The ghost of try time

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Written by cheers had fun (The ghost of try time)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super 14 on 21 Jan 2010 at 09:08

Pre-season is a good time to talk about what needs to be done this season to get the most out of it, and there is no emotion to ugly the criticism. So here I go with areas I would like to see improvement in. Add yours below.ย 

The Front Row – These guys were machines last year and it is really hard to find fault in them, but if you scratch hard enough you will find something. Half way through last years Tri-Nations and after, a few cracks did show, and it was due to John, Bis and Beast not having more tricks up their sleeves. It was unfortunate that the referees decided to target them, while ignore the illegal tactics of the opposition, but hopefully they learnt of new ways to counter one eyed referees. The only other flaw could be the Du Plessis brothers’ tempers. They are machines, but if they lose their cool the team goes down with them. Hold it together guys.

The Second Row – Again it is difficult to fault these players. They all pushed their weight and more in the scrums and played like Trojans in the loose. The only real criticism was lineouts where poor communication between them and the hookers created havoc.

The Loose Forwards – This was one of the Sharks weaknesses last year. Although they defended well, their work at the breakdown was inconsistent. They also failed regularly to shadow ball carriers. Although the ball carriers have to take some blame here as they would run away from their back up and get isolated. I would like to see a lot more cohesion between ball carriers and backup. With Mostert and Alberts in the mix, the Sharks have enough depth to cover another Deysel injury. You guys also need to help the boys in front out more during scrum time, your Bok counterparts really let John, Bis and Beast down in the scrums. If you want to hang off the scrum, play scrumhalf.

The Scrumhalf – Well here we have three totally different players (I include Ruan here) and that is a big problem. It must be difficult for the backline to play when you have such a difference in game styles. It will be nice to see all three mix it up more, it is your job to keep the opposition guessing. Rory needs to distribute more. Ruan needs to pass it less. Charl does both these well, but just fell short of the skill levels of the other two. If these guys can get it right this year our backline could get back to their 2007 levels.

The Flyhalf – Well this is a new position for the Sharks this year as we never had one in last years Super 14. I feel Monty has what it takes to play ten, but he must be given more time on the park. He showed some good skill in the Currie Cup and there is no reason he can’t carry this through to Super 14. If Morne Steyn is national flyhalf, it means anybody that can kick goals can play ten. Morne offers nothing else. Ruan will also play well here if the place kicking is taken away from him. Ruans tactical kicking is pin point, but his game deteriorates the more his place kicks miss the mark. Rory and Lambie could take a lot of pressure off Ruan’s shoulders here by taking over kicking duties.

Centers – Well we know these guys can defend, cos this is all they did last year. Riaan needs to offer more on attack. Adi and Waylon need to stop crabbing and straighten up more often. Lambie ??? (I haven’t seen him play center).

Wings – Our wings need to find work. Last year all the wings did was play fetch with Stefan. JP has the speed and skill to be better than Habana, but he doesn’t look for work so he never gets the ball. Odwa is a great player in tight games where fullback duties are important, but his lack of pace hampered the Sharks on attack. Mvovo needs to work on his decision making. Far too often he ran away from his players leaving the ball open to turnover when he got tackled. Eventhough he is a wing, he needs to make sure he has a team mate near him to off load to or assist when he is stopped. It will actually be nice to see the backline play more than 5 minutes of rugby a game this year.

Fullback – Hooray for Lambie and Ludik. With two attacking full backs in the Sharks squad we may get some bonus points this season. I really like Stefan, but I want to see him (and John Smit) played more in the last half when experience and cool heads close out games. No point in using him in the first 60 when we want to get tries.

Management – Rotate your players, make sure the backup gets good game time. Injuries and player burnout lost us a semi berth last year, because the back up wasn’t prepared to take over or simply wasn’t used to give players a rest. Monty got undue criticism last year, because he was expected to step in and take over with very little game time under his belt. Also ten man rugby wins games but it doesn’t win the Super 14, for every 3 games you don’t get a bonus point is the equivalent to a loss. And if you lose, get that bonus point. Against the Reds and Cheetahs last year we lost and we never lost within seven. Those two lost bonus points were probably the most costly mistakes in last year’s campaign.

ย Referees – These guys deteriorated under the change in laws and the Sharks sometimes got in their faces too often. We need a captain* this year that can keep his cool with the referee under pressure. Last year, referees decided more wins than players did. So be nice to the fools. Question the referees, but don’t criticise them, their egos are more fragile than yours.

*I wrote this before the captain announcement, but the backup Captains must also keep their heads.


  • Johan Muller was very average last year… ๐Ÿ™„

  • Comment 1, posted at 21.01.10 10:04:08 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 1) : i disagree. i think his captaincy was shocking, but he played well as a lock. you have to seperate the two. you could see how the scrum struggled when he was off the field.

  • Comment 2, posted at 21.01.10 10:12:23 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 2) : Muller is the best scrumming lock in the country behind Bakkies. Period.

    Nice article, TT. I agree with virtually all of it.

  • Comment 3, posted at 21.01.10 10:26:32 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : thanks. i thought i would make the points before i get irritated with individual players. as part of the “be nice to sharks campaign”. ๐Ÿ˜†

  • Comment 4, posted at 21.01.10 10:31:38 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 4) : well, let’s rather just be fair with the Sharks ๐Ÿ™‚

    Fact is, it’s a bloody good squad and deserves to do well

  • Comment 5, posted at 21.01.10 10:33:44 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @wpw (Comment 1) : I agree 100%. When he came back the Sharks actually lost!

  • Comment 6, posted at 21.01.10 10:35:31 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 6) : he was carrying a serious injury. he should never have played another cc game after he broke his arm. i wouldn’t be surprised if he has damaged it more by rushing back.

  • Comment 7, posted at 21.01.10 10:43:07 by try time Reply

  • Specialist fetcher is lacking…..for the rest I agree

  • Comment 8, posted at 21.01.10 10:43:37 by Pokkel (Rugby's over, back to fishing) Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : yeah i just hope they get managed well this year. that is my biggest concern. plum took 13 games of s14 to realise mistakes we all saw in the first few games. lets hope he fixes problems a lot quicker this year. players can be dropped, but management is there for the campaign.

  • Comment 9, posted at 21.01.10 10:46:04 by try time Reply

  • @Pokkel (Rugbyโ€™s over, back to fishing) (Comment 8) : we have players that can fetch, they just need to stay near enough to the ball carrier to do so. our loosies give opposition far too much time to slow ball down or steal it.

  • Comment 10, posted at 21.01.10 10:50:09 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 10) : Well I sincerely hope Botes does a better job this time round. I won`t forget how he got overshadowed last year in a hurry.
    Maybe we should go the wp route and play more fetchers? But yeah then you lose some bulk for the scrum again. . .

  • Comment 11, posted at 21.01.10 10:58:38 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 11) : agree. botes was a shadow of his 2008 self. hopefully he finds the drive again.

  • Comment 12, posted at 21.01.10 11:15:20 by try time Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : the potential is amazing, but rugby is not played on paper

  • Comment 13, posted at 21.01.10 11:20:51 by war1 Reply
  • @try time (Comment 12) : a lot of guys underperformed last year, if the key players can get back to their best, who knows?

  • Comment 14, posted at 21.01.10 11:22:24 by war1 Reply
  • @war1 (Comment 13) : yup. Ask the Cats ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Comment 15, posted at 21.01.10 11:25:30 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @war1 (Comment 14) : well hopefully the players realise this is the last s14 to be won and put their all in to get it.

  • Comment 16, posted at 21.01.10 11:39:35 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 7) : I agree…he should never,never have come back so soon..again the pressure was being applied by the Bok management that wanted him for 3 Nations!!
    Stefan was doing a great job.

  • Comment 17, posted at 21.01.10 12:23:14 by Me2 aka Mama Shark Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • Nice read Try Time.
    Yep, it will, to a large extent depend on what the backline is going to dish up this time around.

  • Comment 18, posted at 21.01.10 13:15:31 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Ek is nou uitgehonger vir n bietjie rugby ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Comment 19, posted at 21.01.10 13:20:11 by Pokkel (can't wait for the S14 to start) Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • Ek ook.
    Hopelik die tyd volgende week het ek klaar my eerste tjarks game vir die jaar gesien, met die voouitsig van die volgende een oor n dag. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  • Comment 20, posted at 21.01.10 14:06:35 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Pokkel (canโ€™t wait for the S14 to start) (Comment 19) :

    Ek is maar net honger!!! ๐Ÿ™„ ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

  • Comment 21, posted at 21.01.10 14:16:09 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 21) : :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 22, posted at 21.01.10 14:18:54 by Charlie Reply


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