Season ends much as it began

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super 14 on 16 May 2010 at 22:50
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

The Sharks beat the Western force by 27 points to 22 in Durban on Friday night in a match that was fairly typical of their whole season – plenty of promise, but ultimately, very little to write home about.

After spending all of the first ten minutes desperately defending their line, the Sharks then broke out in pretty spectacular fashion, resulting in a debut Super 14 try for left wing Lwazi Mvovo. The old demons of indiscipline and poor technique at the tackle and the breakdown, coupled with Pro Legoete’s somewhat arcane interpretation of whatever laws he believes exists, saw the Force race out to a 12-7 lead, before a strong Sharks scrum (about the only phase of play to really work well all night) saw Ryan Kankowski retake the lead with a superb driving try off the base. (Was that the longest sentence I’ve ever written, by the way?) A third Sharks try, scored in copybook fashion by Jacques Botes off the back of yet another driving maul, saw the home side well-positioned to snag just their second bonus point of the season with about 20 minutes left to play.

Would you believe that the fourth try never came? Course you would, ’cause you’ve been watching the Sharks all season, just like I have. Instead, we had to witness a bizarre bungle virtually on the Force goal-line which, coupled with a string of missed tackles, saw Nick Cummins (contender for stupidest hairdo in the Super 14, for which he admittedly has plenty of strong competition) score at the other end of the field. Once again, a nailbiting last five minutes as the Sharks defended the narrowest of leads. It came off this time. Let’s not forget all the games at the beginning of the season when it didn’t. Those with the rose-coloured glasses on will point to the fact that the Sharks won 7 of their last 8 games, a pretty good sign that nothing is wrong in Oz – I mean Durban.

The reality is, the Sharks ended 9th. That’s three places further down the log than last year, which was in itself a disaster. There has been no progress whatsoever over the last 12 months and I find it particularly galling that there will, this year, again be two SA sides hosting Super 14 semi-finals, but unlike 2007, the Sharks will not be one of them. That’s, of course, not to take anything away from either the Bulls or the Stormers, who have both been superb this year. I wish both teams the best of luck, but who can blame me for feeling just a little bitter and twisted that my beloved team can’t be up there in the place of one of them?

So what did the Sharks actually accomplish this Super 14? The obvious answer is “nothing”, but if we go a little further, we’ll see that once they got over whatever their initial problem was, the pack of forwards actually started to play pretty bloody well and handed out regular hidings to anyone they faced. The Force game was somewhat of a let-down from that perspective, but I believe the loss of Willem Alberts, coupled with the clear reality that the team had peaked the week before, was very much to blame for that. They also very successively blooded two exciting youngsters to Super 14 rugby, in the form of Lwazi Mvovo and Patrick Lambie, with the latter undoubtedly the single biggest success story of the campaign. In the future, I think we too will look back on this campaign as the one in which Alistair Hargreaves finally stood up and accepted his destiny, although I hope I haven’t just jinxed him properly by writing that.

In terms of what has been (or should have been learned), I guess it’s that you can’t win the Super 14 without scoring tries and you can’t score tries without a backline. It also doesn’t help adding extra backline coaches if none of them know what they’re doing and it’s about time Stefan Terblanche retired. Oh – and Jannie du Plessis is actually a pretty damn good tighthead, if you just pick him there and let him play.

So thanks for the entertainment, Sharks, but I fear it’s to the drawing board once more. Let’s see what you can come up with in the Currie Cup. Rest assured, we’ll be there with you 100%, every step of the way.


  • Dismal season. Score the least number of tries (23) in the comp – that is 11 less than the Cheetahs and 9 less than the Lions.

  • Comment 1, posted at 17.05.10 00:43:19 by MysticShark Reply
    Competition Winner
  • Even if we won 2 of those close games we would have ended with only 6 log points more (ending on 39) and still missing out on a semi-final spot.

  • Comment 2, posted at 17.05.10 00:45:11 by MysticShark Reply
    Competition Winner
  • I reckon that disappointment of the Force’s game was firstly because the Sharks were after 2 very demanding games (Bulls and Stormers) and they did not quite pitch.

  • Comment 3, posted at 17.05.10 06:00:04 by rekinek Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
  • @MysticShark (Comment 1) : and this is with 2 springboks wings … and a centre – shocking really

  • Comment 4, posted at 17.05.10 06:00:44 by rekinek Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner Author

  • Comment 5, posted at 17.05.10 06:01:35 by rekinek Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
  • This article hits the nail on the head, Rob. We have the foundation up front and some talent in the back 3, but I fear the backline problems are far from over. The currie cup will be interesting and we may yet unearth some talent there for next year, but if we go through the entire currie cup with Swannie and Stef at center, it will say a great deal about managements desire to rectify the problem.

  • Comment 6, posted at 17.05.10 06:48:44 by Pablo Dinero Reply

    Pablo Dinero
  • well this site becomes a snore for the next 2 months now that sharks rugby is over until the end of july. well it was an interesting season. we can’t complain that the sharks don’t live up to their status as chokers. but they make sure they play just well enough to make the fans think they could just get better. but without some decent purchases in the next few months the sharks will be of the sand variety, always hanging around the bottom. we now get to see just how good adolf really is.

    As for the stormers well i would love to think they can make the final, but they have a lot of work ahead to beat the waratahs. and the bulls, well as much as we hate them, they have shown dolf the value of proper structures and good contracting. the b team stood strong on saturday for a team that has never played together, the sharks b team would never have held like they did. i am pleased the sharks get extra weeks to work on their issues, maybe us fans will get something to get excited about.

    and finally on the sharks again, anyone notice that ryan was the only player breaking the line. put alberts at eight and ryan at 12. he will pass more than swannie and make more breaks. two months is plenty of time to learn a new position.

  • Comment 7, posted at 17.05.10 07:29:46 by try time Reply

  • but hey we can hold our heads up and say we aren’t the lions (yet) the bulls b team would have thrashed them.

  • Comment 8, posted at 17.05.10 08:16:36 by try time Reply

  • “coupled with Pro Legoete’s somewhat arcane interpretation of whatever laws he believes exists” …. couldn’t agree more, that man is a joke to the reffing profession. How a ref of his calbire becomes a Super rugby ref is baffling.

  • Comment 9, posted at 17.05.10 08:28:06 by justinwhufc Reply

  • It’s understandable that it would be difficult for the players to really motivate themselves after everything they threw into the Bulls/Stormers encounters.

    One might argue that a side like the Sharks should have been able to pull together one more big effort and bash the well-below-par Force, but that sort of plan quickly goes out the window if you create huge overlaps and then pass the ball to a stationary prop who inevitably runs into two defenders and loses the ball.

    Story of the campaign.

  • Comment 10, posted at 17.05.10 08:39:08 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby
  • @MysticShark (Comment 1) : Didn’t realise we scored 9 less tries than the lions, pretty shocking.

  • Comment 11, posted at 17.05.10 08:50:07 by justinwhufc Reply

  • Morning :mrgreen:

    Well after a long S14 for us as supporters and a heart soar loss i’f only we could be up there with the top 2 but thats what happens to the best of us ❗ just not in the rugby game, well back to the drawing board and hope we have a win for the CC and well not at least the S15, i think if we had pulled up our socks and did what was expected from a sharks team with all the problems if any we could of had a chance but not going to throw stones will always be a shark supporter but please the team who ever is in the future we need a win and lots of wins we want our 2007 sharks back new players back up your game and do what is expected from you and my we will have a win.
    But must say our new players Lambie and Mvovo are great :mrgreen: 😉

  • Comment 12, posted at 17.05.10 08:59:15 by Chaz Reply

  • Happy B day KSA hope you enjoy the rest of the day 😆 and many more happy years ahead for you 😉

  • Comment 13, posted at 17.05.10 09:01:06 by Chaz Reply

  • I think it is more frustrating being a Sharks fan than a Lions Fan. Atleast the Lions don’t give fans false hope. 😆

    But seriously, our backline and more important our mid field is not doing what they are suppose to. Can one put this down to incapable players, or an incapable backline coach??

    Well all I know is that if we don’t make changes before the CC and fail once again, I will put it down to incapable management.

  • Comment 14, posted at 17.05.10 09:02:34 by Farlington Reply

  • Nice Rob, I was about to write an article on exactly the same sentiment. Reminds me of a quote: ‘Change is a good thing, only if you’re moving forwards’. Well the Sharks haven’t moved forwards, they’ve moved backwards and the lessons of last years have not been learnt. They still can’t score tries…. ho hum

  • Comment 15, posted at 17.05.10 09:06:14 by CapeShark Reply
    The Great Couch Shark
  • @Farlington (Comment 14) : you can say that again blame this one blame that one but the TEAM as one must work together must do their work which is why they are on the team and we might just have our wining sharks back 😛

  • Comment 16, posted at 17.05.10 09:15:38 by Chaz Reply

  • @CapeShark (Comment 15) : “only if you’re moving forwards” i think you should expand on that. the forwards are fine, it is the backline that is problematic. so it should rather be ‘Change is a good thing, only if you’re moving forwards and backline’. 😆

  • Comment 17, posted at 17.05.10 09:22:13 by try time Reply

  • @Farlington (Comment 14) : and they can break records. 😆

  • Comment 18, posted at 17.05.10 09:23:02 by try time Reply

  • @Farlington (Comment 14) : yes, and considering their sufferings people even feel guilty for mocking lions fans.

  • Comment 19, posted at 17.05.10 09:32:51 by rekinek Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
  • @Farlington (Comment 14) : That`s exactly how I feel.
    Lions fans are obviously just in it for the drinking cause they know not to expect anything from the boys on the field.
    Sharks supporters . . . well we`re sorta forced to drinking afterwards cause even if we win, we`re disappointed.
    We just expect too much. Lower your expectations and cut your disappointments in half.

    I cling to the vague hope we`ll bounce back in the CC cause the other teams will be without their boks. But what happens when their bokke comes back for the semi`s again?

    Probable CC starting XV :
    Stefan, Odwa, Strauss ( shudder ), Swanepoel, Mvuvo, Lambie, Rory, Daniel, Deysel, Hargreaves, Sykes, Botes?, Herbst, Burden and Beast possibly otherwise Cilliers.

    Of course Monty and McLeod is around as well in case we run into trouble . . . Hopefully Adie will be back soon or you guys know of some VC centre to help us keep Strauss on the bench?

    Now all we have to do is survive the next two weeks.
    ” Hey semi`s coming up when does your sharks play . . . oh sorry I forgot, you didn`t make it AGAIN! ” . . .

    If you`ve got a good comeback for that one please let me know. 😕

  • Comment 20, posted at 17.05.10 09:55:27 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • Yeah look the season was not good enough, but I believe it is time to take stock now and look for positives to take forward.

  • Comment 21, posted at 17.05.10 17:17:41 by Morné Reply

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