KSA Shark ©

Sharks back to winning ways

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Sharks, Super 14 on 3 May 2009 at 06:56
Tagged with : , , , , ,

The Sharks emerged victorious in their Vodacom Super 14 match against the Highlanders at The Absa Stadium Durban on Saturday afternoon, but were made to fight for every point.

They went into today’s game in seventh position on the log with 31 points but with teams second to eight within two points of each other, the log was hugely congested and the tournament remains poised on a knife’s edge.

Sharksrugby.co.za reports that with two matches of the weekend still to play, the 23-18 victory took The Sharks from seventh to second spot on the log but they will know two more tough pool games stand between them and a semifinal place in three weeks time.

Having returned from their bye, the difference in energy levels was immediately apparent with The Sharks in menacing mood right from the start. Big ball carriers in Ryan Kankowski, Riaan Swanepoel, Bismarck du Plessis and Jean Deysel – back to his bullocking best – were in belligerent mood, forcing the visiting Highlanders into making umpteen tackles and often failing to stop the opposition player with the first hit.

It was clear that The Sharks were attaching great importance to the game and certainly arrived at the park in confrontational mood, not willing to take a step back, evidenced supremely in their scrumming prowess which constantly pressurised the Highlanders at the setpiece and earning them more than a handful of turnovers.

The Sharks enjoyed the majority of ball possession, but if there had to be a downside, it was the number of opportunities lost on attack which would have been frustrating after all the excellent foundation work to get them into try-scoring positions in the first place.

After half an hour the Highlanders looked dead on their feet, players hanging their heads in fatigue and slow to get up from the collisions, but testament to their character was their never-say-die attitude and when they attacked, they did so in earnest.

They might have had the last word in the first half with a try to Jimmy Cowan to even the try-scoring tally at two apiece, but the conversion failed and The Sharks took a slender 17-15 lead into the break looking dangerous despite the narrow deficit on the scoreboard.

Points did not come easy in the second half with three penalties the only time the scoreboard was troubled, but two of those went to The Sharks and they had done enough to hold out the visitors in a tightly-contested half with the spoils just about evenly-shared.

In the end, The Sharks had done enough to win against a side who have beaten the Crusaders and Bulls this season and deserve plenty of respect.

Highlanders captain Jimmy Cowan paid tribute to The Sharks, saying, “They attacked well in the early part of the game but our boys bounced back, missed out on some points, and credit to The Sharks for their win. Overall though, we’re disappointed to come away with no points.”

Sharks captain Johann Muller admitted that, “After a good break which we needed, we’re happy with four points but a bit disappointed with way we played. We created a lot of opportunities but our finishing went out the window and we need to hold on to the ball a bit more. It was a really good effort from our pack, and if you have want to win the tournament, you have to dominate the scrum and I thought we did that.”

Ryan Kankowski, Vodacom Man of The Match explained that, “It was very tough, we knew the Highlanders have a strong pack, but we were ready for them, it was a tough battle though. Our tight forwards worked really hard today and made it easier for me. When the tight five do the job and set the foundation, the loosies can dominate and I think we did.”

Crowd: 24111

The Sharks: 23 (17)
Tries: Steven Sykes, Jacques Botes
Conversions: Rory Kockott (2)
Penalties: Rory Kockott (3)

Highlanders: 18 (15)
Tries: Jason Rutledge, Jimmy Cowan
Conversions: Mathew Berquist (1)
Penalties: Mathew Berquist (2)


  • So has Rory been cited or not?? What a stooopid thing to do…

  • Comment 1, posted at 03.05.09 14:28:30 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 1) :

    Red card is an automatic citing.

  • Comment 2, posted at 03.05.09 14:44:29 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • I sEE the $harks are also using Scrumtruk technology

    You couls see that last night!

    Scrums were rather gOOde.

    Would like to sEE them against the Waratahs( Who pionEEred the use in Superrugby)- who absolutly haMMered the ChEEtah scrum!

    (who to my knowledge have not yet invested in Scrumtruck Technology :mrgreen: )

  • Comment 3, posted at 03.05.09 15:14:51 by Oranje Orakel Reply

  • @Oranje Orakel (Comment 3) :

    on serious note : pity though that this whole dominance was not capitalised on.

    But hey – it looked impressive and surely messed with Landers pride – poor okes. That was rather good to watch almost unreal.

  • Comment 4, posted at 03.05.09 15:19:37 by rekinek Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
  • @rekinek (Comment 4) :

    Go read this sites



    Pro teams that isnt using it are just stOOpid 😈

    Or I dont know of the “beTTer” technology that they are using!

  • Comment 5, posted at 03.05.09 15:22:41 by Oranje Orakel Reply

  • it was stoopid, rory had one of his better games of the season. then he stuffs it up with a stoopid retaliation.

  • Comment 6, posted at 03.05.09 15:38:47 by try time Reply

  • the only thing more stoopid than rory was plum taking smit off and leave bis to knock on another try opportunity. the sharks really lost the plot when smit was replaced.

  • Comment 7, posted at 03.05.09 15:40:37 by try time Reply

  • oh and johann’s stoopid captaincy that saw him going for penalties when we were showing dominance in their 22. a better captain would have kept them under pressure in the hope of scoring bp tries. by taking the 3 points you waste all your momentum and end up back in your own half.

  • Comment 8, posted at 03.05.09 15:42:45 by try time Reply

  • on a positive note though, if we win the next two games with 4 pointers we should end 2nd on the log. we however threw the top of the log out the window by not getting the bp.

  • Comment 9, posted at 03.05.09 15:44:20 by try time Reply

  • Very sorry to say, but I have seen better ball handling from a Lesbian.(As was stated on a Kiwi radio station today 😳 Ok so they won, but when are we going to treasure keeping the ball. Loosing to the Crusaders when they could have won had just one of the 4 opportunities given been held onto, and then now this week. If Ruan or Dysel had lost the ball I probably would sort of understand ( rustyness), but how many times didn’t Bismark loose control. We seem to hve better control whilst slapping the Opponents 😡

  • Comment 10, posted at 03.05.09 22:32:57 by Dynamite Reply

  • @try time (Comment 7) : TT, you know how poorly I thought Smit played at 3 a few games ago, and as bad as he was in the scrums then, he was absolutely superb against the Highlanders. I was very happy to see he kept his drive straight and did not get penalized a single time for scrumming in. He is one of the strongest men in world rugby, he does not have to rely on marginal tactics to better his opposition. That being said, not much changed when Jannie came on, he was as good in the scrums. Bissie and Smit play a very different game, even at hooker, Smit plays a much tighter game than most hookers, and as we all know, Bissie could play loosie on many teams, so he plays a much looser game. Not sure if pulling Bissie off for Smit with Jannie at 3 would have helped much. Not sure Smit would have been in the position to knock on like Bissie did with his tighter play. Both Beast and Bissie are looser players (Carstens as well), and I think the balance with the two looser players and one tighter player (Smit or Jannie) worked very well. I think this is what PdV sees for Bok rugby, with Smit at 3 and Bissie at 2, remember that Beast is still the incumbent 1. That is a very good front three both in the loose and tight phases. I think a team loses a little bit of quickness when Smit replaces Bissie at hooker. Personally, if both are going to play hooker, I start with Smit and bring Bissie on later to shred the opposition that Smit has just worn to the ground. Just my opinion, I think Plum was looking to maintain the balance of his front row, rather than worry about Bissie knocking on. Not sure which is right, but I do see what Plum was trying to do.

  • Comment 11, posted at 04.05.09 03:42:58 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing Bear
  • Also, the backline looks so much better with Steyn at 12. When Ruan came on, the difference was immediate to me. I know we are all upset with Fransie, but he really is not a 10, and he is a world class 12. He straightens so well, and his boot in support is awesome. Ruan, just poor class, always looks so smooth, and the best part was did you see the smile on his face when he came onto the pitch. He was obviously so happy to play. That is awesome to see, and that is the kind of attitude JPP exhibits all the time as well. Lekker to see that from the youngsters, nice to see it is still a wonderful game to some, and not just a profession. Everyone on this blog loves rugby, and every one of us would cherish an opportunity to earn a living being involved in the game we love. Every professional player should remind himself of this every now and then.

  • Comment 12, posted at 04.05.09 03:47:41 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing Bear
  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 12) : hehehe, Ruan is PURE class, not poor class. 😆

  • Comment 13, posted at 04.05.09 03:48:29 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing Bear
  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 13) : :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 14, posted at 04.05.09 06:48:37 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 11) : when one player isn’t playing well and the bp is crucial, changing him is the better option. i understand your reasoning, but bis lost us a possible three tries due to shocking handling. smit did nothing wrong. when things aren’t going right for a player, they aren’t going to improve during the game, so rest the guy and keep the player that hasn’t cocked up. that lost bp has now cost the sharks top of the log.

  • Comment 15, posted at 04.05.09 07:10:21 by try time Reply

  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 12) : agree with you here. i like the fact that ruan cuts frans out when he feels there is a break on, knowing frans will go for the opposition rather than the gap. what bothers me though is jp is not getting involved more. he is dangerous, but he relies too much on his inside players giving him ball than getting ball himself. he should stand off rucks every now and then. it was disappointing to see him only used three to four times in a whole game, while the crash ballers were continually used. jp looked far more dangerous than frans, riaan and andries with ball in hand. he needs to be used as first receiver more often.

  • Comment 16, posted at 04.05.09 07:15:32 by try time Reply

  • @Dynamite (Comment 10) :

    Is that you try time??? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 17, posted at 04.05.09 07:36:09 by wpw Reply
  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 11) :

    I think this is what PdV sees for Bok rugby, with Smit at 3 and Bissie at 2, remember that Beast is still the incumbent 1.

    A similar thought crossed my mind long after the game on Saturday evening.

    “We have just seen the Bok frontrow demolish the Highlanders”. If that is going to be the Bok frontrow then the Lions are going to need a few proctologists on tour.

    Another good test of that frontrow will be against the much vaunted Waratahs frontrow.

  • Comment 18, posted at 04.05.09 07:36:16 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @try time (Comment 15) : that lost bp has now cost the sharks top of the log.

    😯 😯 Better not tell rassie that a BP is worth 4 or 5 points, next thing we know the Stormers will be in with a shout at making the semis again. 🙄

    How does a lost BP let us move from 4th to 1st?

  • Comment 19, posted at 04.05.09 07:41:04 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 19) : i am talking about at the end of the tournie. the bp kept us within a win of hurricanes. i cannot see hurricanes losing a game by more than 7 points in their last 2 so expect them to pick up 6 points at worst. and i cannot see the sharks picking up two bp’s in their last two. at best the sharks can get 45, but that is doubtful. points difference favours hurricanes, therefore my conclusion. understand now.

  • Comment 20, posted at 04.05.09 08:00:39 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 20) :

    oh okay, I understand now.

    I missed the bit in your comment that said “at the end of the season” 😉

  • Comment 21, posted at 04.05.09 08:19:55 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Hey guys…

    It’s that time of the season when we do a lot of maths…ok we’ve been doing that pretty much for the whole season…but this is the point where it starts making a bit more sense.

    I just hate how I don’t know whether to laugh or cry after a Sharks victory these days. Every victory counts…so I’m happy with the points but how many chances did we waste?

    They say it’s no use crying over spilt milk , or in this case spilt tries ( Bismarck 😡 ) – but after being on pole position for a good part of the season we now find ourselves scrambling for maximum points from two TOUGH games. It could be better…but then again it could be worse. 😐

  • Comment 22, posted at 04.05.09 08:41:58 by blackshark - YNWA Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 21) : no probs. thats all i am cared about is the end. how we get there is the sharks problem. 😆

  • Comment 23, posted at 04.05.09 08:47:40 by try time Reply

  • @blackshark – YNWA (Comment 22) : see the new article the site pessimist put up, it is all that matters to a sharks supporter.

  • Comment 24, posted at 04.05.09 08:48:29 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 15) : I do understand what you are saying TT, and you’re probably right that Bissie should have been replaced due to his poor handling. I just pointed out that I think Plum had a plan in the balance of his front row, and he was trying to maintain that balance. Not saying he was right, just that I understood what he was trying to do. My only argument with your point is that if Bissie was off the field and Smit at hooker, you’re probably right, there would not have been a knock on, because Smit would not have been there to take the ball. Everything else being equal, with Smit on instead of Bissie, I believe the player would have gone to ground with the ball and who knows if we would have recycled. Bissie’s quickness allowed him to be there in support, and 99% of the time, he will not knock on. He just had a tough day with his hands, the rest of his play was still excellent. Smit’s tight game was monstrous on Saturday, and Jannie was also very good in the tight. So no argument here 😉 Just a different point of view, your points make sense.

  • Comment 25, posted at 04.05.09 22:38:24 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing Bear
  • @try time (Comment 16) : And Odwa seems to never get the ball from his inside backs. If he was not one of the hardest working wings in rugby, he would never see the ball. If JPP were to look for the ball like Odwa (and his twin for that matter) he would truly be superb. I have been saying this about Odwa for the past year, how many times do you see him on the other wing setting up JPP, or look at the test where Nokwe scored all those tries against Aus, on three of those tries, the last pass came from Odwa, on the opposite wing, creating the overlap and making the try incredibly easy for Nokwe. Odwa got none of the glory but deserves most of it for that match.

  • Comment 26, posted at 04.05.09 22:42:01 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing Bear
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 18) : The Waratah’s front row is very technical. They play very cleverly, but will not stand up to the Sharks front row when it comes to pure strength. If Smit gets it right like he did on Saturday, and not like he did a few weeks ago, when he either went backwards on inwards, but never forward, there are not many front rows in the world that can stand up to that. I would honestly like to find a TH in the world that is stronger (physically) than Smit. He is enormous, and incredibly strong.

  • Comment 27, posted at 04.05.09 22:45:41 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing Bear

Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.