What was I expecting?

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :2009 Lions Tour, Original Content, Sharks on 11 Jun 2009 at 09:22
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , ,

I’m not all that sure why I’m so upset about the Sharks’ performance last night, since I did, after all, predict it and knew we were on a hiding to nothing. In fact, I’ve been banging on about it all week. I guess it’s because we flattered to deceive in the first half, before turning belly up and being flattened in the second.

Perhaps it’s the bittersweet taste of vindication after virtually all of the guys who I maintained should not have been picked in the first place, turned in the sorts of performances to remove all doubt as to their lack of the required talent to perform at this level. As an exercise in assessing depth, it was a non-event because all we did was prove to ourselves, yet again, that certain of the “next rung” do not have what it takes. We already knew this based on the Super 14.

There were, to my mind a few small positives, in the way that certain individuals showed glimpses of promise. These were few and far between, though and the inability of the team, as a unit, to accomplish anything meaningful whatsoever with ball in hand was the thing that caused me the most concern and makes me very apprehensive about the upcoming Currie Cup season.

The tight five did well – in fact, given the quality of the opposition, I think they did superbly – at least for the first half of the match, up until the point that they became so tired that they just couldn’t give any more. Skipper Badenhorst again showed that, even at 31 years of age, he is incapable of mastering a simple lineout throw. The loose forwards as a unit were a failure, with only Jean Deysel putting in a performance worthy of praise. The big unit not only shouldered all the defensive work on his own, but also took on the role of primary breakdown contester and caused the Lions problems all night. I didn’t see either Botes or Daniel do anything of the sort.

The backs were, quite simply, shocking. The major issue was lack of a genuine playmaker anywhere in the attacking axis, coupled with the fact that Rory Kockott (perhaps mindful of this fact) is determined to everything on his own, all the time. Who ever heard of a scrumhalf who refuses to pass? Monty Dumond has neither the required decision-making skills, nor the necessary technical skills, to be a flyhalf at this level of the game – which makes it all the more baffling that he was selected for this game, because we already knew that! The centres got no good ball, but were nevertheless slow and pedestrian while the wings, both of whom tried hard, never really got into the game. Chris Jordaan was again shown up alarmingly on defence, while Stefan Terblanche seems to have added “blindly run into contact and lose the ball” to his arsenal of dodgy counter-attacking options.

So it was all a disaster and the fact remains that we still have gaping holes in the squad at 2, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14 and 15. We wasted a golden opportunity to see some of our own Academy-developed talent run in these positions against quality opposition, so once again, it will be a Currie Cup (and, I fear, another Super 14) of at best experimentation and at worst, panic, when injury strikes a key player.

For what it’s worth, here are my ratings of the Sharks match 22:

1 Carstens : 7. The whole tight five (bar Skipper) fares quite well because of how they stood up to the Lions. I still want Deon to play a more active leadership role in the team, which he didn’t do. Basics were fine and he was quite busy around the field.
2 Badenhorst : 3. Lineouts were an absolute shambles, as always. Would get a lower score if he hadn’t been impressive in the scrum and in the maul.
3 du Plessis: 6. Had a pretty menacing day in the front row and covered his basics well. Gave Gethin Jenkins a bit of a hard time, by means both fair and (mostly) foul.
4 Sykes: 7. Worked like a Trojan throughout and was huge defensively. Steven is having a hell of a year.
5 Muller: 6. Did massive work in the tight and on defence. Again, though, his leadership skills seemed lacking.
6 Botes: 5. Started off busy and industrious as always but the hard work in the tight started to take its toll and he lost impetus. Fell off a few important tackles and failed to make an impact with ball in hand.
7 Deysel: 8. A superb game all-round from one of the real stars in the team. He is strong, he has a huge workrate, tackles like a demon and has superb technique in all that he does. Wolla for president.
8 Daniel: 4. Far too small to play number 8 against a side like the Lions. He made no ground whatsoever with ball in hand and was generally a liability in a pack that otherwise worked very well. Discipline is still a major issue as he collected yet another yellow card for a petulant trip.
9 Kockott: 5. We were looking to Rory to dictate the flow of the game and he didn’t. As always, he wasted all the good ball by being selfish, while shovelling the bad ball on willy-nilly to Dumond. A forgettable evening from a player who is better than his current form.
10 Dumond: 3. Looked clueless throughout. Created nothing all night, simply holding the ball for a little before passing it out to whomever else was nearest. Doesn’t even seem to have a kicking game of note.
11 Vulindlu: 6. A busy game from Zuks who tried his best to get into the game, yet was ultimately thwarted. He was good on defence, putting in some big hits and always looked willing to try something – to try and beat his man. This boy will be a star and MUST start at 13 in the Currie Cup.
12 Swanepoel: N/A: Swannie wasn’t on the field long enough to rate. Hope his injury isn’t too serious.
13 Strauss: 4. Lovely guy, but a carthorse. We’ve known this all along. He is too slow to make it as a 12 at Super Rugby level, so what the Sharks are doing playing him at 13, I cannot even begin to fathom. A strong tackler and a good communicator, but precious little else.
14. Chris Jordaan: 3. Woeful on defence – more worrying was that he looked scared. Again, a lovely guy but not big and fierce enough to make it as a top winger. We need to give somebody else a go.
15. Terblanche: 4. As always, defensively solid but offered nothing on attack. When counter-attacking from deep, he always looks to take the contact, rather than offloading. I cannot fathom why.
16 Burden: 7. Craig always tries to make something happen on the field. His workrate and skills are right up there and he has the best of attitudes. He NEEDS to play more to establish synergy with the rest of the pack, especially in the lineouts. Currie Cup 2009 is the right time to establish Burden at the first-choice hooker.
17 Cilliers: 5. Pat had a so-so match. He was all right in the scrum, without being great, and prominent in the loose, again without being superb. He seems to have lost that freakish speed and step that he had before his knee injuries, which is a shame.
18 van den Berg: 5. Big Al is always going to be anonymous in a tight game. Joe Snyman would have been a more sensible option.
19 Rhodes: N/A. Again, Mike wasn’t given enough of an opportunity to get into the game which is frankly criminal, given that (I would have thought) one of the main issues that needs solving is the depth at blindside. So why bother picking this guy if you’re only going to give him an 8-minute run right the end? How did he end up above Downey in the pecking order anyway?
20 McLeod: 6. I like Charl. He’s a traditional scrummy – communicative, quick thinking and above all, a team player. He did well.
21 Cronje: 7. What a brave kid. He tackles like a demon given his size and he, unlike Monty, actually looks to make stuff happen when he has the ball. Loved the Butch-esque passes!
22 Mvovo: 8. Together with Deysel, my standout player of the night. Lwazi is strong, quick and eager and has the right attitude. He needs to be a starting wing option in the Currie Cup, yet I fear he will rather be shipped off to play for some or other emerging sevens side.


  • for the cc,fill in the gaps please!!!
    15 _______
    14 ________
    13 vuli
    12 swannie
    11 mvovo
    10 guy
    9 rory
    8 downey
    7 deysel
    6 rhodes
    5 muller
    4 sykes
    3 jannie
    2 burden
    1 ______

  • Comment 1, posted at 11.06.09 09:42:45 by willa Reply
  • @willa (Comment 1) : nah – Rhodes can’t play 6.

    I still want to see Len Olivier run at either 10 or 15 in a few Currie Cup match before we summarily right him off. Monty also put in some credible performances in the number 15 shirt…

    Anyway, if I were picking the team, I’d do this:

    1 Cilliers
    2 Burden
    3 Jannie Doep
    4 Sykes
    5 Muller
    6 Botes
    7 Deysel
    8 Downey
    9 Kockott
    10 Cronje
    11 Terblanche (until we can find someone else)
    12 Swanepoel
    13 Vulindlu
    14 Mvovo
    15 Lambie
    16 Rutherford (or maybe Kyle Cooper)
    17 Nhlapo
    18 Rhodes
    19 Daniel
    20 McLeod
    21 Olivier
    22 ???

    We are missing at least two good outside backs.

  • Comment 2, posted at 11.06.09 10:07:52 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • This team was just bloody awefull last night.

  • Comment 3, posted at 11.06.09 10:12:50 by Morné Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 2) : where was that lambie, they spoke of him the whole week, and then …nothing??

  • Comment 4, posted at 11.06.09 10:15:01 by willa Reply

  • @willa (Comment 4) : exactly. They love to talk about the young talent. They just never actually PLAY them.

    Makes me wonder if Plumtree and co actually have any idea who the good players actually are.

    I’m actually ok with not winning the Currie Cup this year, as long as we build a core team that can compete in the Super 14 next year. I just don’t see that happening, though. We are going to stumble from unconvincing win to embarrassing defeat without any sign of either plan or progress.

    Seen this film before.

  • Comment 5, posted at 11.06.09 10:26:41 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Hats off to the Sharks !!!
    You did very very well thank you – in the first half.
    I did not expect more – it would have been unrealistic – and you produced greatly in first half – against a combined Test Team.
    RESPECT !!!

    You guys are talking about building for next year – take the first-half and build on that foundation !!!

  • Comment 6, posted at 11.06.09 10:58:37 by The Brand Reply

  • Sharks were absolutely dire last night… in fact I haven’t seen such a toothless, totally dominated Sharks team since our Mxda 62-6 defeat to the Bulls back in ’91.

    I think we all knew they’d lose, but not like last night.

    Worst offenders IMO were:
    Skipper – how the hell can a professional rugby hooker still not have perfected the line-in throw? Is Oom Rudi literally Skipper’s oom? Must be, cause I reckon there are better hookers playing in the Timbuktu invitational XV.
    Stefan – utterly predicatble & one-dimensional. If last night didn’t prove he was past it…I don’t know. Gave away what little possession we managed to get.
    Monty – well you know my feelings about him. A decent Vodacom Cup “utility back” at best.
    Rory – well actually Rory looked quite nippy & sharp on attack, but unfortunately for him there were no other Rory Kocketts to pass to, cause that’s the only way he’ll pass the ball.
    Andries – Andries who? Same as for Monty.
    Chris Jordaan – has pace a plenty, but that’s about all…
    Keegan – anonymous for large parts of the match. In fact, I think our loose trio as a whole were totally flattered by the efforts of Wolla, who was an absolute titan.

    I think the Sharks should clarify the situation with Len Olivier, cause last night was a game he should have played in. Not saying it would made much of a difference, but at least we could have then had a proper look at him.

    And we need to start making long-term plans at 15 & 13. Now. Desperately. Especially with Frans Steyn confirmed as leaving for Racing Metro.

  • Comment 7, posted at 11.06.09 11:00:11 by Le Req Reply
  • Looking at the Lions, how excellent are Lee Byrne and Jamie Roberts? Wow, can we have them for the Sharks backline please?

  • Comment 8, posted at 11.06.09 11:01:38 by Le Req Reply
  • @Le Req (Comment 8) :

    Howzit bru!!!

    Long time no blog!!! 😯

  • Comment 9, posted at 11.06.09 11:06:16 by wpw Reply
  • @Le Req (Comment 7) : at last! Someone who is both sensible and agrees with me! 🙂

  • Comment 10, posted at 11.06.09 11:08:08 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Howzat Wes!

    Just read the match thread… some people are taking positives from the Sharks’ performance 😯 ?

  • Comment 11, posted at 11.06.09 11:11:42 by Le Req Reply
  • Reckon it was purely Wolla & the tight 5 (sans Skipper), plus Swannie (till he went off), Mvovo & Zuks in the backline who saved the Sharks’ blushes in the first half aro their defensive efforts. Ok, and maybe Botes.

    The rest pretty much got left with Catt-marks all over them after being trodden over by Roberts.

  • Comment 12, posted at 11.06.09 11:15:03 by Le Req Reply
  • @Le Req (Comment 11) : it’s amazing what you can see if you keep your eyes shut throughout :ironic:

  • Comment 13, posted at 11.06.09 11:21:55 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 10) : The defence in the 1st half was huge, but apart from that a dismal performance…..WE NEED A BACKLINE COACH….I’ve yet to see a decent backline move THIS year from the Sharks

  • Comment 14, posted at 11.06.09 11:22:30 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • You also cannot compare the Lions team that played last night to the one that played the Cheetah’s on Saturday….completely different team.

  • Comment 15, posted at 11.06.09 11:26:55 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Comment 15) : correct.

  • Comment 16, posted at 11.06.09 11:33:56 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • i thought that strauss watched roberts very well, stopped his dead a few times, but he is a bit on the slow side

  • Comment 17, posted at 11.06.09 11:34:23 by willa Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 10) : Do those 2 things go hand in hand?

  • Comment 18, posted at 11.06.09 11:45:50 by Baldrick Reply

  • @Pokkel (Comment 15) :

    So by saying that you are effectively comparing the Sharks experience and depth to that of the Cheetahs???

  • Comment 19, posted at 11.06.09 11:49:41 by Morné Reply
  • @Baldrick (Comment 18) : but of course 🙂

  • Comment 20, posted at 11.06.09 11:55:52 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Morné (Comment 19) : But the Cheetahs also didn’t lose 10 players to the Boks….not a fair comparison IMO

  • Comment 21, posted at 11.06.09 13:12:06 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 10) :

    I think you’ll find that most of us agree with you… just a bit shocked by your reaction. :mrgreen:

    Paragraph 1 of your article says it all.
    Dude, you were prepared for this – so take it easy with the suicide notes.
    The Sharks will make the CC semi’s with 90% of this team. It can and will be done.

    1.They will have to defend in both halves…
    2.Something has to be done about our attacking play…or lack thereof …
    3. We have a month to fix our combinations…

    -This must be Stefan’s last tournament for the Sharks. WP can do whatever they like with him after this. 😈

  • Comment 22, posted at 11.06.09 13:20:31 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @blackshark (Comment 22) : you know what a drama queen I can be 🙂

  • Comment 23, posted at 11.06.09 13:24:50 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @blackshark (Comment 22) : Please change your avatar…’s disturbing 👿

  • Comment 24, posted at 11.06.09 13:37:37 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Comment 21) :

    Every single one of those Sharks has Super rugby experience, even if it is very limited.

    The Cheetahs, like the Royal XV also faced seasoned international test players – the best the 4 home unions has to offer.

    They, unlike the Lions and Sharks though at least showed some balls.

  • Comment 25, posted at 11.06.09 14:12:09 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 25) :

    I’m really not going to beat myself or anyone up for last night’s game.
    The mismatch was there for all to see. 🙂

    My concern is having players who are good enough to scrape through the CC…but come Super 14 time…most of them don’t even make decent backup. We need our CC squad to feed the Super 14 squad with QUALITY players…and this is not happening fast enough IMHO.

  • Comment 26, posted at 11.06.09 14:45:38 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @blackshark (Comment 26) :

    I am not so much worried about the quality of the players. To make it this far in rugby you are certainly not useless.

    I am very concerned about the attitude of the players.

  • Comment 27, posted at 11.06.09 14:50:38 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 27) :

    I’m seeing a lot of average players making it to the big league…which is not what I expect from a country with our population…and our rugby tradition.

    Is it average scouting?
    Is it average coaching?

  • Comment 28, posted at 11.06.09 14:58:17 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • I would go with option B

  • Comment 29, posted at 11.06.09 15:15:30 by Morné Reply
  • At the risk of boring Rob….this is my take on the game!

    I am afraid our young and very inexperienced backline just could not cope with the pace of the game. They were very willing and put up a good fight, and made some very good tackles.
    The forwards were OK in the scrums but pathetic in the lineouts. Skipper just cannot throw the ball in straight!!!
    I agree with Rob…Craig must get more game time….why did they turn him into a hooker if they are not going to play him?
    And WTH is Len Olivier????? Why buy a guy and then leave him sitting at home watching the game on TV?
    As usual our defence was good, but in the end…you cannot defend for 80 minutes!
    The one player that annoyed me most was Kokkie Rory! What is up with that guy? Why must he always place himself in the limelight? Hogging the ball, getting involved in every “handbag stuff” (quoting dear Joel!) and generally playing like a headless chicken at times!

    Had a great time with KSA & Kette and the beers and boereworse rolls in the car park was a super end to an enjoyable evening!
    Also very pleased to have met Klempie, at last!!

  • Comment 30, posted at 11.06.09 15:39:24 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • @Me2 (Comment 30) :

    I disagree with the “put up a good fight” bit. Maybe in the 1st half, which I did not see. But in the 2nd half they were like rabbits in the headlights, just a few things that struck me:
    – Clueless with ball in hand, passing for the sake of passing at times
    – no support for the ball carrier when tackled, countless turnovers given as a result
    – defence waiting for the attack to come to them instead of going up in defence. (What more could a backline getting front foot ball want)
    – Not adjusting their tackles to prevent offloads during the tackles

    A handful of players kept their names high(ish) the rest rolled over. no fire in the belly.

  • Comment 31, posted at 11.06.09 15:52:33 by Ollie Reply

  • And I wasn’t even watching the game in an analytical way

  • Comment 32, posted at 11.06.09 15:53:40 by Ollie Reply

  • @Ollie (Comment 31) : OK they folded in the second half BUT really tried hard in the first. It was the pace of the game that out foxed our “young and very inexperienced” back line! They were playing against a backline consisting of International players!! Rob goes on about some of them having S14 experience…but how much????? and anyway S14 is not the same as playing Tests for your country!
    Also Rory did not contribute much to giving them guidance & confidence.
    I DO agree that we need to look into getting a new backline coach..Bashford has run out of ideas.

  • Comment 33, posted at 11.06.09 16:18:36 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • @Me2 (Comment 33) :

    I think some of the players need to do some introspection and actually fix the faults they find. the coaching staff also probably needs to work on how to get the players to play an alternative defensive pattern when required or just how to go back to basics for 10 minutes

  • Comment 34, posted at 11.06.09 16:37:54 by Ollie Reply

  • @Ollie (Comment 34) :I am not ignoring you..I have to go back to work!!!
    Cheers..catch u tomorrow! I hope!

  • Comment 35, posted at 11.06.09 16:52:55 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • @Me2 (Comment 33) : I thought they had a Kiwi Ex Hurricanes as a Backline Coach yes and Bashford as well? Do the Sharks use selectors or does Plumtree select the team? I only ask because maybe the selectors need to read what the supporters are saying and either tell them what is going on and why maybe they agree to differ. I am unable to comment on any selections Living in Sunny Christchurch.

  • Comment 36, posted at 11.06.09 23:50:43 by Dynamite Reply

  • @Dynamite (Comment 36) : The Kiwi Backline coach I think was only for S14. I am truly worried about this CC 🙁

  • Comment 37, posted at 12.06.09 09:25:13 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette

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