An exceptional effort

Written by Morné Nortier (Morné)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 20 Jun 2011 at 11:24
Tagged with : , , , ,

As the euphoria following the weekend’s local derbies subsides, let’s take a moment to acknowledge a truly special effort by a very special team.

I was sitting on a farm somewhere on the West Coast on Saturday morning trying my best to follow rugby scores on my cell-phone, when my better half asked me who was playing that morning. Now having had to put up with me for the last 5 to 6 years being involved with a couple of rugby blogs, her knowledge of the game and current matters involving rugby are actually very good, so when I said that the Crusaders are currently playing the Hurricanes in Wellington (in which was supposed to be a home fixture for the men from Cantebury), I was struck by the significance of the achievements of this team in the Super Rugby tournament of 2011.

We are all quite aware of the horrible events that the people from Christchurch went through in the last 4 to 5 months when the city was struck by a massive earthquake, followed by some equally devastating aftershocks the last of which occurred as early as last week.

For a population of 340 000-odd thousand citizens, the effects of this disaster would have been felt by every single individual.

The city not only lost their right to host matches in the Rugby World Cup to be hosted in New Zealand later this year, the Crusaders also lost their home for the duration of the Super Rugby competition.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, and apart from having to deal with the personal effects this would have had on the team and its players, arrangements now also had to be made for the Crusaders to play what would have been home-fixtures on other grounds, one of those as far as London, England, where they played the Sharks in what will go down as a magnificent occasion, and Super Rugby first.

Imagine for just one second if you will, the enormity of all of this.

In the last two weeks, we saw 50 000 + stadiums in South Africa sold out for two massive local derbies of huge importance to each team involved. Only this morning I listened to Stefan Terblanche on radio where he made mention of the importance and how rare it is for any team to travel to Loftus and collect a win. Some rugby pundits even believe home ground advantage can count as much as 10 points for the home team before the game kicks off!

So even ignoring the massive, and terrible effects the earthquake would have had on the Crusaders rugby team on a personal level, from a pure rugby perspective and the importance of home fixtures, the effort by the lads from Christchurch to end top of the NZ conference, and third on the combined log is absolutely mind-boggling.

Last week I watched a behind-the-scenes video of the Crusaders on the events on match-day, which includes a 4-hour bus trip to Nelson, and what struck me most was the ease in which these guys approached the whole thing, and how all of this is simply taken in their stride.

Since I started following the game of rugby union as a laaitie there were many amazing things I experienced and witnessed, this, ranks amongst the most amazing ever.

The Sharks will leave South Africa tomorrow night on what will no doubt be a trip from hell where they will have to travel half-way across the world to play in their qualifier against the very same Crusaders side. Where there is no doubt every single South African will be rooting for the boys from Durban come Saturday 09:35 in what will be one of the toughest away fixtures one could hope for, take a moment to consider their opposition who won the right to play at home, but will make that same 4-hour bus-trip to Nelson yet again.

Really special teams, or really special efforts from teams is quite rare in rugby.  We saw 80 minutes of this at Loftus on Saturday by the Sharks, but we have also seen a whole season of this by the Crusaders.


  • Nice read. The Saders have done extremely well this season but having said that they are not as good as previous Sader teams.

  • Comment 1, posted at 20.06.11 11:28:20 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • Wow! Great one Morne!. Humbled.

  • Comment 2, posted at 20.06.11 11:29:58 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • So true!

  • Comment 3, posted at 20.06.11 11:42:52 by Talent Reply
  • Very true!

  • Comment 4, posted at 20.06.11 11:47:23 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • Saders done really well. Thinking about this agreed draw with Canes. They could have been higher on the log.

  • Comment 5, posted at 20.06.11 11:50:12 by rekinek Reply
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  • I was just thinking if the Sharks beat the Saders they will have to travel all the way back to Cape Town to play. Then if they manage to beat the Stormers they will have to go all the way back to Australia. That is a lot of travel.

  • Comment 6, posted at 20.06.11 11:56:06 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • @lostfish (Comment 6) : Simply put: If the Crusaders win they come to Newlands for semi. If the Sharks win the Stormers play the winner of the other game.
    Just saw this on twitter..

  • Comment 7, posted at 20.06.11 12:01:44 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • Well said Morne. I have for some time been a closet ‘saders fan – pure class. There is a handful of games that will live on in my memory and the Twickers affair is one of them. Let’s hope for a spectacle on Saturday.

  • Comment 8, posted at 20.06.11 12:03:35 by King Shark - Kanko at 12! Reply
    King Shark
  • The bulls could not keep up with the sharks…what was impressive is that at altitude the sharks still were running the ball at 100 kilometres per hour :mrgreen: …you could see from the bulls players they were exhausted…i could here dean greyling…kruger..bakkies..danie..victor and the rest of the players huffing and puffing behind the goal posts :mrgreen: bjorn basson was the only player who could keep up with the sharks players…this just showed how lazy van den heever or should i say shadow is on defence he never looks for work but he loves diving over the try line without effort.

  • Comment 9, posted at 20.06.11 12:06:00 by Muzi Reply

  • @lostfish (Comment 6) : @Ice (Comment 7) : The Sharks can only meet the Stormers in the final. If they beat the Crusaders they will play the Reds in the semi.

    Rules state that the Reds play the lowest ranked survivor of the playoffs and the Stormers the highest ranked. Current rankings are 3 Crusaders; 4 Blues; 5 Waratahs; 6 Sharks.

  • Comment 10, posted at 20.06.11 12:06:38 by King Shark - Kanko at 12! Reply
    King Shark
  • Agree Morne, Saders have done exceptionally well considering the circumstances.

    Also remember the forted a game with Canes to help out working in the city of the ruins of Christchurch after the quake. They only picked up 2 points there. My feeling had they played that game they would have won with a bonus point. Saders would have been sitting on 64 points with a guaranteed home semi. Cause they had their full team at the time. Except McCaw which I feel they have hardly missed.

    Stormers would have had a play off this weekend then at Newlands. Instead of a home semi. So thank Saders for that as well…. 😉 Sharks would probably then be heading to Newlands to play their play off game.

  • Comment 11, posted at 20.06.11 12:06:48 by Puma Reply

  • @Ice (Comment 7) : Please please the sahrks have to beat the stormers that is all i want to see happening the sight of seeing schalk burger pick up a super 15 trophy will make me 👿

  • Comment 12, posted at 20.06.11 12:07:28 by Muzi Reply

  • @Puma (Comment 11) : Sorry meant – they forfeited a game with the Canes.

  • Comment 13, posted at 20.06.11 12:09:33 by Puma Reply

  • @Muzi (Comment 12) : Howzit Muzi. We have many teams to beat before we can even think of playing Stormers.

    It could be a Sader Stormer semi this weekend. One game at a time from here. Just keeping my fingers crossed Sharks can do it. Then we have to beat the Reds to get to a final against Stormers. That is if they beat Blues or Tahs, if they don’t play Saders this week.

    Still a long journey for Sharks. Gonna be tough but if we can play like we done on Saturday, stay injury free we have a chance.

    Travel will be huge for us as well.

  • Comment 14, posted at 20.06.11 12:12:30 by Puma Reply

  • @Muzi (Comment 12) : You heard??? They say the Bulls can still make the Super Rugby final!!! 😯 (If they buy tickets… 😆 ) 😉

  • Comment 15, posted at 20.06.11 12:14:44 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Ice (Comment 15) : Also heard it’s quite a hot day in Pretoria today….23-26… 😆

    Sorry!! 😉

  • Comment 16, posted at 20.06.11 12:16:10 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • The sharks can beat the saders who think they have won the whole super 15 comp reading some of todd blackadders comments it looks like the saders will just pitch up and get the job done because they are at HOME blablabla home advantage is a past thing..look at loftus teams used to be scared to even run with the ball now anyone and i mean anyone can beat the bulls…saying this is depressing 😕 😥

  • Comment 17, posted at 20.06.11 12:17:50 by Muzi Reply

  • @Ice (Comment 15) : @Ice (Comment 16) : :mrgreen:

    i say let’s make most of this week – you never know what’s gonna happen…[email protected]Muzi (Comment 12) : Me likes the way you think. You can say they owe you guys 😀

  • Comment 18, posted at 20.06.11 12:19:28 by rekinek Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 15) : Yea go ahead make fun of my bulletjies the poor guys are hurting i mean to get a send off like that is hard to take in…i was depressed for nights but i will not go hiding we will be back 😕 😥

  • Comment 19, posted at 20.06.11 12:19:57 by Muzi Reply

  • @rekinek (Comment 18) : Na they owe us nothing…look its simple we were not good enough this year as a bulls supporter i am shocked that we won;t evem play a semi final 😕 😥

  • Comment 20, posted at 20.06.11 12:23:30 by Muzi Reply

  • @Muzi (Comment 19) : hey Muz – i dish out, because I can take as well…

    Sorry – but these are bound to come out – it’s not a personal attack against the Bulls per se – it would have been any other team. Believe me – in the 12 years counting down to our CC Cup I have endured many a meaner things as this!

    hang in bud!! The CC is around the corner and it will be another ball-game all together. (For now – just let me drench up out victory over your fantastic team – surely as a supporter i deserve to gloat a little bit?)

    And take it as it is meant – all simple humour…not being vindictive at all. 😉

  • Comment 21, posted at 20.06.11 12:25:14 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Ice (Comment 21) : What gets me 👿 is the stormers brigade led my keo and his buddies in that bloggers are sooooooooooooo anti blue bulls….i heard they blame john smit and spies for the boks woes.. 😥

  • Comment 22, posted at 20.06.11 12:30:08 by Muzi Reply

  • @Muzi (Comment 22) : Friends? 😉

  • Comment 23, posted at 20.06.11 12:32:06 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • :mrgreen: @Ice (Comment 23) : lol i get along with my fellow sharkies in this blog and friends in varsity…BUT i will always die a bull :mrgreen: even if i was offered a million rand to be a sharky i will say NIE!!!!! :mrgreen: ek’s a blou bulle…i grew up watching those men in blue lol

  • Comment 24, posted at 20.06.11 12:37:18 by Muzi Reply

  • @Muzi (Comment 24) : 😆

  • Comment 25, posted at 20.06.11 12:43:07 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Ice (Comment 25) : 😉

  • Comment 26, posted at 20.06.11 12:44:11 by Muzi Reply

  • Nice on Morne.

    I salute the Crusaders as a truly superb team and management.

    But I hope we crush them into the soil on Saturday.

  • Comment 27, posted at 20.06.11 13:00:36 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Ice (Comment 7) : @King Shark – Kanko at 12! (Comment 10) : Sorry my bad, I am not thinking straight. No sleep and a tired sick baby will do that to you…

  • Comment 28, posted at 20.06.11 13:25:31 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • @Muzi (Comment 19) : I have to say that you are a refreshing exception to the usual one eyed bulls supporter.

  • Comment 29, posted at 20.06.11 13:36:18 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • It will be quite an achievement if the Crusaders go on to win the S15. I guess it would also serve as a huge inspiration to the people of Christchurch.

  • Comment 30, posted at 20.06.11 15:02:18 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 30) :

    Yes I would have supported them…..just a pity they playing the Sharks this weekend. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 31, posted at 20.06.11 15:17:21 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Comment 31): 🙂

  • Comment 32, posted at 20.06.11 15:21:02 by vanmartin Reply
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