KSA Shark ©

Plan comes together for clinical Sharks

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Sharks, Super 14 on 18 May 2008 at 07:22
Tagged with :

It may have required a nauseating roller-coaster ride to do it, but the Sharks are in the semifinals of this year’s Vodacom Super 14.

In a game that took a life of its own — the final scoreline only tells half the story of the frenzied nature of this encounter — Dick Muir’s charges barn- stormed into the semis in spite of a game Chiefs showing.

Simnikiwe Xabanisa writes for the Sunday Times that for the most part, the Sharks’ forwards had this one under control, save for a nasty third quarter where the visitors got to within three points as their backs ran amok.

The result means the Sharks fly to Sydney tonight to front up to the Waratahs, while the other semifinal will be an all-New Zealand affair between the Crusaders and Hurricanes in Christchurch.

It was performance that forced one to ask where the Sharks had been all season as they outscored a side with a better backline by seven tries to three.

Knowing they either needed a bonus-points win or to win by 18 points to make the semifinals, the Sharks started appropriately enough.

The Sharks scrum immediately located the reverse gear for the Chiefs — their rolling maul regularly took 20m to stop — and their lineouts were a 100% improvement on last week’s shambles against the Cheetahs.

Even more critical to their initial success was their conversion of opportunities. In the first half, they had four chances and finished three of them.

Those virtues had brought them to within one try of the required haul to force their way into the semis.

For their part, the injury-ravaged Chiefs were content to allow the hosts to do most of the playing and punish them on the break with what must easily be the fastest and most skilful backline in the competition.

Where their forwards had parity was in the lineouts and at the murderous breakdowns. Having spent most of the week in the sickbay, it was a brave effort by their forwards, but they simply have to be competitive in more areas to give their backs a chance.

The man-of-the-match award went to bullocking hooker Bismarck du Plessis but, for once, they should have given a collective award to the eight donkeys up front.

Prop “Beast” Mtawarira was all grunt up front, AJ Venter was almost the warrior of old, flanker Jacques Botes was omnipresent and No8 Ryan Kankowski was all pace, power and skill.

Among the backs, scrumhalf Rory Kockott was typically pugnacious and accurate in front of goal, while fullback Stefan Terblanche was all vigilance in patrolling the last line of defence.

Most encouraging for the coaching staff were the performances of flyhalf Ruan Pienaar and winger JP Pietersen.

As a retreaded flyhalf, the natural scrumhalf finally looked to have embraced the challenge of playing in his new position.

He backed himself and took a lot of the decision-making responsibility, even though some of what he tried did not work.

Pietersen may not have scored all season, but he did a lot of grafting on and off the ball to play a critical role in the final outcome.

Muir and his coaches would have been happiest with the constant try-scoring threat their side were throughout, as finishing off chances has been an issue throughout the round- robin stages.

But spare a thought for the Stormers, whose revolution this season was finally snuffed out by the performance of a team that had been the no-hopers of the tournament.


Sharks 47 — Tries: Ruan Pienaar, Adrian Jacobs, Bismarck du Plessis, Steven Sykes, Ryan Kankowski (2), Odwa Ndungane. Conversions: Rory Kockott (6).

Chiefs 25 — Tries: Faifili Levave, Mils Muliaina, Sitiveni Sivivatu. Conversions: Stephen Donald (2). Penalties: Donald (2).


  • It was a nauseating roller-coaster ride all right.

    Where was this rugby all season and will we see more of it next week.

  • Comment 1, posted at 18.05.08 07:32:21 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Sharks seem to peaking at the right time. Lets hope the curve keeps going up.

    This was a really good performance, but they will probably require another two at least as good if they want to go all the way.

    Fingers crossed, holding thumbs….

    Hope the Canes klap the Saders, so the final can be in Durbs. With a happy ending this time.

  • Comment 2, posted at 18.05.08 10:14:32 by racheltjiedebeer Reply
  • @racheltjiedebeer (Comment 2) :

    And just to improve our chances that little bit more………… I won’t fly home for the final again. 😳

  • Comment 3, posted at 18.05.08 10:23:47 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • This journo struggled to give the Sharks any credence last year, and is just as begrudging this year. One would scarcely guess at the magnitude of the victory margin or the fact that the Chiefs only missed about 2 regular starters- the Sharks the same. A great win that deserves more praise. Well done boys!

  • Comment 4, posted at 18.05.08 11:48:57 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • YAY YAY, i was so happy yday when we scored our 4th try (and every one after that) that i did a lap of honour around the bar/restaurant where i was watching.

    today i am suffering big time though, oh the pain, it is worth it.

  • Comment 5, posted at 18.05.08 12:08:51 by knersboy Reply

  • @knersboy (Comment 5) :

    Is that pain from the Hang over or from the laps of the restaurant?

    Hope it’s a hangover or else you are in some seriously bad shape 😉

    I want to come back to SA it sucks being in a country where nobody realises the significance of wearing a Sharks jersey 😉

  • Comment 6, posted at 18.05.08 12:12:16 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • What are these rumours I am hearing today that:

    1) Bismarck has a release clause in his Sharks contract if John Smit returns
    2) John Smit has been released early from his Clermont contract – although he still has to make himself available until June for their semis/final, &
    3) AJ is going to sign for Western Province?


  • Comment 7, posted at 18.05.08 12:30:24 by Le Requinny Reply
  • @Le Requinny (Comment 7) :

    Where are you hearing these rumours?

  • Comment 8, posted at 18.05.08 12:36:25 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Le Requinny (Comment 7) : Where did you hear these?

  • Comment 9, posted at 18.05.08 12:36:58 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • My feelings

    No player is indispensible and can be replaced if the province has suitable depth.

    We have that.

    BUT I would choose Bismarck over John at the moment.

    As for AJ, I thought he was retiring?

  • Comment 10, posted at 18.05.08 12:41:49 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @robdylan (Sharks Forever!) (Comment 9) :

    365 and the Sunday Tribune

  • Comment 11, posted at 18.05.08 12:43:28 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • It would be stupid to lose Bis. Not even for Smit. I think this is just mischief

  • Comment 12, posted at 18.05.08 12:47:07 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Sharks Forever!) (Comment 12) :

    either way there is an article up for it coz i am sure this wioll be a hottly debated subject. 😉

  • Comment 13, posted at 18.05.08 12:49:08 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Rugby365/Sunday Tribune:

    Sharks could lose Smit
    Sun, 18 May 2008 09:57

    Springbok captain John Smit is returning to South Africa but there is no guarantee that he will play for the Sharks.

    Smit, who has been released early from his contract with French club Clermont, will return to Durban on Saturday.

    However, he could join either the Blue Bulls, Western Province or the Lions – unless the Sharks can resolve a complex situation involving current Sharks hooker Bismarck du Plessis.

    The Sunday Tribune reports that when Du Plessis re-signed for the Sharks last year, he had a clause installed that holds that he can be released from his contract should Smit return early from France.

    Du Plessis, who turns 24 on Thursday, obviously wanted to ensure that his apprenticeship behind Smit was well and truly over and that he would be more or less guaranteed starting time in Durban… or would be free to move to a province where he would be the No 1 hooker.

    The highly combative Du Plessis has been one of South Africa’s form Super 14 players, but surely there is room at the inn for both him and the Springbok captain, not to mention emerging talent Craig Burden.

    Sharks fans will hope the Sharks can sit down with Smit, Du Plessis and the new coach John Plumtree and work something out so that Smit’s priceless experience is not lost to another province.

    “My heart is at the Sharks,” Smit said on Saturday from France.

    “And I am extremely excited about coming home and relaunching my rugby career. I have learned a great deal playing for Clermont in a championship where there is huge accent on forward play, but my desire to play for the Springboks is stronger than ever and ultimately I need to be based in South Africa.

    “And if I had a choice that base would be in Durban.”

    SA Rugby’s Andy Marinos has done very well to extricate the 30-year-old Smit from his two-year contract, with the only minor hiccup being that Smit must return to France for the weekends of the French championship semifinals and possibly the final, which means he will miss the Test match against Italy in late June.

    “It is difficult to explain how pleased I am to be coming home,” Smit said.

    “Very few players get the opportunity to play again in South Africa after having moved to Europe. I feel that I am starting all over again and have the same enthusiasm and excitement I had as a 19-year-old joining the Sharks.”

    Smit says that he has a burning ambition to beat the All Blacks in New Zealand for the first time in his career, and the British Lions next year.

    We have seen this season how the Sharks have struggled for consistency because of the loss of experience from last year, and the situation could be exacerbated because of the possible loss of tighthead prop Brendon Botha to Ulster and AJ Venter to Western Province.

    Botha has been offered a highly lucrative contract by the Irish side and the Sharks and SA Rugby together unfortunately cannot come close, so Botha has a decision to make – foreign shores for a few years and a secure financial future, or the green grass of home.

    Venter’s contract with the Sharks is up at the end of this month but he has changed his mind on retirement and wants to play on for another year with a view to moving into some kind of coaching role after that.

  • Comment 14, posted at 18.05.08 12:55:18 by Le Requinny Reply
  • I hope it is just a rumour. Haven’t heard anything on this matter from my source though…

    Bis vs John, I’d choose Bis too.

    If BJ does sign for Ulster, why not contract John though to play tighthead/cover hooker. If it means releaseing a hooker, then tata Skipper. Think he might be a tad too expensive though…

    I have a nasty feeling Smit will end up at Watson Province ironically – just cause of Marinos’ involvement in this matter…

    As for AJ and Western Province, that is a bolter! Surely there is more space for him at the Sharks than WP? WP have huge depth at loose forward – Burger, Watson, Diack, Melck, Myburgh, P.Louw & F.Louw! And surely the NRU would be most accomodating in trying to organise him a coaching role somewhere in their structure – they’ve done that with a number of ex-players! Also can’t see AJ’s wife – Jenna – a born&bred Durbanite sommer upping sticks…

  • Comment 15, posted at 18.05.08 13:02:17 by Le Requinny Reply
  • I am torn between what line to use here.

    Legend in a Lunchbox gets it horribly wrong

    Fleckie flakes out.

    If my predictions come true, my semifinal line-up would look as follows:
    (1) Crusaders
    (2) Waratahs
    (3) Hurricanes
    (4) Stormers

  • Comment 16, posted at 18.05.08 13:02:47 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • ksa, it is the hangover. i was too fast for the poor broken dissapointed stormers supporters to catch me, at least in my mind….

  • Comment 17, posted at 18.05.08 13:32:58 by knersboy Reply


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