Nice work Sharks, now enjoy the break

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super 14 on 4 Apr 2010 at 02:00
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The Sharks managed yet another nail-biting win in the Super 14 when they beat the Reds 30-28 in Durban last night. Having won their last two games in New Zealand, John Plumtree’s side are starting to find their way again and, perhaps most importantly, are now starting to close out the close games.

Don’t get me wrong – this is far from a team playing vintage rugby. The deficiencies both on attack and defence are still glaring, but whereas in the first five rounds, the side simply couldn’t manage to eke out any sort of win, the momentum has now shifted and while the games are still going down to the wire, for the last three weeks the Sharks have found a new composure and have found themselves on the right side of the scoreline come fulltime.

The most palpable improvement has been in the play of the forwards, both in the set pieces and at the breakdown. The scrum has been a different matter entirely since moving John Smit to loosehead and Bismarck du Plessis is clearly a far happier player, if his attention to the basics is anything to go on. Alistair Hargreaves, in the last two weeks, has come to the fore as a dominant lineout forward and the rolling maul, the mainstay of Sharks sides of old, is again becoming a powerful weapon with Jacques Botes’ overall form improving steadily as he grows in confidence at the back of those drives.

In fact, every one of the Sharks heavies was superb yesterday, with Hargreaves, Smit, Botes and Alberts the cleat standouts. Deysel, Sykes and the du Plessis brothers were almost as prominent, while even the Beast has started to find his spark again, putting in a few of his trademark charges. Ruan Pienaar, happy again at scrumhalf, is clearly revelling in the surfeit of quality ball his pack is providing, but I’m afraid that one needs to count quite quickly up to fifteen before you’ll find another Sharks back who’s playing well at the moment.

Outside of Patrick Lambie, whose performances in the last three weeks simply supersede and adjective I could think of, the Sharks backs have been somewhere between ordinary and downright woeful. Midfield defence is non-existent and those in the know would point to Andy Goode’s seeming inability to effect any sort of a tackle as the source of the problem. Riaan Swanepoel looks hopelessly out of sorts and short on confidence and should perhaps be spending time in a lower league side to get is game sorted out. Stefan Terblanche, bless him, is trying to play the kicking fullback role from whatever position he finds himself in, while the wings simply look disinterested. To be fair, though, Odwa Ndungane was streets ahead of JP Pietersen on yesterday’s performance, but neither is currently delivering the sort of showing worthy of his lofty reputation.

In short, the Sharks packs are playing superb rugby and if they keep going (and can avoid further injuries) could soon establish themselves as the best forward unit in the competition. If only they had a backline to do them justice!

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. The team goes into their bye week in reasonably good shape, with only Ryan Kankowski a serious injury doubt. Both John Smit and Alistair Hargreaves came off with niggles, but the rangy number 8 spent the night in hospital after an operation to repair a compound dislocation of a finger. Ever the optimist, Hoff reckons he’ll be back in 3 weeks’ time, but the coach seemed a little more circumspect, predicting the player would not see action again this Super 14.

So well done on the win, Sharks and enjoy some much-needed time off. The pack can give themselves a proper pat on the back, but the backline really needs to go back to the drawing board. Let’s hope they can get it right in time to face the Lions two weeks from now.


  • yo yo yo

  • Comment 1, posted at 05.04.10 11:38:13 by robdylan Reply
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  • Well done guys, hope u guys enjoy the break. GO SHARKS ❗ ❗

  • Comment 2, posted at 05.04.10 12:03:27 by JarsonX Reply
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  • maybe all my turbo reverse crusading worked in the end!
    The move away from 3 by smit has transformed the team. Well done plum. Now just hope PDV is listening too.

  • Comment 3, posted at 05.04.10 12:09:19 by grant10 Reply

  • @grant10 (Comment 3) : Far as I can remember you wanted Smit at two (but preferably on the bench). Not once did you mention moving him to LH 🙄

  • Comment 4, posted at 05.04.10 12:21:02 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @grant10 (Comment 3) :
    Not that turbo-reverse stuff again – are you a diesel mechanic? 🙄

    Great balls by the boys to hang on. Not pretty, like you said Rob, but morale and team spirit are often built on the back of grinding wins.

    A decent 10/12 as would see the ball get wide better and the defence being better organised: this would provide the direction and confidence outside backs need to thrive.

  • Comment 5, posted at 05.04.10 12:24:00 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @robdylan (Comment 1) : @Big Fish (Comment 5) : Might be time again to invest in a genuine world class backline coach.

  • Comment 6, posted at 05.04.10 12:39:47 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @grant10 (Comment 3) : I’m sure plum was swayed by your insights into why the springbok world cup winning captain is apparently kak..

  • Comment 7, posted at 05.04.10 14:00:59 by zenrugby Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 6) :I agree with the need for a coach, our bacline is so lateral and has very little variation/dummy runners or set plays other than swanepoel bashing it up. I’d love to see butch back with lambie as his understudy. Need a 12 too, maybe doppies or one of the stormers abundent 12s

  • Comment 8, posted at 05.04.10 14:04:44 by zenrugby Reply

  • i dont care what smit has won….he is still a useless 3.

    Has done well at 1 though.

    At 2 i would never leave Bissy out for smit…bissy a lot better.

    So find me the post where i wanted smit at 2>??

    But moving on…..break the bank for Jdv and Butch….get Adi fit and the sharks well and truly back.

    Alberts at 8, Deysel at 7 …..Kanko last 30 minutes….sharks will be right up there again.

  • Comment 9, posted at 05.04.10 14:14:47 by grant10 Reply

  • hi there 😎

    good to be back home and watching all the highlights 🙂

    Yaa, it looks much better now that the forwards decided to lay some serious platform and smitty is No 1 😆

  • Comment 10, posted at 05.04.10 14:36:52 by rekinek Reply
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  • @grant10 (Comment 9) : Find me a post where you suggested moving him to 1 ❓ ❗

    If you’ve watched Smit’s superior captaincy over the past weeks, you’ll have noticed he’s the only SA captain that communicates with the ref during the game without throwing a tantrum every time a call goes against them.

  • Comment 11, posted at 05.04.10 17:35:06 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @zenrugby (Comment 8) : I’m backing Swaan at 12, even though he’s not close to the best in SA, I think it’s time the Sharks stick with their own players for once.

    A GOOD backline coach might just be what is needed to inspire Swaan….I bet a proper FH will also go a long way in achieving that.

  • Comment 12, posted at 05.04.10 17:38:04 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 11) : smit lost 5 in a row?

    But i still rate him as a captain….

    just not as a 3 !

    He has done very,very well at 1.

    And bissy and jannie have walked there talk at 2 and 3 respectively.

  • Comment 13, posted at 05.04.10 19:27:53 by grant10 Reply

  • Kankowski’s Super 14 seems to be over 🙁

  • Comment 14, posted at 05.04.10 19:39:38 by Charlie Reply

  • Good and bad things, but we won this weekend and that’s all that matters for the next two weeks. That and teams like the Lions, Cheetahs, Highlanders, W.Force stepping up and winning some games this weekend. 😉

  • Comment 15, posted at 05.04.10 20:01:12 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Charlie (Comment 14) : I’m not convinced… still told me only 3 weeks.

  • Comment 16, posted at 05.04.10 20:08:47 by robdylan Reply
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  • GO SHARKS !!! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 17, posted at 05.04.10 20:09:47 by Charlie Reply

  • @Letgo (Comment 15) : who’ve we got left? Lions, Bulls, Stormers, Force and Blues?

    Hmmm…. Bulls at Loftus the toughest of that lot. Win that one and we could be close

  • Comment 18, posted at 05.04.10 20:10:21 by robdylan Reply
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  • I still back the Sharks to make semi’s 😈

  • Comment 19, posted at 05.04.10 20:11:31 by Charlie Reply

  • @Charlie (Comment 19) : big call… kinda needed the bonus against the Reds to be in still. Best we can do now is 41 points and that probably won’t be enough

  • Comment 20, posted at 05.04.10 20:14:34 by robdylan Reply
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  • What’s sharksrugby website update on injury list ?

  • Comment 21, posted at 05.04.10 20:14:50 by Charlie Reply

  • Ja and the Bulls did not do us much of a favour losing against the Blues 😉

  • Comment 22, posted at 05.04.10 20:16:04 by Charlie Reply

  • I thought Ruan had a bit of an average game and with Goode sucking I really thought Rory should have come onto 9 and Ruan moved to 10.

  • Comment 23, posted at 05.04.10 20:18:18 by Letgo Reply
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  • I wouldn’t blame the outside back or any of the guys outside 9 10 and 12, not until they get some proper ball. JP and Odwa was looking for work all over the place, the ball never really got to them though.

  • Comment 24, posted at 05.04.10 20:19:59 by Letgo Reply
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  • Goode is 70% fit, still struggling with hamstring 😉

  • Comment 25, posted at 05.04.10 20:20:34 by Charlie Reply

  • And I hate to be a “buzz kill” 😉 on one of the positives, but besides Lambie’s defensive play he didn’t really impress me. He got into the line a couple of times (a couple being two I think) he got into the line and got the ball in space, but he didn’t do anything with it. He just ran the players outside him out of space. Maybe it’s because of communication, but I was really disappointed when JP tried to link up with him once, cutting to the inside and Lambie just tossed the ball to the outside, After he ran JP out of space, giving JP no option but to cut to the inside. Really that one time should have been a try and the two players could just not link up.
    Disappointing really when two back-line players have that much space and can’t do anything with it.

  • Comment 26, posted at 05.04.10 20:27:07 by Letgo Reply
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  • Semis far from decided…. IMHO

    eg Stormers will be lucky to win again this season

    Sharks definitely not gone….will need to do some damage on the Bulls and Blues however

    Tahs the surprise package

    Brumbies and Chiefs not gone

    My top 4


    However Blues, Chiefs, Reds, Canes and even Sharks all look good.

    What do you think ?

  • Comment 27, posted at 05.04.10 20:27:37 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @Charlie (Comment 25) : I’d be happy if he’s left out completely. Play anyone there. Anyone that has a decent pass to both left and right and has a reasonable defensive ability. They can even put Rory there, Dumond, Dries, Stefan, Ruan, Charl McLeod, Lambie…c’mon, this guy almost threw away the game for the Sharks. When we won that ball 2min from the end, it should have gone through the hands and instead he put it out on the full. And how many times did Cooper just jog through his defense, granted there is no other 10 in the comp that can do that as well as Cooper, but honestly how could you keep a guy like that on the field? It’s just sad.

  • Comment 28, posted at 05.04.10 20:32:18 by Letgo Reply
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  • And I’m just a little upset.

  • Comment 29, posted at 05.04.10 20:32:40 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 24) : JP’s finishing is awful, though. He looks half asleep out there

  • Comment 30, posted at 05.04.10 20:33:48 by robdylan Reply
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  • 49 Crusaders
    44 Blues
    44 Waratahs
    40 Bulls
    37 Brumbies
    36 Sharks
    30 Hurricanes
    29 Reds
    28 Stormers
    21 Chiefs
    15 Highlanders
    13 W.Force
    13 Cheetahs
    3 Lions

    That’s my prediction for the Log.

  • Comment 31, posted at 05.04.10 20:34:08 by Letgo Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 30) : I was at the game this weekend and it gave me a little perspective on our wings. I might be wrong here, but it feels like JP and Odwa would be able to do much better if the ball comes to them a little earlier. JP was out on the wing calling for the ball a couple of times, just to receive it when he’s only option was basically to cut inside or be run out into touch. It sucks, cause JP is a great player and I think in many other teams he will look way better. He gets really frustrated on the field. I don’t know if you can see it watching the game on TV, but he ends up hovering around the rucks a lot of times. After calling for the ball to come his way, he basically gives up and sees if he can be useful cleaning out or maybe getting a gap around the ruck area.

    Both Odwa and JP is great support players also, they’re the guys that’s there for the next pass, but the pass never gets made in time for them to go into space. Like I said it’s hard to tell with all the excitement of being back at my first game in more than a year, but I wouldn’t blame the outside backs until we see them messing up some good or even just better possession. I was made very aware of Odwa’s lack of speed though. Sooner or later Plum’s going to have to realize that we need a little more speed at the back. Those kicks of Ruan was largely useless, because Odwa just never seems to get there…never. I like the guy though and I think he had a good game, especially defensively. He can make some stuff happen, he’s a good player, but he’s a wing and one of their most important skills are speed…am I wrong?

  • Comment 32, posted at 05.04.10 20:43:54 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 32) : The one thing I feel we could put on JP is what he does with the ball from a kick. He used to be so great at spotting a gap, now he seems uninterested in even trying to find a gap. It’s sad, I think one of his coaches…Dick, Plum, Jake has coached him into a boring player. Who can remember the JP who caught only about 50/60% of the kicks coming from the opposition, but when he did more than 50/60% of the time he did something great with it. We need to get that JP back and to get that JP back our coach needs to give his players some room for creativity. How could he not agree with their option to kick that penalty for the line? We need the bonus points to get anywhere in the tournament, if we got that line-out we would have scored or at least kept the ball till full time. He needs to change his attitude a little.

  • Comment 33, posted at 05.04.10 20:51:39 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 33) : …correction, a lot!!!

  • Comment 34, posted at 05.04.10 20:52:53 by Letgo Reply
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  • It’s not just about the win right now. If we don’t start to get some bonus points it would probably make no difference if we won or lost all the rest of our games. With a couple of bonus points we still have an outside chance.

  • Comment 35, posted at 05.04.10 20:54:09 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 31) : bit harsh on the stormers.
    I also (unfortunately) think that it is a looong shot for sharks to make semis, especially that they do not have these 4 tries bonus points. With 5 defeats that’s unfortunately necessity.

  • Comment 36, posted at 05.04.10 21:23:19 by rekinek Reply
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  • ❗ ❗ ❗ BACKLINE COACH ❗ ❗ ❗

  • Comment 37, posted at 05.04.10 21:36:27 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @Letgo (Comment 26) : Did you not see him under the highballs – it was like having flashbacks to the Rolls Royce under the high ball.

  • Comment 38, posted at 05.04.10 22:45:57 by lostfish Reply
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  • @lostfish (Comment 38) : Yes, but that’s defensive play. It’s great and I wouldn’t put anyone else there, but as soon as he had some space to run with the ball he seemed a little out of place, especially on a night when we played one of the most expansive teams in the comp.

  • Comment 39, posted at 05.04.10 23:13:12 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 39) : true but that will come with experience.

  • Comment 40, posted at 05.04.10 23:21:28 by lostfish Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 36) : No, actually, I’m just being realistic. They’d be lucky to win two more games. They are playing good rugby and have a good team, but they’re coming up against teams that’s just that little better than they are and they’re coming up against them away from Newlands. That’s no easy feat. Tell me which one of these games you would definitely give to the Stormers, because when the time comes for my Superbru picks, I don’t think the Stormers will be there again once…or maybe once or twice depending on their form.

    The teams they have left on tour

    Blues – I just don’t see it happening. The Blues are in form and on the up.
    Chiefs – Maybe a slight chance, but probably not.
    Reds – Probably their best chance for a win.
    Crusaders – Will anyone beat them again this year?

    Coming back from tour they play
    The Sharks (away) – not if we continue doing better and they’re coming of a disappointing tour, jet-lagged and tired, which is what I’m predicting.

    and then they play

    The Bulls at home – I’ll give them a fair chance here, since they’ll be playing their last game at home and will be throwing everything into that game because of the next two possible scenarios. They don’t have anything to lose or they have everything to lose, but need to win by a bonus point and a big score.

    For their sake and kind of ours I hope they can win against the crusaders and the blues. That would be pretty cool. The Blues have easy games after that. W.Force, Cheetahs, Lions…so someone needs to stop their point flow.

  • Comment 41, posted at 05.04.10 23:26:23 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 41) : Spot on ! 😉

  • Comment 42, posted at 05.04.10 23:40:19 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • I’ve looked at how possible it is for the Sharks to reach a semi, granted we win all of our games of course, and it’s not as outrages as it seems right at this moment. There is ten top teams in this years comp if you put anyone of those teams up against each other it becomes pretty much 50/50 and that plays in favor of the Sharks.

    Just to give an example. This week the 9th placed team played the 10th placed team and won rather comfortably. That was perfect for the Sharks.
    The 2nd placed team played the 14th placed team and lost, because of the tight competition an inevitable upset, one of undoubtedly more to come. Great for the Sharks.
    The 3rd placed team played the 7th played team and ended up drawing the game. Another good result for the Sharks.

    These will continue coming and continue being great for the Sharks…but only if we continue winning and continue going for the corner in tight situations so that we can start getting a few bonus points.

  • Comment 43, posted at 05.04.10 23:42:45 by Letgo Reply
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  • I am so glad we have Alberts…did you notice how much more effective he was playing in his prefered position of 8..

  • Comment 44, posted at 06.04.10 08:19:46 by Pokkel Reply
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  • Shout out to the Blues!!! YOU GUYS MADE MY WEEKEND!!! Go you good things go!

  • Comment 45, posted at 06.04.10 08:36:26 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • Come on guys, you can`t seriously think we`ll make the semi`s?
    We`ll be lucky with a jump up to 6 th me thinks . . . which is kinda what I predicted at the beginning of the season. And that was before I knew we`d start in reverse gear!

  • Comment 46, posted at 06.04.10 08:39:48 by Original Pierre Reply
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