Playing catch-up already?

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 5 Mar 2012 at 07:48
Tagged with : , , , ,

With the Bulls and Stormers both powering ahead on the South African conference log, the Sharks simply cannot afford any further slip-ups now, with a 7-point gap between them and the conference leaders after just two weeks.

Although both defeats suffered in the opening rounds have been narrow, with Saturday’s loss against the Stormers certainly an “encouraging” one, if such a thing truly exists, fans are already starting to look back in dismay to the 2010 season; one which saw the Sharks simply unable to string together any sort of win until the sixth week of the competition. While those five early losses were all close and while the team did indeed come back strongly in the second half of the season, they simply couldn’t recover from that awful start and finished in ninth position, well out of semi-final contention.

I think it’s fair to say that with the depth of talent available within the 2012 squad, a repeat of that season’s performance would be about as unthinkable as it would be inexcusable. Simply put, the Sharks are a far better side than their current log position would indicate, but the next two weeks will be utterly crucial in making that statement anything more than just theoretical.

Away derby wins are the bread and butter of a team hoping to top their conference and in this regard, the Bulls did themselves a truly massive favour in trouncing the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. While the Stormers have just barely scored a pass mark for two scrappy home wins, it’s the men from Pretoria who laid down a huge marker this weekend and should any of the Lions, Stormers or Sharks lose to them at home, it’s going to be a pretty long season of catch-up rugby for the other South African sides.

The Sharks, though, now have a hill in front of them, simply to get off the foot of the table. Should they drop a home game to go along with their two away defeats, that hill will rapidly start to assume mountainous proportions. It’s time to get serious, Sharks, because there’s a distinct whiff of early-season promise evaporating…


  • The Sharks play the Lions in Durban this weekend and I think the Sharks should take this one if the Lions don’t get their act together and play proper team rugby

  • Comment 1, posted at 05.03.12 07:55:01 by Mutley Reply
  • I said this before the season started, the Sharks will not do well with Keegan as captain and the shocking coaches they have. Plumtree can be retained as a defensive and structures coach, but the Sharks need a dynamic coach to ignite the skill that is currently dormant in the backline. I had written this season off as Sharks year, before it started, because it was obvious the “leadership” was going to be the downfall of the team. The team reminds me of that Italian Cruise ship that sunk. The Captain spoilt it for everyone else.

  • Comment 2, posted at 05.03.12 07:57:38 by waje Reply

  • Well said Rob..

    As I said last week, the Sharks need at least ten points before getting on that plane..

  • Comment 3, posted at 05.03.12 07:57:49 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • @Mutley (Comment 1) : I wouldn’t mind the Lions beating the Sharks. The fear of relegation might actually light a fire up Brian van Zyl’s @&$#.

  • Comment 4, posted at 05.03.12 08:01:15 by waje Reply

  • @waje (Comment 4) :
    ๐Ÿ˜ฏ I wouldnโ€™t mind the Lions beating the Sharks. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

    Black and white no matter what :mrgreen:

  • Comment 5, posted at 05.03.12 08:06:31 by chaz Reply

  • And so the backlash starts… Two away games, two bonus points, no tries conceded, visible signs of improvement across all the areas that have proved to be our undoing in previous years; I’m happier than I thought I’d be at the start of the year.

    Not everyone will share my sentiments, but I said at the start of the season I’d be willing to sacrifice results in the short term in exchange for evidence of a process geared at long-term, sustainable success, and I believe that that is what we are seeing right now.

  • Comment 6, posted at 05.03.12 08:06:40 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • @Culling Song (Comment 6) :


  • Comment 7, posted at 05.03.12 08:07:53 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • @chaz (Comment 5) : ignore him. He’s a troll looking for attention.

  • Comment 8, posted at 05.03.12 08:10:43 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Culling Song (Comment 6) : I buy that, for sure… this article is not meant to be about turning our back on the boys, or the process they’ve started, not by any means.

    What it is, though, is a somewhat sobering look at the situation after two weeks and a strong call to action. While progress is good, we need to start winning now too.

  • Comment 9, posted at 05.03.12 08:12:00 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 8) :
    Have to agree with you on that matter, well it looks like we have another troll on our hands ๐Ÿ˜†

  • Comment 10, posted at 05.03.12 08:12:08 by chaz Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 9) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 11, posted at 05.03.12 08:13:18 by chaz Reply

  • @chaz (Comment 10) : if you don’t feed them, they get bored and go back to hiding under their bridge.

  • Comment 12, posted at 05.03.12 08:16:54 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Culling Song (Comment 6) :
    Im with you. Both here, and in the mountains of Mordor!

  • Comment 13, posted at 05.03.12 08:40:10 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @robdylan (Comment 12) : Keegan’s indiscretions costing the Sharks the last two games, is keeping this troll well fed. ๐Ÿ˜† This troll doesn’t even need to look at the lack of offensive coaching for dessert. This troll should be lakka chubby by the overseas tour, where buffet breakfasts will be on the menu. ๐Ÿ˜†

  • Comment 14, posted at 05.03.12 09:00:39 by waje Reply

  • @Culling Song (Comment 6) : Have to agree. Methinks this article is at least a week premature after coming off away games at Loftus and Newlands with 2 bonus points and a points difference (far and against) of 8 points.

  • Comment 15, posted at 05.03.12 09:24:47 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 15) : noting is premature… I’m merely stating facts.

  • Comment 16, posted at 05.03.12 09:32:25 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Definitely some improvement on last week’s performance. No doubt the discipline needs to improve, but with Deysel and Alberts still to enter the fray I am hopeful that our 1st win is not too far away!

  • Comment 17, posted at 05.03.12 09:34:37 by nimalen316 Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 16) : I did say methinks, I honestly think posting a doom and gloom article after the competition has been on for 10 days and your team has flown all over the country to play their games is premature – it could just as well have been written last Monday.

  • Comment 18, posted at 05.03.12 09:37:47 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 18) : but it’s not meant to be doom and gloom

  • Comment 19, posted at 05.03.12 09:40:28 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 18) : it isn’t “doom and gloom”.

    It is reality.

    If we want to win the conference, we have to start winning or else our main rivals will open up too large a gap.

  • Comment 20, posted at 05.03.12 09:51:11 by siorc Reply

    Gold's Member
  • Sho!!
    All this and the round robin phase of the comp only ends mid July.

    To quote somebody: the Currie Cup isn’t won in May

  • Comment 21, posted at 05.03.12 09:59:39 by JustPlainSHARK Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 19) : “…hills becoming mountains with a distinct whiff of early-season promise evaporatingโ€ฆ” sounds a doom and gloomish to me.

  • Comment 22, posted at 05.03.12 10:06:54 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @siorc (Comment 20) : Put it in perspective, 2 rounds of the competition have been played, we have played all our games away – at Loftus and at Newlands – those are not gimme games, never were and I doubt ever will be.

  • Comment 23, posted at 05.03.12 10:11:00 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Culling Song (Comment 6) : Good point CS.

  • Comment 24, posted at 05.03.12 10:12:46 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 22) : you’re quoting me out of context, you wiley old so-and-so :). I said that would be the case IF we were to lose to the Lions

  • Comment 25, posted at 05.03.12 10:17:38 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • We’ll continue to lose as long as our game plan hinges on just about every ball (including turnover ball) getting carried up by a forward, who inevitably runs into a waiting wall of defenders.

    Plum decided about 2 years ago that this was our strategy, come hell or high water, and despite it getting us nowhere he persists with it. There are no variations, nothing to put the defense in two minds, and the outcome has been just as predictable.

    Not only have other teams obviously caught onto this, but we have crocked two of the best carrying loose forwards in the game by expecting them to do this game in and game out. Marcell Coetzee is going to be the next casualty. It’s just plain stupid.

  • Comment 26, posted at 05.03.12 10:19:33 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby
  • @robdylan (Comment 25) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 27, posted at 05.03.12 10:24:21 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @rhineshark (Comment 26) : Don’t be a troll. There is only enough food for one. Actually there is a whole lot of food. ๐Ÿ˜†

    You are actually backing up what I have been saying. The Sharks have a great defensive/structure coach in Plumtree. But they lack a creative point creating coach. Hugh Reece Edwards and Bashford are failing horribly in this department.

  • Comment 28, posted at 05.03.12 10:26:47 by waje Reply

  • fortunately such long competition this year – we have more time than in 2010 ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

  • Comment 29, posted at 05.03.12 11:03:13 by rekinek Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
  • @Mutley (Comment 1) :

    We can’t even get our act together at home even when a win is offered to us on a silver platter !

    Sharks have nothing to fear come Sat ..we have not learnt our lessons from last year and clearly we are continuing like a bunch of amatuers !!

  • Comment 30, posted at 05.03.12 11:08:16 by csb Reply

  • @waje (Comment 28) : But apparently no food for thought :mrgreen:

  • Comment 31, posted at 05.03.12 11:19:03 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby
  • Pressure creates Diamonds…chessy i know ๐Ÿ˜† But it is exactly what we need to see from The Sharks now, i know this squad has had setbacks with injuries, but i still felt we had chances to win both the first 2 games, but didn’t…why?

    Leadership/discipline (Leaders must set the example) is the biggest issue for me, and also regarding a couple selections i think were conservative from Plum. What did Ludik offer Sharks at 14 against Stormers? Nothing other than a solid defensive player on the wing! I felt Jordaan could’ve have been used, and his ability to beat players is exactly what could’ve helped us finish some opportunities we had on saturday.

    Also Mcloed has had around 40 minutes and hasn’t made a silly error…it looks like the Charl that was so great for us a season or so ago is back…him and Lambie have great cohesion. Also when we attack on the opposition line i don’t understand why Fred insists we play bash it up round the fringes rugby, it is just calling knock on and turnover, especially with some of our heavier player like Alberts out injured…it would better to give strong backs running at pace out wide to get the ball,eg. JPP, rather than one of our lighter forwards carrying it into heavy traffic where 3 players are ready to attack the turnover. We need to stretch the defence and keep patient. Whitehead’s agility will also help us finish off most chances, Bosman just runs straight into defenders, although effective at times, it is not gonna help you finish off a try, we need guys attacking the gaps which will draw if more than one defender and leave our wingers and guys Like Coetzee and Alberts with at least one on one’s which they will very often win.

    Sharks simply have to win the next 2 games if they hope to top the SA conference come end of the tournament.

    My Team for the weekend hoping that Whitehead and Alberts are fit to play.


    16.Burden…needs to come on in this game, will suit him.
    18.Roberts…Put pressure on the lions scrum throughout the 80 min.
    19.Du toit

    C’mon Sharks, please put us in a good mood going into next week.

  • Comment 32, posted at 05.03.12 12:03:08 by JJR Reply
  • Just one look at the log backs what Rhineshark and I are saying. Points for (Bottom 3): Sharks 25 (2 Games) Brumbies 19 (1 Game)Rebels 19 (1 Game). Even Sundowns FC 24 (1 Game) is showing more attacking skill than the Sharks.

  • Comment 33, posted at 05.03.12 12:53:21 by waje Reply

  • @waje (Comment 33) : The Sharks have tried; but stupid attacking penalties and a light weight pack isn’t helping to give our backs much space to work with, and Bulls and Stromers were great defending with the home crowd support.

    Need Jordaan and Mcloed at 14 and 9 ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Comment 34, posted at 05.03.12 12:57:29 by JJR Reply
  • @JJR (Comment 34) : A bigger factor is Sharks’ patience, or rather lack of it. They are already falling into the same trap as previous years where they go gung-ho with ball in hand. Instead of looking at the opportunities and creating a platform to attack from when the holes appear. Pat Lambie is guilty of kicking silly grubbers through. The centers tend to run away from their support and lose the ball at the breakdown. But these are basic coaching skills not being taught. The backs should better assess whether their move is a high risk or low risk as they get the ball. A grubber is high risk and should only be used when the kicker is certain his team mate will get to the ball before the opposition.

    Simply put the Sharks need to have the patience to build phases. Aim to go 24 phases or more, because the opposition cannot score without the ball.

  • Comment 35, posted at 05.03.12 13:12:09 by waje Reply

  • @waje (Comment 35) : Agree, we can see how fut the team is…we can afford to play many phases, stretch the opposition and make them make many tackles, if you keep ball in hand for long enough the gaps will come.

    I hate kicking ball away too, Lambie has not made too many great dicisions so far on attack for Sharks…I think JPP is the only guy who has kicked at the right times in our backline, personally.

  • Comment 36, posted at 05.03.12 13:19:38 by JJR Reply
  • How fit the team is…Typo ๐Ÿ˜ณ

  • Comment 37, posted at 05.03.12 13:28:55 by JJR Reply
  • @JJR (Comment 37) : Got it. I used my amazing powers of deduction. I first tried adding a “c” after the “u”, which worked. But then after reading the rest I realised it was a simple case of hitting “u” instead of “i”.

  • Comment 38, posted at 05.03.12 13:36:10 by waje Reply

  • @waje (Comment 38) : ๐Ÿ˜† Good Laugh…

  • Comment 39, posted at 05.03.12 13:49:29 by JJR Reply

Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.