G West

Count the cards

Written by Gerhard van der Westhuizen (G West)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 29 Apr 2011 at 11:36
Tagged with : ,

Looking at the current statistics for discipline over the past few weeks one gets the feeling that just maybe the Sharks have either been drilled into not giving away match losing cards or they have just been holding back slightly not to force them into a position where they might be carded. For most of the Super Rugby tournament the Sharks have seemed to only really click and go full out in the last 20 minutes of their games and Saturday’s game against the Hurricanes is a prime example.

One just gets the feeling that some of the players are holding back a bit, whether it is due to injury concern or the fact that there are still a few big local bruising derbies coming up is anyone’s guess. One player that really went for it in Saturday’s match (even though he had a short time on the field) was Craig Burden, he seemed to be in a completely different state of mind and bashed the opposition to bits with some huge tackles and very aggressive play. If one looks at how the “Beast” played this weekend you might say that this whole article is pointless because he was absolutely brutal in the Hurricanes game, but he is not the only player that is known to play like that. JPP was quiet, Ross tackled hard but didn’t really shine anywhere else, Eugene was strong up front but not his brutal bully self, Alberts was huge as usual but seemed to only be going at 80%, Oom Stef was not switched on at all and Jaques Botes was not his usual monster tackling machine with that injection of speed and accuracy around the rucks.

Looking at all those players and even some others one gets the feeling that the Sharks are holding back for something big, and hopefully they have been holding back for this weekend’s game against the Stormers. The Sharks will have to be absolutely massive up-front and completely starve the Stormers of possession this weekend, they will need to carry up fast and apply the pressure in bucket loads to get the gaps in the Stormers defenses. In all honesty I am really hoping that the reason why the Sharks have not been carded this season yet is because they are looking at their discipline rather than not playing at their full capacity yet. In the heat of battle a player playing at 100% is more likely to make a costly error than one that is only playing 80% because you are going for it all, as hard and fast as you can.

Whether the Sharks management decided to ask the players to hold back because of injury concern and lots of hard fought local derbies in the long grueling season or if the players have been making an effort with their discipline is a mystery. In the end I think every single Sharks supporter is more than happy that we have been good at not getting the Yellow or the Red shown to any of our players but in the same breath I bet all the Sharks players are hoping for a 100% brutal Shark attack come this Saturday!

Never give up, never surrender! No holding back on this one boys!


  • I’m glad that our dicipline has been so great thus far. Most of the time a yellow/red card will cost you dearly. Go luck Sharks! Go do your best +10 more.

  • Comment 1, posted at 29.04.11 12:09:34 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
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  • The Sharks and the Blues are the only teams that have managed 5 4-try bonus points this season. More that the Saders and Reds. Maybe we should stop moaning about our backline and applaud the fact that the Sharks have managed this fantastic feat. The one aspect we have been moaning about in previous years seems to now become our strong point.

    Stormers be afraid!!

  • Comment 2, posted at 29.04.11 12:12:44 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 2) : dito, stormies be afraid very afraid

  • Comment 3, posted at 29.04.11 12:30:16 by franshark Reply
  • Our discipline has been superb this season – previously we lost momentum at critical junctures due to penalties, and I think the coacheas have identified and worked on this, which is why we sometimes seem to win without needing to throw the kitchen sink.

    I also think that the intelligent counter-rucking game, as opposed to one based on “fetchers” is not only more successful in securing turrn-overs and contributing to the overall gameplan (for example, less players in the ruck means more in the defensive line and more to capitalise on turn-over ball), but another benefit is less ruck offences.

    I have always believed that this approach to breakdowns is far better than a fetcher-based one – and the Sharks are very good at it.

  • Comment 4, posted at 29.04.11 12:34:15 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 4) : I agree with the counter rucking and I think the best example of this must be the Highlanders.

  • Comment 5, posted at 29.04.11 12:35:22 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 2) : hasn’t the tries come from a combined effort more than the backline..

    I think the sharks just respect the opposition too much..the bulls are a dirty hard team why???they get into ur face..intimidate other teams..but saying that I believe the sharks have become the kings of counter attack..as appose to being just physical..

    Speaking of terblanche though..didn’t he put on a couple of kilos to be a bigger centre..doesn’t look like its done anything in his game..

  • Comment 6, posted at 29.04.11 12:37:59 by shaniboi Reply

  • @shaniboi (Comment 6) : True but the backline players have managed to convert the tries that were created by turnovers and the counter attack.

  • Comment 7, posted at 29.04.11 12:45:30 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 7) :
    The Sharks backline tries invariably come from turn-overs or broken play, not constructed play.

    That in itself is a skill and largely due to pressure, but all teams aim to be creative and organised enough to also construct tries. We need to improve on this.

  • Comment 8, posted at 29.04.11 12:58:49 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 8) : I agree fully with that and the Sharks really need to create more from 1st phase and phase play but they have been doing very well despite their shortcomings and that should be applauded.

  • Comment 9, posted at 29.04.11 13:01:50 by Pokkel Reply
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  • Cheers all. Got my wife’s birthday party on tonight and Culling Song is attending. Hopefully I’ll be over my babalas by Saturday night because I don’t know if I can watch this game sober…..It’s going to be epic.

    May the best…….ahh stuff it……the Sharks to rip the Stormers apart!! 😀

  • Comment 10, posted at 29.04.11 13:13:38 by Pokkel Reply
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  • Thank you all for the comments, i love hearing from people with so much insight! It really brightens up my day. Tomorrow discipline will play hand in hand with the power struggle. And i hope we can open up the Stormers defense and score some needed tries.

    Good luck to the boys tomorrow! Give the hell!

  • Comment 11, posted at 29.04.11 20:54:20 by G West Reply
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    G West
  • What was the card count yesterday? 😈

  • Comment 12, posted at 01.05.11 19:10:45 by McLovin Reply


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