KSA Shark ©

Steyn remover needed as Tahs eye final

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Sharks, Super 14 on 23 May 2008 at 05:04
Tagged with :

The Waratahs must spend as much time as possible in the Sharks’ half if they are to stifle the danger of Francois Steyn’s kicking in their Super 14 semi-final at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday night.

Rupert Guiness writes in the Sydney Morning Herald that if they allow the Springbok to put boot to ball within 60 metres of the Waratahs line, he can either set up a try-scoring counter-attack or kick vital penalty points.

Either way, and despite the challenge the Sharks’ forward pack will throw down to the Waratahs, Steyn is the one individual who looms as the difference between the Waratahs winning or losing.

The Waratahs, who earned their home semifinal by finishing second on the ladder after last week’s win over the Reds in Brisbane, were dealt a late blow to their preparation when David Lyons pulled up with a hamstring injury at training.

The back-rower is now a major doubt, with the result of scans taken yesterday to determine whether he is fit to take his place on the bench.

On standby is flanker Beau Robinson, an aggressive ball scavenger and defender whose speed around the ruck could come in handy – especially in helping to close down Steyn.

At least the Waratahs know what to expect from Steyn. World rugby has seen all too often how he can cruel the winning intention of any side – no more spectacularly than with penalty kicks from as far out as 60m.

Ewen McKenzie’s men – who yesterday were desperate to know if Steyn was playing after struggling with a rib injury – must ensure they keep their discipline in order to keep the danger man shackled.

Steyn has been passed fit to start so his threat is now very real to the Tahs.

“We are conscious that he can kick from anywhere,” said McKenzie, who was named Australian Super 14 Coach of the Year last night, after announcing his side for the semi-final clash.

McKenzie is confident his players will at least not jeopardise their final hopes by giving away silly penalties. “We have not had a discipline issue all year. We are one of the sides that concedes the least amount of penalties,” he said.

It should be reassuring to hear captain Phil Waugh say he will ensure the side stays alert to the danger of providing the Sharks with chances to kick “penalties, field goals and every opportunity they get to take those three-pointers”.

Waugh, who on Saturday night will become the fourth NSW player to win 100 Super rugby caps, refuses to take too much from the Waratahs’ 25-10 win over the Sharks when they last played in round 11 at the SFS.

“I think they had an off night that night,” Waugh, the Waratahs’ openside flanker, said. “We will [also] have to play a lot better than we have in the last few weeks to win the semi-final.”

McKenzie believes the Sharks will be buoyed by their third-place finish.

He is also aware that the Sharks’ 20-19 defeat to the Bulls in last season’s final – with the winning score coming in the 82nd minute – will make them all the more determined to go all the way this year.

“They would have learned a lesson from that [loss]. They will be much better for that,” McKenzie said. “Two years prior, [2005] they were bottom of the ladder. So they have come a long way.”

McKenzie expects the Sharks pack to throw everything at his forwards, who have become a real Super 14 force. How the NSW pack responds – or proactively takes them on – will determine what ball or space Steyn gets.

“If you write their names down on a piece of paper, they’re a pretty damn good scrum. There’s no question about that,” McKenzie said. “They’ve got Springbok props on the bench. They’ve recruited very well in that area.

“They’ll be banking on their forwards. Knowing the way they play, they’ll be relying very heavily on their scrum, on their driving maul, on their kicking game.”

Barring Robinson being placed on standby for Lyons on the bench, the one change McKenzie has made up front is the inclusion of hooker Adam Freier in the starting side for the injured Tatafu Polota-Nau.

In the backs, Rob Horne comes back into the starting side at outside-centre, with Matt Carraro returning to the bench.


  • Stain remover :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    You just gotta love the Aussie way with words.

    Let’s hope it’s not to remove Skid-marks, lads.

  • Comment 1, posted at 23.05.08 05:06:06 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Steyn remover… 😆 that’s a good one indeed…

    It seems like everyone wants to write an article from a Steyn point of view. When did he move from the “weakest link” to the man who holds the balance of the game? Strange, aint it?

    No rugby on a friday…still feels odd…

  • Comment 2, posted at 23.05.08 07:56:38 by blackshark N.R.N.S! Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!
  • Good morning all.

    Was watching an Aussie rugby chat show last night (not sure what it was called) and one of them said they went onto some of the South African rugby sites and were amazed to see that most of the South African public were unhappy that Francois had been included. They are worried about him.

  • Comment 3, posted at 23.05.08 08:29:20 by Nessa Reply
  • I think it was called “Down Under”?

    He also mentioned that this is a very different Sharks squad to the one they faced before – we lost Fred in the first 10 minutes which in itself unsettled the team, we didn’t have our capitain either.

    He was very impressed with Ruan in the flyhalf position. Every member of the panel mentioned Ryan – he has made a huge impact.

  • Comment 4, posted at 23.05.08 08:41:03 by Nessa Reply
  • Wrap from Down Under?

  • Comment 5, posted at 23.05.08 09:07:57 by PJLD Reply
  • @Nessa (Comment 3) : That is what immediately struck me about this article. They are shit-scared of Frans’ ability to kick long kicks.

    I think they’re over-emphasising only one facet of our play, since to my mind, he only succeeds with about 1 in 4 anyway. It’s good, though, because it means there will be less attention on the other guys while they all try to nullify Steyn.

  • Comment 6, posted at 23.05.08 09:12:30 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator

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