go to Luke Stringer – he has brought a different dimension to our loose-forward trio and we are better for it. Dan du Preez also continued to add to what is really becoming a stand out season for him. Among the backs Mapimpi, Mvovo, Am and Esterhuizen stood out. But in truth, all the players were good on the night…and just about all the subs added real value too, with Fassi and Big Tom scoring tries and Kobys van Wyk, Philip van der Walt and Grant Williams putting in busy cameos.

The group of fans I watched the game with were disappointed when the Lions managed to score in the 78th minute. Shutting them out completely would have been nice. But it was especially pleasing to then see the Sharks give everything to score another impressive try so that they had the last word.

So now back to the title song of this piece: the magic of last night is tempered a bit by the fact that the Sharks have repeatedly shown themselves to be the “puppet on a string” team – one moment they are up in the air…and the next down on the ground. Several of the players interviewed last night spoke about the need for consistency. They are obviously aware of the fact that consistency has to be their aim…and aware of the fact that they still have to prove that it is something they can achieve. They will have to show that against the Jaguares next week and for the rest of the season ahead.

That shouldn’t stop us from truly enjoying this moment, though. Last night was the occasion when it all finally clicked. And I, for one, would like to echo the message that captain Louis Schreuder had for his players in his post-match interview: THANK YOU!!



45 Comments

  • Now for the Jaguares to beat ghd Bulls…wouldn’t that be just the perfect weekend!

  • Comment 1, posted at 06.04.19 09:28:29 by pastorshark Reply
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  • I’m sure the same “string theory” holds true for most teams in this year’s unpredictable SR series….

  • Comment 2, posted at 06.04.19 12:44:52 by coolfusion Reply

    coolfusionSuper Rugby player
     
  • But a crushing victory over the lions at our old bogey location, Ellis Park? I’ll take it!

  • Comment 3, posted at 06.04.19 12:46:27 by coolfusion Reply

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  • Strange that you mentioned the Akker banas a possible blessing. I was wondering the same last night Kerron with a currently uninflated ego did a great job of cycling the ball back very quickly and that played perfectly into our game making pace and a multitude of play options available. Gave Schreuder a great platform too. As for Rob Jnr I think the only thing we should consider at the moment is to move kicking duties away from him as soon as possible ( or early enough in the game) but keep him at 10. Missing this many kicks is just not acceptable at this level.

  • Comment 4, posted at 06.04.19 12:59:57 by coolfusion Reply

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  • @coolfusion (Comment 4) : Yes, if I have it correct, we won all our lineouts. When was the last game that has happened? And the ball was wet as well. We have a great prospect in that young man!

  • Comment 5, posted at 06.04.19 14:35:58 by HeinF Reply

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  • @HeinF (Comment 5) : Yes he did. Good composure under pressure

  • Comment 6, posted at 06.04.19 15:26:55 by coolfusion Reply

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  • Must also be said Vermeulens work at breakdowns and rucks helped matters a lot. We play so much better with fast ball let’s hope the Jags don’t suck them into forwards only crashball. It would be a shame if we forget what we learned from this game.

  • Comment 7, posted at 06.04.19 15:35:22 by coolfusion Reply

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  • @coolfusion (Comment 3) : Absolutely…

  • Comment 8, posted at 06.04.19 18:14:46 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @coolfusion (Comment 4) : Agree with everything in this comment…

  • Comment 9, posted at 06.04.19 18:15:25 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @HeinF (Comment 5) : I was highly impressed!

  • Comment 10, posted at 06.04.19 18:16:03 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Unbelievable that the Bulls chucked in the last 10…what a great weekend for the Sharks!!

  • Comment 11, posted at 06.04.19 18:16:52 by pastorshark Reply
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  • I’m sure our Rob must have a big silly grin on his mug too. Hope you read this and enjoyed that game!

  • Comment 12, posted at 06.04.19 20:10:28 by coolfusion Reply

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  • @coolfusion (Comment 12) : I was just thinking about Rob too and the comment he made a while ago that we have a gem in Kerron… Well spotted, sir!

  • Comment 13, posted at 06.04.19 22:13:37 by Karl Reply

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  • @Karl (Comment 13) : That was one of the great things to come out of Friday night. I’m sure he has some things to learn, but he has all the makings of a top hooker!

  • Comment 14, posted at 07.04.19 07:51:03 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @HeinF (Comment 5) : you’re right we did. But it’s a 100% success over 12 line outs can’t remember the last time we had that many in a game never mind about 100% success.
    Hope we can see more of this team this season, these guys were amazing and Bosch should have secured a starting berth for a while.
    Just one small issue, I’d love to back Kobus van Wyk but I’m struggling to with that hair cut… Can we send him a pair of scissors and request a hair cut??? :lol:

  • Comment 15, posted at 07.04.19 09:37:31 by Hulk Reply

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  • @Hulk (Comment 15) : :mrgreen: I thought exactly the same about the hair…

  • Comment 16, posted at 07.04.19 13:17:39 by pastorshark Reply
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  • The dominance of the Sharks is made clear in these statistics:
    Tries: 6-1
    Metres carried: 645m – 322m
    Ball carries: 150-79
    Defenders beaten: 36-16
    Clean breaks: 17-6)
    Passes completed: 188-106
    Offloads: 20-6
    Rucks won:87-54
    Turnovers conceded: 12-21
    Tackles made: 94-150
    Penalties conceded: 5-11
    Wow! Dominant display…

  • Comment 17, posted at 08.04.19 08:27:32 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Not sure if there is any truth in it, but apparently the Jaguares coach instructed the players to stop watching the Sharks game on Friday in case they get too scared of the Sharks

  • Comment 18, posted at 08.04.19 10:47:27 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 18) : I saw that…well, it was an awesome performance. Please, please, please just let that be somewhere near the level at which the Sharks become consistent…

  • Comment 19, posted at 08.04.19 11:32:52 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 17) : And if one really felt like getting nasty and pedantic one could argue that the Lions try came from a forward pass.

  • Comment 20, posted at 08.04.19 12:19:46 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 18) : :lol:

  • Comment 21, posted at 08.04.19 12:20:08 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 20) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 22, posted at 08.04.19 12:33:32 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Any news on Jean Luc and Paul? Would be nice to have them back although Ruben has been doing a good job at 4 and stringer must undroppable at 6 so really just to replace vermulelen at 7 although he too had a great game on Saturday.

  • Comment 23, posted at 08.04.19 12:39:22 by Byron Wright Reply

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  • @Byron Wright (Comment 23) : This is the Sharks…there is seldom news regarding injuries! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 24, posted at 08.04.19 12:56:40 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Most dominant performance from the Sharks in years!

  • Comment 25, posted at 08.04.19 13:04:07 by StevieS Reply
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  • We beat the Sunwolves away by 27 we beat the Blues by 17 we beat the Rebels,we smashed the Lions,we lost to Stormers by 3 and the Bulls by 5,one blot we lost to Bulls first time by 17.
    The Stormers loss was heavily influenced by the crooked Peyer and the blatantantly criminaly biased Seconds.The second Bulls loss was not a loss but a travesty of justice by a totally incompetent TMO disallowing a try he admitted he could not prove was in or out but then going totally against any semblance of logic to oveturn the on field decision which was it was try.
    Our first lost Bulls was a big one but even the Crusaders lost a big one
    Yet still the Flakes around here were ready to rip into this team.We have the best defence record by far in the entire tournament and are the third highest point scorers.
    This results always there and it is a sign that this is a happy united team with a very high fitness level, all the signs of excellent coaching.

  • Comment 26, posted at 08.04.19 13:12:47 by The hound Reply
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  • @Byron Wright (Comment 23) : van Heerden is coming along very nicely, Stringer too. Very glad that young JJ vd Mescht and Fez Mbatha also got some game time in a less pressured environment.

  • Comment 27, posted at 08.04.19 13:18:54 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 27) : I agree that is the best way to blood youngster give them minutes in a winning side. Van Heerden gives us a bit of grunt but also good speed and skill and Stringer has made a huge difference with his breakdown work and link play.

    With Van Vuuren having had a lot of minutes and Stringer around we may have ready made replacements for Akker and Vermuelen when they leave next year.

  • Comment 28, posted at 08.04.19 13:27:06 by Byron Wright Reply

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  • Funny when I suggested here a few weeks ago that an untried and unfit Burden shouldn’t be allowed to simply leapfrog a youngster who I have always regarded as a brilliant young hooker,I was told that van Vuuren could wait his turn, go back and read it its only a few weeks back.
    Vermeulen on the other hand is not essential to the team, he is not in JeanLuc and Philips class, and Stringer is already better,although I thought Vermuellen probably played his best game of the year on Friday.
    Now if we could only get the Flakes to lay off Rob Jnr,he has hit a rough kicking patch ,but this is a guy who hit 19 kicks in a row last year and was leading Super rugby points scorer, those are the kind of credentials i liken a kicker.

  • Comment 29, posted at 08.04.19 13:47:41 by The hound Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 27) : Yup dude you called it prefectly on Kerron. He will be good if sharks manage him right.

  • Comment 30, posted at 08.04.19 13:58:06 by coolfusion Reply

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  • @The hound (Comment 29) : Good call on Kerron, I would still look at having Burden around to mentor him and Mbatha but that depends on whether Beast and Coenie are around next year. Everyone assumes Beast will retire after the WC but he could add a couple more seasons value, even off the bench IMO.

  • Comment 31, posted at 08.04.19 14:20:20 by Byron Wright Reply

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  • I wonder if Beast will be off to the states at the end of the season. Gary gold said in a tweet ” cant wait to be with you on your next chapter” now that could just mean as a fan or supporter or there could be more to it especially because he visited the states in December.

  • Comment 32, posted at 08.04.19 14:29:54 by Byron Wright Reply

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  • @Byron Wright (Comment 31) : I reckon that is where Burden can add value. Kerron has bided his time and showed on Friday that he is ready for the step up. Good call, Hound…

  • Comment 33, posted at 08.04.19 14:36:33 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @coolfusion (Comment 30) : Thanks but I think your post was meant for @The hound (Comment 29) :
    Im afraid that I was worried that Kerron might have been broken in 2 by Marx. Im very chuffed in the way he came through.

  • Comment 34, posted at 08.04.19 15:53:29 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • I was all for pushing Burden ahead of Kerron, but that was based on his aged and not having seen much of him. However on Saturdays performance Kerron wholly deserves to start again and if he continues to do his core responsibilities so well, it’ll be hard to see anybody starting ahead of him. 12 out of 12 for the lineouts, when did we last see this for the Sharks?

    As for our backline play I don’t think it’s at all surprising that our outside backs are scoring tries, with Rob and Andre crashing up the middle, opposition defenders are being sucked into the middle of the field with every phase allowing our outside backs a little more space to score.

    Also Bosch is a shoe-in to start at 15 for a while. Fassi had his chance with mixed success, Bosch took his.

  • Comment 35, posted at 08.04.19 16:08:20 by Hulk Reply

    HulkSuper Rugby player
     
  • Sharks have a little problem – supporters will expect performances like this in every game

  • Comment 36, posted at 08.04.19 16:10:29 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @Hulk (Comment 35) : Your middle paragraph is spot on…and why I keep saying I would stick with Rob at 10…

  • Comment 37, posted at 08.04.19 16:41:08 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 36) : No you have that very wrong, fair-weather supporters flakes, will demand that,
    real supporters will hope for that, and will stick by the team when it doesn’t happen

  • Comment 38, posted at 08.04.19 16:42:24 by The hound Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 36) : :mrgreen: At the very least I am asking for more consistency…please?

  • Comment 39, posted at 08.04.19 16:42:32 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 38) : The so-called flakes are still hanging around after all these years – trying to keep this site going

  • Comment 40, posted at 08.04.19 17:08:36 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 39) : I’d settle for just one more performance like this against the Crusaders in NZ :grin:

  • Comment 41, posted at 08.04.19 17:12:07 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 41) : Add the Stormers at Newlands to that and I’m in…

  • Comment 42, posted at 08.04.19 17:19:35 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 41) : And if you mean in the final in New Zealand I am completely sold…

  • Comment 43, posted at 08.04.19 17:21:27 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 43) : I will sacrifice a Stormers win at Newlands for that one

  • Comment 44, posted at 08.04.19 17:28:21 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 44) : Oh, me too! I suppose it’s greedy to want both… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 45, posted at 08.04.19 18:12:24 by pastorshark Reply
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