Richard Ferguson

Smart rugby from the Sharks


Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 13 Feb 2012 at 08:30
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I have been very fortunate in that I have been able to be at Kings Park for both the trial match a week or so ago as well as the friendly against Boland last Friday. I am well aware that not a lot can be read into these games, but a few things have stood out.

Firstly, there has been a lot of work put into the players’ handling and passing skills. This was evident at the trials match, where the interplay between the backline players were better than I have seen from the Sharks in recent years, and then again against Boland, the understanding between the players is something you would expect at a game of touch rugby.

Whether pop passes and ‘faster’ rugby is a good thing for the Sharks or not, remains to be seen, but it sure makes the Sharks rugby viewing a pleasure, somewhat like watching a Crusaders backline in full swing. Some might say it is dangerous and could cost the Sharks possession and potentially even points, but hell it is beautiful to watch when those passes do stick. And the way things have been going, albeit only against Boland, they stick more often than not.

Each player would go into contact, try their utmost best to free their hands and somehow get the ball away before going to ground. The ability to stay on their feet was something that must have been discussed with the players and something that was given specific attention.

Something that jumped at me from viewing the game from a little higher in the stands, was how well the defensive lines were running. On defence, the backline would bunch closer together, giving the impression that the attacking team would have an overlap. But the shifting of players and their man marking is something I have not seen before, with the cross defence putting in a lot of work in case the line is broken.

A fantastic example of this was when JP Pietersen and Odwa Ndungane were stuck trying to defend three attacking players. JPP made his tackle, saw that there was a two on one on Odwa, and immediately double backed to make a second tackle. And all of this in a game titled as ‘friendly’.

Something that my mate Barry, who graciously helped me on Friday night by making notes and actually watching the game with my dodgy eyesight letting me down from up in the stands, noticed was the fact that the players would change positions depending on where they were on the park.

For instance, on attack in the first half, Keegan Daniel would be at the back of the scrum and Marcell Coetzee would pack down at flank. On defence, they would swap so that Coetzee can add his weight and great defensive ability from the back of the scrum.

This leads me to think that although it might seem so simple and has probably be done by many other teams over the years, the Sharks are actually thinking about the little things, and are being smarter in their approach to the game. These little things are making me very excited about the Sharks season.


37 Comments

  • Great to hear.

  • Comment 1, posted at 13.02.12 08:49:45 by JarsonX Reply
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  • I’m really starting to look forward to SupeRugby!

  • Comment 2, posted at 13.02.12 09:15:10 by Pokkel Reply
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  • Thanks Rich, this is giving me hope for the season 😀

  • Comment 3, posted at 13.02.12 09:23:49 by StevieS Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 2) : Yeah baby!!! Same here. A month ago I was very apathetic towards this season, but my apathy a quickly taking a back seat with some right sounds and actions from the coaching staff.

  • Comment 4, posted at 13.02.12 09:35:51 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 4) :

    The noises sound right BUT I’ve seen this movie a couple of times before and it didn’t have a happy ending. Let’s hope the 2012 version is a lot better. 🙂

  • Comment 5, posted at 13.02.12 09:41:09 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 5) : Come on Pokkel, this is our year 😆 At least the youngsters are getting their chance and Plum is showing the same innovation as he did when we won the CC in 2010.

  • Comment 6, posted at 13.02.12 09:43:00 by StevieS Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 4) :
    I feel exactly the same. Been a while since a Sharks side showed a willingness to give the ball air and do more than try to run everyone over.

  • Comment 7, posted at 13.02.12 09:45:14 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 5) : that is very well said

  • Comment 8, posted at 13.02.12 09:46:45 by Franshark Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 5) : The next day or so will be the BIG indicator. Who stays and who moves to VC.

  • Comment 9, posted at 13.02.12 09:48:30 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @Big Fish (Comment 7) :

    A big assumption to make since we haven’t seen 1 minute’s worth of rugby yet. 😈

  • Comment 10, posted at 13.02.12 09:48:57 by Pokkel Reply
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  • Two things I love the most is the fact that (based on the match reports) our backline seems to be playing with a bit of verve and vigour, and that there seems to be some real hunger and discipline to our defence. Putting 62 past Boland is pretty decent, but not conceding a single point is pretty damn impressive.

    Also thrilled that both Meyer Bosman and Marius Joubert seems to have undergone some sort of metamorphosis. Admittedly, they haven’t been tested against quality oppoistion yet, but the sounds are certainly encouraging.

    NOTE to Pokkel: While I will probably always have an axe to grind with my mate MJ, I’m capable of seeing the bigger picture, and would actually be very happy if he regains some of his form of old and add value at the Sharks.

  • Comment 11, posted at 13.02.12 09:49:51 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 10) :
    One can but hope, Phillistine!

  • Comment 12, posted at 13.02.12 09:51:33 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 11) :

    Noted! 😀

  • Comment 13, posted at 13.02.12 09:51:48 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @StevieS (Comment 6) : Man I’m glad you put a smiley after saying this is our year. 🙂

    It’s the this is our year thinking that I had for a few seasons that led to me being less enthusiastic in the run up to this season. The enthusiasm is building and I like the feeling.

  • Comment 14, posted at 13.02.12 09:51:51 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @Big Fish (Comment 12) : Allow me to retort: are you sure you want to meet this pessimist? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 15, posted at 13.02.12 09:53:38 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 12) :

    A man cannot live on hope alone, Master! 😆

  • Comment 16, posted at 13.02.12 09:54:03 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 13) : And I didn’t mention MJ in my indicator comment because I knew CS would. 😳 I’m afraid CS let me down and didn’t mention him in the way I would have liked. 😉

  • Comment 17, posted at 13.02.12 09:55:23 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @Culling Song (Comment 15) :

    Look who’s talking!

    BTW are you still in NN on Friday the 24th? If you are we should get together for the Bulls game.

  • Comment 18, posted at 13.02.12 09:55:35 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 16) : A sharksfan can do it for about 5 years. 😀

  • Comment 19, posted at 13.02.12 09:56:28 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @Pokkel (Comment 18) : Jhb 24th, Mosselbay 25th… I can already feel my brain starting the process of shutting down… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 20, posted at 13.02.12 09:57:54 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 15) :
    @Pokkel (Comment 18) :
    😆

    How about 17-20 (Sat to Tues) in the ‘Berg? Meant to finalise everything in the last few days, but got hauled off on another trip from today to Friday.

  • Comment 21, posted at 13.02.12 10:10:42 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 20) : jHB 24th… Rugga in pta 24th… SW…. Join us?

  • Comment 22, posted at 13.02.12 10:13:39 by Franshark Reply
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  • So Richard. What did you think of JPP at 13?

  • Comment 23, posted at 13.02.12 10:49:36 by Ben Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 21) :

    We’ll have a chat. I’ll probably only make 1 or 2 nights.

  • Comment 24, posted at 13.02.12 11:06:59 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 23) :

    I think it is a very good move..

    He seems to like being closer to the ball, his defence is solid, he has been working on his distribution.

    The only thing is to test him against a proper 13, so we will probably have to wait until the Stormers game to see how he fares against de Jongh.

  • Comment 25, posted at 13.02.12 11:31:59 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 25) : Who is the Bulls 13 going to be? (I haven’t got a clue about their team) Would be a nice chance to see JPP in that game as well.

  • Comment 26, posted at 13.02.12 11:38:20 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 26) :

    It will probably be Sadie? Or maybe Jaco Pretorius if he is still around. I am not sure actually.

    Thus why I say the first real test will come against a decent 13, nothing that the Bulls have at the moment 😉

  • Comment 27, posted at 13.02.12 11:40:21 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 26) :

    Probably ‘The Legend’ Johan Sadie! 🙄

  • Comment 28, posted at 13.02.12 11:41:03 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 27) :

    I think Jaco Pretorius retired last year after all his injuries.

  • Comment 29, posted at 13.02.12 11:41:40 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 28) :
    @Richard Ferguson (Comment 27) :

    Sadie? Legend? Not anymore. He left CT, the press’ love affair with him will have ended. He’ll now have to make legend status on his playing ability.

    Oh and there is only one legend. Robbie “I’m no longer a legend in a lunchbox, I AM NOW THE LUNCHBOX” Fleck.

    That WAS a Legendary tackle by Deon Kaiser though. 😆

  • Comment 30, posted at 13.02.12 11:51:01 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 30) :

    You just put a huge smile on my face!!

    Best tackle EVER!!!!!

  • Comment 31, posted at 13.02.12 11:52:56 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 25) : He does look like the 13 type. Hope they give him a shot there in the SR games.

  • Comment 32, posted at 13.02.12 11:56:09 by Ben Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 21) : I could probably swing something like Sat – Mon; will have to see if the boss is charitable enough to extend my already quite lengthy leave plans.

  • Comment 33, posted at 13.02.12 12:07:41 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @Franshark (Comment 22) : Unfortunately I’m going up on the 24th specifically for a 40th birthday, so Loftus won’t happen. Or rather, it will happen at the cost of my marriage. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 34, posted at 13.02.12 12:09:19 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 33) : @Pokkel (Comment 24) :
    Saturday to Monday sounds good!

  • Comment 35, posted at 13.02.12 12:14:54 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 34) : then you’ll be excused 😉

  • Comment 36, posted at 13.02.12 12:16:15 by Franshark Reply
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  • It just doesn’t seem like the opener is getting any closer… I am S15 hungry!

  • Comment 37, posted at 13.02.12 14:10:45 by King Shark Reply
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