The ghost of try time

What difference made the difference?

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

Posted in :Sharks, Super 14 on 18 May 2008 at 16:54

Watching the Sharks play was as confusing as it was exciting. How could a backline that was so average for 12 games suddenly turn into the well-oiled machine we saw last night?

Looking at the players performances there was a slight improvement, but nothing major to create such a vast difference in performance. Rory Kockott was as selfish as always and his game wasn’t much different from previous games. He did find some beautiful gaps though, but these were more Donald’s positioning than Rory’s brilliance.

Ruan is improving game by game, and if he doesn’t realise that flyhalf could be his ticket into the Boks soon, he may not get the Bok jersey he deserves. Brad was once again solid on defence but he never sparked more than normal. He did set up some nice ball, but no more than previous games. Adi made some nice breaks, but his passing left a lot to be desired. His defence also gave Chiefs chances. Odwa was as steady as he has been all season, and also never did anything spectacularly different to create such a huge difference to the backline. Stefan had a great game, he kicked away the same amount of ball, but got better results due to better timing. So JP had to be the spark that created the turnaround in the backline. Yes he was better, but he is long way from his best and the improvement we saw would not have made the difference.

That leaves Murray and Strauss. Both were solid when they came on, but neither created anything more than the players they replaced. So why the difference?

My mind went wandering, wondering what was different in the backline to create such patience and effectiveness? Maybe it was something missing? But what? Frans Steyn was the only player that missed out for the first time. Then it hit me, it may just be him. He has not shown any patience this season. He has taken to many stupid decisions this season. He has kicked away too much ball this season. He has lost ball in the tackle area. And he has created tries for the opposition. I feel he may very well be the reason the backline has battled all season, but I am not going to blame it all on one guy, but I do feel his absence played a big part in the stability of the backline.

Whatever the difference it is a pity we have to go into the playoffs not knowing what the difference is. Whether it was Fran’s absence, a poor Chiefs backline, the Sharks backs being against the wall producing results or the combined improvement of the players, let us hope that the new improved backline keeps this level up for two more games. We want that trophy.


  • Mooi try time….some good points.

    But at the same time I reckon our loose trio were THE DIFFERENCE last night – theyw ere sublime & there replacements just as good. Kankowski did his job plus extra.

    Long may it continue!

    Dunno what to do with Frans though – start him off the bench for the semi?

  • Comment 1, posted at 18.05.08 17:44:32 by Le Requinny Reply
  • @Le Requinny (Comment 1) : Yes. Must be

  • Comment 2, posted at 18.05.08 17:46:17 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Interesting article TT. I dont quite agree with your player assessments, but I do agree with your question about Frans. Yes he can do some amazing things, but he is also very reluctant to trust his team-mates, and too reliant on himself. Yesterday’s game was built on support play, creation of opportunities for others, and a faith in the man alongside you. One wonders if Frans buys into that.

  • Comment 3, posted at 18.05.08 17:47:58 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • Frans used to… 🙄

  • Comment 4, posted at 18.05.08 17:49:26 by Le Requinny Reply
  • @Le Requinny (Comment 1) :

    I agree the loosies were solid, but in the past the loosies played well the backline never had the patience to continue the good work. Last night the backline waited and created the phases before doing anything stupid. Frans could be the impatient player that gave the ball away. i think playing him off the bench is the best bet. it is playoff time, we don’t need bonus points we need a strong defence. brad and waylon to start and frans and adi to score at the end.

  • Comment 5, posted at 18.05.08 17:51:51 by try time Reply

  • Don’t think Frans is the only impatient player though – in the past Rory Kockett has wasted possession with his selfishness/excitement. Last night it paid off cause he found the gaps – or like you mention – Donald allowed him…

    I also don’t think our losse forwards were on song vs the Waratahs. Phil Waugh had them in his pocket…should give our forwards a score to settle!

  • Comment 6, posted at 18.05.08 17:54:10 by Le Requinny Reply
  • 😆 What makes Ruan so great at flyhalf is that he can draw players or use his step or speed to create space for others. Frans can too- but how many times do you see him beat 2 or 3 players, and then instead of passing, trying to go than yard too far? I think he is good, but all the coaches saying that he has a special dispensation to play how he wants are not creating a team player.

  • Comment 7, posted at 18.05.08 17:55:17 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Le Requinny (Comment 6) : We hardly had our best tight five on the park last time we played them

  • Comment 8, posted at 18.05.08 17:57:21 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • The pack was awesome, but they usually are. Ruan was part of the reason in standing flat and creating space for the backs. Rory can be too selfish- quite annoying at times, but also very effective at other times.

  • Comment 9, posted at 18.05.08 17:58:41 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • oh i am off to have din dins. i am pleased to have sparked some debate. keep it up guys. some good points coming out already.

  • Comment 10, posted at 18.05.08 18:00:54 by try time Reply

  • Can I talk about Jean Deysel yet?

  • Comment 11, posted at 18.05.08 18:35:59 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • jean did all the talking. nothing more to say…

  • Comment 12, posted at 18.05.08 18:36:44 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 12) : That’s probably comment of the week!

  • Comment 13, posted at 18.05.08 18:39:30 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • rob there is a weekly article you can write…pearlers of the week, where the best comments get picked. and so i can get some picked you can have a dimwit of the week. basically a weekly article pick for a touch of humour.

  • Comment 14, posted at 18.05.08 18:45:43 by try time Reply

  • Good idea

  • Comment 15, posted at 18.05.08 19:03:40 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • “Rory Kockott was as selfish as always and his game wasn’t much different from previous games. He did find some beautiful gaps though, but these were more Donald’s positioning than Rory’s brilliance.”

    After watching Ruan’s try again, don’t you think you’re being a little tough on Donald, after all, his positioning was also responsible for Ruan’s scoring. I think a lot of the blame must be placed on both Chief’s scrumhalfs, who, while somewhat workmanlike clearing from the rucks and mauls are liabilities defensively.

  • Comment 16, posted at 19.05.08 04:02:48 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing Bear
  • Continuity…

    Depending on our locks this weekend… Deysel must be more involved against the Wallaby pack…

  • Comment 17, posted at 19.05.08 04:52:24 by bryce_in_oz Reply

  • As much as I’d like to credit Frans Steyn’s off the pitch performance for our fluid perfomance on Saturday…I can’t.

    So instead I’d like to congratulate the whole team that was actually on the pitch for keeping their veins warm and their heads cool (at least for most parts of the game).

    In my eyes the guys certainly did step up their game. The commitment that was shown by the likes of AJ VENTER- from the first whistle- made me proud cos it was then that I realised that the boys were going for the kill.

    Well done to you ALL! SHARKS forever!!!

  • Comment 18, posted at 19.05.08 08:30:25 by blackshark N.R.N.S! Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • Jean Deysel is one mean mother…. 😯 Did not realise how big he was untill Saturday…deg a star for the future 😀

  • Comment 19, posted at 19.05.08 08:33:37 by I'ce (TKMITFM) Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • I think Ruan should get a big nod of approval here, I thought he was outstanding. I think the forwards must also get credit, and AJ probably had his best game all season.

    Tight five get a big thumbs-up as well!

  • Comment 20, posted at 19.05.08 08:38:21 by hellbent Reply

  • @hellbent (Comment 20) :

    If Ruan continues in the way he did this last weekend we could be smiling BIG TIME next week.

  • Comment 21, posted at 19.05.08 08:59:30 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @hellbent (Comment 20) : the question wasn’t how good are forwards. the question why was the backline so much better? we all know the forwards were brilliant, whats new? the backline seemed to fire a lot better this game. or are you saying the forwards playing in the backline made the difference?

  • Comment 22, posted at 19.05.08 09:56:54 by try time Reply

  • The main reason we scored more than 4 tries in our last two games is the play of our pack. I am not talking about the set pieces and mauling ( which have been top all season ), but in the loose most especially when the ball is on the ground.

    The loose forwards have better balance without the Botes and Daniel combo. Also AJ has come to the party, finally. 😀

    Getting better momentum at the phase play means that we can score tries. Our backline still made numerous unforced errors, the big difference is that we had more opportunities. Just compare to the Tahs game where we lost the breakdown and the Brumbies second half where the ref blew us out of the breakdown competition.

  • Comment 23, posted at 19.05.08 13:24:05 by yossarian Reply


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