KSA Shark ©

Mitchell’s men out for revenge against Blues

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Super 14 on 11 Mar 2008 at 09:00
Tagged with : ,

The Blues have damaged the Force badly in their two Super 14 meetings but the victims are convinced they can challenge those glitches this weekend.

Former All Black coach turned Force mentor John Mitchell is extra wary of the threat from the Blues, especially after they lost their unbeaten record last round.

He rates them as “ruthless, brave and very hungry”, a side who may not be as patient as the Crusaders but “can hurt you from anywhere”.

Wynne Gray writes in the NZ Herald that Mitchell felt his side would be better primed for Saturday’s game in Albany after pushing the Crusaders throughout their 29-24 win in Perth.

“These sort of games are the benchmark in this competition and they do harden your players to what is needed, how they have to step up to the plate against the best teams,” he said yesterday.

“The Blues put us away easily in our infancy and they will be mindful of that and so are we.”

The Force achieved the same results as the Blues in Africa with victories over the Lions and Cheetahs and defeat against the Sharks, although there was no comparison in their winning margins.

“We wanted to get a bit more out of our attack than we did in Africa and we managed to create some more in that area against the Crusaders,” Mitchell said.

However, he was disappointed they had not been able to sustain the pressure when they visited the Crusaders 22 and also felt they had an average night with their defence from first phase ball.

“We made six key defensive errors and they punished us on three of those.

“From the world I come from, that is disappointing and there comes a time when you can’t always use development and learning the game as an excuse.”

However, Mitchell was enthused about the contribution of his centre Ryan Cross who learned the code on the hoof last season after nine seasons away in the NRL with the Sydney Roosters.

He has adjusted to life as a Super 14 professional where players travelled far more than they did based in Sydney with league and his tussle this weekend with Blues’ midfielders Benson Stanley and Isaia Toeava would be absorbing.

“In Australia there is a big emphasis on Timana Tahu’s switch to rugby and Stirling Mortlock’s experience but this guy Cross provides a different kind of centre.

“He is very comfortable on defence and makes strong cuts at the line,” Mitchell said.

“I am impressed, he has really got his mind around the job now.”

The coach also filled the praiseometer about Matt Giteau’s work at first five-eighths.

“With these new laws we felt we had to get the ball to him a lot more because he was starved of possession at the World Cup.”

The 25-year-old gamebreaker was great to coach, very talented and someone who worked hard.

The key to his impact for the Force and the Wallabies would be the quality of his teams’ scrum and Mitchell was confident his would stack up on Saturday.

“It is coming on but good execution has to be repeated.

“Our props were like toothpicks when we started but there is development there.

“The Blues have also improved their scrum and John Afoa looks very well balanced at tighthead prop. They generate very good power, they have Nick Evans who can run or release pressure with his kicking.

“They test you all over the place but that is what we have to counter.”


  • the western worsies open game plays right into the blues hands…
    we should see a ‘Wors’roll getting chewed by Flavell and co.

  • Comment 1, posted at 11.03.08 09:43:46 by spykerbaard Reply
  • But it wouldn’t it be lovely if they did us a favour and beat the Blues 😎

    Oh I DO love dreaming 😉

  • Comment 2, posted at 11.03.08 09:51:19 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • also, blues will be a bit moeg after their travels. this is a tough one to call.

  • Comment 3, posted at 11.03.08 09:57:40 by knersboy Reply
  • yes KSA, I also spend a bit of time dreaming up the most unlikely results that would ultimately favour the Sharks… funny thing is, they sometimes happen!

  • Comment 4, posted at 11.03.08 10:03:31 by spykerbaard Reply
  • Blues at home will make the difference I think.

    last year the Blues did two matches in SA and then straight to Aus where they klapped the Force.

    Only to come to Durban for, what is now becoming a routine klap from the Sharks. 😉

    Rnd 12 – Stormers 33 – 20 Blues – Newlands
    Rnd 13 – Bulls 40 – 19 Blues – Loftus Versfeld
    Rnd 14 – Force 6 – 33 Blues – Perth
    Semi – Sharks 34 – 18 Blues – Durban

    Blues by 12+ is my call for the weekend

  • Comment 5, posted at 11.03.08 10:07:18 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • hello kners,

    i think the Force are the luckiest team in the S14 this year, could easily have left SA with 3 losses… that could be about to change.
    either way, we’ll know soon enough.

  • Comment 6, posted at 11.03.08 10:14:11 by spykerbaard Reply
  • yeah spyker, but remember the same could be said for the sharks after the first two games. an away win is an away win. i think they will be the best of the aussie sides, as they have already toured sa and came away withn 2/3.

  • Comment 7, posted at 11.03.08 10:18:33 by knersboy Reply
  • you’re right kners, tho Sharks beat them while playing below par and i just cant see them beating the blues.

  • Comment 8, posted at 11.03.08 10:53:00 by spykerbaard Reply
  • to tell you the truth me neither. would like the force to win though, better for the sharks.

  • Comment 9, posted at 11.03.08 10:53:47 by knersboy Reply
  • Force are picking up momentum… they could easily finish in fourth spot.

    Tell you what, the Blues had better get over their post-tour hangover very quickly, or they could come unstuck here. In fact, this might be my dark horse pick for the weekend.

  • Comment 10, posted at 11.03.08 11:46:49 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • i think the force are pretenders RD, Blues to put them in their place
    i’ve been known to be wrong tho,lol 😉

  • Comment 11, posted at 11.03.08 11:59:46 by spykerbaard Reply

  • me too 😉

  • Comment 12, posted at 11.03.08 12:29:56 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • I think you’ll be right this time though Spyker.

  • Comment 13, posted at 11.03.08 12:32:25 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • well,lets wait an see, cheers for now guys.

  • Comment 14, posted at 11.03.08 12:36:59 by spykerbaard Reply

  • that’s right, Mr 71-percenter 😉

  • Comment 15, posted at 11.03.08 13:02:15 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Would definitely be a good result if the Force could beat the Blues. I can’t see anyone topping the Crusaders on the log which means we need to finish 2nd to guarantee the home semi.

    Force have every chance of taking this one too…it’s a 50/50 call.

  • Comment 16, posted at 11.03.08 15:39:02 by Villie Reply
    Competition Winner

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