Big Fish

Play what’s in front of you

Written by (Big Fish)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 26 Mar 2013 at 10:26
Tagged with : , , , ,

After a drubbing like the Sharks handed to the Rebels this weekend, it’s hard to make an objective assessment on where the team stands. 

As with the case of the Brumbies a week before, a side that is just not switched on on the day can make the opposition look untouchable. In the Brumbies case, the Stormers proved an acid test in that they came out fully lit for the encounter, and showed that handing the 2013 SR trophy to Jake White just yet might be a tad premature. So where does that leave the Sharks.


That hoary old chestnut that you can only play (and beat) what’s in front of you holds true. The Rebels are not a team to inspire fear at the moment. Their defence was disorganised, lacked trust and intensity (much like the Sharks a week before). Their attack was rushed and nervous and they didn’t have clear leaders on the field.


However, they don’t regularly cop a hiding like that. So it was not all about them.


The Sharks have lacked intensity up to this game, as they often do early in a season. The same tired (and oft-disproved by visiting teams) excuse about the humidity necessitating conservative rugby was rolled out yet again. But they had managed to win their opening games. It took a humiliation against a fired up Brumbies side to wake up the players and coaches to the ennui that seemed to have gripped the side. And finally, just like that, the team woke up to the fact that there is no excuse for playing below your potential, and SR is not a forgiving competition.


I think few will argue that the Sharks possess one of the most balanced sides in SR and world rugby. They have an immense front row. The loose trio boasts 5 Boks and 1 exceptionally seasoned campaigner. The halfbacks consist of a flyhalf whose mind is about 50 years old but has the athleticism of his age, while the scrumhalf is an unpolished diamond with plenty of potential. The centres, for the first time in many, many seasons, consists of a number of talented customers, boasting speed, guile, physicality and finesse. The back 3 of course contains 2 of the best wings in world rugby and a guy who is a pre-2008 banker at fullback.


It’s a great team, and a squad with enough explosive young talent, grizzled experience and variations of strengths to adapt to various conditions and challenges. Yet this is a team of bridesmaids. And therein lies the rub. What is preventing this team from kicking on.


Ollie le Roux once related a story about some Aussie players observing to him that South African teams were motivated by anger, never pride, joy, loyalty or other positive emotions. The point was that anger, and the love of conflict defined our rugby, and we needed this to fuel our game. As a result, we are prone to ill-discipline, to look for contact, to believe that rugby = physically dominating the opponent. All of which is true to an extent, but it is not the full truth.


Rugby is also about the joy of elusive speed, the guile of a dummy or a skip pass, the slickness of a side-step and many other ways of beating the opponent. And more importantly, anger is not the only emotion to drive us to win. There is pride (in oneself and the jersey one wears), loyalty to your team-mates, belief in your goal, commitment to the standards you want to achieve, and a host of others. And perhaps the loss to the Brumbies and the decimation of the Rebels was what was needed for this team to rediscover that.


The team that stepped up on Saturday didn’t look at external factors like humidity or rustiness to limit the game they wanted to play. Its easy to forget now, but the first 20 minutes were still very even, and the Rebels certainly thought they smelled blood in the water. But none of that mattered, because the Sharks seemed to finally realise that great teams achieve their goals BECAUSE of what they set out to achieve and DESPITE what the opponents (or the referee – thanks Lourens) do.


So, let’s ignore lingering questions on the cojones of this Rebels side and let’s not get obsessed with a final 20 minutes where the coaches wisely chose not to risk injury to key players in a long achieved cause; the fact is that the Sharks played a great game in a manner which they would surely like to continue playing. Let’s celebrate that and hope that they continue to believe.


  • My sentiments exactly. Thanks Fishy!

  • Comment 1, posted at 26.03.13 10:42:36 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • Brilliant article 😆 good reading .I hate anything long winded and boring, as some articles here can sometimes be. Please write more!!

    I was very happy with the Sharks, especially Cooper ,Herbst and PSDT. These young guys are making a big statement to the coaches. I have always been a Jannie fan, but Herbst has twice the work rate and seems to have stepped it up in the scrumming department, Jannie needs to take care of his next few performances.

    Keegan and Kanko thrived in that loose game ,but what was promising was how they linked up together so nicely.

  • Comment 2, posted at 26.03.13 11:03:17 by Talent Reply
  • This will be one helluva team:



  • Comment 3, posted at 26.03.13 11:08:50 by Talent Reply
  • @Talent (Comment 3) : I’d rather see a Steyn /Whitehead or Bosman/ Whitehead combo than Joraan in the midfield. He’s been less than good this year. Very predictable. Hardly ever passes to the wings.

    I would also rather keep Ludik at 15 and switch Steyn to the bench than play him from 15. He needs to be selected in his position or what he sees as his position, and if he is not good enough to start needs to cover the bench… I don’t like shuffling a team for one player to find a position.

  • Comment 4, posted at 26.03.13 11:19:08 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Letgo (Comment 4) : I agree. Would be entirely unfair to Ludik to be moved around to accommodate Steyn. Personally I think Steyn is better suited to 12 than 15 at the moment – he is just not fast enough.

    I don’t think we will address the back line problems at the Sharks by moving players around. There are deeper seated issues.

  • Comment 5, posted at 26.03.13 11:33:10 by Bokhoring Reply
  • Well some of our best players had their best games out of position last year ,including Ludkik and Jpp.

    We have the luxury of several class players in every position ,so from time to time it could pay off for us to mix things up. Picking a team ,for us, should be based on who we play.

  • Comment 6, posted at 26.03.13 11:40:34 by Talent Reply
  • So the team I posted I would change from week to week.

  • Comment 7, posted at 26.03.13 11:41:42 by Talent Reply
  • Aaah Fish, nicely written.

    Just one error (you can tell I read the whole article) “decimation of the Reds” should probably have read “Rebels”?

  • Comment 8, posted at 26.03.13 11:41:58 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • Well hell, getting married has certainly brought out the scribe in you! Nice one, Fish!

  • Comment 9, posted at 26.03.13 11:58:43 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 8) :
    What on earth are you talking about? 😆

  • Comment 10, posted at 26.03.13 11:59:36 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Culling Song (Comment 9) :
    And the fore-oh agrees with you; judging by those dance moves on FB, Daddy Cool. 😉

  • Comment 11, posted at 26.03.13 12:04:48 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 11) : It would take a cold-hearted person not to have danced once Mr. Cat & the Jacjal hit their groove… Of course, frozen margaritas on tap did their cause no damage :mrgreen:

  • Comment 12, posted at 26.03.13 12:12:56 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • @Culling Song (Comment 12) :

    Fun was had!

  • Comment 13, posted at 26.03.13 12:39:08 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • Nice article Beeg Feesh! 😀

  • Comment 14, posted at 26.03.13 12:51:52 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • Not my upload, but here is the whole game
    SuperSport decided it was to many tries to put on catch up lol.

  • Comment 15, posted at 26.03.13 14:00:58 by Seth101 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Author
  • @Seth101 (Comment 15) : wow… not a great idea to watch again.

    Try 3 wasn’t a try…. truck and trailer.
    Try 4 looks like Keegan dropped the ball…

    Let’s see what the second half holds in store.

    Lucky Louwrens didn’t believe in going to the TMO

  • Comment 16, posted at 26.03.13 20:59:30 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 16) : His ref’ing was ridicules, I am no expert, only having done a beginners course in ref’ing but I am pretty sure that if you go to the TMO you have to use his call. I can’t see how the stadium big screen can be used as a legal means for a ref to view the game? Pity the video misses Coopers try, I was at the stadium and didn’t manage to see how he escaped from that ruck.

  • Comment 17, posted at 26.03.13 21:04:24 by Seth101 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 16) : Ja we really had some “nice” calls for the Sharks, but this whole tip tackle thing is going to far. Some of the yellow cards was really petty and not at all needed. Some of the high tackles this weekend was alot worse than those “tip tackles” that got carded.

  • Comment 18, posted at 26.03.13 21:26:19 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • @Seth101 (Comment 15) : THANK YOU! I must be the only person left who hasn’t managed to watch the game yet. Somehow I allowed my Stormers friends to talk me into going to watch at Newlands….

    Very proud of our boys – even with “weak” opposition we usually only win by a small margin. Still think changes need to be made to the coaching team though.

  • Comment 19, posted at 27.03.13 08:55:45 by Just a Fan Reply

    Just a Fan
  • While its too early to say that the Sharks have turned the corner…

    The rest of the article is absolutely spot. I fully agree with your remarks on SA ruby mentality (hate, etc), and its something that has bothered me for years…hope they can develop the complete mindset and gameplan!!!

  • Comment 20, posted at 27.03.13 16:23:17 by pienaar111 Reply


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