Sharks tackle Blues to a standstill

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super 14 on 10 Mar 2008 at 05:54
Tagged with : ,

The Sharks maintained their unbeaten record in this year’s Super 14 competition with an entertaining 22-17 victory over the visiting Blues at Absa Stadium in Durban on Saturday night. The home side outscored the New Zealanders by three tries to two.

Sharks coach Dick Muir took a bit of a gamble going into the match, naming two smaller, quicker flankers in Keegan Daniel and Jacques Botes. In tandem with Ryan Kankowski, it would be about the paciest loose trio anywhere in the competition; on the down side, the Blues loose forwards had an average weight of 10kg more each and could potentially have run straight over the Sharks’ terriers.

The tactic paid of for Muir and his men, though, as the Sharks loose forwards ran riot in the first half. Daniel helped himself to a brace of tries, the first of these coming inside the first seconds of the game. Hooker Bismarck du Plessis, himself determined to have a big game after missing last week’s outing to Loftus, poached a loose ball from the kick off, barged one man and passed to the flying wing forward, who sprinted 40 metres to score.

Du Plessis in particular proved a constant thorn in the opposition’s flesh, as he operated together with the loose forwards to hassle the Blues behind the advantage line every time they got the ball. Numerous kicks were charged down; numerous passes were fumbled in the face of some relentless offensive tackling by the Sharks men. Pressure was converted into points twice more within the opening half hour: Johann Muller scored off a beautiful chip into space from inside centre Bradley Barritt, while Daniel tapped from a free kick five metres out to run in, unopposed, for his second.

Scrumhalf Rory Kockott succeeded with two of the three conversion attempts, leaving the Sharks with a 19 point to nil advantage with fifty minutes still to play. The Blues looked as though they didn’t understand what had hit them. For the first time this season, an opposition team had actually dared to tackle them. Furthermore, their loose forwards, the wrecking-ball trio of Kaino, Collins and Williams that had run riot in the opening three rounds, found themselves completely taken out of the game and unable to keep up.

David Nucifora’s men are not the sort to roll over and play dead, though and they did well to apply some pressure themselves and use the pick-and-go to good effect, thus sucking the Sharks defenders into their game. They converted a penalty just before half time and scored a good try just after to give themselves a sniff. Flyhalf Nick Evans ran a beautiful line after sending the Sharks defenders the wrong way with a good dummy. He sailed in under the posts, added the extras himself and brought his side back to 19-10.

Whereas the Sharks had dictated the pace and style of the game in the first half, the second forty was all about the New Zealanders. They dominated possession and territory and tested the Sharks defensive line again and again. Huge tackles were made; du Plessis, Beast Mtawarira, Botes and Daniel were ever-present on defence and the line held firm until 5 minutes from time, when the Blues scored their second try of the night through replacement scrumhalf Taniela Moa. Kockott had already succeeded with a penalty by this stage, meaning the successful Evan conversion only brought the visitors within five points.
As they had done so well for most of the half, the Sharks saw off the final few desperate forays by the visitors to take the spoils by 22 points to 17.

Keegan Daniel was voted man of the match for his performance and certainly he played very well, although the entire pack had a superb evening, none more so than Bismarck du Plessis. There were few chances for the men out wide but none was more impressive with the boot than Stefan Terblanche, clearing the line safely, again and again, from the right wing. Michalak was tested all night, but his defence stood firm and he put in a few of his trademark “scrambling monster hits” to save the day when all seemed lost.

The Blues will feel that this was, perhaps, a game too far for them on this tour. They also had not yet really been tested by any of the sides they’d played, so Nucifora will know that he has some work to do in teaching his team to play under pressure. Still, 11 points is not a bad haul from a three-match tour to South Africa and the Blues will be there or thereabouts at the end of the round robin stages – you can count on that!

As for the Sharks, well, they have set themselves up beautifully with this win. The Lions are up next and even though this is an away game, the hapless kittens didn’t even manage to bury a Bulls teams that had a man sent off half an hour into the game. Trouncing the woeful Reds a week later should see the Natalians depart for their Antipodean tour still unbeaten, with (hopefully) a credible haul of 27 points in the bag.


Sharks (22): Tries by Keegan Daniel (2) and Johann Muller. Rory Kockott kicked two conversions and a penalty.

Blues (17): Tries by Nick Evans and Taniela Moa. Evans kicked two conversions and a penalty.


  • Yip…what a friggin game! It was awesome being at the stadium courtesy Sharksworld/Sharks rugby…thx rob and company. Was nice to meet up with fellow blogger shark-lover!
    Well, Keegan Daniel, what can we say….he is going places.
    Recorded the game and watched it yesterday, at one stage the stats read that the Sharks had made 110 tackles. Energy sapping stuff.

  • Comment 1, posted at 10.03.08 06:05:17 by shark-tank Reply
  • Ohhhhhhhhhhhh

    What a beautiful Moooooooooorninnnnnnnnnnng


    What a beautiful Dayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

  • Comment 2, posted at 10.03.08 06:53:03 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • oh rob. how we can sit and gloat in the stupidity of others. had certain other bloggers been coach of the team the brilliant i-put-my-life-on-the-line barritt would have not been there to show michalak how to kick and how to tackle. but i must admit we also have to be happy that we aren’t coaches either as the underrated keegan would never seen our c sides. so we all have a bit of humble pie to eat. the great thing is we know the sharks can up a gear when needed.

  • Comment 3, posted at 10.03.08 07:31:48 by try time Reply
  • tt – 😆 😆

  • Comment 4, posted at 10.03.08 07:43:02 by shark-tank Reply
  • With some of the guys putting so much on the line i think they should get a 2 week break and come back for the reds game. so here is the team i would put on this week to give these guys a break. and we also need to give guys time in case of any unfortunate injuries.

    1-deon carstens
    3-jannie du plessis
    4-stephen sykes
    5-johan muller
    6-keegan daniels
    7-jacques botes
    8-jean deysel
    9-rory kockett
    10-ruan pienaar
    11-jp pietersen
    12-frans steyn
    13-waylon murray
    14-odwa ndugane
    15-stefan terblanche

    craig burden, bj botha, beast, albert vd berg, aj/ryan, charl, adi.

  • Comment 5, posted at 10.03.08 07:44:48 by try time Reply
  • TT

    You DON’T want to give Frans a go at 12. Once he’s in there you ain’t getting him out. 😉

  • Comment 6, posted at 10.03.08 07:48:07 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Seriously though, there should be a player or two rested.

    making big changes to the squad could see us losing to the Lions. Let’s NOT forget Griquas in the CC 2006.

  • Comment 7, posted at 10.03.08 07:52:50 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Goodmorning everybody… :mrgreen:

    Superb victory by the Super Sharks 😎

  • Comment 8, posted at 10.03.08 07:54:18 by Charlie Reply
  • ksa i want everyone to see how average he is. 😉

  • Comment 9, posted at 10.03.08 08:08:31 by try time Reply
  • ksa agreed that is why i left big boys on the bench to come on if things aren’t going well. sorry i meant to put michalak instad of charl. and no-one can say the team i gave above is a wholesale change. most these players have played this season. there are just a couple of positional changes to give guys a break. brad bismarck and ryan need some time off after saturday. and skipper, frans and deysel need to get some good game time in, in case any of the above get injured later.

  • Comment 10, posted at 10.03.08 08:12:05 by try time Reply
  • I think Kockott and vermaak are going to have a battle royale.

  • Comment 11, posted at 10.03.08 08:14:22 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • yeah should be a good battle. i just hope benjamin plays. having him in your team is like having an opposition player in your team. that guy is pathetic and gives transformation a bad image. whereas dusty noble played a brilliant game. he reminds me of jp pietersen when he plays well. definately can see muir influence in his play.

  • Comment 12, posted at 10.03.08 08:20:16 by try time Reply
  • Well done to the Sharks!!! 😉

    2nd on the log… not too shabby!!!

  • Comment 13, posted at 10.03.08 08:24:06 by wpw Reply
  • top class defence by the sharks won that game, those fast loosies were hot and kockott is playing better than pienaar was. one ? mark, when is steyn gonna get balls to run more with the ball, he is big and fast so why kick so much. Whats up the michalaks hairstyle guys

  • Comment 14, posted at 10.03.08 08:35:56 by djgap Reply

  • Noble and JP are cousins… you know that, right?

  • Comment 15, posted at 10.03.08 08:38:09 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator

    Keegan Daniel you beauty.

  • Comment 16, posted at 10.03.08 08:40:30 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • …16 seconds to be exactly… 😎

  • Comment 17, posted at 10.03.08 08:41:41 by Charlie Reply

  • bis and jannie are brothers doesn’t mean they play the same.

  • Comment 18, posted at 10.03.08 08:45:53 by try time Reply

  • what is the record in all rugby?

  • Comment 19, posted at 10.03.08 08:46:41 by try time Reply

  • TT – I don’t think the Super 14 regulations would allow for two players on the field that play like Bismarck. That just wouldn’t be fair on the other teams.

    Jannie is clearly reigning himself in on coach’s orders 😉

  • Comment 20, posted at 10.03.08 08:49:19 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • I also don’t see how it would be possible to score a faster try than the one Keegan scored.

  • Comment 21, posted at 10.03.08 08:50:01 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Hey guys…ja what’s up with “blondie” Michalak? 🙄

    Great game…the guys took the charges well…and manage to hold up those running monsters…

    I can’t even single one player out cos I think everyone showed a lot of heart. And what more can we say about our super-subs :mrgreen:

    Let’s get the bonus against the Lions…and I’m really feeling confident that we’ll do well in NZ and AUS.

  • Comment 22, posted at 10.03.08 08:52:54 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • Blackshark,

    The Sharks super-subs are class 😉

  • Comment 23, posted at 10.03.08 08:55:51 by Charlie Reply

  • rob unless the kick was kicked backwards into his own in goal and the fastest wing in the world dotted it down. 😎

  • Comment 24, posted at 10.03.08 08:58:18 by try time Reply

  • yeah charlie as i said last week. the new elv’s have meant that rugby is a 22 man game and not a 15 man game, and the substitutes are as important as the starters. it is time they are acknowledged as such.

  • Comment 25, posted at 10.03.08 09:01:16 by try time Reply

  • Surely records are there to be broken, but this one will stand for quite some time… 😉

  • Comment 26, posted at 10.03.08 09:01:41 by Charlie Reply

  • boy, did the brilliant blues lose their shine or what!
    stunning Sharks team effort, and Dick Muir, you really are the best

  • Comment 27, posted at 10.03.08 09:04:04 by spykerbaard Reply

  • Everyone dreams of a bench with Beast, Adi, Deysel…and the other manne.

    It will take something to break that try record.

  • Comment 28, posted at 10.03.08 09:06:01 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • SHARK SUPPORTERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I demand an explanation for Michalak’s hair.

    Rugby fashion faux pas of the century.

  • Comment 29, posted at 10.03.08 09:06:45 by Dawn Reply

  • Dawn

    some scientific tests were done and it was determined that the hair colour most likely to dazzle the Blues was white/blond.

    The Sharks tried it and it worked. 😉

  • Comment 30, posted at 10.03.08 09:08:20 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Spyker

    you need to add an “at the moment” at the end of that statement.

    The season is still long and an injury or two to many or to a vital player could see us not be nearly as good as we are now.

  • Comment 31, posted at 10.03.08 09:09:33 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Guaranteed to make me fall off my couch, the sight of that hair.

    That SA Rugby model mannequin cover obviously went to his “head”.

  • Comment 32, posted at 10.03.08 09:12:33 by Dawn Reply

  • Dawn there’s a nice pick of his hair on the intro page on

  • Comment 33, posted at 10.03.08 09:13:47 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • some scientific tests were done and it was determined that the hair colour most likely to dazzle the Blues was white/blond.

    The Sharks tried it and it worked.

    10.03.08 09:08:20 – KSA Shark ©

    :mrgreen: They were so busy stairing at Fred’s hair they didn’t see Keegan sprinting to the tryline.

  • Comment 34, posted at 10.03.08 09:14:59 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • Pffft.

    As if I’m gonna go look!

    Saw enough of it Saturday. His hairdresser should be fired!

  • Comment 35, posted at 10.03.08 09:15:42 by Dawn Reply

  • blackshark!


    I was so busy staring I nearly missed the try myself.

    Nee man. No rugby player worth his salt should be allowed to do that!

  • Comment 36, posted at 10.03.08 09:17:17 by Dawn Reply

  • Dawn

    No rugby player worth his salt should be a gay icon either. 😉

  • Comment 37, posted at 10.03.08 09:20:38 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Dick should’ve started with Daniel loooooong ago.

  • Comment 38, posted at 10.03.08 09:20:57 by Kal-El Reply

  • I see Nucifora and Flavell are bleating in the press about how the reffing at the breakdown cost them victory.

    Stop whining and take your beating like men.

  • Comment 39, posted at 10.03.08 09:21:51 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Hey Rob

    don’t read the articles before they are posted. 😉

  • Comment 40, posted at 10.03.08 09:24:06 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • :mrgreen:

  • Comment 41, posted at 10.03.08 09:30:00 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • personally, i also felt that bowden was strict at the breakdown. but he was fair to both teams. that is all i ask. personally i would put him as the top aussie ref at the moment, this isn’t hard with dickheadson, godawful and lackie as competition. he never let the game get out of hand and he made sure the ball wasn’t slowed down at the breakdown. his reffing made the game the spectacle it was.

  • Comment 42, posted at 10.03.08 09:37:16 by try time Reply

  • KSA…

    ‘At the moment’ i believe the Sharks havent hit their straps yet…
    when they start firing on all cylinders we should see some scintillating rugby….Muir has got great backup in most positions, cant do more than that. if we get hit by bad injuries, that could spoil the party, but there’s not much anyone can do about that… talking of which, i hope BJ’s injury is not serious

  • Comment 43, posted at 10.03.08 09:38:42 by spykerbaard Reply

  • Spyker

    same here BJ does a lot of work and losing him for a while could be a big blow. Fortunately we can rest him this week and then we have the bye.

  • Comment 44, posted at 10.03.08 09:40:29 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • talking about things that could go wrong, i’m a bit worried about Ruan.
    last year Jake recognised his great talent and played him at fullback, wing,flyhalf and scrumhalf… he’s been off the boil since coming back.
    tt thinks he should be playing at 10 with Fred, not a bad idea, but if they go that route they have to stick with it, be decisive. and Ruan himself has to buy into that. otherwise, leave him at 9 and know he’ll get back to his best.

  • Comment 45, posted at 10.03.08 10:09:28 by spykerbaard Reply

  • spyker

    i agree again.

    MY concern is that we will turn RP into another Brent Russel.

  • Comment 46, posted at 10.03.08 10:12:28 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Russell’s story is one of the most disapointing in Sharks history.
    he must be the best underused and undervalued Sharksplayer ever
    Dick and his crew really messed up on that one
    i dont think it’ll happen with Frans and Ruan,hell it better not.

  • Comment 47, posted at 10.03.08 10:37:02 by spykerbaard Reply

  • I think by the time Dick Muir got involved with the Sharks the writing was already on the wall for Russel.

    Frans is not being moved around to much, he is just not playing in the right position IMO. (but enough of that) 🙂

    RP should play 10 or 15 IMO

  • Comment 48, posted at 10.03.08 10:39:47 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • KSA, do you know where i can find Morne’s article about playmakers and gamebreakers, ’cause we’re talking about two of the best here (Frans and Ruan), but not being a ‘kenner’ as such, i’m not sure how he would categorise them, to me they’re both.
    I have an idea that Frans is destined to be a great flyhalf, he certainly needs to be at the heart of a game. we need patience to see that fulfilled.

  • Comment 49, posted at 10.03.08 11:19:53 by spykerbaard Reply

  • Spyker are you talking aboput the article that caused the posters to launch into the Steyn v Barrit discussion?

    Gimme a sec I’ll give you the link.

  • Comment 50, posted at 10.03.08 11:28:19 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Spyker

    i will post the links one by one as multiple links in a post will get it spammed.

  • Comment 51, posted at 10.03.08 11:30:47 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • It should be the one above or this one.

  • Comment 52, posted at 10.03.08 11:31:31 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • thanxs KSA

  • Comment 53, posted at 10.03.08 11:37:18 by spykerbaard Reply


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