Sharks need to capitalise on good fortune

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 16 May 2011 at 07:30
Tagged with : , ,

I know what you’re all thinking, because it’s the exact same thing that’s been going through my mind ever since the final whistle blew in Hamilton on Saturday.

The Stormers had lost to the Chiefs and that loss suddenly moved the South African conference pace-setters right back into the danger zone – a single log point ahead of the Sharks. With three more games to play abroad, including a nightmare fixture against the high flying Blues in Auckland next weekend, the Capetonians suddenly look very vulnerable and should they drop even one more game, the Sharks should be very well positioned to overtake them and claim that all-important guaranteed play-off spot that is the conference-winner’s right.

That’s exactly where the problem comes in, though and if there’s one thing that we as Sharks supporters have learned to fear more than fear itself, it’s the prospect of an easy road to anything. Fact is, if historical precedent is anything to go by, our beloved team enjoys nothing more than eschewing the simple in favour of the perilously difficult. In short, we like to make things hard for ourselves and should that be the team’s goal – yet again – in 2011, then losing to the Bulls in Durban this weekend would be a bloody good way to go about it.

I mention this, not because I am resigned to the Sharks shooting themselves in the foot this weekend, but rather because I am keen to ensure that no sense of complacency could possibly creep into the mindset in Durban this week, given the stroke of luck that has presented itself via the Stormers’ recent run of losses. Fact is, luck is only what you make of it and for the Sharks, far from relieving the pressure, recent results (including the return to form of the Pretoria bunch) have only increased the stakes, giving them literally everything to play for in each of their remaining games. The Stormers have stumbled, sure, but are far from down and out (in fact, the Bulls aren’t either) and the slightest slip from here until the end of the season could see the Sharks finish amongst the also-rans yet again.

It’s a pretty simple equation, really. The Sharks now, more so than ever, need to prove to themselves and their fans that they are worthy contenders for the Super Rugby title in 2011. They shouldn’t look too far ahead, but also need to be clinical in putting away each team that they face starting with the Bulls. There is no more time for talk, for apologies, for excuses or for second chances. All there is now is a massive opportunity to secure top spot in the conference – an opportunity which the team simply HAS to take.

Come on, Sharks. Chances like this don’t come around too often…


  • And a guaranteed playoff means one less game doesn’t it? I have faith that The Sharks are well aware of what needs doing, The Sharks know how to beat The Bulls, I trust our midfield and set-piece woes have been addressed… Sharks to win in Durban this weekend; then as you say take it game for game. We can do it, we have the players to do it…

  • Comment 1, posted at 16.05.11 07:40:06 by DarkDestroyer Reply
  • Cmon guys! You can do it. The opportunity is there, just take it!

  • Comment 2, posted at 16.05.11 07:43:27 by SharksRTB Reply
  • I agree, the Sharks do like to make things tougher for themselves. A win over the Bulls is not negotiable, they shouldnt get a sniff of a play-off spot.

  • Comment 3, posted at 16.05.11 07:50:06 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner
  • We need to step up and play the way we know the Sharks can play. We have not yet our potential for a full 80 minutes. The game against the Bulls will be a big test for us and we HAVE to make it count.

  • Comment 4, posted at 16.05.11 07:51:12 by Viking Reply
  • I’m getting that warm fuzzy feeling,the bulls are in for a hiding,maybe not on the scoreboard as the sharks rarely ever show they dominance on the scoreboard,but I think the sharks are gonna bully the bulls on the park 🙂

  • Comment 5, posted at 16.05.11 08:05:37 by Poisy Reply
  • @DarkDestroyer (Comment 1) : Unfortunately not. Conference leaders position assures you a home play-off. But to miss the “quarters” you have to end in the top two. That is where the Cheetahs helped the Sharks. By knocking the Crusaders back it doesn’t matter if the Crusaders thump the Reds and Blues, because the Sharks can keep up with the Crusaders and hopefully overtake one of the other conference leaders. But that means the Sharks have to show they are elite rugby players and not just good Currie Cup players. A Stormers win this weekend against the Blues will also help the Sharks out in getting the “semi” spot. But it will also mean the Sharks cannot slip in the last 7-8 games left in the season.

  • Comment 6, posted at 16.05.11 08:06:00 by waje Reply

  • @Poisy (Comment 5) : Lets hoope so. Bulls had a lot of luck and Rebels was horrible. The Bulls should have put another 40 points one them in the second but their execution sucked. Lets hope that continues this weekend.

  • Comment 7, posted at 16.05.11 08:11:05 by Viking Reply
  • The Sharks cannot lose any of their last 5 games. It is that simple. The Sharks should view each game now as a knock out game. Second on the SA log makes the mountain almost too high to climb. Finishing 2nd could see the Sharks playing three weeks overseas. And we all know the Sharks third game overseas record isn’t that great.

  • Comment 8, posted at 16.05.11 08:11:22 by waje Reply

  • Great results for the Sharks this weekend……I only got 1 from 6 for SB though but who cares.

    They Sharks need to seize this opportunity but I’m very nervous about the remaining games. The Bulls will NOT be easy and neither will the Cheetah’s. Interesting times ahead!

  • Comment 9, posted at 16.05.11 08:17:26 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Viking (Comment 7) : I don’t see how we can lose to the bulls if we play even to 80% of our potential,but plum needs to play his part and pick the right combos,meyer bosman is just not up to it in the mid field

  • Comment 10, posted at 16.05.11 08:17:47 by Poisy Reply
  • Waje how does a stormers win help sharks??

  • Comment 11, posted at 16.05.11 08:18:52 by ruggabugga Reply

  • @Pokkel (Comment 9) : join the club I also got 1 out of 6,but didn’t mind at all thanx chiefs and cheetahs

  • Comment 12, posted at 16.05.11 08:19:19 by Poisy Reply
  • @Poisy (Comment 10) : Its gonna be one hell of a physical battle up front. The Bulls will probably kick a lot more than they have the past weekend so we will have to make sure we get up and compete for those high balls. If we can keep them under control for the first 20 minutes of each half we can take this one.

  • Comment 13, posted at 16.05.11 08:22:24 by Viking Reply
  • Screw Superbru! Great weekend of results for the Sharks. Now pull up your socks boys and smash those Blue Cows! 🙂

  • Comment 14, posted at 16.05.11 08:25:05 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @ruggabugga (Comment 11) : It brings the Blues down again. Winning the conference but ending third still means you have to play the semi and final in Australia and or New Zealand. By the Stormers and Crusaders beating the Blues and the Reds beating Crusaders and Bulls beating Stormers, the Sharks can overtake the Stormers, Crusaders and Blues and end second on the log. But it all depends on the Sharks winning their next 5 games.

  • Comment 15, posted at 16.05.11 08:25:11 by waje Reply

  • @Viking (Comment 13) : I’m really worried about charl though,his just looking out of sorts and now he has to go up against du preez

  • Comment 16, posted at 16.05.11 08:25:55 by Poisy Reply
  • @Pokkel (Comment 9) : I called the Cheetahs and Chiefs games. But the blooming Lions surprised me. I finally gave up picking them and they win.

  • Comment 17, posted at 16.05.11 08:27:00 by waje Reply

  • @waje (Comment 17) : tell me about,I got wrapped up in the hype and picked them to win but they always lost and when I picked against them they win

  • Comment 18, posted at 16.05.11 08:30:39 by Poisy Reply
  • @Poisy (Comment 16) : Maybe its time to give Hoffman a go. You willl always have Charls on the bench and they would not know what to expect from Hoffman.

  • Comment 19, posted at 16.05.11 08:34:59 by Viking Reply
  • @Viking (Comment 19) : No. He hasn’t played enough to throw him in against the world’s best number 9. Charl has had a break, hopefully his mind is rested and he is ready to start again. Hoffman, must get more gametime though in the final games to give Charl a chance to last. Charl will burnout if he has to play 70 minutes a game for the last 5-8 games remaining.

  • Comment 20, posted at 16.05.11 08:38:59 by waje Reply

  • @Viking (Comment 19) : I don’t see any other solution either

  • Comment 21, posted at 16.05.11 08:39:49 by Poisy Reply
  • @waje (Comment 20) : I hear what you are saying but its too late for that now. We need to give the guy proper game time so that he can develop into the player that we believed he can be when we bought him.

  • Comment 22, posted at 16.05.11 08:58:01 by Viking Reply
  • @Viking (Comment 22) : Unfortunatley the time for trying out players is over. The Sharks have lost 4 games, they cannot lose anymore if they want a serious shot at winning the trophy. Hoffman will either have to get his chance to shine in Currie Cup, or if the Sharks blow their chances in the up coming games.

    The Sharks need to play the team that has gotten them to this point. John Plumtree knows the weaknesses and strengths and can try and coach them to win with these in mind. A new player throws in too much uncertainty.

  • Comment 23, posted at 16.05.11 09:02:50 by waje Reply

  • @waje (Comment 23) : Unfortnately thats true and Plum will back the players that got him to this point. That means 9. Charl, 10 Lambie, 12 Bosman, 13 Turbo. I doubt he will give Adi a start this week.

  • Comment 24, posted at 16.05.11 09:06:04 by Viking Reply
  • @waje (Comment 8) : hmmmm. I see… So yep, we need to up our game…

  • Comment 25, posted at 16.05.11 09:08:00 by DarkDestroyer Reply

  • @Viking (Comment 24) : I also want to see Adi start, but is Adi better coming in when the opposition is tired? It is a tough call.

  • Comment 26, posted at 16.05.11 09:13:54 by waje Reply

  • @waje (Comment 26) : He has played the role of impact player very well for us this season and when you down a couple of points you would want him to come on and change the game. It is a tough call and my guess is that Plum will keep him on the bench for that exact reason.

  • Comment 27, posted at 16.05.11 09:17:30 by Viking Reply
  • @Viking (Comment 27) : That is my feeling as well. One player that may help the defensive problem between 9-12 is Jacques Botes. He patrols that area well, he doesn’t offer the attack capabilities of Keegan Daniel though. I don’t envy John Plumtree’s position at the moment. He has to rely on the players he has backed so far this season to return the belief shown in them. The problem is these players have hurt the team by having poor moments. I believe the Sharks can do it, but they have no more second chances. Every game is vital to win.

  • Comment 28, posted at 16.05.11 09:28:42 by waje Reply

  • For the Sharks to do it they need the players to offload to players in space. The Sharks need the centers to attack the gainline more, and even look at passing back in to Lambie or a loose forward. But they have become a little predictable with sending the ball one way. The wingers need to look for more work, but also not get themselves isolated with the ball. But most of all the Sharks have to win first phase ball. The Sharks lineouts have been poor and this could ultimately be what loses it for the Sharks if they don’t sort it out. You cannot score without the ball.

  • Comment 29, posted at 16.05.11 09:57:45 by waje Reply

  • On current form, we don`t have any easy matches left.

    Even the Lions in Jhb will be a huge challenge for us especially if they get Murray back in time. And Jafta refs LOL!

    I don`t want to get into the suddenly high flying Bulls or Cheetahs now, it`s only Monday people.

  • Comment 30, posted at 16.05.11 15:54:39 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • its just shows you you can’t win them all no matter what

    but the Bulls Sharks game is going to be one game that we should be wide awake because like we all know they love to make a come back in the 2nd half and this game and the rest is what we need to win

  • Comment 31, posted at 16.05.11 21:06:36 by chaz Reply


Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.