Outgunned Sharks salvage a little pride

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks, WP on 8 Sep 2013 at 13:14
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In the sort of performance that will have sent Sharks Director of Rugby in search of a drawing board, Western Province recorded a 25-19 victory over the Durban side at Newlands yesterday. The Sharks, though, will take a little comfort in a good second-half fightback that saw them claim an unlikely bonus point, while at the same time preventing their hosts scoring a fourth try.

It couldn’t have gone more wrong for the Sharks in the first half, though. The early loss of Marco Wentzel to a serious shoulder injury threw the line-outs into array, while the re-jigged scrum was nothing short of atrocious against a Province pack as dominant in this facet as it was in all others. It was, though, at the points of contact that the Sharks found themselves most outgunned, with the men in blue and white hoops pilfering ball at will, either through a good steal off an isolated ball carrier, or an effective counter ruck. With the Sharks sticking doggedly to a kicking game plan which, to be fair, they were executing poorly, Province enjoyed a surfeit of quality attacking ball in the half, ball which the likes of Gio Aplon, Cheslin Kolbe and Juan de Jongh used to telling effect.

An early Kolbe “try” was overruled thanks to a desperate Sharks cover tackle forcing the flying winger’s foot into touch; it wasn’t to matter much, though as first de Jongh and then Kolbe himself scored tries in a half when the Sharks simply couldn’t do anything right. 0-15 at half time became 0-18 shortly after, as Kurt Coleman stroked over a penalty after the Sharks again came under huge pressure just short of their goal line. Province, in short, were cruising with over half an hour to play and those Sharks fans still watching would be within their rights to feel that a bonus point thrashing was on the cards. There was scant consolation in the fact that Province themselves had botched numerous other try-scoring opportunities through poor handling; so dominant were the hosts in all facets that any thought of a Sharks comeback had been resigned to the realms of fantasy.

Rugby’s a funny game, though; the Sharks eventually managed to string a few phases together, with replacement forwards Kyle Cooper and Edwin Hewitt making yards around the fringes. A superb pass from replacement flyhalf Fred Zeilinga found Lwazi Mvovo on the left, the Bok winger streaking in for the Sharks’ opener. That could have been the start of something, had it not been for the poor defending that saw Aplon bamboozle three Sharks men to score a great solo try shortly afterwards. At 25-5 up, the Sharks once again had their heads down, but fought back bravely to dominate possession and territory for pretty much the rest of the match.

A bizarre try to Jacques Botes – after the ball had gone forward off Wiehahn Herbst’s head – followed and with 7 points then needed to claim a bonus point, the Sharks fought hard to eventually drive Kyle Cooper over in the 83rd minute. Zeilinga nailed the tricky conversion to claim a log point against all expectations.

The result propels Province to the summit of the table, but by virtue of that late point, the Sharks have dropped no further than second, a scant point behind. They will know, though, that a lot of work lies ahead in order to produce the sort of forward showing that will be needed to keep pace with the competition’s big boys; Saturday at Newlands simply wasn’t good enough.

Western Province (25) – Tries: Juan de Jongh, Cheslin Kolbe and Gio Aplon; Conversions: Kurt Coleman and Gary van Aswegen; Penalties: Coleman 2.
Sharks (19) – Tries: Lwazi Mvovo, Jacques Botes and Kyle Cooper; Conversions: Fred Zeilinga 2.


  • Any news of a possible return to action for PSD or Bresler any time soon? Although it would be unfair to pick out any individual for the poor forward effort I think it’s fair to say that the Sharks’ lack of cover for Beast at LH is being sorely exposed at the moment. This was the case at the beginning of the 2012 SR season too, unfortunately, and begs the question as to why no working solution has been found yet? I’m all for going with the talent available but it seems patently obvious that that isn’t cutting it at this level.

  • Comment 1, posted at 08.09.13 13:48:26 by Greg Reply
  • Watching the Sharks scrum being taken apart was pure torture. I have no idea what the problem was? Is our technique not up to scratch or our boys just not as strong as all the others? Is it a front row problem or the tight 5 or our entire forward pack? I’ll be avoiding super sport until next week in case I catch the “high lights” package

  • Comment 2, posted at 08.09.13 13:54:27 by Half-Pint Reply
  • @Greg (Comment 1) : I’m really hopeful that Steph might be able to play next week. If not, we’re in big trouble.

    Anton’s been struggling to get on top of his shoulder problem but I believe there’s been a breakthrough. He won’t be back next week, but it shouldn’t be too much longer.

  • Comment 3, posted at 08.09.13 14:13:16 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Some thoughts on the game;

    Danie Mienie was an absolute beast in the tight loose, but can’t help but wonder if he wasn’t out muscled in the scrums.

    Our back 3 were dismal when compared with theirs.

    We looked properly poorly coached ,no plan when it came to the breakdown and collision points- once again their double tackling was so effective that we couldn’t get any dominance.

    Why is Keegan playing 6?Where is Mthembu?

  • Comment 4, posted at 08.09.13 14:17:48 by Talent Reply
  • * and why did we let Rhodes go? Him and Ntubeni really hurt us

  • Comment 5, posted at 08.09.13 14:19:35 by Talent Reply
  • All I saw was the usual start of the year bash it up crap we see every year and the resulting cluelessness by the backline, including the customary barrage of aimless kicking. The breakdowns were rubbish and even Kolbe cleared out two of our players to affect a turnover near the end of the game. Let’s not even talk about the scrums. Overall the kind of performance I was hoping would disappear in the absence of Plum.


  • Comment 6, posted at 08.09.13 14:49:39 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby
  • Oh dear ….. losing to WP and being a Sharks supporters living in Cape Town !! It is going to be a long week.

  • Comment 7, posted at 09.09.13 07:17:46 by DaveB Reply

  • What is Butch still doing there? Too many changes ruined this for us before we even started.

  • Comment 8, posted at 09.09.13 08:17:52 by Son Of Mayhem Reply
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  • This game indicated exactly why I have a little bit of a problem with the constant rotating of players and combinations.

    Our new front row got murdered. (perhaps Dale Chadwick isn’t so bad after all.)

    Butch is looking his age, and Ludik is no number 13. Time to give that experiment a break.
    Time to pick the best side every week and use the rotation policy sparingly methinks.

  • Comment 9, posted at 09.09.13 08:19:46 by John Galt Reply

    John Galt
  • Team going forward. reserves bracketed

    15 SP/Ludik
    14 Maseko
    13 Whitehead
    12 Williams
    11 Mvovo
    10 Seilinga/James
    9 Mcleod/Reinach
    8 Botes/Mtembu
    7 Deysel
    6 Daniel
    5 Wentzel
    4 Hewitt/Marais
    3 Herbst/ex Bulls bloke
    2 Cooper/Burden
    1 Chadwick

  • Comment 10, posted at 09.09.13 08:24:49 by John Galt Reply

    John Galt
  • Williams and Whitehead at 12 and 13 and Ludik on the wing. Much better, I tell you.

  • Comment 11, posted at 09.09.13 08:26:13 by Son Of Mayhem Reply
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  • @John Galt (Comment 10) : Wentzel probably out for the season. Luckily we’ll probably see PSdT back soon.

  • Comment 12, posted at 09.09.13 08:26:16 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • Watching the game, I wondered if our tight 5 perhaps did not have the right studs on their boots for the conditions at Newlands. Because when you look at the scrums, the technique was not too bad but the WP managed to push us back with our props legs still in the same position as when the scrum engaged. If you are being properly overpowered then you would have seen the props and locks’ legs digging into the ground instead of just sliding n top of it. Our rucks was pathetic though. WP did well in targeting the rucks as they knew that the Sharks are only gonna use one or two players to clear the ruck. This tactic was never gonna work at Newlands.

  • Comment 13, posted at 09.09.13 08:31:40 by KingRiaan Reply

  • @DaveB (Comment 7) : You can easily turn that one to your advantage, just point out to them that they could not score 4 tries and put at least 50 past a team as bad as the Sharks were.

  • Comment 14, posted at 09.09.13 08:43:02 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @KingRiaan (Comment 13) : Yip. I was pondering the same thing. We slid back during scrums. The game plan of kicking onto the WP back 3 was a poor choice as well.
    It was so hard to watch, and I switched off when Aplon danced his way through us, so I did not see the come back.
    I got the feeling the Sharks were not focused and not prepared for a physical game. The Brumbies caught us napping when they spread every ball wide and WP did the same.
    Glad we got a BP though. 😈

  • Comment 15, posted at 09.09.13 08:52:59 by KILLER SHARK Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
  • Was hard to see us getting mauled in the scrums πŸ˜₯ The last 20 mins was a bit better, but too little too late.
    This week we play Griquas away (I think) – gonna be a toooiight game lol :mrgreen:

  • Comment 16, posted at 09.09.13 08:56:18 by RedSharkUtd82 Reply

  • @KILLER SHARK (Comment 15) : Yeah the kicking was tough to watch. Mainly because Butch did it so poorly. I actually think that the idea was right, but the execution was wrong. Instead of kicking the ball high enough that it will give our chasers time to get underneath the ball, they just kicked the ball aimlessly. Had the kicks been more contestable, our taller and stronger back 3 would’ve been able to dominate their hobbits.

  • Comment 17, posted at 09.09.13 09:39:43 by KingRiaan Reply

  • I hope the coaches stick with the rotation policy. I’d rather have my two marshmallows later on instead of gobbling up my one marshmallow now.

    I’m honestly proud of the team because despite being inferior in just about every aspect of play we never gave up the fight and ended up with a bonus point loss. I think this team is going places and we need to be a little more patient with the new coaches and squad system.

    I am also of the opinion that one simple change in tactics – deciding not to kick onto WP’s back three in the second half – may have won us the game.

  • Comment 18, posted at 09.09.13 10:09:03 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 18) : You are right. I’m not the biggest fan of the rotation policy, but come next year, we will have a squad of nearly equal players who all have game time under their belts and can slot in easily should there be an injury etc. But saying that, I think this loss is going to do us good. You learn more from a loss than a win.

  • Comment 19, posted at 09.09.13 10:31:11 by KingRiaan Reply

  • How many more games must Reinach cost us before he gets the boot? His Scrumhalf play is shocking!

  • Comment 20, posted at 09.09.13 10:55:12 by Uli Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    Uli Boelie
  • @Uli (Comment 20) : How did Reinach cost us the game? I missed the first 8 or so minutes thanks to sky sports but for the next 8 minutes while he was on, he had some of the worst ball to work with that I’ve seen for the Sharks?

  • Comment 21, posted at 09.09.13 12:15:31 by gregkaos Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @gregkaos (Comment 21) : That’s just Uli doing his weekly thing, better to leave it be πŸ˜€

  • Comment 22, posted at 09.09.13 13:06:43 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author

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