Applaud the enterprise? Or bemoan the result?

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 7 May 2013 at 09:03
Tagged with : , , , , ,

It has to be said that while the Sharks have been highly disappointing in New Zealand from the point of view of collecting log points, the team certainly hasn’t failed to entertain.

I know that the fact that they have, in parts, played some frankly gorgeous rugby of late is of scant consolation, considering that they’ve ultimately suffered two defeats in as many weeks (to go with two more before leaving South Africa) and only managed a paltry two of the ten log points on offer. That said, the optimist in me has dared to raise its tiny voice of late, arguing that “if you’re going to lose, rather do so playing attractive rugby”.

And goodness knows, there have been times in this season – and many others – when we’ve seen the Sharks play dreary, safety-first football and yet still lose games. Like I said, though, scant consolation, because there’s a far louder voice that tends to drown out any such sentiments, saying, quite simply, “it’s better to win”.

We do need to concede, of course, that injury has cut a swathe through this team and robbed the coaches of any semblance of continuity in selection. Far from the wonderful conundra which face Plumtree and co at the beginning of the season, where they had competition for every place and could pick and choose who they wanted where, at the moment, Sharks selection meetings are more like a game of last man standing; the coach asks the fit players to queue up outside his door and just holds thumbs that he’ll run out of jerseys to hand out before the line ends. It’s been touch and go some weeks on tour, after all.

That said, though, you’d be hard-pressed to find any areas of glaring weakness in any of the team-sheets that have been named to date in this campaign. Sure, you can point at a name here or there and question a particular inclusion, or say you favour such-and-such a youngster over so-and-so, but all in all, my feeling is that the Sharks have been far from needing to name a match 22 that wasn’t good enough, at least on paper, to win the weekend’s game. Sure, we’ve had many injuries but the depth, by and large has seen us through (with a little help from our unlikely friends in Joburg). I guess what I’m trying to say, though, is that when the dust settles on yet another failed campaign, that ultimately has delivered nothing other than first hope, then disappointment to the fans, I don’t think we can look at the injury toll alone as the reason for the poor play. On the contrary, it has often been the young players brought in because of injury that have looked the part, making better decisions and committing fewer errors than the stalwarts on whom we should be depending.

Food for thought for the brains trust, in other words and a strong warning against throwing out any babies, should it be deemed that the bathwater needs changing in Durban. Yes, we want a winning Sharks team, yes we want a champion mindset and culture. The rugby that we’re playing at the moment, though, certainly isn’t too far away from the style that will ultimately see us achieve those aims, though and perhaps a few tweaks here and there, rather than wholesale change, is what we need to move forward.

What we cannot and must not do, though, is sweep the failings of this campaign under the carpet (as we’ve done before), hanging our hat on the convenient “injury” nail as we do so.


  • Brains trust is not spelled correctly – should be “brains trust”

  • Comment 1, posted at 07.05.13 09:08:39 by Bokhoring Reply
  • Well done on a fantastic read Rob.

    I think you have hit the nail on the head in your last sentence!!!

    Blaming it on injuries will not get us anywhere, they need to have a long hard look at the coaching team, team management and team dr. (Koerie) and decide if they are the people that can take us from average to being a real force in Super Rugby.

  • Comment 2, posted at 07.05.13 09:32:10 by Reynier Jacobs Reply

  • Its all about leadership for me mate. Whether it be the skipper or the management.

    I personally feel someone with a level head like Lambie should be skipper. Or Botes. Or Deysel who did well in the role…Not a Frans Steyn or Daniel. That being said if Keegan is on form he should be in the starting team still

  • Comment 3, posted at 07.05.13 09:39:19 by pienaar111 Reply

  • Good read Rob. Problem is we might agree that we cannot blame injuries alone, but will the powers that be also realize this.

    Silver lining…. Those youngsters given game time. I hate to say the dreaded “watch us next season” , but I really think that the experience is going to mean a lot next year and the year after that.

  • Comment 4, posted at 07.05.13 09:54:36 by Farlington Reply

  • No doubt that after 5 seasons Plum and co has achieved nothing. He had all the resources during that period, and whether we have injuries or not, the results stays the same.

    Sad too that at the halfway mark with our back against the wall, all of a sudden he dusts off the “entertaining rugby” play book and viola things start looking up.

    Plum and co has sadly learned nothing during their time at the helm, time for a new broom. We’ll be amazed at how well the players will respond to it.

    Nice read Rob, the “beach” 😆 did you good.

  • Comment 5, posted at 07.05.13 10:02:13 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • I hope with Smit coming in that some appointments will be made where needed. Decent backline coach and good sports psychiatrist should be top of shopping list.

  • Comment 6, posted at 07.05.13 10:04:05 by PTAShark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @PTAShark (Comment 6) : Plum can stay as forwards coach (and perhaps even Currie Cup coach), but we need a real head coach, attack coach, defence coach, mental coach and a specialist skills coach. Even consultants who help out in the last two roles on a part-time basis would be OK.

  • Comment 7, posted at 07.05.13 10:12:30 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 1) : bwahahahaha!!!

  • Comment 8, posted at 07.05.13 10:25:18 by CLASSIC SHARK Reply

  • I still believe that the injuries are largely due to the gameplan. If you constantly take contact, you are going to get eina.

  • Comment 9, posted at 07.05.13 11:25:58 by King Shark Reply
    King Shark
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 5) :
    Well said.

  • Comment 10, posted at 07.05.13 13:06:16 by Reynier Jacobs Reply

  • @Farlington (Comment 4) :

    Sharks needs to ensure that the young guys who gain game time is not lured to the Bulls , Lion Kings , or the Cheetahs .

  • Comment 11, posted at 07.05.13 13:52:49 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner
  • What happened to Bresler? Not even got 5 minutes against the Highlanders. He cannot be THAT bad, being one of the better players last year????

  • Comment 12, posted at 07.05.13 15:14:26 by Marge Reply

  • Oi Rob, latest update re: Sharks injuries and how long each player will be out for is on the Sharks website, you gonna do a quick thread? 😀

  • Comment 13, posted at 07.05.13 16:17:16 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • Well said Rob!!!! Plum is coaching Sharks into the ground, he can only beat other teams if Sharks forwards dominate with no or little back line play aand 90’s). The problem is other coaches now know that and use game plans to counter that. Why would you replace Steyn with Alberts? Plum has no idea what to do next and I think leaving Kanko at home is biting him big time.

  • Comment 14, posted at 07.05.13 23:41:13 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 7) : Nooooo!! Sucking in super rugby is one thing but I want to at least win the CC from time to time!

  • Comment 15, posted at 08.05.13 07:24:35 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Marge (Comment 12) : Yeah.. Franco needs to toughen up. He really means very little in terms of go forward, or even going down to ground because he is so upright.

    Anton needs to play with Steph!

    Post edited: Admin

  • Comment 16, posted at 08.05.13 07:52:16 by SharksRTB Reply

  • @SharksRTB (Comment 16) :

    I am big Bresler fan, but seriously did you watch the game Saturday? Franco played out of his skin.

  • Comment 17, posted at 08.05.13 08:32:15 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @SharksRTB (Comment 16) : Bresler tackles and cleans like a demon, but he produces very little go forward with ball in hand. I like the guy, but he will have to come to the party in that dept before you can rate him as a great lock.

    However it would have made sense to bring him on around the 60 minute mark to provide some fresh legs.

  • Comment 18, posted at 08.05.13 08:59:03 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Pokkel (Comment 17) : missed a fair few tackles that I saw

  • Comment 19, posted at 08.05.13 09:28:36 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • 😈 Good reflection of our season so far. In any organization, if you should lose 10 of your top staff (Hell even you 10 best mates who brings the party gees!) business will suffer. Imagine what it should do to an international enterprize?!
    The injuries are true reasons to blame our poor SR.
    I love our new strategies though! 😈

  • Comment 20, posted at 08.05.13 19:42:43 by KILLER SHARK Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
  • No amount of enterprise can make up for the fact that the Sharks, a pre-season favorite, became the first win in nine matches for the bottom of the log team.

    Nothing to applaud when you hit rock bottom. The only consolation is that it cannot get any worse. Perhaps, with nothing left to lose, they will wake up and play good rugby again.

  • Comment 21, posted at 09.05.13 03:29:58 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @robdylan (Comment 19) : According to rugbystats he made 14 (as many as PSDT) and missed 2.

    You should actually put up a stats article – really interesting

  • Comment 22, posted at 09.05.13 08:03:20 by Bokhoring Reply

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