What a team!

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super 14 on 23 Mar 2009 at 10:25
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Well, can’t say I was particularly impressed with the performance dished up by the Sharks this weekend – particularly in the first half. You’ve got to admire the result though. Hell, coming back from that disastrous performance against the Reds to ultimately stuff the Force, despite never getting out of second gear is pretty impressive in my book.

Looking back, there must have been a pretty clear plan going into this game. The Sharks were only ever intending to play one half of rugby and as usual, they chose the second half. In the first, they showed an alarming lack of direction, plan and energy and I for one was pretty relieved that we managed to turn 3-all. If the Force had been a halfway decent team, they would have punished us for our aimlessness and laissez-faire. That said, one never really got the feeling that the Sharks were panicked during the first half or that the game was slipping out of control for them. They weren’t trying particularly hard to win, but they weren’t going to lie down and be beaten either.

The second half was a different story and to my mind, there was one clear factor that made the difference; the Sharks moved from “passive defence” to “active”; that is to say, they increased the intensity at the tackle point to shift the momentum in their favour. Rugby is a game that can only be played going forward and the tackle (quite obviously) is the point at which momentum can most easily be altered. A combination of rush defence and gang tackling saw the Sharks force two good turnovers deep in their own half, both of which resulted in long range tries against a retreating (and tiring) opposition. The stuttering Sharks attacking axis, blunted beyond hope of utility by the combination of the equally selfish Rory Kockott and Francois Steyn didn’t really need to fire after that, as they’d broken the back (and the spirit) of the opposition. Kockott’s try was just gravy and again demonstrated how important it is for a team to have the forward momentum at the breakdown.

I’m being pretty hard on Rory and Fransie here… in fact, I thought the latter had a superb all-round game and particularly if you consider how badly he played last week, Frans showed that he has a HUGE pair. To shake off that sort of criticism, put the jersey back on and come out and play so well shows tremendous character and for that I must salute him. It doesn’t change the fact, though, that the current Sharks halfback pairing don’t do nearly enough to create opportunities for those around them. It’s a pretty shocking indictment that, over the 65-odd minutes that he played, I don’t believe Riaan Swanepoel can have touched the ball more than twice. It’s one thing to have backs that can be dangerous from broken play, but it would be sweet if, just occasionally, we could create opportunities for them off our own ball…

Let’s not be negative, though. Hell, the Sharks are in second place AFTER coming home from tour and equalled the Bulls (and Stormers) record of three wins. with another seven games to go, six of them at home, this thing is now ours to lose. Come on, Sharks, let’s take it to the next level.

BTW – can I give Luzuko Vulindlu an honourable mention? Shucks, but that kid is something else. I reckon in 15 minutes on the field, he must easily have made 10 tackles. One to watch for the future, that’s for sure.


  • Two things concern me about the Sharks – constructive play on attack both forwards and backs, and John Smit’s dip in form.

    Smit to me is losing the plot a bit (not because of any position change it is more in his general play) wanting to become some type of enforcer.

    It was a good win and I think they approached the game perfectly, they can win ugly and that is important for this team – something the Stormers could learn.

    I said to Bryce on RW I think Kockett is particularly disappointing this year so-far.

    I told you to have faith in Frans… 😉

  • Comment 1, posted at 23.03.09 10:37:30 by Morné Reply
  • I’m very happy with where the Sharks are placed at this stage of the competition….also concerned about our lack of attacking ability of first phase. The Ruan thread also had me thinking about Rory and Frans not getting the backline going.

    Well done to Frans for exceeding my expectations on Saturday. 😎

    Isn’t that so KSA 😯

  • Comment 2, posted at 23.03.09 10:40:25 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 1) : well, one thing is for sure… Smit’s lineout throwing is about 200% better than the battleship’s…

  • Comment 3, posted at 23.03.09 10:43:42 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 3) :

    Oh thats a given, told you that before the season started when we had the debate who is the better hooker…

  • Comment 4, posted at 23.03.09 10:46:19 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 4) :

    There was a debate?

  • Comment 5, posted at 23.03.09 10:50:35 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @Morné (Comment 1) :

    I think people are being harsh on Kockott… 👿

  • Comment 6, posted at 23.03.09 10:52:45 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • Well done Sharks!!! 😎

    I promise I won’t say anything about the Sharks being arrogant!!! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 7, posted at 23.03.09 10:55:19 by wpw Reply
  • @blackshark (Comment 5) :

    Some okes think there is… 😈

    @blackshark (Comment 6) :

    Nope I don’t think so.

    Last year saw him display form that made him the #1 scrummy in SA in my view, he is not close to form currently. And he has one of the better packs in the comp as-well.

  • Comment 8, posted at 23.03.09 10:56:43 by Morné Reply
  • Jeez Rob, think you being a bit over expectant. Your current standing with a tour out of the way would suggest you should be in the running for another excrutiating 80 minutes at home – hopefully they learnt the lesson last time…

    I would just stfu and say thanks for the points. Regardless of the manner they were achieved.

  • Comment 9, posted at 23.03.09 11:02:44 by Worcestershire Sauce Reply
    Worcestershire Sauce
  • @blackshark (Comment 6) : it’s because we all want him to do well and he is just overdoing it. – ok. let me speak for myself – at least this is why I am critical.
    team first

  • Comment 10, posted at 23.03.09 11:13:23 by rekinek Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 2) : hey pokkel – still getting used to the BEAST next to your name 😆 :mrgreen:
    I also think well done to Fransie. He was not too spectacular to backfire and just did the job.

  • Comment 11, posted at 23.03.09 11:16:06 by rekinek Reply
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  • @Worcestershire Sauce (Comment 9) : point taken.

  • Comment 12, posted at 23.03.09 11:21:08 by robdylan Reply
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  • @ Worcestershire Sauce(Comment 9): the Sharks had a similar draw a couple of seasons ago and imploded, I don’t think you can compare the teams though, this team has an air of invincibility(so I thought before the reds game) and I still think they will go all the way, just hope, the bloody Bulls don’t pip you guys in the final again, because they are not looking too bad either.Rob, do you think he(Steyn) has big kahunas or just couldn’t give a sh!t what anybody else thinks??

  • Comment 13, posted at 23.03.09 11:22:03 by Whindy Reply
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  • @Whindy (Comment 13) : SOOHADOTO 🙂

  • Comment 14, posted at 23.03.09 11:28:04 by robdylan Reply
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  • GO SHARKS !!! BLACK & WHITE…NOTHING ELSE MATTERS !!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 15, posted at 23.03.09 12:18:49 by Charlie Reply

  • @Charlie (Comment 15) : darn straight!

  • Comment 16, posted at 23.03.09 12:29:18 by robdylan Reply
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  • What was that about a bicycle with extra reverse gears? 😆

  • Comment 17, posted at 23.03.09 15:31:48 by try time Reply

  • you fail to mention swannies defence in this article. he made 16 tackles protecting both adi and frans. he received at 3 balls (as far as i can recall) but he got it so late all he could do was crash ball. The loosies protected frans a lot more. often you saw the loosies take out the opposition with frans standing behind in case the tackle was missed. frans made 8 tackles missed 2 and made two half-tackles that slowed the player enough for a defender to stop him. i felt frans was better at 10 than twelve because of the defensive weakpoint he creates at 12. although i would still have him at fullback rather.

  • Comment 18, posted at 23.03.09 15:38:39 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 18) :

    Did you unban yourself??

  • Comment 19, posted at 23.03.09 15:41:42 by Prof. Ice Reply
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  • @try time (Comment 18) :

    Dude, you beginning to sound a lot like another blogger who irritated the crap out of me> Hmmm is her/his name. 😈

  • Comment 20, posted at 23.03.09 15:45:51 by wpw Reply
  • @Prof. Ice (Comment 19) : yes and then got abuse yesterday so almost rebanned myself. it was a wekk ban imposed for my blatent arrogance, and time needed to digest the humble pie i was served. funny how the same people that accused me of hating sharks players yesterday don’t remember all the great things i have said. selective memories. anyway thanks for the book, but i never needed to read it, as something clicked last week and now he goes down with no problem. last night i read him a story and switched off the light and he was out. strange.

  • Comment 21, posted at 23.03.09 15:49:07 by try time Reply

  • @wpw (Comment 20) : why? my love of frans?

  • Comment 22, posted at 23.03.09 15:49:59 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 18) :
    TT, I really dont think you are being very objective on this.

    Frans did really well, and managed to keep Giteau in check – which doesn’t happen often.

    As for Swanepoel; he had a great debut, but lets not get ahead of ourselves.

  • Comment 23, posted at 23.03.09 15:50:21 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @try time (Comment 21) :

    Great to hear that!! Things my side still going honky dory too…SLEEP, wonderful sleep!! 😉

    I missed the game – so cannot comment – but I was working on my early retirement – sort of an investment… 😆

  • Comment 24, posted at 23.03.09 15:52:59 by Prof. Ice Reply
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  • you guys are soft… newborns are the real challenge

  • Comment 25, posted at 23.03.09 15:54:35 by robdylan Reply
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  • Hey Vis!

  • Comment 26, posted at 23.03.09 15:57:37 by Prof. Ice Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 23) : swannie never played any better than he did in the cc. he is solid and underrated. i made a point of watching that combo and counting tackles. swannie and the forwards protected frans (and adi as when swannie left the field adi ended up making a lot more tackles). but as i said frans made his share of tackles. i will give him the benefit of the doubt and say he was standing back in case his boot was needed. but i haven’t and won’t say he had a bad game. i felt he was solid. nothing flash, but he did what was needed. that is all i ask.

  • Comment 27, posted at 23.03.09 15:57:43 by try time Reply

  • @Prof. Ice (Comment 24) : good luck with that. if it works let me in on it. 😉

  • Comment 28, posted at 23.03.09 15:59:15 by try time Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 25) :

    You seem to forget very quickly…ours are at the terrible two’s stage… 🙁 😉

    I have news…they get worse as they get older!! A parents worries and trouble NEVER stops!! 😆

  • Comment 29, posted at 23.03.09 16:00:24 by Prof. Ice Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 23) : so i don’t know how i am not being objective. i just stated the facts. i wasn’t knocking frans at all, i just noticed the defence was a lot better with swannie in at 12.

  • Comment 30, posted at 23.03.09 16:01:43 by try time Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 25) :

    Oh…my newborn really slept like the Proverbial baby…and THAT’s why this wakinjg up at night was a real nightmare to me!! 😆

    @try time (Comment 28) :

    You have girls? 😉

  • Comment 31, posted at 23.03.09 16:02:16 by Prof. Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @robdylan (Comment 25) : wait and see. newborns are a breeze.

  • Comment 32, posted at 23.03.09 16:02:27 by try time Reply

  • @Prof. Ice (Comment 31) : no. apparently they are a lot easier to train. my sister has girls and has no problems.

  • Comment 33, posted at 23.03.09 16:03:26 by try time Reply

  • Anyways – have a good one all!! I am off to resume my duties ans housewife, mother and Wife!!… 🙄 😉

  • Comment 34, posted at 23.03.09 16:03:53 by Prof. Ice Reply
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  • @try time (Comment 33) :

    THAT my dear, is the investment I was talking about! My oldest are doing well at modelling…so maybe in a few years mom can retire and she can look after me!! 😆


  • Comment 35, posted at 23.03.09 16:05:26 by Prof. Ice Reply
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  • @Prof. Ice (Comment 26) :
    Hullo daar ys. 😉

  • Comment 36, posted at 23.03.09 16:06:30 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • WHAT a team all right.

    Leading point-scorers:

    67 – Morné Steyn (Bulls)
    59 – Rory Kockott (Sharks)
    52 – Jimmy Gopperth (Blues)
    48 – Mark Gerrard (Brumbies)
    45 – Daniel Bowden (Highlanders)

    Leading try-scorers:

    5 – JP Pietersen (Sharks)
    4 – Isaia Toeava (Blues)
    4 – Pierre Spies (Bulls)
    4 – Siteveni Sivivatu (Chiefs)
    4 – Lelia Masaga (Chiefs)

  • Comment 37, posted at 23.03.09 16:07:42 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 37) : you found some stats somewhere, Oubaas? 🙂

  • Comment 38, posted at 23.03.09 16:13:13 by robdylan Reply
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  • That was a load of fun Robbo. Felt like I was back in 2005.

  • Comment 39, posted at 23.03.09 16:23:08 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 38) : he should be called a “statman” 😆 @KSA Shark © (Comment 37) : thanx ! jp & Rory looks goo, hey .

  • Comment 40, posted at 23.03.09 16:29:27 by rekinek Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 39) : eh heh… 🙂

  • Comment 41, posted at 23.03.09 16:29:33 by robdylan Reply
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  • I for one am proud of these guys. Made sitting up till after midnight worth while. Steyn running Over Giteau (sp) created Rory’s try. TT girls are fine until the TEENs ask me :shock:. I hope the Lions softened up the Brumbies for the Sharks. Adi appeared to Injure his left arm on Saturday ( commentators said Force should attack his left). I must admit I laughed when Steyn was described ( Not much of a General more a Passenger), however the Guys dissapline has been good no Reds, I for one still struggle that a profesional will carry out a spear tackle knowing the consequences. However luckily we had bumbling Lawrence rather than Goddard (Happy whistler). Not that they guys did anything wrong.

  • Comment 42, posted at 23.03.09 22:55:23 by Dynamite Reply

  • @Dynamite (Comment 42) : yes it seems to change boys are hard work to start with then become easier, girls do the opposite. i am pleased i have a little guy, rather have the stress while i am yonuger.

    as for that general comment, the commentator was right. steyn never went out his way, he did what he had to. but it worked and thats all that matters.

  • Comment 43, posted at 24.03.09 08:13:36 by try time Reply


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