Rugby vs Winning Rugby

Written by Pierre McLeod (pierre_mackie)

Posted in :Bulls, Cheetahs, Lions, Original Content, Sharks, Stormers, Super Rugby on 7 Apr 2012 at 09:00
Tagged with : , , , ,

Firstly, I’m not writing this to blame anyone or to call for the head of anyone. I’m just hoping we could look at the different brands of rugby being played by the different South African teams, and have an open discussion or opinions on the facts.

There is definitely no lack of talent in the current Sharks squad or a lack of coaching ability in the current team set up.

*If the wrong squad is selected, who do you blame?
*If the players make the wrong decision on the field, who do you blame?
*If they run around on the park like a bunch of headless chickens, who do you blame?
*If they come within 3m of the opponents goal line, and don’t get a try for whatever reason, who do you blame?

We are always quick to give blame to the coach, but in the end these are all professional players, they are the ones who need to make it happen on the field. Like I said I don’t want to look at any specific player or coach, I want to look at the type of rugby that’s being played.

It looks to me that the Sharks are just playing rugby, happy to have a run on the park, walk off after the game and just be happy with the result, the desire to achieve more seems to be absent, the desire to win, the desire to play of brand of winning rugby.

A team that’s been consistently playing a brand of winning rugby is the Blue Bulls; I hate saying this but it is true. If they need to kick 10 penalties in a game to win, they will be happy to do so, call it boring rugby, but what’s more important, to play exiting running from your own goal line rugby or kick 10 penalties in the game to win rugby?

We know the Sharks are also capable of playing a winning brand of rugby, but the hunger and desire to do so seems to be lacking more often.

Another brand of rugby is a disciplined and defensive brand played by the Stormers, with a points difference of only 34 and tries against 7 with only the Bulls conceding 6, it does show the Stormers are more focused on their defence and discipline. There’s nothing wrong with that, that’s maybe why they are top of the South African conference and top of the overall log.

A couple of seasons ago the Sharks also played a defensive brand, waiting for the opponents to make a mistake and then turn it into points.

The Cheetahs are generally the team with nothing to lose, nobody really gives them a change to finish higher then mid table in a good year, so they are just going about doing their business. If they win great if not, well we tried better luck next week, they’ve scored 15 tries and conceding 17 so far.

Then there is the Lions, making it difficult for the South African teams to reach play offs.

Current South African Conference:

Team Played Won Drawn Lost Points F/A Tries F/A BP Points
STO 5 5 0 0 125 – 91 8 – 7 0 24
BUL 5 3 0 2 170 – 89 19 – 6 4 20
SHA 7 3 0 4 161 – 177 17 – 17 5 17
CHE 6 2 0 4 168 – 194 15 – 17 4 12
LIO 5 1 0 4 107 – 134 7 – 12 2 10

It’s all interesting reading but would mean nothing if there’s no facts, well let’s have a look.

Bulls have kicked 15 penalties in 5 games with 1 drop goal, 5 of those penalties with the drop goal were against the Sharks to make sure they won the game. Note that the Bulls had two runaway victories against the Reds 61 – 8 (8 tries) and the Cheetahs 51 – 19 (6 tries).

Playing winning rugby means winning the game by which ever means, if the opportunity is there to score tries, make sure you score them, if you have to win by penalties and drop goals make sure you get them to win.

The Stormers have been penalised 45 times and conceded 7 tries. If we look at the others teams, the Sharks have been penalised 72 times, Bulls 65 and Cheetahs 63. And the Stormers also have the second lowest tries against with 7 overall .

To come back to my point of playing winning rugby, the Sharks have the ability to score tries, second highest in our conference and tied 3rd with Highlanders over all. If we can just get the discipline right and that hunger to play that winning rugby the Bulls are playing there will still be enough time to recover from where we are currently and finish strong.

Let’s give Plum and the players the benefit of the doubt, it’s not been the easiest start with only 2 out of the first 7 games being at home and with another away game waiting against the Blues next week, before returning to the beloved Kings Park.

Have faith in Plum and the boys, I have.


  • Plum has had our faith for long enough.

  • Comment 1, posted at 07.04.12 09:19:52 by Just a Fan Reply
    Just a Fan
  • Disagree completely. Plumtree has had our “faith” for too long now.

    Super 14 2009 – 6th
    Super 14 2010 – 9th
    Super 15 2011 – 6th
    Current Super 15 2012 – 9th

    Too mediocre for my liking.





  • Comment 2, posted at 07.04.12 09:26:55 by siorc Reply
    Gold's Member
  • They are professionals yes, but when a group of 15-20 pro’s make the exact same errors week in and week out, is it really their fault? Do they really carry all the blame?
    We know 3 of our lost games we could’ve won, but the ones we did win we can easily ask, did we deserve to?

    Conceding 6 vs a team we beat 10 times over on paper was the final straw. Plumtree must go, so too his assistants

  • Comment 3, posted at 07.04.12 09:35:02 by Die Kriek Reply
  • The Sharks are lacking, discipline, patience, basic skills, desire to win, and strong leadership. The blame should be on the coaches as well as the players.

  • Comment 4, posted at 07.04.12 09:53:12 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • this is supposed to be the start of a golden age for the sharks. We have the players, Steyn is coming back. All our stars are still young. PLUM MUST GO.

  • Comment 5, posted at 07.04.12 10:58:55 by jako Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    West Indies Cricket Board
  • Im just scared the stormers make steyn an offer. At this stage, if the money is the same, he might want to join a winning team

  • Comment 6, posted at 07.04.12 11:00:05 by jako Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    West Indies Cricket Board
  • 4 questions……….. 1. Do we have the players to win this comp? Everybody knows we have. Whether the combinations picked works with the game plan? That is a different discussion. 2. Do we have the captain to win this comp? If I look back at the currie cup final and this season thus far…. I doubt it very much. Is our captain a certainty in the starting line up? I don’t think so if everyone is fit to play? 3. Do we have the coach to win this comp? The coach (amongst others) is responsible for the pick of the captain. Also responsible for the game plan and the coaching associated with this game plan. Do we have a plan B if our original game plan does not work out? I have not seen it. 4. Do we have the want to win this comp? Every player has. This is the hardest rugby comp in the world. Even the Crusaders still has it. Even after winning it 7 times.

  • Comment 7, posted at 07.04.12 11:11:56 by Bite me Reply

    Bite me
  • @Bite me (Comment 7) : Who would be next in line to take over from Plumtree and co.
    If Keegan is not the right man to lead the team, who should be captain?

  • Comment 8, posted at 07.04.12 11:31:43 by pierre_mackie Reply
  • @Die Kriek (Comment 3) : who would you suggest taking over from him?

  • Comment 9, posted at 07.04.12 11:33:12 by pierre_mackie Reply
  • @pierre_mackie (Comment 8) : @pierre_mackie (Comment 9) : Yes…give opinions, but come with some suggestions too…

  • Comment 10, posted at 07.04.12 11:36:35 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • [email protected]pierre_mackie (Comment 8) : if we cant afford mallet, bring in Brendan Venter or Stonehouse. For captain we should have broken the bank on joe van niekerk 3 years ago but streauli was sleeping. Stop wasting money on jouberts, potdieters and michalaks. Pick up the phone and ask johann muller what it will cost and get him back here

  • Comment 11, posted at 07.04.12 11:39:38 by jako Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    West Indies Cricket Board
  • @Ice (Comment 10) : Should Konkowski be captain when hes back and fit?

  • Comment 12, posted at 07.04.12 11:43:06 by pierre_mackie Reply
  • @pierre_mackie (Comment 8) : and in long run Lambie. No doubt

  • Comment 13, posted at 07.04.12 11:43:27 by jako Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    West Indies Cricket Board
  • @jako (Comment 11) : Johann Muller should be the next Bok captain, we need to bring him back…

  • Comment 14, posted at 07.04.12 11:45:25 by pierre_mackie Reply
  • @pierre_mackie (Comment 14) : johann muller will not stand for this shit

  • Comment 15, posted at 07.04.12 11:48:58 by jako Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    West Indies Cricket Board
  • @pierre_mackie (Comment 12) : I am gonna go out here for some flack, but HELL NO! At this stage I’d say Botes…Problem he is not a first choice starting 15…. If I look how Lambie command the backline, I’d even give him a shot right now. Wonder how Big Vic would do, but not too sure?

  • Comment 16, posted at 07.04.12 11:49:43 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @pierre_mackie (Comment 14) : if we have another crap season, do you think they will let plumtree go? Surely they must

  • Comment 17, posted at 07.04.12 11:50:51 by jako Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    West Indies Cricket Board
  • The real problem is that there is no stand out captain options.

    Lambie perhaps.


    It is a problem.

    But Keegan Daniel isn’t captaincy material, and he isn’t always guaranteed of starting, is he?

    In terms of coaches, how about Mallett? He’s out of a job and looking.

    What is certain is that Plumtree has had sufficient time and has failed dismally to deliver at Super level. A change is needed at the top or else we can’t expect things to change.

    There’s an opinion or two.

  • Comment 18, posted at 07.04.12 11:51:16 by siorc Reply

    Gold's Member
  • @Ice (Comment 16) : didnt even think of alberts… Why not?

  • Comment 19, posted at 07.04.12 11:52:21 by jako Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    West Indies Cricket Board
  • @siorc (Comment 18) : mallet might be long in the tooth. I think brendan venter is the kind of guy who can build a dynasty, ano TAKES NO SHIT

  • Comment 20, posted at 07.04.12 11:55:54 by jako Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    West Indies Cricket Board
  • @jako (Comment 20) : just a few months ago there was a lot of support for Mallett for the Bok job. Don’t see age as a problem (remember Ian Mac?) But hey, I like the idea of Venter too. He seems quite tactical and Saracens have done well under him.

  • Comment 21, posted at 07.04.12 11:58:30 by siorc Reply

    Gold's Member
  • @siorc (Comment 18) : 😉

  • Comment 22, posted at 07.04.12 11:58:43 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Ice (Comment 16) : Botes is one of the seniors players, he must be a respected player, they need a respected player, look at John Smit, Stefan Terblanche, they were respected among fellow players, and great leaders

  • Comment 23, posted at 07.04.12 12:01:01 by pierre_mackie Reply
  • @siorc (Comment 18) : Lambie might not be a bad option, you dont need a captain, anyone can be a captain, you need a leader, someone the players can trust and follow

  • Comment 24, posted at 07.04.12 12:04:53 by pierre_mackie Reply
  • @pierre_mackie (Comment 23) : Just saw Botes taking lead when he came on…seemed a natural thing…and thats what we need! “Natural leaders” who’s performance does not get jeaopardised by the fact that they are Captain…they nee to be able to “multitask”!

  • Comment 25, posted at 07.04.12 12:05:07 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Ice (Comment 22) : 😉

    @pierre_mackie (Comment 23) : how old was John Smit when he started to captain the Sharks?

  • Comment 26, posted at 07.04.12 12:05:36 by siorc Reply

    Gold's Member
  • @siorc (Comment 21) : what I mean is after coaching internationally, and building a huge reputation, would he really be passionate about building a super team from the ground up? Thats if we can even afford him. Long in the tooth, not old in the tooth. LOL

  • Comment 27, posted at 07.04.12 12:06:44 by jako Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    West Indies Cricket Board
  • @siorc (Comment 26) : Not sure about the age but he took over from Shaun Sowerby from 2004 – 2011, maybe 26?

  • Comment 28, posted at 07.04.12 12:22:38 by pierre_mackie Reply
  • @pierre_mackie (Comment 28) : I think he just turned 32, so makes him 24 in 2004

  • Comment 29, posted at 07.04.12 12:27:40 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • Here are my thoughts (I know its long but let me hear ur thoughts)

    I agree that we have a gr8 squad. Much better balanced than the past 5 years. Solid pack, exciting backline.

    However players on the field have to step up with regard to decision making and discipline. That has been our achilles heal without doubt.

    Add this to some poor coaching decisions. JP Pietersen is NOT a weakness at centre (far from it in fact), but with Whitehead, Bosman, Joubert and Jordaan available, we can leave him on his favoured wing with Mvovo. IMAGINE MVOVO & PIETERSEN out wide.

    I cant understand selections from Plum. Fred has been poor for 6 games now, but he persists. Last year when Bosman was struggling he kept him in the 15. Now that he has been playing gr8 he gets dropped???? EXPLAIN THAT LOGIC
    Paul Jordaan makes 2 sub appearances and was brilliant in both – gets dropped completely??? He hasn’t given Joubert any opportunity so why did they buy him?

    Another thing is our 1st choice loose forward trio. If every1 is fit who will he pick?? It is plainly clear that Alberts and Deysel have been nowhere near as effective as the past, because they are predictable 1-dimensional players. Coetzee is outstanding and Keegan been playing well. (question some captain decisions)

    Here is my team: (based on mix of physicality and ball playing)

    1. Chadwick (Beast when he returns)
    2. Bismarck (but very impressed with Burden)
    3. Herbst (Jannie lacks skills)
    4. Sykes
    5. Marais (lock pairing is my only uncertainty)
    6. Coetzee (standout player)
    7. Daniel (tough and skillful)
    8. Kankowski (pace, power and skills)
    9. Mcleod (but give Hoffman a chance when fit)
    10. Lambie (NO BRAINER)
    11. Mvovo
    12. Bosman (Steyn could interfere if he signs)
    13. Whitehead
    14. Pietersen
    15. Viljoen (been good but can work on decision making)

    16. Jannie
    17. Burden
    18. Bresler (again not convinced by our locks)
    19. Alberts
    20. Hoffman
    21. Joubert
    22. Jordaan

  • Comment 30, posted at 07.04.12 12:30:50 by pienaar111 Reply

  • @jako (Comment 11) : Not bad at all, actually a very good idea. Didn’t think about it. We need Johann and Steyn back…break the bank and get Mallet..this needs to be done quickly before a club in France hi-jacks him.

  • Comment 31, posted at 07.04.12 12:47:14 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • @pienaar111 (Comment 30) : Nice team, I have lost faith in Kanko though – would put Botes in at 6 and move Marcell to 8. Also I really like Bosman on 12 even if they persist with JPP on 13

  • Comment 32, posted at 07.04.12 12:48:49 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • Kanko is yesterday’s news. He will struggle to make the starting 15 now. Time to invest in the youngsters – as the Stormers have done.

    I personally don’t see all the hype (this year at least) in Bosman. I have a lot of pervading suspicion from last season when he was mostly useless. Whitehead is a far better player, besides. Bosman is a good option from the bench however given his versatility (a JLP clone) but we must ask the hard question – is Bosman really Super 15 champion winning material? Doubt it. Same goes for Ludik, Joubert and Odwa. Michalak seems to lost form (or interest). With our backline stuffed with this calibre of player we are not going to get anywhere fast. Streauli must take some of the blame for his rather mediocre acquisitions (remember how kak he was at selecting Bok teams?).

    If F Steyn returns then our centre combo would be him and Whitehead, with JPP back at wing.

    Never rated Muller, as a player or captain.

  • Comment 33, posted at 07.04.12 12:58:07 by siorc Reply

    Gold's Member
  • good thoughts..yeah i agree with the Steyn and Whitehead combo.
    but in general we need to have the hunger and discipline. Im so sick of looking at our squad thinking we have a chance and then they + management disappoint. Mallett not a bad idea

  • Comment 34, posted at 07.04.12 13:08:04 by pienaar111 Reply

  • @pienaar111 (Comment 34) : What would your views be on a guy like Stonehouse at the Sharks? I mean he gets the best out of crap players…and the players seem to play as a team under him…?

  • Comment 35, posted at 07.04.12 13:19:48 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • It’s long past time for Plumtree to be shown the door. The Sharks have the players to win the competition.

    Straueli has been the scapegoat for all of our losses…but let’s be honest. Straueli is in charge of contracting players and is seen as the “director” of rugby. He has nothing to do with the selection of the team and the tactics the team plays to. The players we have at the Sharks are there because of the hardwork Straueli has put in.

    Admittedly, a tired old warhorse who should be shot and converted to glue, like Marius Joubert, has been contracted but we have other players in the position who should be playing. When the coach decides to pick the tired old player who old subtracts from the team rather than adding to it when there are stronger, faster, better players who have gone over to carry tackle bags (Paul Jordaan) are available. The only person who is at fault is the coach – Plumtree.

    When discipline gets out of hand on the field and the captain can’t get the men to calm down and think rationally and back on plan – that’s the captain’s fault.

    Keegan is a brilliant player but a really sh**ty captain. He has shown through the first six weeks of this campaign and the CC Final last year that he isn’t the solution to the captaincy issue.

    I believe that Al Hargreaves (who has proven his captaincy potential at junior levels) should be handed the captain’s armband when he’s fit again.

    A replacement coach is more tricky. Nick Mallet is definitely not too old. He definitely has the experience to turn our team of superstars into trophy winners. The question is whether he would accept the position. Natal might be the last British outpost but we’re not England.

  • Comment 36, posted at 07.04.12 13:33:17 by Butchie34 Reply
  • @Ice (Comment 35) : Ice think you the only Author about here this weekend.

    I have just seen a really good thread on Rugby-Talk.com about our Sharks. Written by McLook – Super Rugby. Sharks – lacking intensity?

    I asked McLook if we could use his article here as a thread and he has no problem with us using it at all. He is a excellent rugby writer and is a South African living in New Zealand.

    If we can use it (Not sure as can’t ask Rob he is away and think Richard is away too) could you as a Author put that article up here as a thread for us to debate?

    Rudi (gbs the webmaster there) said we could use it and if we do to please just mention it is McLooks article.

    Would much appreciate it if we could have it up here to discuss. Excellent article.

  • Comment 37, posted at 07.04.12 13:52:47 by Puma Reply

  • @Puma (Comment 37) : sure Puma, I will credit them!

  • Comment 38, posted at 07.04.12 14:29:44 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Ice (Comment 38) : Thanks Ice.. 😉

  • Comment 39, posted at 07.04.12 14:35:58 by Puma Reply

  • @Ice (Comment 38) : Done

  • Comment 40, posted at 07.04.12 14:54:19 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice

Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.