Notes on Loftus

Written by Martin van Niekerk (vanmartin)

Posted in :Bulls, Original Content, Reader Submissions, Sharks, Super 14, Super Rugby on 21 Jun 2011 at 12:40
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I was one of the lucky ones who attended the Loftus game along with some of the other Sharksworld faithful and thought I’d put down some thoughts on the experience as a whole.

First things first – a huge thank you to everyone involved in arrangements for the Loftus Rebellion (what an apt name that turned out to be Ice!). This was definitely my most memorable visit to Loftus. The seats were great and the camaraderie even better. It was a huge privilege to cheer on our boys at Loftus surrounded by fellow Sharksworld supporters.  A special mention must go to the most junior member of our contingent who sat in front of me and my wife (never got his name). I’ve never met such a passionate Sharks supporter! Kudos to you young man.

While I’m on the topic of passionate supporters – did those of you watching on tv get a sense of how many Sharks supporters there were at Loftus? I reckon a fifth to a quarter of the crowd may have been donning the Black and White. It certainly seems to back up a previous article I wrote about support for the Sharks in Pretoria.

On to the coach and the team! All these observations are based on what I saw on the day. I haven’t watched the game again so please feel free to debate any of these points in the comments.

The scrums seemed to be a pretty even contest until Wiehahn Herbst made his appearance. I have a suspicion a Springbok call-up is probably only a year or two away if he can continue this sort of form.

We were overall still bested in the line-outs but I don’t think the Bulls got a single rolling maul going against us? There were two or three line-outs right in front of us and you could see the determination on the faces of the forwards. They didn’t contest every Bull’s throw-in but they were definitely prepared for even the slightest chance of a maul being formed. They clearly did some work in that area.

Charl McLeod take a bow. You seemed to find some form again in the game against the Lions but I have to admit I was still worried about your service to the backs for this week’s game. You’re not back to your best yet but you delivered a solid 80 minute outing and even made a few yards here and there when attacking the fringes. Please stay away from those box kicks though!

The backline was inspirational on the day. There were so many interesting variations in there and I could probably write a whole article about that alone.

Well done to Plum who seemed to have taken a leaf from Ludeke’s book during their previous visit to Kingspark where Gerhard van der Heever was so effectively deployed at fullback. I was one of many supporters that lived and breathed the mantra: “You don’t move Lambie away from 10! Ever! Under any circumstances!”. I’ll enjoy my humble pie with the rest of you. Lambie slotting into the backline at will created so many opportunites for the rest of our backs to get involved. Springbok coaches take note! We can’t  afford not to have a player in this mold at 15 during the RWC. Final thoughts on this point – Frans should have moved Gerhard to fullback and brought Akona on to the wing in my opinion. Zane was thoroughly outclassed by his opposite number on the day.

Bosman’s and Oupa’s defence in the midfield! Where was this kind of tackling earlier in the season? They shut down Olivier’s space so quickly every time he touched the ball. There wasn’t even time for an offload (like Wynand could manage one 🙂 ).  A few potential tries went a begging for the Bulls because of the valiant defence from these two. I saw two clear overlaps for the Bulls that never amounted to anything.

Did anyone notice the ‘flying V’ backline formations employed by the Sharks during our scrum put-ins? Bosman, Terblanche and Mvovo lined up on the one side of the scrum and Michalak, Lambie and Pietersen lined up on the other side. You basically have a pivot as first receiver (Michalak & Bosman) and two players that can create anything from nothing (Mvovo & Lambie) on either side of the scrum. That must be a pretty intimidating sight for any opposition and I got the feeling it kept the Bulls guessing the entire evening.

Then there were the little things that a lot of the bloggers on Sharksworld have suggested at one time or another that finally seemed to click into place. Alternating between Lambie and Michalak in the 10 channel. Using Bosman as first receiver off set pieces – it seemed to create a little more space and time out wide. Pietersen running the angle off Bosman. Mvovo looking for work. The forwards properly contesting the rucks, the loosies offloading when bashing it up. Using Beast out wide to prevent the wings from being tackled into touch – brilliant! And the highlight for me – we finally starting prizing possession!

In closing, thank goodness John Plumtree found his playbook! You know… the one he lost on the previous visit to Rustenburg. I don’t know what the management team did or said to turn the team around in one week but congratulations to the coaches and players. This was without a doubt one of the finest games of rugby I’ve watched all season.


  • It was insanely good! My voice is still gone and I banged my knee quite badly on the way back to the parking spots, but it was brilliant.

  • Comment 1, posted at 21.06.11 12:46:18 by PTAShark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Anyone have the game on dvd?

  • Comment 2, posted at 21.06.11 12:51:58 by bergshark Reply

  • Thanks VanMartin! The little boy in front of you’s name is Sybrand and it is Fransharks’ little boy. I think the experience for him is one that he will never forget! He was in absolute awe as the rest of us! 😀

  • Comment 3, posted at 21.06.11 12:52:04 by Ice Reply
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  • @bergshark (Comment 2) : Nope – sorry…

  • Comment 4, posted at 21.06.11 12:52:37 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice:you know of anyone who has the game on dvd?

  • Comment 5, posted at 21.06.11 12:53:05 by bergshark Reply

  • Nice article!

    I also enjoyed how well we exploited having 3 playmakers on the field (Fred, Pat and Bosman). They opened up so much space for the strike runners.

  • Comment 6, posted at 21.06.11 12:53:41 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @bergshark (Comment 2) : I could probably get it onto DVD. Where do you live bergshark? Email me: vanmartin atsquicklythingey gmail dot com.

  • Comment 7, posted at 21.06.11 12:54:15 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @bergshark (Comment 5) : Unfortunately not BS…dont tell me you missed it?? If you did – you missed both the Sharks’s finest rugby of the season! This one and the second half against the Saders!

  • Comment 8, posted at 21.06.11 12:54:27 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 3) : I think my wife spent more time watching him than she did the game. She adores kids and will probably very soon be insisting on a little Sharks supporter of her own. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 9, posted at 21.06.11 12:56:20 by vanmartin Reply
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  • It looked to me like Meisiekind thought he was gonna coast through Meyer and Stef’s channel every time he touched the ball. He just seemed to refuse to pass.

  • Comment 10, posted at 21.06.11 12:56:52 by Ben Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 9) : I’ll bring my little one around…think she’ll have a quick change of heart! 😆

    Well good luck – we can always do with more support! 😉

  • Comment 11, posted at 21.06.11 13:03:02 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 11) : She’s a primary school temp teacher and aftercare supervisor. You’ll need more than one to dissuade her. You may end up with a brand new babysitter though. 😉

  • Comment 12, posted at 21.06.11 13:04:34 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 3) : @vanmartin (Comment 9) : thanks guys, I will be sure to show him tonight the commentry about him, believe me he still not stop speaking of the day 🙂

  • Comment 13, posted at 21.06.11 13:06:43 by franshark Reply
  • @vanmartin (Comment 12) : I have your number!! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 14, posted at 21.06.11 13:07:50 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • I’m so envious of you guys but when I even mentioned it my husband snorted “we are not going all that way for a rugby match” 😥 but I loved it on tv if only I could have drowned Stransky’s voice 👿 it was good to hear him say “tonight the Sharks are truly sublime”. Must have taken his turncoat little self a lot to acknowlege that! Ice tried to see u amongst the black and white hordes but couldn’t see you.

  • Comment 15, posted at 21.06.11 13:07:53 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • @Ice (Comment 11) : When is the article coming that you promised us? The one about this event?

  • Comment 16, posted at 21.06.11 13:08:43 by Ben Reply
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  • @Vanmartin:thanks ,will email now 🙂

  • Comment 17, posted at 21.06.11 13:08:58 by bergshark Reply

  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 15) : I am sure you must have HEARD me though!! :mrgreen: I still have no voice! i think my husband is loving it! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 18, posted at 21.06.11 13:09:37 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 16) : I forgot the pics on my laptop at home… 😳

  • Comment 19, posted at 21.06.11 13:10:17 by Ice Reply
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  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 15) : Stransky as a commentator is shocking i wonder why do we even let him come to loftus….even uncle hugh bladen is getting toooo old he can not even get the names of the players right

  • Comment 20, posted at 21.06.11 13:11:11 by Muzi Reply

  • @Ice (Comment 18) : I was sitting right behind you and I couldn’t even hear you! 😉

  • Comment 21, posted at 21.06.11 13:11:41 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 19) : 🙄 🙂

  • Comment 22, posted at 21.06.11 13:13:02 by Ben Reply
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  • @0vanmartin: is that correct?

  • Comment 23, posted at 21.06.11 13:14:38 by bergshark Reply

  • @Ben (Comment 21) : its because of all the noise comming from u 🙂

  • Comment 24, posted at 21.06.11 13:15:43 by franshark Reply
  • @franshark (Comment 24) : That could be true! 🙂

  • Comment 25, posted at 21.06.11 13:19:56 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @franshark (Comment 13) : And he had the chirp of the day!

    We asked my Deon a BB to take a picture and he was going on like: “kyk vir my voëltjie, kyk vir my voëltjie” (check the birdie..)

    So little Sybrand asked : “Het Oom ooit ‘n voëltjie?” – Okay that was me gone! I have a picture that was taken straight after his question and everyone was canning themselves in the pic! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 26, posted at 21.06.11 13:19:57 by Ice Reply
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  • @ Ice in between my own shouting I may have heard you :). Which reminds me need to go and apologise to neighbours I’m sure they think I was being abused 😉

  • Comment 27, posted at 21.06.11 13:21:13 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • @Ice (Comment 26) : LOL that was funny!!!! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 28, posted at 21.06.11 13:21:27 by Ben Reply
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  • @bergshark (Comment 23) : Got your mail and I’ve replied!

  • Comment 29, posted at 21.06.11 13:27:34 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @bergshark (Comment 5) : u can download the 2 halves at if u cant find it elsewhere..

  • Comment 30, posted at 21.06.11 13:29:14 by RuckingFun Reply

  • @PTAShark (Comment 1) : How did you manage THAT?? 😆

  • Comment 31, posted at 21.06.11 13:58:02 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Muzi (Comment 20) : We are in dire need of some good commentators in this country. I think in hell they play Stransky’s nasal twang over the intercom. 😉

  • Comment 32, posted at 21.06.11 14:25:45 by CapeShark Reply
    The Great Couch Shark
  • @CapeShark (Comment 32) : At least he doesn’t refer to our team as the ‘Sarks’ :mrgreen:. There is nothing that irritates me more! There’s an ‘h’ in there for a reason!

  • Comment 33, posted at 21.06.11 14:35:33 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 33) : I love the “Sarks” !! 😆

  • Comment 34, posted at 21.06.11 14:44:43 by Ice Reply
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  • I thought Deysel deserves huge praise, he was a constant threat at the breakdown and as such committed defence to clean him out , bulls couldnt get fast ball on the front foot (what they thrive on) . His running game was average ,defence superb. Also I think the combination of deysel and daniels works well together ,deysel being betterthan alberts @bd; Giving daniels room to devistate defence, the combo was a huge factor in my op 🙂

  • Comment 35, posted at 21.06.11 14:51:39 by Talent Reply
  • Was also at the game. Went with Sharks Supporters bus from Durban. It was awesome the amount of Sharks supporters in the stadium – felt like we were at kings park. Even got to meet the Sharks players afterwards – what a nice bunch of guys they all are. Would go back again tomorrow. The bulls supporters disappeared very quickly after the game and it was awesome when the sharks did a lap of honour.

  • Comment 36, posted at 21.06.11 16:06:36 by Ardent Shark Reply

    Ardent Shark
  • Lots of Sharks supporters indeed. Great (although stressful 80) outing 😛

  • Comment 37, posted at 21.06.11 16:21:38 by rekinek Reply
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  • I love the experience even though I couldn’t see the Sharksworld groupies :mrgreen: From where I was sitting (or standing a lot of times) it sounded like equal amounts of Bulls and Sharks supporters.

  • Comment 38, posted at 21.06.11 16:51:52 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
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  • It was a truly awesome evening. War1 and I were looking for you guys everywhere but couldn’t see you. We almost got tossed out of the press box for screaming so loudly as Lwazi scored! And the four Sharks supporters in the media centre – War1, myself, and my friends Megan and Sally from the Sharks media/marketing department – got the hairy eyeball from aging Bulls-supporting hacks after the final whistle! But we did not care. I attended a special team dinner with the boys, crew and members of the various Supporters’ Clubs after the match, and then went back to the team hotel for some serious celebrating. Best fun I’ve had sober in years (it’s hell being the designated driver!) :mrgreen:

  • Comment 39, posted at 21.06.11 23:11:51 by SharonvanWyk Reply
  • @SharonvanWyk (Comment 39) : Good memories and I must say Brenden is an absolute gentleman though, had a quick chat with him. Btw did you get my text re Keegan and Pat?

  • Comment 40, posted at 21.06.11 23:26:47 by war1 Reply
  • Nice notes Van. Just one thing though. IMO i think the box kicks from Charl (not finding touch) was definitely part of the gameplan to keep the line-out away from the bulls.

  • Comment 41, posted at 22.06.11 07:53:38 by SharksRTB Reply

  • @SharksRTB (Comment 41) : Fair point, I hadn’t considered that

  • Comment 42, posted at 22.06.11 10:26:10 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @SharksRTB (Comment 41) : I hear u but he kept on kicking the ball on van heerden which kept on running back at us, so in that regards we just cave them the possession

  • Comment 43, posted at 22.06.11 12:05:11 by franshark Reply

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