Let’s play a round of: “If I were the coach.”

Written by Maria Delport (Letgo)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super 14 on 11 Mar 2010 at 16:21
Tagged with : , ,

If I were the coach I would have done a lot of things different up to this point, I think we all would have, but lets say I didn’t do anything differently from Plumtree, what would the type of things have been that I would have addressed and changed during this week.

The first thing I have to address, since one of our more regular bloggers brought this to our attention, would have been our kicking game. Kicking is a very important part of the game and in fact when a team has a good kicker or a guy like Daniel Carter or Merthens, Wilkinson, even Naas and More Steyn of the Bulls, then kicking can put you on the front foot and win games. Daniel Carter prooved this again last weekend, when he used kicks to put his wings into space and his forwards deep into opposition territory. Morne Steyn, say what you want about the guy, can take control of the match, not only with his accuracy at goal, but also his accuracy to the corners of the field. The opposition has to play in their own half the whole game and ends up buckling under the pressure. Recently, with the confidence Steyn has gained, not only has he pushed them into their own half, but he has also started to use his boot as an attacking tool when, for example against the Waratahs taking the ball from 10m out he chipped the ball over the heads of the very flat and charging defensive line to put his center over the line untouched. So I geuss the question is not; “To kick or not to kick”, but rather; “How to kick or not to kick”…and the answer?

Not really like the Sharks have been doing it, but the main culprit, is not Stefan Terbalnche, but rather every other player who tries to kick. Let’s bring up the stats. Stefan kicked 15 times in the game, that sounds a lot, but 50% of those kicks came out of his 22, therefor he should probably have kicked those kicks, he just needed to kick more of those kicks out, but failed to do so 4 out of the 8 times. Stefan used his boot on attack 5 times, 3 of those kicks gave an advantage to the Sharks and put pressure on the Waratahs. Off the 3 kicks left only 1 was an up and under, and a horrible one at that, and the other two was under pressure and into touch. So really if you do some math you will notice that only 3 of the kicks that Stefan made should not have been kicked in the first place and was horribly executed. So TT, you are 20% right concerning Stefan. In the last 2o minutes the game turned around and this is attributed to Stefan stepping up and running the ball back. It’s not entirely wrong, but Stefan still kicked 5 of his kicks in that 20 minutes, all of them good and putting the Sharks in a good position.

Now turning to the rest of the team, 23 kicks made and the only 2 good ones was kicked by Andy Goode and that gives him a 20% success rate and the team 13%, a pretty dismal performance . The rest of the participants in these kicks were Odwa, Adi, Ruan, JP and Riaan. All of their kicks was senseless and a blatant turn over of the ball. They just kicked for kicking, when any other option, passing running or even just waiting for the tackle and maybe setting up another phase could have been a better option. If their execution was a little better, some of these kicks might have turned out decent, if you’re not going to make your kick a good one, keep it in hand and at least give your team a chance to do something with the ball. That’s session one.

The next very important issue is cleaning out the rucks, the refs has not been very kind to us in this area, but the Sharks has not made it any easier on themselves. It’s not just individual performances that are hurting us here. It’s the whole approach  the Sharks has to the ruck that will never aid them in cleaning out and protecting their ball sufficiently. With the stricter application of the laws going against the defending team, it has been made a lot simpler to get quick and clean ball to the backs, yet the Sharks is still one of the only teams failing to do this. Why? Because of our “lets see who gets there first approach to the ruck”. Yes, the guy closest to the ruck should be the one to clean out, but not just because he happened to be there, but rather because he put himself in a good position to be there first based on the attack. Not only that, but when working close to the ruck, against the bulk of the front row, you can’t have one guy going in with the other one lagging behind. At least two guys needs to clean out in tandem, because that first drive over the ruck usually sets up the outcome of the ruck and gives you the ascendancy you need to keep the pressure of the ball. All of this needs to happen at a quick pace, leaving the defense scrambled and on the back foot. If you have Kockett on the field standing with his hand ons his forward’s back setting up the next move and passing every 2 minutes, you might as well just kick an up and under and see what happens. At least then you have a chance of gaining forward momentum. This was again proved when in the 70th min Ruan was replaced and one Kockett could just not get the ball out of the ruck, about 4 minutes later one of our players was tackled by three defenders, driving him onto his back and turning over the possession, wasted time spent in the opposition half.

So if I were the coach, I would have had to tell Kockett either to go home and find a new team or I would have put him through a hellish week of drills to get him to those rucks faster and I would have told him that if he wants to be in my team and continue playing for the Sharks he has to pass, don’t think, don’t look, don’t shout and scream at the ref, just pass and even though I know Rory can get through a couple of breaks when he does think and look and scream, I would have told him not to even run once, until I think he understands the concept and importance of quick ball.

If I were the coach Jannie would not have been part of this game, this would have served as an example of what would happen to any player who showed ill-discipline, not just yellow cards, but any type of cynical play that puts pressure on their team. Andy Goode would not have been dealt this punishment, because I believe that his yellow card was unjustified and I would never discipline my players based on what a ref thinks. My players should not feel like they can’t play with everything in them and maybe get penalized by the ref. It’s when they consciously decide to use illegal tactics that I will suspend them from my team.

And if I were the coach during this week the last thing I on my agenda would have been to tell my captain to have more confidence in himself and his team. The law application this year allows attacking teams to keep possession for more phases and the Sharks should use this as an opportunity to kick more of those penalties to touch. I believe if we get into the opposition 22 and play the ball out of the rucks at a good pace we will score most of the time or the ref will just be forced to give penalties in favor of the Sharks which will eventually result in a yellow. Attacking play will also be helpful when it comes to the ref, since they are so focused on the defending team now that they don’t have room left in their brains to really notice anything the attacking team is doing. The Sharks are good enough, baring some basic things they’ve been doing wrong, to get the tries and keep the pressure on, in stead of taking the 3 that’s only converted 60% of the time, and then having to play in your own half again, putting the pressure back on yourself.

If I were the coach for this weekend, I would have made a few changes to my team. In the backs either Odwa or JP would have been relegated to the bench in favor of Mvovo, not because of their form specifically, since I believe that has a lot to do with the slow ball and the resulting organized defenders, but simply because I believe he deserves a run and will add some valuable pace and youthful excitement to our stagnant back three. This swap would not necessarily have been permenant, but I think would have been good for Odwa and Jp, reminding them that they, like every other player on the team are not indispensable.

With the forwards my one big change would have been to bring Deysel in at 6, to bulk up the loose forwards a little and also because both Keegan and Botes has not been delivering the performances we’ve come to expect from them. They have not done anything wrong, but Deysel has proven that he can deliver go forward ball for the Sharks and the importance of getting ball on the front foot can’t be denied.

As I said Jannie would have been on suspension for one game, thus my front row would have been John, Bismark and Beast with Carstens on the bench. Keegan would have been dropped from my bench completely since I don’t see the advantage of having two loose forwards on my bench. Hargreaves would have been called to the bench in place of Keegan with the rest of the bench staying the same as last week.

15. Stefan Terblanche, 14. JP. Pieterson, 13. Adriaan Jacobs, 12. Riaan Swannepoel, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Andy Goode, 9. Ruan Pienaar, 8. Ryan Kankovski, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Jean Deysel, 5. Johan Muller, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. John Smit, 2. Bismark Du Plessis, 1. Beast Mtwarira

Reserves: 16. Deon Carstens, 17. Craig Burden, 18. Alister Hargreaves, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Rory Kockett, 21. Patrick Lambie, 22. Waylon Murray

What do you think? Should we play a round of: “If you were the coach…”


  • I guess I would`ve had the du Plessis brothers in the VC and Herbst on the bench for the Sharks. Also Ruan Pienaar would start off the bench and the one who kicks away possession and don`t retain it won`t be paid LOL Unless it`s Kankow, cause he can`t do much wrong in my eyes . . .

  • Comment 1, posted at 11.03.10 17:14:18 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 1) :

    You so right. They should have 15 Ryan’s in the team! 😆

  • Comment 2, posted at 11.03.10 17:39:25 by RugbyGal Reply

  • @RugbyGal (Comment 2) : 22 🙂

  • Comment 3, posted at 11.03.10 17:46:55 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 3) :

    OK that would be way to hard to handle for me. 22 of them? My poor husband! He tried to get me quiet with some ducktape on Saturday! 😳

  • Comment 4, posted at 11.03.10 17:56:32 by RugbyGal Reply

  • Tell Kanko to stop trying to be a glory boy all the time and learn to pass the ball from time 2 time..

    Ask Goode not to go for the hat-trick of yellows…

    Tell the Du Plessis brothers to grow up and leave their farm yard manners in the change rooom.

    JPP to look for more work.

    That should pretty much cover it ..oh Terblanche if u gonna kick make em count ..

  • Comment 5, posted at 11.03.10 19:51:21 by CoffeeShopBok;-) Reply

  • I would send Jannie home and to the vodacom cup teams bench. I would make Jean Deysel 6. I would replace Odwa with Lwazi. I would give Pat Lambie at least 20 mins a game. I would teach Andy Goode how to tackle. Id tell Stefan that conservative is great for when you are winning.

  • Comment 6, posted at 11.03.10 20:27:17 by Miguel Reply
  • If I were the boss of the coach, I would fire him with immediate effect.
    The Sharks have now lost 6 games in a row and 8 of their last 9.

  • Comment 7, posted at 11.03.10 21:10:37 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • 🙂 😉

  • Comment 8, posted at 11.03.10 21:25:57 by Charmaine Reply

  • gee its good to back in the comments bench and if i was a coach i will just manage my team the right way and have dissapline on the field and in the team and go back to basic thats the only way to win i guess 🙂

  • Comment 9, posted at 11.03.10 21:28:24 by Charmaine Reply

  • @RugbyGal (Comment 2) : oh yes i agree 100% on that one 🙂

  • Comment 10, posted at 11.03.10 21:29:19 by Charmaine Reply

  • @Miguel (Comment 6) : Andy Goode that one got no dissapline at all, watch the game and 2 have a yellow card at about every game that is for me just bad news 🙁

  • Comment 11, posted at 11.03.10 21:31:47 by Charmaine Reply

  • @RugbyGal (Comment 4) : gee 22 🙂

  • Comment 12, posted at 11.03.10 21:32:49 by Charmaine Reply

  • @CoffeeShopBok;-) (Comment 5) : well thats a very nice way to say what you think and agree with you on that one 😉

  • Comment 13, posted at 11.03.10 21:34:14 by Charmaine Reply

  • In my view the Sharks dilemma has less to do with personnel and more to do with the team as a whole.

    Good sides eg the Bulls, Crusaders etc are able to have players step in and the team can retain it’s pattern and game plan. The Sharks have been clueless on attack, and changing players won’t change the outcome. The current side has to turn it around themselves.

    I still think much of it revolves around what happens when the Sharks have the ball. The defence,lineouts and breakdown are adequate enough, but scoring an average of 1 try a game will never win anything on a consistent basis. Maybe they should just forget about the result, throw caution to the wind and aim to score some tries!

  • Comment 14, posted at 12.03.10 03:07:38 by sanjaydeva Reply

  • Morning everybody 🙂

  • Comment 15, posted at 12.03.10 06:34:06 by Charmaine Reply

  • @sanjaydeva (Comment 14) : Well to that point you are right but the pressure must be getting to the guys this is round 5 and if we don’t start winning then i don’t think the shark supporters are going to have any words at all after this s14 🙁

  • Comment 16, posted at 12.03.10 06:37:17 by Charmaine Reply

  • problem starts in that no one is prepared to have Bissy and smit in a straight shoot out for the 2 jersey. This results in Smit being accomodated at 3….with fatal repercussions to the foundation of the game. Till SA and Shark rugby realise that a tighthead is a hugely specialised and crucial part of the team we will always be fallible. Sharks have struggled with Smit at 3 and this has caused a very erratic performance by the backline. It is so difficult for the teams 8 …9 and 10 to dictate from a scrum in perpetual turbo reverse.
    Till this fundamental mind shift takes place….and until Smit is releieved of the 3 duties….i believe the sharks will continue to languish in despair.

    Remember beast and bissy are also not the greatest scrummagers….you guys simply cannot afford the luxury of a converted hooker at 3…..

    But now i will be called ‘Cant 10 ‘ and ridiculed…..but watch the scrums closely tomorrow.See how the slow poison spreads.

  • Comment 17, posted at 12.03.10 07:39:28 by grant10 Reply

  • so….in conclusion…if i was coach….i would make the tough calls…as that would be my responsibility. Personallyi would bench Smit….as 2 cover. And play Carstens or Jannie Dup…..at 3.

    As soon as i get back to SA i would blood Herbst….i saw what he done at Newlands against WP last Saturday….he has loads of potential.

    I would also bench Ruan….and start with Kockitt. The call for the Deysel….Kanko and Alberts loose trio is not shared by me….you would be murdered at the breakdown by g smith tomorrow….so i am happy with Botes there.I would have started with Hargreaves as opposed to Muller as well…..with W Steenkamp on the bench. Muller needs a break…he has been rather quiet to say the least.

  • Comment 18, posted at 12.03.10 07:46:03 by grant10 Reply

  • best of luck sharks….will assist stormers if you put the brumbies to the sword….backing sharks all the way.

  • Comment 19, posted at 12.03.10 07:48:13 by grant10 Reply

  • @grant10 (Comment 17) :

    Thanks for not letting me down. 😛

    I saw your post on the recent comments list and said to my mate. He is gonna bitch about John Smit. And WHAM I was 100% correct 😎

    Sharksworld Admin, can I get a prize for being correct please. Maybe some extra comment points. 🙂

  • Comment 20, posted at 12.03.10 07:50:47 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @grant10 (Comment 17) : I agree the scrums aren’t great, but surely that is just one problem and not the cause of struggling in every area of the park.

    The Boks still managed to survive behind a poor scrum last year, Spies often got poor ball going backwards at the scrum but managed to get his side going forward. That is why I don’t rate Kankowski, he can’t offer the same metres in tight situations which is what you need when your side is struggling to go forward.

    The backline has also had good ball from kicks, lineouts and general play. The fact they’ve struggled there has more to do with a lack of straight hard running and put players into space.

    The same scrum last year brought decent results for the first half of the season, so what has changed? Here’s my question, is it possible that the Sharks just haven’t adapted to the defensive, kicking oriented game of last season to using the ball in hand more effectively this season because of the new law interpretations?

  • Comment 21, posted at 12.03.10 08:09:03 by sanjaydeva Reply

  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 20) :


    Dude, I suppose you’ve given up on defending Smit @ 3 then???


  • Comment 22, posted at 12.03.10 08:14:16 by wpw Reply
  • sorry let go. missed your post before i posted mine. but we seem to agree. good article. rob is now pleased as he has a new author and he has gotten rid of the thorn in his side.

  • Comment 23, posted at 12.03.10 08:19:15 by try time Reply

  • @wpw (Comment 22) :

    NOPE I haven’t!!!!! I just know that Grant10’s drum only has one tune in it.

  • Comment 24, posted at 12.03.10 08:21:16 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @try time (Comment 23) : Who’s the thorn?

  • Comment 25, posted at 12.03.10 08:27:22 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • If I were coach I would trade Jannie for a tackle bag.

  • Comment 26, posted at 12.03.10 08:48:14 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • @try time (Comment 23) : No problem TT, I like the way you put int better anyway…you know how to be tough on the guys. I’m a real softy when it comes to the Sharks, the only guy I can be tough with is Rory, but that guy just gets under my skin. 😕

  • Comment 27, posted at 12.03.10 10:22:47 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Letgo (Comment 27) : Surely you`re ready to throw the book at du plessis clan as well ? 😈

  • Comment 28, posted at 12.03.10 10:26:51 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 1) : Why Ruan on the bench, what did he do wrong? I thought he had a good game. And does that mean you’ll play Rory…or make the smart choice and rather play with just 14 men.

  • Comment 29, posted at 12.03.10 10:27:33 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Original Pierre (Comment 28) : Not Bissie, I like him…but Jannie, yes, I think Jannie has been a bad influence on Bismark. Bismark used to be better. And don’t know what’s wrong, but actually I’m still giving Bissie a chance to redeem himself.

  • Comment 30, posted at 12.03.10 10:29:54 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Letgo (Comment 30) : Well lets see . . . who gave the FS the ball so they can score and knock us out of the CC last year. Was it Rory or Pienaar?

    Rory might do stupid things as well, but his kicking is more solid than pienaar and at least he knows he`s a scrumhalf.

  • Comment 31, posted at 12.03.10 10:38:31 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 1) : @Original Pierre (Comment 28) : You really have a personal vendetta against the Dup brothers don’t you. I agree about Jannie, but go have a look at the last 3 games and look at Bissie and tell me that he hasn’t been one of the best forwards(after Kanko) in the Sharks team. Yes he had a brainfart in the Chiefs game but since then his discipline has been good. If you want bitch about Jannie go ahead but you have no real leg to stand on when it comes to Bissie

  • Comment 32, posted at 12.03.10 10:41:48 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Original Pierre (Comment 28) : Bissie has been a better loosie than Kegaan or Botes

  • Comment 33, posted at 12.03.10 10:56:43 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @sanjaydeva (Comment 14) : The Sharks hasn’t been scoring tries because they’ve been making a lot of basic mistakes, throwing caution to the wind would not be the answer. Get back to basics…and maybe be a little more adventurous, but not throwing causing to the wind.

    This years super14 is so unpredictable with weaker teams upsetting the strong play-off contenders, that losing 4 games doesn’t have to mean that you’re out of it. It the top teams loose 2 more games and we don’t loose any we could be right back up there contenting to.

    You might say I’m an optimist, but a fact is a fact…if the Sharks starts to win some games from now on…the might not look so bad in 5 weeks time.

  • Comment 34, posted at 12.03.10 11:34:40 by Letgo Reply
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  • If I was coach for this week…..I’d fire myself :mrgreen:

  • Comment 35, posted at 12.03.10 11:35:56 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @grant10 (Comment 17) : I don’t think John is doing that badly at 3, and they’re using him there because they know the value he can bring to a team, but also know that if he had to have a straight shoot out for the 2 jersey against Bissie, he’d probably loose.

  • Comment 36, posted at 12.03.10 11:36:30 by Letgo Reply
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  • If I was coach next week ( assuming The Sharks lose tomorrow )I would start to experiment.

    Front row.
    1. Beast
    2. Bissie
    3. Herbst

    Second row.

    4. Sykes
    5. Steenkamp

    6. Craig Burden
    7. Deysel
    8. Alberts

    9. Ruan
    10. Lambie
    11. JPP
    12 Kanko
    13 Adi
    14 Mvovu
    15 Stefan.

    How’s that for thinking out the box.
    And the reason I said next week is because if the Sharks win this weekend we might still have an outside chance of making the finals.

  • Comment 37, posted at 12.03.10 11:41:22 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @sanjaydeva (Comment 21) : You’re right we haven’t adapted to the new application of the old laws, but more importantly when we did try to use them to our advantage we made errors that cost as the ball…we never put enough phases together to really get any momentum, but against the Waratahs we did and proved that we are good enough to score when we hold on to the ball.
    The Scrums and line-out are fine, average, but fine…good enough to play of and sometimes every now and then even a little better than fine, your backs shouldn’t struggle that much because of your set pieces. Someone needs to straighten, you can’t just pass the ball to the other side of the field and expect to get over the advantage line. The backs needs to step up…

  • Comment 38, posted at 12.03.10 11:42:38 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Pokkel (Comment 37) : Reserves

    16 Smit
    17 Pat Cilliers.
    18 Hargreaves
    19 Botes
    20 Kockett
    21 Waylon
    22 Odwa

    If we not gonna win this thing then lets give the youngster some experience

  • Comment 39, posted at 12.03.10 11:44:33 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Original Pierre (Comment 31) : I don’t remember that incident, I guess I blocked that out, but I do know Rory does not do his job as a scrummie properly. His kicks may be good and there’s nothing wrong with his passing, it’s the time it takes him to do all of this.
    And the only reason he finds gaps on occasion is because he goes for them every second ball. He’s decision making is poor…and he really is to cocky!

  • Comment 40, posted at 12.03.10 11:47:34 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Pokkel (Comment 37) : Kanko won’t work at 12, out of the box…yes, but you’re taking away all the space he thrives on. A 12 needs strength and Kanko needs space. Maybe outside center, but when does our 13 ever see the ball. Why try to fix something that’s not broken.

    He’s playing good rugby because he’s 8 and finds himself in the right place to do some running from this position.

  • Comment 41, posted at 12.03.10 12:12:48 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 41) : You probably right, we just don’t have a ‘thinking’ 10 or 12 at the moment. How I’d love to have Dick Muir back at 12 as the brains in the backline.

    What is your opinion on Craig Burden as a 6?? Fast, strong, not to tall. Built a lot like Brussow and Stegman.

  • Comment 42, posted at 12.03.10 12:17:58 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 42) : Burden never gets used at 2 and I think he’s a very useful player. You might as well try it out for a couple of games and see what happens. If anything it will push other players to give their all to get back in to the starting line-up. The only problem then would be cover at 2, cause I don’t like the idea of switching a guy to one position but making him cover for another. He’ll never settle that way.

    But probably that type of things should be left when the sharks get home without a win or just one win or something like that. Then maybe even giving Kanko a go at 12 won’t sound so bad…at least then you’re doing something instead of doing the same old thing everyweek and losing every week.

  • Comment 43, posted at 12.03.10 13:33:05 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 43) : I feel for Burden. At any other team he would probably get a lot more gametime and now he is 3rd in line at the Sharks

  • Comment 44, posted at 12.03.10 14:36:12 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 44) : me too. He’s a hell of a good guy and so loyal!

  • Comment 45, posted at 12.03.10 14:45:38 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Letgo (Comment 43) : He has only just started to become a pretty good hooker after his conversion from the wing. Leave him where he is because if someone gets injured we will need him.

    Isn’t it the aim of a union to gave good depth. That also means that sometimes very good players need to play Vodacom Cup or warm the bench but if we retread all of our players we will end up with jacks of all trades and masters of none. We need to look at it as having good fortune (at least in one position) to have great depth.

  • Comment 46, posted at 12.03.10 15:13:52 by lostfish Reply
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