‘Ugly’ does it…

Written by Morné Nortier (Morné)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 11 Oct 2010 at 12:04
Tagged with : , ,

It was not the best of performances but there is no need for the predictable jitters reverberating amongst the Sharks supporters at the moment.

I personally predicted a WP win based on some very obvious factors.

The first is WP only lost once against one of the top teams at home this year (Cheetahs) which was arguably their worst performance of 2010, and the second reason is that the Sharks had the luxury of experimenting a bit in selections and award some fringe players or Boks some much needed game time which left two teams with two very different goals going into the match.

Unfortunately the value of this experiment will only be felt in the future where the value of involving the fringe and/or game deprived players opportunities will become apparent.

For the team it is vitally important to remember what they are capable of producing, both as individuals and as a team – they did not end top of the log for nothing and it is this very fact that should form the foundation of the attitude the team needs to take into practice and effectively to the park on match-day.

When Plum stated early last week he will send his strongest available team to Newlands the general perception is that the best available player in each position is selected for the job at hand.  It is easy then to criticize individuals including the coach on the performance delivered, but I have no doubt given the circumstances this was indeed Plum’s strongest available side.

Part of, and arguably the toughest job of any rugby coach, is to assemble and build a squad that is ready for anything, anytime.  So part of the balancing act for Plum was resting some players in desperate need of some time off, managing any niggles of players, affording other players much needed game time and considering all of this, what he assembled was the best he had available.

Looking forward to this weekend Plum must now apply the golden rule of rugby in play-off situations – balance.

Sounds easy enough but the reality is far from it.

It starts with balance in selections and combinations to assemble the best possible match-day 22 for the game against the Blue Bulls this weekend.

Then there needs to be a balance in training this week.  There will be some sore bodies which took a lot of knocks in the last 4 months and Plum and his coaching team needs to ensure the players are in peak physical and mental conditioning come kick-off on Saturday.

Then of course, there needs to be a shift in balance when it comes to the game plan.

For this Plum’s senior players are going to have to play a vital role.  The guys who have played, and won these types of matches, because the team they are up against contains a massive number of players that have done just that.

For my money the focus and buzz-words or phrase for this week in the Sharks camp should be to win this game ‘ugly’.

Believe me, it is much easier to win a game playing ugly rugby than it is to play champagne rugby, and to beat the Blue Bulls you will need to play the game as ugly as they do, or even uglier, because most of the time the guys trying to play the champagne version of the game in a play-off match, are the ones left with none in the Cup at the end of the match…


  • “because most of the time the guys trying to play the champagne version of the game, are the ones left with none in the Cup at the end of the match…”

    Yep. The operative words there being “most of the time” … because on Saturday, it went all their way. Hope it goes our way this weekend.

  • Comment 1, posted at 11.10.10 12:11:50 by rugbypedia Reply
  • When I saw this title I thought it was an article about klempie!! 😈

  • Comment 2, posted at 11.10.10 12:15:46 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 2) :

    Hahaha. . One of Ice’s meet the bloggers that went horribly wrong!

  • Comment 3, posted at 11.10.10 12:17:15 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • I hear you Morne. No doubt ugly needs not be confused with dirty/foul though!

  • Comment 4, posted at 11.10.10 12:20:44 by Crock Reply

  • The Sharks need to play the way they played the Stormers in the S14. Dominate up front and starve the opposition of ball….actually that is what the WP did to the Sharks this past weekend. 😳

  • Comment 5, posted at 11.10.10 12:21:30 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 3) : 😆 :mrgreen:

  • Comment 6, posted at 11.10.10 12:22:45 by wpw Reply
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 3) : :mrgreen:

    Morras, u sure ur not a Sharks supporter deep down? 😉

    My ultimate would be a Sharks WP final…I hope my dream realise!

  • Comment 7, posted at 11.10.10 12:24:06 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • They need to, but will they???? I sure as hell hope so!

  • Comment 8, posted at 11.10.10 12:24:16 by Crock Reply

  • expect ALOT of up-and-unders on saterday from the bulls. our back 3 should be ready for it. how`s the weather forecast for saterday? it may be too early for weather predictions hey?

  • Comment 9, posted at 11.10.10 12:30:06 by VanWilder Reply

  • @Crock (Comment 4) : we already have that in the opposition team! 😈

    Its clear he means “test type rugby” play to win, not to please the crowd! In the end its the win anyway that pleases the crowd!

  • Comment 10, posted at 11.10.10 12:30:36 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Ice, yep a win over the Mighty (sic) Bulls will be very pleasing indeed…

  • Comment 11, posted at 11.10.10 12:33:51 by Crock Reply

  • Without Alberts or Deysel in the pack the Sharks will be bullied into submission.
    I expect a Cheetahs / Bulls final in Bloem. 🙂

  • Comment 12, posted at 11.10.10 13:39:59 by Loosehead Reply

  • @loosehead: BULLied. Awful pun! Haha!

  • Comment 13, posted at 11.10.10 13:44:36 by Crock Reply

  • @Loosehead (Comment 12) : what makes you think we’ll be without Alberts?

  • Comment 14, posted at 11.10.10 13:47:29 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Pokkel (Comment 5) : Yeah. Keep the ball. But do not take risks in or around your own tryline. Unless it’s really on. Agree with Morne on the “ugly” does it. But I don’t think the Sharks’s gameplan need to change that much. 😕

  • Comment 15, posted at 11.10.10 13:52:32 by SharksRTB Reply

  • I got too cocky last week, why did I think the Sharks will win any match with Rory and AP in the team? 😥

    I’m low on confidence now, I must say, I’d rather go into this semi believing we’re going to lose and then win, than the other way around. 😥

    A little harsh on AP there, no fly-half can look good with Rory at 9. I hope if there was a contract offered to him in CT that he signed it before the game, because they may have torn it up after seeing him play on Saturday!

  • Comment 16, posted at 11.10.10 14:28:08 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @SharksRTB (Comment 15) : I don’t agree with the ugly does it. If the Sharks tries to change the way they have been playing this whole season too much, it will be our downfall.

    We need to play our game, what has worked for us the whole season, but eliminate errors or at least keep errors to a minimum.

    Take fewer risky options, but still take it when it’s on.

    Play Charl not Rory.

    Keep possession of the ball.

    I’m going to hate this game, I always hate playing the Bulls in knock-out stages.

    C’mon Sharks!!!

    If it wasn’t obvious… Yes, I’m already nervous.

  • Comment 17, posted at 11.10.10 14:32:12 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • BTW…congratulations to WP supporters on the site, your team played a really good game. Coetzee managed to use DeVillier’s in a positive way, instead of just sticking him out on the wing. Also, well done on beating us at our own game up front, I really didn’t think that would happen. You guys will be a tough team to beat in the weeks to come, but don’t think it will be as easy next team you see us!!! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 18, posted at 11.10.10 14:37:19 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • To clarify, ‘ugly’ rugby refers to basic rugby.

    Play the territory game, respect possession, and ensure your first phase areas of the game is spot on.

    No fancy moves, complicated set plays or aimless surrendering of possession.

    Crowd the breakdowns, tackle like demons and keep it simple, and patient.

    For the Bulls specifically, use the triangle method for clearing rucks, first two cleans BEYOND the ball, third plays it – quite simply what the All Blacks did to the Boks.

    Basic rugby

  • Comment 19, posted at 11.10.10 14:48:45 by Morné Reply
  • @Letgo (Comment 18) : WP’s biggest problem is going to be not choking on the appetiser. Far too many so-called pundits are already looking forward to a Cape Town final against the Bulls. The Cheetahs LOVE being written off before a big game.

  • Comment 20, posted at 11.10.10 14:51:00 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • We shouldn’t fall for Plum ’s propaganda, the man will obviously never admit it but we, the informed rugby public, all know this was a crucial game for everyone involved. You cannot afford to be totally outplayed 1 week prior to the semis, and definitely not against a team you might face in a final.
    We lost confidence and momentum.

    Furthermore, if Plum can be believed, the Sharks doesn`t mind playing the Bulls this weekend… Well I don`t buy it for a second.

    I am big enough to say (and I have said it prior to the WP match match), I prefer not playing the Bulls, their performance over the last 10 years speaks for itself.

    Having respect for the Bulls doesn’t mean you have to fear them, they are beatable on any given day, it’s damn difficult.
    We might still top the log but in a semi that doesn`t count for much.
    Lets hope for some strong support this weekend in the Shark tank. A repeat of last years` semi final attendance will nullify even that slight advantage. 👿

  • Comment 21, posted at 11.10.10 14:53:26 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • Agree with your definition of Ugly Morné.

    However, I think we are top of the log because we played an expansive, keep the ball game, which starved the opposition of possession. Playing the Bulls at their own game is a dangerous ploy.

    For the entire Currie Cup all our success hinged on our forwards ensuring good first phase ball and every other player near the ball carrier making sure that they hit the rucks, with Charl’s feed off the phases super quick. We employed our running forwards very well and managed more often than not to break down the defense within 5-7 phases.

    This is where guys like Alberts, Daniel and Kanko have been so dangerous and expecting them to wrestle with the Bulls tights when they are the best trio of running loosies in SA would be game suicide.

    In my opinion getting the Bulls defensive structure out of sorts with quick phase play is how to beat the Bulls. They hate it when teams run at them, but everybody needs to do their jobs properly, we need to be patient and we have to keep our discipline when it’s our turn to defend.

  • Comment 22, posted at 11.10.10 15:10:12 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
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  • @Morné (Comment 19) : Well, then I agree with you. :mrgreen: “Ugly”, can in this sense then also be seen as beautiful, because if the Sharks plays like you described here, it’s going to be beautiful. 😀

  • Comment 23, posted at 11.10.10 15:11:17 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 20) : Yip, I’m buttering them up, so they’ll get just as cocky as I did this weekend and then fall just as hard as I did. :mrgreen: It’s going to be two great semi’s. Looking forward to this weekends rugby, but at the same time also dreading it. We’ve been working so hard for this the whole season. This is where it could get painful.

  • Comment 24, posted at 11.10.10 15:14:25 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Letgo (Comment 24) : 1/4… that’s out chance of winning the cup from here. Not great, is it?

  • Comment 25, posted at 11.10.10 15:17:43 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 25) : Bet with your head, not your heart. Winners know when to quit :mrgreen:

  • Comment 26, posted at 11.10.10 15:25:48 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @robdylan (Comment 25) :its always so much harder if we are on top, and don’t make the finals…but let’s have faith here!

  • Comment 27, posted at 11.10.10 15:26:20 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 26) : LOL 🙂

    @Ice (Comment 27) : To be honest, the only thing that topping the log gives us is that extra half a percent advantage in the semis because we are at home.

  • Comment 28, posted at 11.10.10 15:33:02 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • doenst matter who we play in the semi`s or final. if we are worthy of the cup, we should be able to win against the bulls, wp and the cheetahs. if we dont (at home), we dont deserve the cup then. easy as that. in any case, if we won at loftus the other day, we would have played lions this saterdag. what a difference 40min make.

  • Comment 29, posted at 11.10.10 15:36:49 by VanWilder Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 28) : and (sometimes false) hope! 😆

  • Comment 30, posted at 11.10.10 15:38:19 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • Gee its always great to read one of ur articals :mrgreen:

    sometimes its tooooooooo longgggggggggg but good to read 😳


  • Comment 31, posted at 11.10.10 15:42:00 by chaz Reply

  • @Morné (Comment 19) : agree with u on that one UGLY get down to the basic’s and enjoy the game and play to win and that is with ur heart and mind and of course with a lot of patients and last don’t play for ur self here in semi’s and finals one guy can’t play alone and win it takes a team to play and win and i know we can win 😆 gee we won them in 2007 😳 in the finals so we are only talking about semi’s :mrgreen:

    well i think of it this way the BULLS are going to lose the SEMI”S and what better team to send them packing :mrgreen: 😉

    :mrgreen: GO SHARKS GO :mrgreen:

  • Comment 32, posted at 11.10.10 15:57:50 by chaz Reply

  • we last won the Bulls in Sharks Tank 2008 so this should be easy as pie 🙄

    come on team we can do it 🙂

  • Comment 33, posted at 11.10.10 16:37:29 by chaz Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 28) : true but we always tend to lose in the semi’s first the Cheetahs lets just not hope the bulls 2 i’ll never hear the end of it from my son 🙂

  • Comment 34, posted at 11.10.10 16:39:55 by chaz Reply

  • @chaz (Comment 34) : A bull living under your very roof?!
    I`m thinking eviction order . . . 😈

  • Comment 35, posted at 12.10.10 09:20:37 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre

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