Muller likely to be Super 14 captain

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :In the news, Sharks, Super 14 on 14 Jan 2009 at 12:22
Tagged with : , , ,

In the tranquil surrounds of rustic Michaelhouse yesterday, there was something brutal yet sanguine about the way the Sharks conducted their business during their annual pre-season sojourn in the Midlands.

Mike Greenaway, IOL.

They wrestled and boxed each other under the exhortations of martial arts experts until they were at a standstill. And then they fought some more, but were the best of pals afterwards.

In short, you could say the Sharks are in rude health as they build towards a sure-to-be epic showdown with the Stormers in Cape Town in the February 14 Super 14 opener.

Later, after the players had fizzed up the Mooi River during a chaotic raft-building exercise, Currie Cup captain Johann Muller was tired but excited as he discussed his team’s prospects.

“We are in a good place,” he said. “We are hungry, confident, settled, but – after years of no trophies – all too aware that nothing but the hardest of work puts them in cabinets.”

You would imagine that Muller will be appointed Super 14 captain – John Plumtree has yet to announce to the squad whether it is Muller or Springbok captain John Smit – but an educated guess is that there will be continuity from the Currie Cup.

In any case, Smit and Muller are close friends, and the two of them will pretty much lead as an alliance, and leadership does not get much better than this pair.

“There is huge excitement,” said Muller.

“There is the assurance that comes from us being a virtually unchanged squad for the past three years, but also a realisation that what was achieved in the past two years in the Super 14 was not good enough, and there is a fierce determination to kick on and do better.”

This is good news for Sharks fans. Some South African teams would be content with being fifth in 2006, finalists in 2007 and semi-finalists in 2008.

“Ask anybody in our squad, this is not good enough,” said Muller. “Not with the talent and, now, the experience in our squad. Guys like Brian van Zyl (CEO of the Sharks) have ensured we have a settled squad, and we must make the most of this. Last year we went unbeaten through eight rounds, yet felt we did not get out of third gear, and we are itching now to get into fifth.”

A significant reason for this is that the Sharks got stuck in a conservative mindset because they played the first half of the competition in the stifling conditions of late summer in Durban.

“The thing we learnt is that we should use our local conditions as a weapon rather than an excuse,” Muller said.

“The other teams hate playing in Durban in February and March, and we must exploit this, but when we play in cooler climes we must positively adjust the way we play. Bonus-point rugby (for scoring four tries or more) in Durban in February is very difficult, but it is easier elsewhere and we must therefore be more versatile.”

Muller said the Sharks could not have been given a tougher opening match than playing the Stormers at Newlands.

“They played some very good rugby last year, and they are waiting for us, big time. The pressure is on them, because it is tough to be a serious contender in this competition if you drop home games,” he said.

“But the next week we host the Lions before leaving for New Zealand the next day, so the pressure will be completely on us. That is what the Super 14 is all about – you have to deliver every single week!”


  • Nice article I always enjoyed reading Mike Greenaway. Good to hear that the boys are in the “zone” and rearing to go.
    The Sharks have a kinder draw this year with 7 home games and only have to cross the Tasman Straits once after 2 matches against the Stormers ( Newlands and Lions ( Home) and hopefully leave for the land of the long white cloud with at least 9 points safely stowed in their kit bag before they take on Chiefs at Hamilton followed by Blues at Auckland the traveling West Reds in Brisbane finally to Perth before coming home to face the Brumbies. Not a bad draw for the first part of the competition. If the Rugby Gods are smiling the Sharks could return to Durban with as many as 25 points to the good.
    Be still my beating heart ❗

  • Comment 1, posted at 14.01.09 13:15:38 by Ragged Reply
  • Two great leaders in the team. Pity there isn’t one in the backline. No real ‘general’ in the back line…Ruan doesn’t seem like the ‘leader(captain)’ type. I think he prefers to lead by example…. and Rory talks to much 😉

  • Comment 2, posted at 14.01.09 13:22:54 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • I think that Stephan is the natural ” un official Vice Captain” he is the elder staesamn in the squad; is experience cannot be bought. IMO his 2008 season was as good as any I have seem from him, in fact he was every bit as good if not better than 2004 when he was a Bok.
    Perhaps Adi may be given the honour?

  • Comment 3, posted at 14.01.09 13:27:56 by Ragged Reply

  • @Ragged (Comment 3) : After I wrote the post, I thought about Stefan and he probably fits the bill. I just always wonder how easy it is to lead from fullback.

  • Comment 4, posted at 14.01.09 13:37:30 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • Scrumhalf always seem like the perfect position to captain from……OK I was a scrumhalf in my day 😳

  • Comment 5, posted at 14.01.09 13:38:41 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • That first game against the Stormer is going to determine what team we are for the rest of the season.

    I am soooooooooooo KAK Nervous about that game.

  • Comment 6, posted at 14.01.09 13:39:11 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Ragged (Comment 3) : Stefan’s highlight of the year was wrongfooting and beating Habana….well done Oupa 😯

  • Comment 7, posted at 14.01.09 13:40:08 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 6) : tell me about it!

  • Comment 8, posted at 14.01.09 13:52:43 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 8) : oh ye of little faith! 4 points in the bag perhaps 5!

  • Comment 9, posted at 14.01.09 13:58:38 by Ragged Reply

  • “The thing we learnt is that we should use our local conditions as a weapon rather than an excuse,” Muller said.

    Now thats the right attitude to have.

  • Comment 10, posted at 14.01.09 14:00:00 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 8) :

    Well I can tell you this much.

    I won’t be picking the Stormers or Sharks in the Last Man Standing Competition in Round 1. 😆

  • Comment 11, posted at 14.01.09 14:04:25 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Ragged (Comment 9) :

    put your money where your mouth is and pickt the Sharks. 😛

    Gonna take a brave man to pick either of those.

  • Comment 12, posted at 14.01.09 14:05:26 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Ragged (Comment 3) : deon carstens can be backline captain. he is usually found at wing.

  • Comment 13, posted at 14.01.09 14:11:09 by try time Reply

  • @Pokkel (Comment 2) : Rory’s a classic! 😆

  • Comment 14, posted at 14.01.09 14:32:27 by klempie Reply

  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 6) : @robdylan (Comment 8) : I’m actually not nervous about that game…but talk to me in a month’s time…it might be a different story… 🙂

    @KSA Shark © (Comment 12) :
    I’m tempted…that’s the only result I’m 100% sure off at the moment from the first round… 😆

    I don’t really care who the captain is…I just want the boys to do well…and I hope Smit will keep Bis in check…

  • Comment 15, posted at 14.01.09 14:37:34 by blckshrk - PROTEAS Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @try time (Comment 13) : and damn good at it 😉

  • Comment 16, posted at 14.01.09 14:38:33 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @try time (Comment 13) :

    The best All Round captain is Victor Matfield, He is ina position to captain the forwards and the backs.

  • Comment 17, posted at 14.01.09 14:41:02 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @try time (Comment 13) : 😆

  • Comment 18, posted at 14.01.09 14:52:13 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • hey! 1 month to go

  • Comment 19, posted at 14.01.09 14:59:44 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 19) : yeah baby! 30 days and counting. 😀

  • Comment 20, posted at 14.01.09 15:02:58 by McLovin Reply

  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 17) : 😆 never a truer word spoken

  • Comment 21, posted at 14.01.09 15:06:02 by Worcestershire Sauce Reply
    Worcestershire Sauce
  • @try time (Comment 13) : Well the try he scored against the Lions was the best try scored by a wing this season!

  • Comment 22, posted at 14.01.09 15:12:16 by Ragged Reply

  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 12) : I do not mind putting my Money were my mouth is the thing I do not want to do is put my foot where my mouth is… I often do that!!

  • Comment 23, posted at 14.01.09 15:14:27 by Ragged Reply

  • yeah deon does make some brilliant runs.
    @KSA Shark © (Comment 17) : pity his captaincy skills are shite. 🙂

  • Comment 24, posted at 14.01.09 15:52:16 by try time Reply

  • @Pokkel (Comment 10) :

    I hated the Dick Muir tripe that used to be rolled out – the humidity made us do it… 🙄

  • Comment 25, posted at 14.01.09 15:53:41 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • Lekker, someone has been reading my posts. 😀 I have been saying for a long time that John should not captain the Sharks, not because I don’t believe he is the best captain in world rugby, but with the amount of rugby he plays season after season, surely the psychological pressure of leading constantly must get to him. Johann is a superb leader and captain as well, and just because John is not captain does not mean he will not still lead. It is just that the pressure is off. Also, with John moving to TH, he needs to become reacquainted with the position, so even more reason to relieve the pressure of the captaincy. I think it will make both the Sharks and the Boks better for it, the Boks will still have a strong, leading talisman in John leading from the front.

    Also, all of you need to get over the Stormers game, yes it is important, but the season does not depend on that one game. Yes I am nervous, but I know the Sharks will do us proud, and if the Stormers happen to play incredibly good rugby on the day and manage to beat the Sharks, the season is not over. How many times have we seen NZ teams playing poorly and losing several of their early games only to go on a super winning streak right into the post season? Sharks are certainly capable of such if needed.

  • Comment 26, posted at 15.01.09 01:04:35 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing Bear
  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 26) : Remember, we must look at the Sharks for what they are, one of the very best Super Rugby franchises in existence. They have finished with the best record in the regular season in 2007, made many semi-finals and a few finals, and they won the most recent CC. The Sharks are like the Boks were in the RWC, and like the Crusaders were year in and year out under Deans. They are experienced, loaded with talent, coached by a superb coach, open to trying new things like bringing in league guys to help, open to foreign coaching styles and views, and they have become a calm, mastering presence on any rugby field. We as supporters should be confident that our Sharks can win any game they play, because they certainly are capable of winning every game they play. Every other team in the Super 14 is nervous about playing the Sharks, just as they are nervous to play the ‘saders. The Aussies and Kiwis all believe the Sharks to be one of the very best year in and year out, yes we have had bad seasons, but that will not happen this season. We must believe by now that the Sharks are one of the very best rugby franchises in the world, I believe that the Sharks can beat any club or franchise in world rugby either home or away.

  • Comment 27, posted at 15.01.09 01:12:37 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing Bear
  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 27) : Amen! I Have many Kiwi mates, and they all rate the Sharks as the only SA Franchise capable of causing them an upset (they are Saders supporters), and with the current coaching staff, stable team, I really believe the Sharks will go all the way this year! I simply cannot wait for the Crusaders match in DBN!

  • Comment 28, posted at 15.01.09 07:46:04 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 28) : We are so lucky to be Sharks supporters!

  • Comment 29, posted at 15.01.09 16:26:29 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing Bear
  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 29) : and Currie Cup champions

  • Comment 30, posted at 15.01.09 17:07:31 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 30) : It is good to support a professional winning franchise. Doesn’t matter to me though, I have been a supporter since the 60s, and believe me there were plenty of very poor seasons, didn’t make me want to support another team though, and look now! It was all worth it.

  • Comment 31, posted at 15.01.09 17:12:52 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing Bear

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