Kicking a dog when he’s down…

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 23 Apr 2013 at 09:24
Tagged with : , , , ,

You will all have gathered, I’m sure, after my post-match rant, that I was far from impressed with what was dished up by the Sharks this past weekend. In fact, having almost expected the result, I had a whole string of articles lined up for this week aimed at pointing out exactly what I thought was wrong and asking searching questions of all concerned; players, coaches, administrators and even fans.

Three things that happened on Saturday changed my mind and I’m sure you can all guess what they are. While the loss to the Cheetahs has left the Sharks in an indescribably worse position in terms of their 2013 season prospects and while that loss was completely of their own making (regardless of what the ref-bashers will tell you), three further serious injuries ahead of their tour departure have left the Sharks squad basically hanging together by a thread and seemingly without much realistic chance of redeeming themselves after two very bad weeks in a row.

Let’s be clear here – the squad that departed Durban on Sunday is a patch-work one, with a few Lions loan players and a hoard of juniors expected to do the job that, I’m sure, John Plumtree and co would have expected his seniors, his veterans, his Springboks, to be doing. Given how depleted the unit is, I must say that the decision to axe Ryan Kankowski does appear even more ridiculous, but that’s by the by. It doesn’t change the fact, though, that the Sharks have gone, for the most part, from a squad full of experience and talent, where competition for places is the order of the day, to a bunch of hastily assembled fit players, without any real thought to any factor other than availability to tour.

We can bemoan, at this half-way point, yet another lost season. We can ponder how exactly we’ve managed to play so poorly in all bar two of our matches, even without injuries factored in. One thing we can’t do, though, is lay any blame at the feet of the coaches, or anyone else in the union, for the staggering injury toll that has frankly decimated the squad ahead of the tour and my view is that we should shelve the recriminations at this point, in the interests of backing our desperate boys on their seemingly impossible mission.

Take off, in other words, the armchair expert hat and rather don your supporter’s cap. Being part of a team is a two-way street and right now, I think the Sharks need us and our support more than they ever have. Let’s give them that leeway and not comment too harshly. There will, I’m sure, be time for that later.


  • I’ll always support my team. Even if we have to use the Kwazulu Natal Craven week side when the tour is finished. The injuries are insane this year.

  • Comment 1, posted at 23.04.13 09:28:01 by PTAShark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Maybe all the injuries are a blessing in disguise. South African rugby has unearthed some really good players in the past, simply because they got opportunities that they would not have had otherwise.

    Let’s see.

  • Comment 2, posted at 23.04.13 09:35:23 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
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  • Yes the injuries are insane but you cannot justify a gameplan where our main tactic is to have one player trying to bash through three defenders. That will never work. To compound matters, that playing style is very taxing on the players’ bodies and I cannot help but think that if we played a more clever brand of rugby, we would not have had so many injuries.

  • Comment 3, posted at 23.04.13 09:37:32 by King Shark Reply
    King Shark
  • @rhineshark (Comment 2) : We discover enough good players every year. I want to discover what it feels like to support the championship winning team.

  • Comment 4, posted at 23.04.13 09:39:06 by King Shark Reply
    King Shark
  • 😈 Well said Rob. Rugby is a pro sport and in any professional environment the people are the most important. If any company loses it’s key people, the CEO would struggle to get to the targeted numbers.
    The management (not blameless though) must work out a new strategy to get us into a playoff position with a motley crew.
    Thanks to the Lion’s union for availing these players!! Where would we be without this life line?? Thanx Lions!! 😈

  • Comment 5, posted at 23.04.13 09:46:37 by KILLER SHARK Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
  • My opinions on the coaching staff has been made over a few years. I can give them some leeway for the current state with injuries, but it does not change my opinion that Plum and co has hit their ceiling.

    It was not injured players trying to play running rugby in atrocious conditions. It was clear from Plum’s half time talk that he was not going to deviate from the plan – even though the Sharks struggled to put together any phases with spilling the ball.

    The Cheetahs played the conditions perfectly – waited for the Sharks to spill the ball and then pounced.

    I am annoyed that the Sharks start each and every season from scratch, whereas other teams at least seem to build on the previous year. We started the year with most of our first choice back line in tact (only missing Whitehead), and we mostly looked like klutzes.

    We have built our entire game plan around mainly Alberts bashing up to create momentum, and when he is not available we have little clue what to do.

    I am annoyed that we still get owned at the breakdowns.

  • Comment 6, posted at 23.04.13 09:51:34 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @King Shark (Comment 4) : I’m afraid I have to agree with you! Seems every year there is some sort of excuse! The injuries have been terrible this year but its the rubbish game plan and execution that is even a bigger problem imho!

  • Comment 7, posted at 23.04.13 09:58:09 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • It’s a tough one.

    I still feel there are things we’re doing wrong, but given the state of our squad I think support for the young and more inexperienced guys stepping in, is a good call.

    It’s hard to see the game plan, when the team are a patchwork, the players don’t know each other so well, and some of the players don’t even know all the calls or the game plan.

    I hope these guys can find motivation and inspirational for a successful tour.

    I’ll be complaining about how crap they are on Monday again though, as will you, I think, Rob.

    It’s hard not too.

  • Comment 8, posted at 23.04.13 10:00:21 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 6) : amen! Agreed and seconded!

  • Comment 9, posted at 23.04.13 10:01:47 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • @Letgo (Comment 8) : yes, you’re probably right.

  • Comment 10, posted at 23.04.13 10:04:54 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @King Shark (Comment 4) : Look, I’m as disillusioned as anybody that we suck at winning a Super Rugby title, even though we’ve had plenty of opportunities.

    What I’m hoping is that the injuries force enough new (read un-Plummed, un-Bashforded and un-HRE’d) players to play the way young Andries Coetzee did before he got injured – without the hang-ups and apparent mental issues that seem to have limpdicked the majority of Sharks regulars.

    Isn’t it telling that by far the most effective players every week are “new” guys like Cooper, PSdT and Reinach?

  • Comment 11, posted at 23.04.13 10:05:24 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
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  • I think we’re ALL disillusioned and pissed off…. no doubt about that.

  • Comment 12, posted at 23.04.13 10:06:31 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 6) : Have to agree with you on that point.

    The injuries have really exacerbated our situation but it always feels as though we don’t learn anything from the past. We’re always a great team when we have go forward ball and our players are bashing it up and the opposition can’t contain it. But as soon as the opposition stand up and match up, we seem to run out of ideas of how to play. One would think after three years of the same thing happening the coaches would come up with a solution.

    If that solution had been found, we would have been able to say that we had a little bit more success in the last few games and not be in the deep dwang.

  • Comment 13, posted at 23.04.13 10:08:01 by Butchie34 Reply
  • @rhineshark (Comment 11) : Only until the Borg will assimilate them – then they will look just as clueless πŸ™„

  • Comment 14, posted at 23.04.13 10:19:42 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Butchie34 (Comment 13) : Butchie, that bash-it-up “game plan” broke Alberts and Deysel, turned Marcell Coetzee into a brainless battering ram with ZERO ball-distribution skills and will soon do the same to PSdT.

    There is NO sense of horses for courses or playing to the skills of your individual team members with the Sharks. Brillant ball players like Kanko and Keegan are expected to play the same dumb-shit rugby that doesn’t suit them and when they don’t perform are dropped by the coach or made scapegoats by supporters.

    The entire Sharks setup is just plain idiotic and has been for too long.

  • Comment 15, posted at 23.04.13 10:21:23 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 14) : At least we’ll see something fresh and be positive about the “bright future” with all the “exciting new youngsters coming through” for a few weeks. πŸ˜€

    Altogether now: “Positive vibrations yeaaahh! – POSITIVE!!! Got to have a good vibe!!!”

  • Comment 16, posted at 23.04.13 10:23:42 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby
  • so here’s a prime example of behaviour to avoid…. JP tweets a pick of some of the boys out having dinner. To which some keyboard crusader replies “Get on the training field already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Fucking halfwit.

  • Comment 17, posted at 23.04.13 10:36:08 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 17) : πŸ˜†

  • Comment 18, posted at 23.04.13 10:54:55 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby
  • If I catch anyone kicking a dog or any other animal, I will hunt you down and beat you to an pulp!

  • Comment 19, posted at 23.04.13 11:19:48 by SteelShark Reply
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  • Injuries or not there are still problems in the game plan and man management.

  • Comment 20, posted at 23.04.13 11:28:24 by SteelShark Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 17) : Great article and yes that twitter response was doff

  • Comment 21, posted at 23.04.13 16:38:18 by billy Reply

  • @billy (Comment 21) : hey, haven’t seen you in ages mate. Hope all is well

  • Comment 22, posted at 23.04.13 16:46:32 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Win or Lose………………..Black & White forever!!

  • Comment 23, posted at 24.04.13 11:58:12 by BeastMan Reply


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