Richard Ferguson

Key weeks ahead for Sharks

Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 29 Feb 2012 at 11:38
Tagged with : ,

The Sharks take on the Stormers in Cape Town this Saturday evening, coming off a loss to the Bulls in the opening round of the Super Rugby competition, and needing to get back to winning ways before they are too far behind in terms of log points. But happens if they lose this weekend?

The sad reality is that the Sharks have received a rather cruel two opening rounds of Super Rugby, taking on the Bulls and then a week later the Stormers, both strong opposition, both away games. The possibility is there that the Sharks could go 0 from 2 and see themselves with very few points, only bonus points, come their first home game against the Lions in Round three.

The reaction following the opening game against the Bulls has me worried that fans will give up hope after a second loss, and this is completely unnecessary. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Sharks needed a wake up call and a good run against the Bulls, and will give their best against the Stormers this weekend, and have a good chance of winning that.

The positive thing is that the Sharks are then at home for two weeks, and even though neither of the home games will be easy as such, at least they are home and could translate into at least 8 points from the Lions and then the Reds in the subsequent weekend. Again, neither of these games are easy, and I would be particularly concerned if we should lose to the Lions in round three.

The Sharks will have to build some momentum before getting on the plane and making their way to Australia, as they hit the shores and face a strong Waratahs outfit upfront. This game could make or break the tour for the boys, and the games against the Lions and Reds will determine the mindset in which our players take to the field.

The last thing we need is for the Sharks to start seeing every game as a must win situation. In my opinion, every single game is a must win anyway, but to put yourself under such immense pressure by trying to play ‘catch-up’ rugby as such, will only cause problems and further losses.

At the end of the day, the Sharks have to put up a good show against the Stormers, an improvement on the game they played against the Bulls. A win would be great, but all we really want is to see the team working on their shortfalls and improve. The minimum should see the Sharks pick up a bonus point, maybe two.

The game against the Lions at home is quite simply a game that will have to be won. Every single game at home this season has to be won, the Shark Tank needs to become a fortress again, and teams should fear coming to Durban in the same way they fear facing the Crusaders at home.

In my opinion, the Sharks need to aim to have at least 10 points before going on the tour, and should aim for at least 10 points on the tour. Once back in South Africa, the team has a run of three home games that could quite easily be 12 points, and with that the boys will have good momentum and will be on the up in terms of log position. The latter half of the competition will see the Sharks face only local opposition, and it is here that the Sharks need to be relentless, and pick up points in every single game.

In conclusion, the Sharks can still finish anywhere on the log, be it number one or number fifteen, that all depends on how they approach the next few weeks and how quickly the team gels as a unit.


  • the 1st easy (ish) game we will have will be against the hurricanes and that is only in week 3 of the tour. Jake White’s Brumbies will be very difficult to get past by the time we get to them in week 2 of the tour.

    These guys need to get their discipline and mindset’s sorted.

  • Comment 1, posted at 29.02.12 11:45:46 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 1) :

    I would say our easiest patch is the three home games after the tour, against the Chiefs, Highlanders and Force..

    But again, the Chiefs and Highlanders both can surprise us. There are no more real easy games in this competition.

  • Comment 2, posted at 29.02.12 11:47:26 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • My opinion is that the Sharks need to target EVERY game as winnable and not go out there with the attitude “we can afford to lose this one”! if we ever aim to be on the same level as the Crusaders and yes (dare I say it?) even the Bulls, this is the only approach to have..

  • Comment 3, posted at 29.02.12 11:55:32 by Greg Reply

  • this is loser talk man…all games are must-wins!

    if the team is not scared of losing then they’re comfortable with it

  • Comment 4, posted at 29.02.12 11:58:17 by Megatron Reply

  • the sharks to have a shot of winning this SR thing must aim for the top spot on the log at the end and having 20 points after round 8 will not get us there…… not close

  • Comment 5, posted at 29.02.12 12:12:18 by Franshark Reply
  • loosing against the stormers is not an option…….

  • Comment 6, posted at 29.02.12 12:13:52 by Franshark Reply
  • @Megatron (Comment 4) : I kind of agree with you, but how do you get there from here?

  • Comment 7, posted at 29.02.12 12:14:35 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : the coach cultivates it, the captain demands it on the field and the rest of the “leadership core” implement it in the different areas of the field. ewen mckenzie took the “rubble reds” to the summit, not by accepting losing first games but demanding excellence and fostering a belief…

    look how the Reds snuck in @ the death against the Tahs, they didn’t stop believing they could still win and accepted that they had no momentum in the collisions and that genia was pressurised.

    no excuse is good enough.

  • Comment 8, posted at 29.02.12 12:32:05 by Megatron Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : I know a DAMN good mind coach that is travelling all over the world working with different teams who just happens to hail from Howick and currently lives in Durban who would probably jump at the chance to work with the Sharks again.

  • Comment 9, posted at 29.02.12 12:53:14 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 9) : ah yes… me too!

  • Comment 10, posted at 29.02.12 13:07:50 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Megatron (Comment 8) : I agree. I will accept nothing but a straight run of victories. I expect 15 wins from here on out.

  • Comment 11, posted at 29.02.12 13:08:15 by King Shark Reply
    King Shark
  • @Megatron (Comment 4) : agree 100% with you noone should feel they can afford to lose ANY game!

  • Comment 12, posted at 29.02.12 13:26:30 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • We’re not freaking out about the loss Rich, it’s the manner in which we lost. I never like to see the Sharks lose but there’s a difference between playing well and narrowly losing and playing stupidly and losing. The Sharks were in the latter category on Friday.

    The last 15 minutes was encouraging!

  • Comment 13, posted at 29.02.12 13:35:48 by ChrisS Reply
  • “A win would be great, but all we really want is to see the team working on their shortfalls and improve.” – Actually, I really, really want a win!

  • Comment 14, posted at 29.02.12 14:37:03 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Letgo (Comment 14) : Agreed!! I want a win above all else but I want to win because we played amazing rugby, not because we got lucky off of opposition mistakes. The kick-chase Bok rugby of 2009 was bad for us as that became the gameplan for most SA teams and it doesn’t always work…as the All Blacks and Wallabies showed us in 2010…and 2011 🙄

  • Comment 15, posted at 29.02.12 14:45:53 by ChrisS Reply
  • @Megatron (Comment 8) :
    Thanks fking Anthony Robbins.

    Pearls of wisdom never before thought of.
    Of course the Sharks leadership core are fostering this winning mentality in their players. For all games. As is every other team in this thing.

    The reality is that the Sharks play away for the first few games of the campaigns and this stacks the odds slightly against them.

    The Crusaders have won this thing how many times now? And they lost in the final last year in Brissie. Why? You think that they went in to the game thinking ‘oh well as long as we play well thatll be enough. We are playing away from home after all.’

    Dont be daft.

    There is a difference between having the GOAL of winning every single game always and the REALITY of being beaten by a slightly better side on the day away from home.

  • Comment 16, posted at 29.02.12 15:04:24 by John Galt Reply

    John Galt
  • I will never be okay with losing, I’ve moved on from the first loss, but from here I expect the Sharks to win each match and preferably comfortably.

  • Comment 17, posted at 29.02.12 15:34:10 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @ChrisS (Comment 15) : I want to win, and want to win with the feeling that the Sharks played in a way that will make it difficult for any other team to beat us.

    I expect a lot from the sharks.

    My faith in the Sharks are big, I don’t want them to just win or just play good rugby. I win them to win playing awesome rugby. And I believe they can do it to.

  • Comment 18, posted at 29.02.12 15:36:35 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 2) : please, the only easy game is against the Force. We need to be realistic here guys. This is a tough competition and without our warriors, results might not our way, guys like Bissie can’t carry the pack. We need to play a high tempo game, it’s our only hope.

  • Comment 19, posted at 29.02.12 16:22:21 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • @John Galt (Comment 16) : blah blah blah, the crusaders who didn’t have not one home game the whole season who played the Sharks in Nelson, flew to Cape Town to beat the Stormers and then flew to Brisbane to play a well rested Reds team in the final, are you comparing your inept team to those CRUSADERS? bwhahahahahaahahahaha

    i’m not saying other factors apart from game day situations shouldn’t be factored in, but the Sharks have NO external factors to blame for losing against the Bulls, it’s not like they were playing a settled side, fark me, the bulls were even trying out their new ball-in-hand high tempo approach but still the sharks couldn’t capitalise on the inefficacy of that unfamiliar game plan.

    yet when the bulls reverted to ‘skop n jag” they found the sharks wanting and bang morne had slotted 18 pts…how come they only played well in the last 10 min when the bulls players were knackered and swilling water every stop in play?

    it was an inept performance by your team, so instead of making excuses just deal with that reality without coming across as obtuse 😆

  • Comment 20, posted at 29.02.12 16:26:32 by Megatron Reply

  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 19) : At the moment Bissie isn’t the option as a ball-carrier. He takes the ball standing still at flyhalf and hopes that 2 or 3 teammates can carry him over or at least to the gainline 😯

  • Comment 21, posted at 29.02.12 16:29:14 by ChrisS Reply
  • @Megatron (Comment 20) : We were kak! No other word for it!! Didn’t have a plan B and lacked aggression at the breakdown. Lineouts were also horrible!!

    Scrum and last 15 minutes saved our dignity.

  • Comment 22, posted at 29.02.12 16:30:47 by ChrisS Reply
  • @Megatron (Comment 20) :
    This is a simplistic approach. Have you ever managed or coached someone or a team? The level of challenge you present them with, and the severity of the goals you set, is dependent on their confidence, competence and circumstance.

    Simply put, the Sharks are not the Crusaders, and its not reasonable to set the same goals – yet.

    We need to set goals that are reasonable and attainable for our team. And if that means a 70% winning percentage instead of 100%, then that’s ok, as long as their is an over-arching plan and progress next season.

    Clearly the Sharks lagged progression or long-term plans over the last few years, but that doesn’t mean that we should not start this year.

    This is the real world, not Remember the Titans, so let’s not get carried away with what this Sharks team can do.

  • Comment 23, posted at 29.02.12 16:37:34 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 23) : have you read anywhere on this thread where i compared the sharks to the crusaders?

    i’ve conceded that maybe all these excuses – from robdylan’s to rich ferguson’s – are actually true and that for me as an outsider to expect the sharks (who have been tipped by all and sundry to top the saffa conference) do not believe they’re a championship winning team and neither do their fans. 😥

    yes i have coached a varsity basketball team.

  • Comment 24, posted at 29.02.12 17:04:47 by Megatron Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 24) :

    I’m not making excuses.

    I’m merely pointing out where things could go wrong for the Sharks. I don’t expect the team to go out and win every single game, that is unrealistic, and anybody who believes that is a sucker that will be disappointed more often than not.

    The Sharks will finish top of the SA log, just by the way..

  • Comment 25, posted at 29.02.12 17:27:18 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 25) : nice 🙂

  • Comment 26, posted at 29.02.12 20:39:01 by Megatron Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 24) :
    I used the Crusaders analogy because they were mentioned above, and also because for me they are the kind of team who have developed a culture of expecting to win every single game.

    It is possible to have that attitude, I think the only thing that you and I differ on is whether the Sharks are at a stage in their development where they can realistically set that expectation for themselves and their fans (although based on post 24 maybe you are just holding the Sharks to the standards their fans claim them to be capable of).

    Having coached a team yourself, I’m sure you set different personal goals and standards for your under-achievers, your over-achievers and your average joes. Similar situation here – the Sharks are not yet ready for the lofty goal of winning all their games.

  • Comment 27, posted at 29.02.12 21:39:17 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 27) : the “crusaders analogy” is a convinient cop-out hence i used one of the “rubble reds” – a team who have recently been rubbish & have SURPASSED the sharks in recent times from a base of NOTHING.

    how long should it take Plum to develop what mckenzie built in just 2 years? eversince plum took over the sharks have finished 6th, 9th & 6th is this the year they go all the way?

  • Comment 28, posted at 29.02.12 22:05:57 by Megatron Reply

  • I want a pony.

  • Comment 29, posted at 29.02.12 22:11:12 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 29) : Interresting comment. Well thought out, to the point, and it will definately make people sit back and think for a moment!

  • Comment 30, posted at 29.02.12 22:16:04 by Die Kriek Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 28) : You can attribute most of that success to a bit of luck and timing. Two player stand out in that reds team as world beaters ,Cooper and Genia ,two players who have seen that team rise as they have developed from no names into stars.

    Regarding the rest of your argument I agree on most parts ,to be a champion side you have to win anywhere and anytime vs. anyone.

  • Comment 31, posted at 29.02.12 22:31:31 by Talent Reply
  • @Megatron (Comment 28) :
    You’re not gonna get argument from me that Plumtree has lost the plot in the last few seasons; I’ve been saying that for a while.

    The Sharks should have built a legacy in 2007, but since then we have regressed. What’s the next step though?

    In my opinion, changing our 1-dimensional game-plan, and developing depth, are 2 key drivers. But they bring with the the probability of losing a few games in the process – and I’m willing to accept that if its part of the greater goal.

    What I DON’T accept is losing like we did last year, when we gained nothing from playing an out-dated game plan and tired old players who were never gonna get better.

  • Comment 32, posted at 29.02.12 22:43:45 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @vanmartin (Comment 29) : I’m loving’ it!

  • Comment 33, posted at 01.03.12 05:45:36 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • When is Jean due to come back from injury?

  • Comment 34, posted at 01.03.12 07:49:07 by SharksRTB Reply


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