Letgo

Time for predictions – Sharks, Stormers, Waratahs


Written by Maria Delport (Letgo)

Posted in :Bulls, Cheetahs, Lions, Original Content, Other SA Teams, Sharks, Super Rugby on 19 Apr 2012 at 08:13

Segment four of our time for predictions articles.

Have a look at the  spreadsheet that I am using to compress all the results, fixtures and predictions for this year into one page, I also saved it in a PDF. The spreadsheet is meant to work like a graph. Each team is listed on the left, top to bottom. Rows represents the teams and columns represent “played against”. The “example” will give you a clear idea of how to read the spreadsheet. You can also go to segment 1, Time for predictions – Blues, Brumbies, Bulls for a more complete explanation.

So lets have a look at three more teams:

Sharks 7th

Honestly the Sharks have been very disappointing so far this season. And can I tell you why they have been disappointing? They have been disappointing because they are showing promise and innovation in the backs and have lost three of their games with less than 5 points when they could have won any of those and boasted 12 more points and as a result been at the top of the log right now. It’s disappointing because after three games, Riaan Viljoen was sitting at the press conferences mentioning these things as positives and I couldn’t help but see him in his orange jersey hopeful for the next game. I know. Spit. I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true. Promise and almost doesn’t mean anything, our defense is weak and our protection of our ball appalling. We’re on the edge of falling into the abyss of the minnow where almost is good and could have beens is comfort and potential is hope and hope is pleasing? This team needs to turn things around by not accepting the mediocre.

The Sharks still have six home games and two byes. This translates to 32 log points and this does place them in the run for the top six. If they could win in their away games against the Lions and the Cheetahs which is certainly very doable, 40 points later and bonus points to boot the Sharks could be sitting on 62 points and they should not be aiming for any less. Any less and the wheels comes off. To be fair even if they do drop one or maybe two games they would still be in the running for the top six but most probably won’t make it into the top four or the final and no team should be happy with a result like that.

Teams they still have to play:

Chiefs, Highlanders, Force, Cheetahs, Stormers, Lions, Bulls, Cheetahs and they have two more byes.

The Stormers and Bulls games at Kings Park will be their toughest challenge but should they pull these off and continue their homeground dominance, it’s only the Lions and Cheetahs who stand in the way of a home semi-final. 62 points place them 4th on the log behind the third placed Australian team.

Stormers 2nd

What a great season the Stormers are enjoying. Going unbeaten for seven weeks before faltering on tour against the Crusaders last week. The really surprising thing about this team in 2012 has been their forwards – they have dominated and crushed every team that came in their way. It hasn’t been pretty but has proven very effective. This and their defense, not just solid but in your face and powerful, has been one of their best used attacking weapons. I can’t see them losing too many games this season, but the fact that they have a few away games coming up could possibly produce a few losses.

Like the Chiefs they only need to win about half of their nine remaining games to stay in contention for the top six. They will be hoping to stay at the top though and to do that they will need to continue winning and drop no less than two or three games at the most. Fortunately for them games against the Cheetahs (Home & Away), Lions, Force, Rebels and even the Waratahs will make this task much easier. That’s six out of nine and if they could manage one more victory against the Bulls, Reds or Sharks, they would most certainly be a contender for top of the log and most probably end top of the South African conference.

Teams they still have to play:

Reds, Force, Cheetahs, Waratahs, Sharks, Bulls, Lions, Cheetahs, Rebels and they have one more bye.

I’ve put them down for a loss against the Reds next weekend just because the Reds did the same thing to them in 2010 when they toured and were in about the same situation as they are now. The Stormers have also lost a couple of key players to injuries. The Sharks could possibly take them at home but the Stormers will nevertheless end with 62 points and second on the log.

Waratahs 10th

Another team that has been disappointing with no real good reason. They have only three victories under their belt and only the one against the Sharks could possibly seen as a victory as far as improvement goes. The Waratahs have lost their punch in the tight phases. They used to thrive on slowing down opposition ball and turning over possession. Their defense has also weakened and they’ve let in way too many soft tries. They have looked a little unmotivated at times.

Like most of the other teams they too have a few local derbies coming up but unfortunately I don’t think even that will help. The Force has already beaten them and this weekend they only just got past them in their second encounter and this is the Aussie walk-overs. It looks grim for the Waratahs. That being said they have banked 21 points no matter how uninspired and unmotivated it seemed. Those points still put them in the running for the top six though and the ‘Tahs have 40 regular log points to play for. That’s more than enough and all they need to do now is string together some wins.

Teams they still have to play:

Rebels, Crusaders, Brumbies, Bulls, Stormers, Cheetahs, Hurricanes, Brumbies, Reds

That being said teams don’t start winning because winning can still take them to the top and no matter how you look at it, the Waratahs have been average. With four more wins the Waratahs will end on 41 and 10th on the log.

Things change so quickly though and next week I may have changed my mind again. You can now use the spreadsheet to change the results where you think I’m wrong and see how it affects your final log.


15 Comments

  • I know the possibility of the Sharks winning against the Stormers, Bulls and the away game against the Cheetahs, is just as good as them losing it, but I chose to pick wins for them. Three games this year has already just not gone our way, I’m hoping the home ground advantage will give the Sharks the best finish possible.

    Realistically, I suppose they will lose at least one or two more games.

  • Comment 1, posted at 19.04.12 08:16:29 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Letgo
     
  • OK, so the Bulls are no longer 4th, are they?
    1. Crusaders
    2. Stormers
    3. Reds
    4. Sharks
    5. Bulls
    6. Chiefs
    7. Brumbies
    8. Highlanders
    9. Hurricanes
    10. Waratahs
    11. Cheetahs
    12. Force
    13. Blues
    14. Lions
    15. Rebels

    Outstanding: Reds, Rebels, Lions.

  • Comment 2, posted at 19.04.12 08:24:30 by King Shark Reply
    Author
    King Shark
     
  • Biased predictions for the Sharks. We won’t finish in the top 6.

  • Comment 3, posted at 19.04.12 08:25:15 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Ben
     
  • @Ben (Comment 3) : we will, just watch 😉

  • Comment 4, posted at 19.04.12 09:06:26 by Franshark Reply
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    Franshark
     
  • I think the Brumbies has a better chance of topping the AUS conference than the reds. But it will be close.

  • Comment 5, posted at 19.04.12 09:12:57 by Viking Reply
    Author
    Viking
     
  • @Ben (Comment 3) : We will be lucky to get 6th spot this year, but anything is possible. Nothing like a Sharks team with their back against the wall.

  • Comment 6, posted at 19.04.12 09:13:51 by Viking Reply
    Author
    Viking
     
  • @Franshark (Comment 4) : I would love eating my words come playoffs BUT I’m not getting my hopes up.

  • Comment 7, posted at 19.04.12 09:14:16 by Ben Reply
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    Ben
     
  • @Viking (Comment 6) : Look our log spot we are currently in isn’t that bad in terms of all the away games we’ve had. But with the quality of rugby we’ve dished up this year we might as well quit while we are at it.

  • Comment 8, posted at 19.04.12 09:17:56 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Ben
     
  • And I’m pretty sure not much is going to change with the coaching staff we currently have.

  • Comment 9, posted at 19.04.12 09:19:55 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Ben
     
  • @Ben (Comment 9) : Have to agree with you. The Sharks have been nothing more than mediocre and in the proper Super rugby format of 12 teams we wouldn’t finish higher than 10 with the type of rugby we’re playing at the moment.

  • Comment 10, posted at 19.04.12 09:49:24 by Butchie34 Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 8) : The things we’re doing wrong is fixable.

    It’s just eliminating errors and tightening defence and yes I know that latter is easier said than done, but the Sharks is known to be a solid defending team and I’m sure they would have looked at that after the tour and get it up to standard again.

    The thing is, I believe, looking at the selection changes Plumtree made so far, that they were focused on fixing the issue’s we had with our backline on attack and I believe we have done that and can now focus on the basics again. Clean set pieces, accurate passes and efficient ruck attending.

    The set pieces already looks better than it did right at the start of the season. We’re still being to careless with our possession, to many passes goes to ground and offloads are 50/50 at best. The Sharks has always had a problem with cleaning the rucks effectively, that’s my one big frustration.

    My eyes almost tear up when I see how the Stormers and Bulls and other top teams clean out their rucks. It’s so simple, yet the Sharks is still struggling with it. We try to send our biggest guys charging in hoping they’ll be able to push the two guys already over the ball off. The thing is you need to be there first and depending on how aggressive the opposition is at defensive rucks, in numbers. When a man goes into the tackle you need at least 2 guys following him, ready for an offload if one comes, otherwise when the man goes to ground you have to be over him right away.

    This is the only reason I have some doubt this year.

    We have improved a lot from last year and improved in all the areas we were complaining about last year. Now we just need to combine the good from this year with the good from last year and we’re on our way to 8 from 8!

  • Comment 11, posted at 19.04.12 10:09:47 by Letgo Reply
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    Letgo
     
  • @Letgo (Comment 11) : Fixable, yes sure. But Plum and co have proved time and time again that they can’t get the best out of these bunch of guys CONSISTENTLY. Sure we will have a few great games but until something is done about the coaching staff I’m afraid we will stay inconsistent and mediocre.

    What do you see that proves we will now be able to fix all our problems after so many mediocre SupeRugby years?

  • Comment 12, posted at 19.04.12 10:26:45 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Ben
     
  • @Ben (Comment 12) : I know I’m being negative and I hate it. But there comes a time when the facts are lying right in front of you and you just have to say it as it is.

  • Comment 13, posted at 19.04.12 10:28:44 by Ben Reply
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    Ben
     
  • @Ben (Comment 12) : My prove lies in the way we’re playing. We would not have been able to play the way we are now last year and some years before that.

    Our backline looks dangerous. Of the 4 wins, 3 were bonus point wins. We’ve been complaining about this for a long time.

    This coaching staff addressed that issue, worked on it and finally I can see a marked improvement.

    I believe that Plum can get this team back to basics, but he does not want to demolish all the good work they have put in to make this Sharks team a danger on attack, thus he will not just revert back to our old game, but rather one by one start to put emphasis on these things.

    As I said, I can already see that the line outs and scrums has been addressed since the first few weeks, I don’t know the stats, but I have noticed a significant improvement.

    Then there is our discipline, which I also believe is improving with every game.

    Our spreading of the ball also became quicker and more effective, especially with the return of McLeod, but to my eyes the whole team has improved on the accuracy of their passing, with the exception of a few players who are still being to careless with possession.

    Our defence started of good and has seen a lapse in recent weeks, or probably this whole tour our defence let us down, but as I said, this Sharks team was one of the best defensive sides in recent years and this same coaching staff were at the helm, so I think we can trust them to improve on this aspect again.

    I don’t know what the issue is with the Sharks, but even during 2008 when Muir was coach we have not protected our ball effectively. We’ve always needed scrumhalfs that can take pressure and get to the rucks really fast, otherwise we would lose the ball. I think this is one of the big reasons why Kockett had to leave, he showed real potential, but he just couldn’t handle the pressure and was never the quick spreading type of scrumhalf. Had we protected our ball better and given him cleaner ball and more time to work with, he could have still played some excellent rugby for us. I also think it’s why McLeod’s arrival has coincided with some good results, he gets to the ruck and gets to the ball even before the opposition can really contest. It’s still something you don’t want and maybe here we can find someone to help us out, but kick out the whole coaching team?

    I don’t think Plumtree and his assistants can sort this out to a satisfactory level, but I also don’t think this one issue should make us give up on the Sharks.

  • Comment 14, posted at 19.04.12 11:03:21 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Letgo
     
  • Lovely article(s)!

  • Comment 15, posted at 19.04.12 12:22:30 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
     

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