Sharks need to be “switched on” for the full 80

Written by (Megatron)

Posted in :Original Content, Reader Submissions, Sharks, Super Rugby on 4 May 2012 at 15:41
Tagged with :

Let’s take a quick look at one of the clashes of the weekend at Kings Park where the misfiring Sharks, coming from a bye, take on the unpredictable Highlanders. I use the word ‘unpredictable’ in reference to the team from Dunedin because in previous years the Highlanders were regarded as ‘easy beats’ but since former All Black Jamie Josephs’ arrival at the franchise things have changed. 

If John Plumtree’s team is to see off these plucky New Zealanders, who rallied from a 21 point deficit last weekend against the Cheetahs, they will have to be switched on from minute one to eighty. in week 6 of the competition former All Black scrumhalf Justin Marshall, in an opinion piece for Fairfax Media, referred to this new resolve in the Highlander’s set up.

“Labouring is far from what the Highlanders are all about this season. At your peril do you go into a match against them unprepared to play right up to, and sometimes through, the 80-minute barrier.

If they get themselves ahead with 10 minutes or less remaining you would probably have more hope in scaling Everest in a blizzard than cracking their collective will to win.”

“Every Highlanders game has gone to the final whistle with the game in the balance, which I guess would be causing some rather nervous twitching in the coaches’ box.

However, it must be such a reassuring feeling as coaches to have a group of young men so hell-bent on winning they will die out there to get the win. Is that not the very essence of team sport? A collective team effort of “never give up” attitude and an overwhelming desire to win.”

A cursory look at the Highlanders early results backs Marshall’s assertion fully, in their first game of the season they edged the log-leading Chiefs 23-19, next up they pipped the mighty Crusaders 27-24 then they went on beat the Waratahs 18-17 before going on to the Cake Tin and putting one over the Hurricanes, as mentioned earlier this Highlanders team managed to outlast the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last Saturday.

The secret to this new found resolve seems to be in how Josephs manages to vary tactics in the latter stages of the game. Last week against the Cheetahs, Josephs’s team tried to match wits with the opponent’s forwards and came up short. Credit to Jamie and his compliment of substitutes who entered the fray and strategically switched the game to out wide in the process stretching the fatigued Cheetahs. Two quick-fire tries by Gloucester-bound All Black half-back Jimmy Cowan and the Highlanders were on par with the Cheetahs at 30 points a piece with less than 10 minutes on the clock and as they say, the rest is a horrendous Sias Ebersohn miss.

The conditions at Kings Park are always a factor but I think the most important factor will be the home team’s mindset and how & when John Plumtree uses his bench.  Anything apart from an intense eighty minute “heads up” performance from the Sharks and this bunch from Dunedin might leave SA with 8 points in the pocket and we can expect a lot of whingeing in usually balmy Durban.


  • We have to follow the stormers game plan and we could beat them..we have enough backline talent to challenge them and with the beast back enough front grow grunt to push them.

    Lets hope the srpingbok camp has given some of the players enough hope to raise the bar in hope of challenging for a place in the bok squad.All i want to see this weekend is a complete performance from 1 to 22..

    sharks by 10 😯

  • Comment 1, posted at 04.05.12 15:51:59 by shaniboi Reply
  • At last Megs! 😯 Really happy to see you take the dive. Many of us enjoy reading your opinions.

    With regard to your article, I couldn’t agree more; the Sharks need to find the mental resolve to fight for 80 minutes.

    In many ways the teams are diametri opposites in the mental game – the Sharks constantly underachieve and lose games in the crucial last 20, while the Highlanders tend to prevail due to sheer bloody-mindedness.

    I’m sure their ability to adapt to the game situation (something I have yet to see the Sharks do) counts a lot toward that, but not all. I just get the feeling that their coaching staff have this ability to get their lads to believe in themselves, their goal and their team-mates – and the Sharks lack this.

    I’ll be hoping that our new line-up, boosted by rest, will be able to pull an upset.

  • Comment 2, posted at 04.05.12 15:53:35 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • Congratulations Megs! Good article I am as nervous as all that!

  • Comment 3, posted at 04.05.12 15:56:04 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • Nice one Mega. The Sharks have always been a team of two halves although this year I wouldn’t really use the word team.

  • Comment 4, posted at 04.05.12 16:28:46 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • Good stuff Megatron. 😎

  • Comment 5, posted at 04.05.12 16:37:45 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Okay who messed with the title of the Author? 🙂 Well Done Maggie, good read.

  • Comment 6, posted at 04.05.12 17:00:38 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Shot Megatron! I trust we can expect a few more from you in future?

    It’ll be interesting to see this weekend whether the Sharks have spent their time wisely during the break.

  • Comment 7, posted at 04.05.12 17:13:33 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Nice one Mega! Great debut! And I agree with it. The Highlanders are a gutsy and talented team and the Sharks will have to be at their very best to walk away with a victory.

  • Comment 8, posted at 04.05.12 18:15:54 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • Good work Megatron. More of the same please.

  • Comment 9, posted at 04.05.12 18:27:59 by perran_dw Reply

  • If they get themselves ahead with 10 minutes or less remaining you would probably have more hope in scaling Everest in a blizzard than cracking their collective will to win.”

    Oh how happy I would be if my team had even one ounce of that resolve.

  • Comment 10, posted at 04.05.12 18:33:45 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Yowza, good read! Please sir, can I have some more?

  • Comment 11, posted at 04.05.12 18:59:29 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • Thanks Megs! You came through, albeit a few weeks late, but it was worth the wait 😉

  • Comment 12, posted at 04.05.12 19:25:32 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Ice (Comment 12) : plesier…happy birthday 😀

  • Comment 13, posted at 04.05.12 19:29:52 by Megatron Reply

  • Hehe nice read. Thanks Megs.

  • Comment 14, posted at 04.05.12 20:05:33 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Enkosi kakhulu!

  • Comment 15, posted at 04.05.12 20:08:03 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • Enkosi kakhulu!
    @ Megs

  • Comment 16, posted at 04.05.12 20:13:04 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • Vodacom Cup results quarter

    Griekwas 26 Pampas 18
    Pumas 30 The Mighty unbeatable Kings 19

  • Comment 17, posted at 04.05.12 21:20:45 by Mutley Reply
  • Good one Megatron…
    One would think that Plum wants to open up the game abit, with Coetzee, Daniel, Botes in the starting 15 with another runner Kankowski on the bench and Deysel a strong ball carrier.

    Cant wait to see what the boys will do tomorrow.

  • Comment 18, posted at 05.05.12 00:17:45 by pierre_mackie Reply
  • Well well Megga, good stuff mate.

  • Comment 19, posted at 05.05.12 07:59:24 by Franshark Reply
  • You now have me even more worked up for this game….
    Yes this is one area I seriously wish the Sharks wanna show… That fighting to the death spirit, that is a main ingredient in any sporting event…
    Come On Sharks…
    Show us what we wanne see…

  • Comment 20, posted at 05.05.12 08:03:55 by Franshark Reply
  • I hope the Sharks watched the Bulls/Rebels game yesterday for a tutorial on how to compete at the lineout on the opposition throw. 🙁

    It used to be that my excitement would build as the day progressed before a Sharks game. Now I’m afraid I just get unhappier and sadder as the day progresses before one of their games.

  • Comment 21, posted at 05.05.12 08:51:32 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 21) : Why is that? Its not like we’ve been much more successful in previous years. 😕

  • Comment 22, posted at 05.05.12 08:57:18 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Ben (Comment 22) : Perhaps it is because no one can see any progress. It is still the same crap dished up year after year. That is disheartening.

  • Comment 23, posted at 05.05.12 09:30:46 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • I need one of two things to happen today.

    A It`s a complete blow-out, Highlanders win by 40. Surely that`ll force our management to bow out not so gracefully and maybe we can get Mallet ( after trying our our best to lure Jake White away of course )

    B We pull our act together, deliver a comprehensive effort today, collect bonus points and go on in this vain to at least make the semi`s.

    What we absolutely do not need is a loss by less than 7 cause then people will say we could`ve won bla bla bla

  • Comment 24, posted at 05.05.12 09:40:32 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Ben (Comment 22) : In previous years we were still in with a shout at this stage of the season, this season that is not the case. (no matter how anyone tries to sell it to you)

  • Comment 25, posted at 05.05.12 10:46:03 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • with the team plum has picked i can forsee an open game where the sharks blitz the landers early and build a massive score.

  • Comment 26, posted at 05.05.12 11:31:33 by Megatron Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 26) :
    Higlanders are very good at the breakdown though – that’s a battle that I’m very concerned about.

  • Comment 27, posted at 05.05.12 12:08:19 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Megatron (Comment 26) : That`ll be great, as long as we don`t go into defencive mode and have to hold on desperately for the last minute or so.
    @Big Fish (Comment 27) : Worried about that as well. We can not afford to stand off and hang out in the backline today.

  • Comment 28, posted at 05.05.12 12:13:10 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • I have a great Feeling about todays Game, got that feeling that it is all gonna come together as a team tonight. Now its time for the BIG boys to stand up and be counted. Go Sharks Forever. Black And White is Dynamite

  • Comment 29, posted at 05.05.12 13:23:22 by garethkorb Reply

  • JP to show why he should stay on the wing and leave the centre Business alone, Paul Jordaan To show he is Super Rugby Material

  • Comment 30, posted at 05.05.12 13:25:37 by garethkorb Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 26) : Playing out wide is exactly how the Highlanders beat the Cheetahs after being 21 points down at half time while trying to play them in the forwards during the 1st half. (You said it 😉 )

    Will be interesting to see how it works for the Sharks to take them on out wide.

  • Comment 31, posted at 05.05.12 13:56:49 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Big Fish: yes the Landers are good @ the breakdown not because they go for the pilfers – they attack the ruck as a unit & blitz over the top of most team, sometimes illegally but yeah it’s effective.

    The interesting part will be to see how Plum counters their aggressive rucking style.

  • Comment 32, posted at 05.05.12 16:05:28 by Megatron Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 26) : I really worry when you start saying nice things about the Sharks. 😉

  • Comment 33, posted at 05.05.12 16:09:05 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby

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