Richard Ferguson

Where it all went wrong

Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks, WP on 30 Oct 2012 at 11:30
Tagged with : , , , , , , , ,

Western Province beat the Sharks to Currie Cup glory last Saturday, outplaying the home favourites to take their first title in 11 years. Even though WP played the better game on the day and looked to have wanted the win more than the Sharks, it is at lineout time that the Sharks lost the contest.

The game started well for the men from Durban, racing into a 9 point lead with all the basics going well – they were dominant in the scrums and the lineouts were functioning. This is when WP took a step up and took away our lineout ball. This seemed to play heavily on the Sharks’ minds, as they didn’t want the ball to go out of play.

Both Craig Burden and Steven Sykes were reportedly included in the starting line-up to get the lineouts working properly, a tactic which did not work at the end of the day.

Now, I am no lineout specialist, but what I do know is that for a lineout to work, simply working at it at training is not sufficient, and that the lineout can only really be tested during a match, or perfected in a match environment.

The fact that Burden and Sykes were both new to the starting lineup, and the fact that neither player has been part of the setup in a match situation for some time, hindered that process. To put into perspective, Burden only played in the first week of Currie Cup action before he was called up to the Springbok squad to hold tackle bags for two months. Steven Sykes was injured and never even looked like getting back into the team before his move to the Kings.

So why exactly our coached thought that this untested combination would suddenly fix our broken lineout is a bit of a mystery.

The best bet would have been to keep the combination that outplayed the Bulls lineout and let them work on making their play perfect. This combination of Kyle Cooper, Jandre Marais and Anton Bresler was simply not allowed the chance to prove they have what it takes to correct their own mistakes, and a chance was taken that did not pay off.

One cannot blame John Plumtree for trying to make the change that should have corrected the basic principle which cost us the game, some of the blame surely rests on the players’ shoulders for not getting it right in a match situation, while the Springbok squad system surely has to be mentioned after Craig Burden missed the entire Currie Cup for no reason at all.

Is it sour grapes? Maybe a little. But the fact that our coaches got it so wrong for one of the most important matches of the year disappoints me tremendously, and somewhere along the line someone has to take responsibility. A forwards coach or lineout specialist worth his salt would have prevented this from happening in the first place.


  • I think we need to get a sport psychologist on permanent staff. And a performance coach wouldn’t hurt. The whole team vanished for the final hour of the final.

    We need to ensure that the players’ confidence is up for the big games and that there aren’t any lingering effects of these last three finals. It must play havoc on the them.

  • Comment 1, posted at 30.10.12 11:34:42 by PTAShark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • How many four/five man line outs did we have?

  • Comment 2, posted at 30.10.12 11:45:05 by Talent Reply
  • @PTAShark (Comment 1) : Hear,hear. A defence coach too. What we have seems to get us to the finals, its getting to the champions table that eludes us, so what we have works to a point. I think this is Plums last year on contract, He will want a S15 title before he either leaves or re -signs with the Sharks. Either way it will boost his CV.

  • Comment 3, posted at 30.10.12 11:48:51 by Caratacus Reply

  • @PTAShark (Comment 1) : My sentiments exactly.We apparently do have one on staff,but whether he gets used or not is another thing.Plum is supposed to be a psychologist (that what he apparently studied anyway)
    @Caratacus (Comment 3) : Agreed!

  • Comment 4, posted at 30.10.12 11:54:34 by markm Reply

  • It seemed to me that we went back to the gameplan of a year ago. Players that were offloading so beautifully during Super 15 were playing stampkar rugby again. Coetzee and Alberts NEVER offloaded( bad habits learned at the Boks??) Deysel offloaded once when he came on and it nearly resulted in a try. We were predictable and because of that the Stormers stopped us in our tracks and stole the ball. This added to the shambles in the lineouts was the main cause of our defeat in the final.

  • Comment 5, posted at 30.10.12 12:02:12 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • Cooper, Bresler and Marais were not that flash against the Bulls either. The Bulls just could not profit as much as WP did.

    The lineout has been a Sharks problem in recent years, and the only time I can remember it really functioning well was with Kanko in the mix.

    I agree you can’t get all the nuts and bolts of the lineout working in a few training sessions, but at least our hookers can work on hitting a target at various heights and distances.

    At the moment they would struggle to hit a barn door.

  • Comment 6, posted at 30.10.12 12:09:38 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Talent (Comment 2) : Excellent question….
    NO VARIATION.. If it doesn’t work the first 2/3 times they should’ve tried to compensate. Everything was lost at nr 2..

  • Comment 7, posted at 30.10.12 13:44:28 by SharksRTB Reply

  • But still, the big momentum shift was when they lost their 9 point lead in a matter of 8 minutes, and not just lost their lead, but actually trailed by 4… In finals, that is HUGE…

  • Comment 8, posted at 30.10.12 13:46:45 by SharksRTB Reply

  • Totally agree Rich! It’s unbelievable that a setpiece play was our down fall in the final!

    This is the things you perfect on the training yard.

    We can only hope Plum and co has learnt from their mistake, but I have to say, I really wish they could pick these things up during the season instead of in the Finals.

    Get it right next year Sharks! C’mon!

  • Comment 9, posted at 30.10.12 14:39:21 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author

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