Focus on the basics

Written by Pierre McLeod (pierre_mackie)

Posted in :Original Content, Reader Submissions, Sharks, Super Rugby on 4 Apr 2012 at 08:30
Tagged with : , , ,

After watching highlights of the Sharks/Brumbies game and knowing what the outcome is, I could actually sit back and enjoy the rugby.

The Sharks did well to beat the Brumbies with a bonus point in Australia; with the home team usually running out victorious, it was a nice boost to the Sharks campaign and a confidence booster ahead of their New Zealand visit. The Brumbies probably did not play to their full potential on the night, but neither did the Sharks, and we are all waiting for the Sharks to fire on all cylinders as we all know they can and have the potential to do so.

One area they must work on is their defence. It’s still a concern that the ball carrier manages to advance a meter or two before being brought to ground or an extra player comes to help.

A good move from the Sharks was to slot JP Pietersen into the midfield; even though he is a strong ball carrier with lots of pace and a lot of upper body strength, I’m not quite confident in his defence. A runaway try scored from well inside the Brumbies 22 was caused by JP breaking the line and causing an overlap with the cover defence unable to prevent Brumbies fullback Jesse Mogg from scoring. JP is a quality player, and given the time he will grow in the position and we might just see him run out for the Boks in the no 13 jersey later this year.

A quick comparison between JP and his opposite no. Andrew Smith:

Tackles made JP (10) Smith (8) Missed JP (4) Smith (0)

Runs (m) JP 4 (34) Smith 8 (37) – this clearly shows JP’s ability to gain meters with ball in hand.

Another area the team must work on is decision-making, in when to kick or keep possession. From watching the game one could see the intension of playing in their opponents’ half, in the last couple of minutes. But by not making your first time tackles it puts the pressure right back on you, and that’s also how the Brumbies scored that last try, by the Sharks kicking away their possession.

The Canes have some big ball carriers and will come out firing this weekend to fix what happened against the Cheetahs last week, by ripping the ball with ease in the tackle situation and turning it into attacking play, with the result being a try or two. The Sharks need to make sure they keep the ball when going into contact and have the guys at the ruck to clean quick ball for the backs.

The Sharks should be able to walk away with another victory against the Canes if they can just get their basics right:

  • Keep ball in contact situation and get quicker ball from rucks
  • Kick off and line out stats looked better this week
  • First time tackling (against Brumbies 49 tackles missed or ineffective, 81% sucsess rate)
  • And their decision making.
  • A final area worth mentioning is the bench thats looking pretty good. With guys like Burden, Deysel, Bresler, Bosman and Ludik able to slot in any time, and then there is still Lambie to return to the side.

    Expect another physical nail biting incounter, not for the weak at heart.


    • The Sharks defense is looking much better adn one can see the hard pre season work is coming together. On the point arround JP’s defense, yes he should work harder on doing the basics right. I guess he is still defending like a wing by shooting up to close the player off. He needs to keep an eye on the defenders arround him and force his man to the outside where he can be isolated.

    • Comment 1, posted at 04.04.12 09:03:05 by Viking Reply
    • I feel McLeod just needs to lose the 2/3 steps he gives before he passes from a ruck. Will also give opp less chance to get to our guys. Quicker ball to the backline that’s on the move.

    • Comment 2, posted at 04.04.12 09:04:17 by Ice Reply
      Competition Winner Ice
    • Hopefully Lambie will be back at 10 for us this week which will help a lot with decision making and organising the backs. His kicking will also be a huge gain which was one of the things missing last week.

    • Comment 3, posted at 04.04.12 09:04:18 by Viking Reply
    • @Ice (Comment 2) : Most definitely, but that is when we are on the front foot. When we loose momentum, those 2/3 steps is what keeps the defenders guessing but he has to use it at the right time. McCloud is one of those scrummies that you can create a quick break with those steps and an offload.

    • Comment 4, posted at 04.04.12 09:06:44 by Viking Reply
    • I watched the Cheetahs/Canes game again and one of the ‘basics’ that the Cheetah’s do so well is to run onto the ball at pace. The back stand very deep on attack and by the time the receiving player gets the ball they are usually at full speed. They almost always go over the advantage line. It was great to watch. The defence on both side were patchy to say the least but the handling and running of the Cheetah’s backs and forwards was a thing of beauty.

      The Sharks will have to contain the Canes on attack especially Barrit and the fullback Andre.

    • Comment 5, posted at 04.04.12 09:19:57 by Pokkel Reply
      Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
    • @Pokkel (Comment 5) : That’s very True. Attacking from depth is probably the way to go against these guys but as you say, you have to do it at pace or you will be caught behind the advantage line and isolated.

    • Comment 6, posted at 04.04.12 09:24:37 by Viking Reply
    • Something else the Sharks need to watch is protection of the ball at ruck time. The Brumbies managed to turn over quite a few balls by counter rucking when the Sharks either didn’t have enough people at contact point or when it just took too damn long to clear the ball.

      I also can’t understand why the Sharks don’t counter ruck more often. The Highlanders are one example of a team that creates many turnovers my committing enough players to counter ruck.

      I suppose there is a fine line between when to commit players to the ruck and when not to. I just get the feeling that the Sharks forwards are playing as individuals and not as a pack that hunt together.

    • Comment 7, posted at 04.04.12 09:25:18 by Pokkel Reply
      Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
    • @Pokkel (Comment 7) : When you are not commiting the players then you have to clean quickly. A lot of guys are just standing there waiting for the ball while no one goes and clears it.

    • Comment 8, posted at 04.04.12 09:26:39 by Viking Reply
    • @Viking (Comment 8) :

      Exactly my point. I was screaming at the Sharks on Saturday because you would have 1 or 2 people at the ruck just sort of standing there and you could see the Brumbies coming in for the counter ruck. If you are not going to commit numbers then the 2nd or 3rd person person arriving needs to clear the ball as soon as possible. I was initially mad at McLeod for not being there quick enough but it’s not just his job. Antbody who arrive at a ruck like that needs to clear the ball as quickly as possible. Brussow and the other Cheetah’s forwards does the job of a scrumhalf very often in a game.

    • Comment 9, posted at 04.04.12 09:34:10 by Pokkel Reply
      Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
    • @Pokkel (Comment 9) : True that. Everybody seems to want to run with the ball. The same thing when a guys gets caught in a tackle and you have 3/4 players running past him wanting the offload but nobody going in to support the tackled player.The guys need to start anticipating who is doing what so that you have better decision making in those situations.

    • Comment 10, posted at 04.04.12 09:39:09 by Viking Reply
    • I’m very nervous for this game. I really hope Lambie is back for this game.

    • Comment 11, posted at 04.04.12 10:25:11 by Pokkel Reply
      Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author

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