Letgo

Confidence… Justified


Written by Maria Delport (Letgo)

Posted in :Cheetahs, Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 21 Oct 2011 at 11:53
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Could we move on from the – where who should play and where who will “maybe” play and look at what we have and will be up against in Saturday’s semi-final. It seems after the inhalation of the log topping Lions in the final pool game, most Sharks supporters have their confidence back, but is this really justified after one good performance in a season. Admittedly not jus ta good  performance, but rather an excellent performance, but still just one of them, out of a string of struggling performances. So let’s just have a close look at the team that will take on the Cheetahs for a shot at Currie Cup glory. 

At the back we have Patrick Lambie, one of the returning Boks in the team and although some will argue that he is a better Flyhalf, no one can argue that he did a great job in his first world cup, and his calmness and decision making at Fullback has been impressive. But what makes Lambie special in this position, is his ability to join the line at the right moments, creating space for the players around him. And he provides a solid cover defence at the back, he may be small, but as Samoa and South African fans may remember, even when one on one with a flying Samoan, Lambie can stand his man. Daniller has a huge boot and is a strong runner, but Lambie will have a bigger influence on the match.

On the wings we have another two returning Boks for the Sharks in JP Peterson and Odwa Ndugane. The two Cheetahs wings are very competent players, but just don’t stack up to the class JP and Odwa will bring to the Sharks team, especially since JP has been finding some of his best form lately and with Lambie there to spot the gaps and put them into space, I think this back three may be the only place in the backline where the Sharks will have the upper hand.

Die heart Andries Strauss will be playing for the opposition this year. He has never been the most exciting inside centre, but he does the grunt work well and plays with passion. He’s also playing with two young, exciting players on either side of him and the hard work he puts in will help them even more to look good. Luckily the one thing our centre pairing can do is defend. Marius Joubert has not brought much to this team, except for an even higher average age, but I did see him put in a few good hits this season and he and Sfefan has protected that midfield channel pretty well. Stefan will be important in his leadership role. The Cheetahs will definitely have more on attack, but the Sharks will have the midfield to stand up to that attack.

Johan Goosen has been a big taking point since he put over his first 60m penalty kick with ease, putting the biggest grins on the faces of the Cheetah’s coaching box. I have talked him down a lot since, but must admit that I am impressed with this kid and he will have to be watched closely by the Sharks. We could however eliminate one of his biggest weapons, by focusing on our discipline; however he also has a pretty good step on him and would not hesitate to sink a drop goal in the dying minutes. Fred will have to have one of his best games to outperform Goosen.

At Scrumhalf we have two still inexperienced players. Conrad Hoffman showed a lot of potential when he was playing bits and pieces for WP, but has not lived up to that potential since arriving with the Sharks and getting an extended run during the Currie Cup. Piet van Zyl on the other hand made his Currie Cup debut for the Cheetahs in this year’s Currie Cup and has impressed enough to keep regular scrumhalf Tewis de Bruin benched for the last few weeks. Hoffman will have a better platform to work from than he has all season and will probably only be expected to give as much ball as he could to his big forwards to get over the advantage line, so even though van Zyl will be more exciting, as long as Hoffman is clinical he will be the more important player.

In the loose forwards we have one returning Bok. Keegan has struggled to find his game this season and Kankowski only delivered the type of game we have been used to in his first game back from injury, but in Willem Alberts the Sharks has a man that will make a huge contribution. Plumtree has been longing after front foot ball for weeks now and Alberts will produce that every time, not just on attack, but even when defending he tends to push the opposition back. This loose trio has always formed a good combination and seems to bring out the best in each other. Not that Ashley Johnson will stand back, but I just don’t know enough about Boom Prinsloo and Pieter Labuschagne, to know how this loose trio will stack up against the Sharks.

Ross Skeate has been great for the Sharks since joining them from Europe and he needed to be, as the Sharks locks left, got injured, lost form and lost favour. Eventually Skeate was the only lock standing and he’s been doing a great job for the Sharks. Not just in the line-outs, but also in carrying the ball and getting involved in the rucks. Deysel or Bresler will be joining him. Deysel will bring even more power and Bresler will not disappoint as he has been solid all season, but again I can’t really compare them with their opposition as the Cheetahs locks have never really stood out for me.  

The Cheetahs has a good front row. A solid scrum. Adriaan Struass has always lead well from the front. But what the Cheetahs have doesn’t really matter, because in Bismark, Jannie and Beast, the Sharks have one of the best front rows in the world. Bismark has been playing like a man possessed lately (in a good way) and will have a massive impact on the match. He’s a strong ball carrier and has become a prominent ball stealer. A solid front row will have to work very hard to keep their team on the front foot against Bismark, Jannie and Beast.

And the Sharks bench also has a couple of players that will make a good impact in the second half.

Who wouldn’t be confident with a team like that? As long as the team stays focussed, respects the opposition (unlike I’m doing here) and play like we know they can. We have to take this game.


18 Comments

  • We’re all expecting the Sharks to beat up the Cheetahs in the tight 5 contest and end their challenge right there. If this doesn’t happen, it could be game on tomorrow.

    However I still think that if the right Michalak pitches up, we should record a comfortable win.

  • Comment 1, posted at 21.10.11 12:24:32 by beet Reply
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  • The Sharks focus will be key, but as has become a bit of a habit lately…the ref will also be key! Lets hope we get a large and vocal crowd on Sat!

  • Comment 2, posted at 21.10.11 12:24:32 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonK
     
  • I love the way Lambie spins out of attempted tackles. He seems to have the timing down to a fine art.

  • Comment 3, posted at 21.10.11 12:25:35 by beet Reply
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  • anyone know how the ticket sales are going we need a big crowd come saterday, pretty sad that not a lot of marketing have been done for this game but the marketing department probably have blown their budget with the new sharky and the tv ad

  • Comment 4, posted at 21.10.11 12:49:25 by BR Reply
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  • Who wouldn’t be confident with a team like that? As long as the team stays focussed, respects the opposition (unlike I’m doing here) and play like we know they can. We have to take this game.

    😆 Awsome Letgo!

  • Comment 5, posted at 21.10.11 13:12:50 by Ice Ice Bokkie Reply
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  • @Ice Ice Bokkie (Comment 5) : that midfield though 🙄

  • Comment 6, posted at 21.10.11 13:49:02 by Poisy Reply
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  • @Poisy (Comment 6) : stop being water on my fire!! We can DO this! 😉

  • Comment 7, posted at 21.10.11 14:04:54 by Ice Ice Bokkie Reply
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  • @Ice Ice Bokkie (Comment 7) : I believe you but it still has to be pointed out as really our weak area

  • Comment 8, posted at 21.10.11 14:19:39 by Poisy Reply
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  • @Poisy (Comment 8) : I think we’re overstating it.

    Come on – we won the Currie Cup with Strauss and Stefan last year!

  • Comment 9, posted at 21.10.11 14:21:46 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 9) : point taken I suppose

  • Comment 10, posted at 21.10.11 14:23:59 by Poisy Reply
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  • We have the personnel to overcome the Cheetahs as well as home ground advantage. Heck, we even have JLP safely sitting in the stands :mrgreen:

  • Comment 11, posted at 21.10.11 14:58:01 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 11) : 😆

  • Comment 12, posted at 21.10.11 15:06:50 by Ice Ice Bokkie Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 9) : And we’re playing AGAINST Strauss this year. 🙂

  • Comment 13, posted at 21.10.11 15:13:34 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
     
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 13) : don’t get me wrong… I think Dries is an awesome oke… but let’s not forget that we tried hard for 5 years to turn him into a great attacking force at inside centre and it somehow just never happened.

  • Comment 14, posted at 21.10.11 15:16:54 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 14) : You won the Currie Cup last year BECAUSE of Strauss. More sterling defense from a centre, I haven’t seen since Muller played for you guys. He was awesome in that final.
    But, in saying that, he has yet to repeat that performance. Maybe this weekend…? 👿

  • Comment 15, posted at 21.10.11 15:49:09 by Blue Centurion Reply

    Blue Centurion
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 14) : Agreed, it’s HIS defence that won us the 2010 CC trophy though, that defence is what we are up against this weekend.

    BUT even WITH that defence we will take this by more than 10 points.

  • Comment 16, posted at 21.10.11 15:50:08 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @Blue Centurion (Comment 15) : The win was also billed as “never before has a group of no-names come together so well as a TEAM”

    it WAS a huge TEAM effort last year led by Strauss on defence.

  • Comment 17, posted at 21.10.11 15:52:03 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
     
  • @Blue Centurion (Comment 15) : Dries was huge yes, but he wasn’t the sole reason we won… that’s oversimplifying to a ridiculous degree.

  • Comment 18, posted at 21.10.11 15:58:00 by robdylan Reply
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