Sharks going to attack their way out of the doldrums

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :In the news, Sharks, Super 14 on 7 Apr 2008 at 13:22

Up in the peace and quiet of the mountains, the Sharks are getting themselves into a mean mood for Friday’s match against the Highlanders.

They are annoyed that they did not beat the Hurricanes, they are fed up making excuses about the weather and they are determined to start scoring tries again, writes IOL‘s man on tour, Mike Greenaway.

The Sharks had a powwow on Monday morning before heading off to the local rugby club for a training session, and captain Johann Muller says that the squad has resolved to attack its way out of the doldrums.

“Enough is enough,” Muller said. “What has happened over the season is that a conservative mindset has evolved, and we are in a situation where we are waiting for tries to happen instead of being proactive.

We need to start taking risks and to change our mindset to attack. We are going to drive this all week. We are going to Dunedin to attack.”

The Sharks have the best defensive record in the competition, having conceded just seven tries in seven games, but they are off the pace in the try-scoring department considering they are second on the table and unbeaten.

They have scored just 14 tries, compared to the Crusaders (33) who are one place above them and the Blues (27) who are one below. The 14th placed Lions have scored 13 tries.

“It is clear that our defence has been carrying us,” Muller says. “And we must now use our excellent defence as a safety net while we attack more.

“If we make a mistake on attack, our defensive system is likely to come to the rescue. We can afford to attack more.”

The Sharks have indeed been uninventive on attack, seemingly playing to set up the next phase for the sake of it, rather than having a crack at the defence.

“They have been guilty of waiting for the next man to do something special.

“It is true that we have been waiting for the catalyst to happen instead of creating the catalyst,” the captain says.

“And when we get in the mood for scoring tries, we are very good at it,’ Muller says. “When we score one, a couple more tend to follow quickly.”

Muller says that part of the reason for the team not clicking into their best form is that they have perhaps been too worried about winning.

Muller’s forwards have been playing well; the Sharks’ defence is exemplary, but the backs are not scoring tries.

“That’s it in a nutshell,” agrees Muller.

“This week we are working very hard on getting the balance right between forwards and backs, making sure that everything they want from us we provide, and vice versa.”

The Sharks certainly seem stung into action by their performance in Wellington.

It is as if they lost that game and want to make immediate amends.


  • Ok enough with the promises… Lets see some results. Go Sharks

  • Comment 1, posted at 07.04.08 13:42:28 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • Can’t say Muller doesn’t say all the right things after each game. 🙄

    Anyway…this whole best defensive team business makes me dizzy. If you look at the Sharks team you don’t think “Oh my, what a great defensive team!”…you’re most likely to think ” Wow! Tries waiting to happen!”

    I’ve never seen a Shark defending…Sharks ATTACK! Come on!!! 😡

  • Comment 2, posted at 07.04.08 14:03:14 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • agree. It’s time to throw caution to the wind.

    If we carry on like this we’re going to come unstuck against both the Tahs and the Brumbies, as well as the Cru. Then it’s game over.

  • Comment 3, posted at 07.04.08 14:06:09 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Nothing is going to get accomplished until Dick picks and stays with a consistent set of starting 15. Team rotation is great in theory and lesser matches but when you hit crunch time it’s too much of a risk.

  • Comment 4, posted at 07.04.08 14:41:17 by milissa Reply

  • Well this is what we all want to see, isn’t it? Strong attacking rugby. We saw it during the first half against the Blues, and it was magic.

    I think it’s mostly a mental thing. I’ve always felt that the Sharks need to get onto the field with a hunger to score; to get across the try-line. You can definitely see the difference in the side when they come out with that attitude, and when they don’t.

    Although we all niggle about the selection of particular players, there is no doubt in my mind that the entire squad, bench included, sports many world class players who don’t miss opportunities because they lack the skills: they lack the will!

    There are no excuses.

  • Comment 5, posted at 07.04.08 15:04:36 by Waz Reply

  • nail on head, Waz

  • Comment 6, posted at 07.04.08 15:10:41 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • The Stormers changed their mindset like this at the start of their overseas tour and were well rewarded. Luck runs with you when you play positively.

    The new laws reward attacking play, and it is nice to see negative play being punished by 7-pointers… That’s why the Bulls did so badly in their first few games.

    SA teams are catching on now though, you can actually see them adapting better to the laws now.

    The Sharks could do worse than taking a look at the way the Cheetahs let their backline loose throughout every game so far this season…

  • Comment 7, posted at 07.04.08 15:11:26 by Ghost10 Reply

  • The proof’s in the pudding…Captain Muller… 🙄

  • Comment 8, posted at 07.04.08 15:14:07 by Charlie Reply

  • Charlie – lemme guess. You think Adi should be the captain, right? 😉

  • Comment 9, posted at 07.04.08 15:15:45 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Nope…then Steyn or Barritt will have to warm the bench…You & KSA can fight over that one… 😉

  • Comment 10, posted at 07.04.08 16:08:38 by Charlie Reply

  • I am getting tired of saying this but will continue to do so.

    It will not change unless we see change at 9,10,12 combo.

  • Comment 11, posted at 07.04.08 16:28:53 by MorneN Reply
  • i like the sentiment and the attitude, fortune favours the brave, go 4 it. tend to agree that if they want to attack, got to pick steyn at 12 with either the playmaker michalak or pienaar at 10. tough on barrit tho, his defense has been superb.
    I also think the lack of attack is due to lack of go-forward, remember botes-daniels-kanko to each of their canes counterparts and they dont offer the same go-forward, simple rule you cant attack effectively with static ball.

  • Comment 12, posted at 07.04.08 16:45:08 by cab Reply

  • any news on EPI??

  • Comment 13, posted at 07.04.08 16:48:53 by barend Reply

  • He finds out his fate tomorrow barend.

    But I fully expect his 2008 S14 to be limited to the minutes he’s already played.

  • Comment 14, posted at 07.04.08 16:52:11 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • #

    Hi everyone.
    This is totally off any topic and I’m not sure where to post it.

    Myself and Milissa (from the Sharks blog) came up with an idea and we wondered if maybe someone can make it a reality. The Lions has two calenders out this year. One with action photo’s from Lions games and One with their dancers.

    Now we were wondering can’t the Sharks do something similar. Only we want a calender of shirtless smiling rugby playing Sharks and a calender for the guys with all the Shark girls. Maybe a % of sales can go to charity or maybe towards Cedric’s fund. There will definitely be a marked for the calenders. So maybe someone out there know who to talk to and drop the idea. I think the Lions ask around R250 for a calender and the more you order once off the better the price.

  • Comment 15, posted at 07.04.08 17:04:00 by Nita Reply

  • The Sharks’ reserve forward Epi Taione has been suspended for six weeks for headbutting a Wellington Hurricanes player in their Vodacom Super 14 rugby clash on Saturday.

    Taione was sent off by referee Paul Marks for headbutting Hurricanes forward Jeremy Thrush in a maul during the Wellington match, which ended in a 13-13 draw.

    Taione told a hearing on Monday he did not intend to headbutt Thrush, who was struck on his chin but not injured.

    Judiciary officer Nicholas Davidson said in a ruling released on Tuesday it was open whether the headbutt was intentional, but concluded the Tongan test player’s action was “grossly reckless”.

    Taking into account a suspension in 2004 for biting, Davidson suspended Taione until May 19.

    Golden Lions reserve forward Ross Geldenhuys was cleared of striking Highlanders player Jamie Mackintosh in the head with his knee after a scrum collapsed in their match in Dunedin on Friday.

    Davidson said the video evidence did not clearly confirm the act was deliberate.

  • Comment 16, posted at 08.04.08 07:23:23 by barend Reply


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