The ghost of try time

The Other Side of the Sharks!

Written by cheers had fun (The ghost of try time)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super 14 on 18 Mar 2008 at 08:20

Our good friends at the Sharksrugby site have put up an article about the successes of the Sharks team so far this season, but a balanced view is needed so this article presents the other side of the coin.

The Sharks are second on the log and rightfully so, but they have not made their lives easy for the rest of the competition. It is a glaringly obvious fact that the Super 14 was never made to benefit South African teams and the few times the African teams make it into the playoffs they inevitably have to fly over to contest them and have always come back home beaten with their tail between their legs. The players have then had to go into the Tri-nations feeling they are inferior to the All Blacks due to Super 14 results. Last year however we saw how valuable home playoffs are and we tasted the glory of Super 14 success and this teed the Boks up for a World Cup win. So what has this to do with the Sharks first five games? Well I thought the answer was obvious.

In the first five games the Sharks have played ugly ten man rugby and have ground out wins, leaving themselves too much to do at the end to secure the all valuable bonus point. These bonus points are crucial to the Sharks success as a home final is what is needed to give Dick Muir the send off he deserves for turning the Sharks around, without them we are giving the Crusaders the chance to send off their amazing Robbie Deans in style. So in essence this Super 14 is turning into the closing ceremony for the two new age coaches, it should be known as the Dick and Deans show.

After five games the Sharks have a total of 21 points with the mighty Crusaders on 24. This simply put means when the Sharks play them on May the 2nd, a Sharks victory would tie the teams with the Crusaders enjoying a healthy points difference in top spot. And this situation could have been so different if only the backline had pulled their socks up. Two players in particular seem to have a World Cup hangover and only in the last game are there signs of them sobering up. It is a huge burden for the two youngsters to take, but JP and Frans need to man up and turn themselves from just heroes to legends. JP has not shown his talent that made him the top try scorer of 2007, and has looked like a passenger in each game. People may argue he never got ball from his backline, but the same can be said about Stefan and he has found ball to play with. So it is a simple case of JP not looking for work and letting everyone else carry him.

Frans. Now here is the player that has created the most debate amongst fans. He is the golden child of South African rugby, and every women and the odd guy fantasize about his greatness. But he hasn’t yet performed (as can be seen by his inability to kick the drop goals he once was the master of and his being dropped from long range place kicking) causing great concern and creating debate about all possible reasons for his lack lustre performances. The reasons are simple, he has yet to enter 2008. 2007 was such a big year for him he expected to have things his own way, and at the Sharks team success overshadows player success. During pre-season, reports were he wanted the flyhalf or first centre positions, while ‘experts’ have said his rightful place for the Sharks and the Boks is full back. Well we have no idea how he would handle the inside centre role as no-one in their right minds would drop the brilliant Barritt (who has defended like a Trojan). He has played at flyhalf twice and both times failed dismally and in his last appearance there he kicked two tries away. His fullback performance has been solid, but when compared to the cool head of Stefan, Steyn looks average. People are now even suggesting he should be dropped to get his mind right, but this may just break the player’s spirit. All we can hope is he embraces fullback and brings back the skill that has made him the poster boy.

Other areas of concern are scrumhalf and flyhalf. Ruan battled at scrumhalf in the initial games where the ELV’s found his distribution speed wanting. Injury gave Rory a start and he has proven to be a success, but he has been a little selfish of late and has not given the backline enough ball to attack with. Instead he has kicked good ball away or tried to take on the opposition flankers himself with no success. To see where we can improve we need to look at our competition, and the Crusaders’ Ellis has shown the value of getting quick ball to the flyhalf. Michalak has battled to impress in his appearances at 10 and although he hasn’t been an Achilles heal, he hasn’t created the opportunities everyone expected him to. He has shown though that in the latter stages of the game he does show more flair, which begs the question should he be the starter. France used him successfully as a super-sub and it is looking like this could actually be his glory role. Leaving a burning question, who at flyhalf? The very same question Bok selectors are asking. Ruan has the ability and boot to be a great fly half and he is our answer, but he needs to want to play there and rumours are he doesn’t want to play fly half.

All these problems said, the Sharks can fix them as they are not serious enough to derail a so far successful campaign, but if they are ignored it could turn a possible Super 14 crown into yet another Choker medal the Sharks are getting renowned for winning. This article is about the problems with the Sharks, but as I have already mentioned this article compliments the Sharksrugby article. So if you want to feel good about the Sharks again read that.


  • Hey TT good article.

    As Murphy would have it, I have published the Article you refer to from Sharksrugby with their permission. πŸ™‚

  • Comment 1, posted at 18.03.08 08:33:10 by KSA Shark Β© Reply
    KSA Shark Β©
  • oh that works out even better. so it is the good and the bad right next to eachother.

  • Comment 2, posted at 18.03.08 08:35:02 by try time Reply
  • πŸ™‚

  • Comment 3, posted at 18.03.08 08:36:13 by KSA Shark Β© Reply
    KSA Shark Β©
  • Hi TT good article!

    I have never felt that JP puts in the hard work. He is one player that may have come good last year but it took him forever and he had more opportunities than any other wing I know in the Sharks squad. He is just proving my point again this year – one should have to “work” for your place on the team. There are more than enough really good wings around and he should not be playing if he is not performing properly.

  • Comment 4, posted at 18.03.08 08:37:36 by Nessa Reply
  • Okay guys – so we have the “good” and the “bad”. So where is the “ugly”? πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 5, posted at 18.03.08 08:38:14 by Nessa Reply
  • nessa you have set your self up nicely with your last post. but i will hold my tongue and just say, the sharks victories have been ugly.

  • Comment 6, posted at 18.03.08 08:46:18 by try time Reply
  • LOL @ TT. πŸ˜‰

    I must agree with you – they certainly haven’t been pretty. Everyone keeps saying – but we won – I don’t think that is the point. We needed some bonus points.

  • Comment 7, posted at 18.03.08 08:48:48 by Nessa Reply
  • when the crusaders win they feel good, when we win we feel like it was actually a loss.

  • Comment 8, posted at 18.03.08 08:51:20 by try time Reply
  • Someone looking for me? πŸ™‚

  • Comment 9, posted at 18.03.08 08:52:28 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • For sure – we land up defending the last 15 / 20 minutes and feel lucky to have won. Not exactly what I would call celebrating the win.

  • Comment 10, posted at 18.03.08 08:53:00 by Nessa Reply

  • Ahhh – has the “ugly” appeared? πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 11, posted at 18.03.08 08:53:21 by Nessa Reply

  • Nessa

    Ugly wrote the article πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 12, posted at 18.03.08 08:54:11 by KSA Shark Β© Reply

    KSA Shark Β©
  • KSA – it’s a case of “if the shoe fits” … πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 13, posted at 18.03.08 08:55:56 by Nessa Reply

  • TT

    I don’t feel bad when we win. I have felt good about all except our last win.

    Had the Saders only just beaten the Cheetahs they would also have felt bad(ish).

    I would have liked a much bigger margin of victory over the Lions But we didn’t and I will live with that.

    Being 5 from 5 is a good feeling.

  • Comment 14, posted at 18.03.08 08:57:14 by KSA Shark Β© Reply

    KSA Shark Β©
  • πŸ˜›

  • Comment 15, posted at 18.03.08 08:57:41 by KSA Shark Β© Reply

    KSA Shark Β©
  • When the Sharks have a few moments of brilliance – you can see what a talented team they are – they just need to string those moments together and make them last the whole match. Just feel they aren’t playing the full 80 minutes.

    Am very proud of them though.

  • Comment 16, posted at 18.03.08 09:01:15 by Nessa Reply

  • yeah ksa. i just don’t want to hear excuses. i want the players to take responsibility. our forward pack cannot continue to carry the team themselves. and we cannot expect brad and jacques to tackle everyone after we give good ball away. but yes it is definately a bittersweet feeling at the moment.

  • Comment 17, posted at 18.03.08 09:01:54 by try time Reply

  • I have never felt that JP puts in the hard work. He is one player that may have come good last year but it took him forever and he had more opportunities than any other wing I know in the Sharks squad – Nessa.

    Last year JP came in for huge flack but ended the season as the top try-scorer – which is his job. Admittedly there have been slim pickings, but how does a wing go out looking for work if the ball is kicked away by the scrumhlaf, the forwards grind the ball up and keep it away from the backs, Barritt does crash ball and Murray doesn’t pass.

    I think it is unfair to single him out because he isn’t a personal favourite.

    As the game opens up with the better conditions, the backs will run the ball more and he will again come into his own.

  • Comment 18, posted at 18.03.08 09:03:17 by hellbent Reply

  • our forward pack cannot continue to carry the team themselves

    I am not going to say it, BUT I am sure you know my solution to getting the backline sorted. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 19, posted at 18.03.08 09:04:03 by KSA Shark Β© Reply

    KSA Shark Β©
  • Hellbent – the Sharks coaching staff have openly admitted that JP is a very lazy player and even in practice never looks for work or goes that extra mile. I may be guilty of him not being a “personal favourite” of mine – but think we have players at the moment who are playing better than him. Because of the depth we have in the squad at the moment – every player should be fighting for his place on the team.

  • Comment 20, posted at 18.03.08 09:09:05 by Nessa Reply

  • hey guys i came up with a good title for the 2008 super 14 and you all missed it. i think if it boils down to a sharks crusaders final it would a perfect title.

  • Comment 21, posted at 18.03.08 09:12:05 by try time Reply

  • hb i also disagree with you, partially. habana has played behind a ten man rugby team for years yet he still finds enough ball to use. odwa and stefan in their roles at wing have also found more ball than jp. you cannot say there isn’t ball for him. why isn’t he next to stefan when the ball goes for a quick throw in. why is he not supporting players who make breaks and are caught alone (he has the speed to catch up to them and collect the offload). lets face it he isn’t doing the work needed from him.

  • Comment 22, posted at 18.03.08 09:16:01 by try time Reply

  • I also don’t understand why he insists on this little sidestep before he passes the ball – it just wastes time when he could have made a clean pass – next thing you know the defender is on him and he has lost the opportunity to pass the ball.

  • Comment 23, posted at 18.03.08 09:19:08 by Nessa Reply

  • Steyn, as much as I like him, is selfish. He tries to do too many things on his own.

    As for Michalak, I feel it is difficult to really impress at flyhalf for the Sharks.
    The reasons being > the Sharks don’t believe in playing one man at flyhalf. You will find guys like Barrit, Adi, Steyn all standing at flyhalf.
    Furthermore, Kockott takes all the kicks and seems to dictate play.

    Rightly or wrongly so – other team’s flyhalfs are more involved in play.

  • Comment 24, posted at 18.03.08 09:21:19 by BigFAN Reply

  • TT – so what’s that name?

  • Comment 25, posted at 18.03.08 09:21:49 by Nessa Reply

  • the dick and deans show.

  • Comment 26, posted at 18.03.08 09:23:01 by try time Reply

  • Damn but i’m bored… πŸ™„

  • Comment 27, posted at 18.03.08 09:42:48 by wpw Reply
  • Why are you always bored?????

  • Comment 28, posted at 18.03.08 09:50:01 by Dawn Reply

  • Wes has always battled to find intelligent enough company!

  • Comment 29, posted at 18.03.08 10:00:19 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • rob speak for yourself.

  • Comment 30, posted at 18.03.08 10:13:04 by try time Reply

  • Love the name TT! πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 31, posted at 18.03.08 10:25:49 by Nessa Reply

  • Regarding the JP issue…

    The Sunday Times’ Bok Barometer has JP as their 14 and continue to add “He has been one of the most consistent players in the Super 14”.

    Now- I have seen all of our games except the last one against the Lions and I didn’t see JP doing much wrong except that time he lost his mind against the Stormers and didn’t know what to do with the ball for 5 seconds.

    His tackling and handling of high balls has improved so much…I was especially proud of him during the Bulls game where he was so tidy.

    Offensively- we all know he hasn’t been as involved as we’d all like
    …especially for last year’s top try-scorer…but surely we can lay most of that blame on the infamous 10 men rugby. I really don’t think he deserves to singled out unless he had a TERRIBLE performance against the Lions.

  • Comment 32, posted at 18.03.08 10:35:49 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • BS – not exactly singling JP out – was just commenting on TT’s comments regarding JP in his article. He also mentioned Steyn and others that have not been performing to their best ability.

  • Comment 33, posted at 18.03.08 10:44:56 by Nessa Reply

  • JP is not alone… Odwa, Waylon, Brad… all of them have looked kak on attack this year.

    Their defence has been awesome, though.

  • Comment 34, posted at 18.03.08 10:47:38 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • RD – well, as we have been spending the last two weeks defending in the second half, thank goodness their defence has been good!

    I have been very impressed with Odwa under the high ball – especially last week with the rain.

  • Comment 35, posted at 18.03.08 11:00:33 by Nessa Reply

  • Odwa and JP have both been brilliant under the high ball

  • Comment 36, posted at 18.03.08 11:11:52 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • JPP is miles ahead of any wing in the country at the moment.

    Ask questions of the inside backs instead.

  • Comment 37, posted at 18.03.08 11:12:57 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • ha ha! Was waiting for the cheerleading squad to arrive

  • Comment 38, posted at 18.03.08 11:18:37 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • no ways stefan has outplayed jp. for an old man with no pace he has shown what needs to be done.

  • Comment 39, posted at 18.03.08 11:23:01 by try time Reply

  • i have never been a stefan fan. but i must say he is playing well this year.

  • Comment 40, posted at 18.03.08 11:23:53 by try time Reply

  • Two players in particular seem to have a World Cup hangover and only in the last game are there signs of them sobering up.

    If this means that both played better against the Lions then I really don’t know why JP deserves to be mentioned next to Steyn who has hardly done anything positive since this edition of the Super 14 started (except pinning the opposition to their 22 with his long kicks and missed drop goals- according to SPYKER) πŸ˜†

    As BF said…none of our outside backs have been given enough decent balls with enough space to exploit the opposition’s defence line. The overlaps have been provided…and wasted…which means they have been taking good positions…what more can they do to attract the attention of the playmakers?

  • Comment 41, posted at 18.03.08 11:24:47 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • BF – are you serious! πŸ‘Ώ

  • Comment 42, posted at 18.03.08 11:25:38 by Nessa Reply

  • Stefan is our best fullback… I don’t think he belongs on the wing

  • Comment 43, posted at 18.03.08 11:25:58 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • all this crit towards ruan amazes me. he has played just two games and now suddenly he is too slow. sure kockott is good, but nowhere near ruan. kockott moves sideways before he passes, i hate it when a scrummy does that, it irritates me.

  • Comment 44, posted at 18.03.08 11:27:25 by knersboy Reply

  • stefan has been very good, nice and calm, just like percy eh.

  • Comment 45, posted at 18.03.08 11:28:35 by knersboy Reply

  • I have been very impressed with Stefan.

    I have always been a huge Ruan fan – just think he needs to be a bit more “in your face” like Rory is. Sometimes you need that. Saying that though – I think Ruan is in a different league.

  • Comment 46, posted at 18.03.08 11:29:06 by Nessa Reply

  • Give JP the same amount of experience as Stefan and I think there’d be no comparison… πŸ˜›

  • Comment 47, posted at 18.03.08 11:32:40 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • But on that note I don’t know what we would do without the old man…thank God we have him back…

  • Comment 48, posted at 18.03.08 11:34:08 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • Ruan to me is OK… but his defence is terrible. That will be horribly exposed at fullback… I fear it will be the same if he plays flyhalf.

  • Comment 49, posted at 18.03.08 11:40:40 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • I just think we have 2 good number 9’s in Ruan and Kockott…and both can learn a lot from each other…cos they are refreshingly different.

  • Comment 50, posted at 18.03.08 11:46:50 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • Howdy people of the palace… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 51, posted at 18.03.08 11:47:03 by Charlie Reply

  • agree blackshark… each offers a different dimension. In fact, we have Mcleod as well, another very promising guy.

    Hoesit Tzaaaalie!

  • Comment 52, posted at 18.03.08 11:48:46 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Hello Charlie!

  • Comment 53, posted at 18.03.08 11:50:37 by Nessa Reply

  • Hi Nessa… 😎

  • Comment 54, posted at 18.03.08 11:55:03 by Charlie Reply

  • Hoi ja Rob,

    Hoe lyk ‘ie nomme ma se kind… 😈

  • Comment 55, posted at 18.03.08 11:55:51 by Charlie Reply

  • Sorry Nessa, but yes I am. 😳

    You cant look at players in isolation – compare JP to Habana if you must, but then also compare the respective game-plans.

    The Sharks play a game-plan which requires that the outside backs first and foremost play a supporting role on attack and defence, with less opportunities coming to them off set phases or planned moves – when is the last time that the Sharks scored a try by ANY PLAYER that wasn’t from broken play? And what about tries not scored by forwards?

  • Comment 56, posted at 18.03.08 11:57:06 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • BF – then we will have to agree to disagree on this one. πŸ˜‰ Don’t think that JP is anywhere near the best wing we have in the country at the moment. But then, that’s just my take.

    Hope he proves me wrong.

  • Comment 57, posted at 18.03.08 11:59:35 by Nessa Reply

  • Hey Big Fish,

    I am really worried about the lack of tries by the Sharks, surely I believe they have the goods to deliver, but nothing is really happening… πŸ™„

  • Comment 58, posted at 18.03.08 12:00:17 by Charlie Reply

  • Yep…can’t forget lil’ Mcleod…I’m so glad we brought him over to Sharkworld…I can remember him trying to tear us apart in the CC…

  • Comment 59, posted at 18.03.08 12:00:40 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • charlie – when I find out what “nomme” are, I’ll surely tell you πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 60, posted at 18.03.08 12:02:25 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • yeah blackshark… if you can’t beat em, poach em! πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 61, posted at 18.03.08 12:03:30 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Charlie – can’t agree more. 1 try last week!! Just think of the children’s fund they are not helping to build the fund up. Shame on the boys!

  • Comment 62, posted at 18.03.08 12:04:14 by Nessa Reply

  • Nessa & Big Fish,

    My philosiphy surrounding backline play is that wings needs to score most of of their tries through innovative play by the inside back…In the Sharks scenario it does not happen, I have mentioned earlier that the Sharks do have the goods but does not deliver… πŸ™„

  • Comment 63, posted at 18.03.08 12:04:33 by Charlie Reply

  • Nessa, based on current form, whom do you rate as the best SA wings at the moment?

    Pretty bare cupboard unfortunately.

    Charlie, I think its part of the process for the Sharks – get the basics right, and then when everything is running smoothly, take a step up again.

    One cant ignore the impact of losing generals like John, Butch and Percival.

    That being said, I am really getting tired of the present dearth of tries.

  • Comment 64, posted at 18.03.08 12:06:05 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • Ok – time for me to sail off.

    Gotta see a man about some oil.

    Enjoy the day ladies and gentlemen and rob.

  • Comment 65, posted at 18.03.08 12:07:49 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • surely I believe they have the goods to deliver, but nothing is really happening…
    18.03.08 12:00:17 – Charlie

    Yep…very frustrating…cos we know we can do it but it’s not happening yet….

    This just proves that if we can get our act together we have the team that can do as well as we did last year…and dare I say BETTER?

  • Comment 66, posted at 18.03.08 12:08:05 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • Cheers BF – have a good day.

    BS – we can get a whole lot better. I am patiently waiting for that day. The Sharks are capable of so much more than they are delivering at the moment. I sound like a mom with a child at school who is not achieving to his full ability.

  • Comment 67, posted at 18.03.08 12:12:55 by Nessa Reply

  • Cheers Big Fish… πŸ˜‰


    Sure as hell hope it starts sooner, we gonna need the bonus points… πŸ‘Ώ

  • Comment 68, posted at 18.03.08 12:15:25 by Charlie Reply

  • :mrgreen: But it’s not all doom and gloom folks…heck it’s anything BUT…

    Gees we couldn’t get a bonus against the Lions (who haven’t played the worst rugby in the tournament) and suddenly people are walking around with their heads hanging low.

    I couldn’t believe how depressed some people looked or sounded on monday…I actually had to doublecheck the weekend’s results and our log position…cos I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing.

    I know we are fans and we pay ourselves a good salary to moan and whine and at times offer some constructive criticism- but the amount of moaning I’ve seen in the different sites this week really doesn’t do justice to what these young (and a few old) men in black have achieved thus far.

    This is the ladder of success in sports…


    We’re on rung 3 out of 4. That should tell us we’ve had more positives than negatives…and definitely not the other way around.

    SHARKS forever!

  • Comment 69, posted at 18.03.08 12:51:00 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • blackshark – a very good point.

  • Comment 70, posted at 18.03.08 13:12:50 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • not bad 70 comments and no consensus reached. that means dick’s coaching is not that bad. had we all agreed and dicks policies differed from what we felt then i would say there is a problem. although the one consensus there is, is that frans is a problem and not one that will be sorted out soon.

  • Comment 71, posted at 18.03.08 14:36:44 by try time Reply


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