Jake White’s style

Written by Chris Smith (ChrisS)

Posted in :Original Content, Reader Submissions, Sharks, Super Rugby on 17 Jan 2014 at 12:03
Tagged with : , , , , , , , ,

“The only fetcher I need is my son when I ask him to fetch me a beer from the fridge.”

This was Jake White’s comment when asked about why he favours three big loose forwards without a recognised “fetcher” flank (eg. Richie McCaw, Heinrich Brussouw) in the mix during his tenure as Bok Coach. Fast forward to 2013 and the same man has brought back one George Smith from Japan to help the Brumbies to the final of the Super XV. This shows that even a legendary coach can learn a thing or two and can change his mind! I’m hoping that he brings this attitude with him to Super XV 2014 in terms of how the Sharks will play.

During the last few years of Super Rugby the Sharks have adopted a strategy based around having big forwards taking crash ball which was one-dimensional and predictable. Pop to Bismarck (who is standing still) and he gets gang-tackled by 3 players, recycle the ball and pop to Marcell (who is standing still) and he also gets gang-tackled by 3 players etc. etc. Only once Brendan Venter got involved did we see a return to traditional Sharks rugby with play happening off the flyhalf, forwards running onto the ball, offloads in the tackle and the backline using pace and guile to score some amazing tries.

The style of play we used was very similar to what the Brumbies did during Super XV last year and I am hoping that Jake White will employ a similar style of play. Quick offloads in the tackle to shift the ball away from the contact points, aggressive rucking and counter-rucking, players running onto the ball from depth, a flyhalf with the freedom to play the game in front of him instead of kicking everything away….AND a master poacher, a la George Smith, who will pilfer opposition ball and ensure that Charl McLeod and Cobus Reinach get quality ball when we’re on attack. The Sharks have the players and skill set to play to this gameplan but the question is will they? Only time will tell!

In terms of our rotation policy we can prolong the careers of Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee and Jean Deysel by rotating them bi-weekly as our blindsiders. Ryan Kankowski and Tera Mtembu can alternate at eighthman with Marcell providing cover there (I feel that eighthman might be his best position) and Keegan Daniel, Jacque Botes and Francois Kleinhans can serve as openside options.

Of the three, I think that Francois has the most ability in terms of genuine “fetching” but Jacques still has plenty to offer in terms of fulfilling that role. Keegan is the quickest but his technique at the breakdown requires some work before he can be considered a genuine “fetcher”.

Here’s hoping that we see a dynamic, free-running style of play from Jake and our beloved Sharks and a trophy in our cabinet at the end of the competition!


  • I wonder if Jake didnt quite have a problem with a fetcher per se, as much as he didnt want to select Luke Watson.

    Jake strikes me as one of those kind of people that dont like getting told what to do and will do exactly the opposite if that situation occurs.

  • Comment 1, posted at 17.01.14 12:10:02 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • U have got to love how words get taken out of context. He was obviously making a sarcastic comment. JW and any coach for that matter will pick the best players. I still believe that every player should be a ‘fetcher’ altho some players are tasked with playing to the ball and others tasked with carrying or making hit. Take for example Alberts- the coach will tell him to wait to carry the ball or make big defensive hit rather than try get caught up in mauls. Daniel/Coetzee and even Bismarck will probably get told to play closer to the ball rather than wait to carry the ball or make big hits as they are better at playing to the ball. So it really depends on who is better at what in the team but a coach should pick a guy to just solely play to the ball when all round there are better players ahead of him in pecking order.

  • Comment 2, posted at 17.01.14 12:17:23 by SheldonK Reply

  • I have a feeling that we will see a loose trio of Deysel at 6, Alberts at 7 and Kankowski at 8

  • Comment 3, posted at 17.01.14 12:39:48 by KingRiaan Reply

  • Who’s the “master poacher”??

  • Comment 4, posted at 17.01.14 12:52:52 by KingsArmy Reply

  • @KingRiaan (Comment 3) : no coetzee!!??….don’t think so….coetzee and bosvark make a good combo at the breakdowns. Coetzee will wonna push flow for that 6 bok jersey….

  • Comment 5, posted at 17.01.14 12:55:59 by KingsArmy Reply

  • ja, Marcell is pretty clearly the 6, if you ask me.

    Deysel and Alberts don’t work together

  • Comment 6, posted at 17.01.14 13:03:36 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Although Marcell Coetzee has improved his breakdown play considerably, Bismarck and Jean Deysel are probably our best “fetchers”.

    If only Keegan Daniel could add more of that element to his game. Considering his centre of gravity and his intelligence, he looks like the sort of player who should be a good fetcher. Alas…

  • Comment 7, posted at 17.01.14 13:28:40 by MerckZ Reply

  • @MerckZ (Comment 7) : agree, keegan started out as opensider and should never have moved to 8th man. He was good for sharks at 8, but was never going to be an intl 8th man….don’t have the size…..if he stayed at 6 he could have been very good and push for bok jersey….

  • Comment 8, posted at 17.01.14 14:13:36 by KingsArmy Reply

  • What is Keegan’s current contract situation? I have this sneaking suspicion he may be heading to Europe or Japan. I can’t imagine he is happy with his current situation at the Sharks, and I don’t see him playing for another SA franchise. No evidence to back this up, just my opinion.

  • Comment 9, posted at 17.01.14 14:40:18 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing Bear
  • Honestly couldn’t care what style the Sharks employ this year as long as it involves winning rugby and putting the fear of God into our opposition

  • Comment 10, posted at 17.01.14 15:03:45 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 6) : Marcell is awesome yes, but I also think Coetzee would make a better 8. He is more a hybrid of 6 and 7 than an out and out fetcher or bruiser. I think that in the past Deysel was told to play as the wrecking ball and sometimes Plum tried too hard to have Deysel and Alberts be the wrecking ball together, where Deysel instinctively plays toward the ball.

  • Comment 11, posted at 17.01.14 15:22:26 by KingRiaan Reply

  • @vanmartin (Comment 10) : If there was a Like button…I’d push it!

  • Comment 12, posted at 17.01.14 15:25:02 by Southern_Shark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • I think fetching is mainly natural. Either you must have that ball 😯 or you don’t really care 😐

  • Comment 13, posted at 17.01.14 15:28:58 by Southern_Shark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @vanmartin (Comment 10) : U sound like HM…..haha….I like winning rugby too

  • Comment 14, posted at 17.01.14 17:47:36 by KingsArmy Reply

  • Aparently marcell suffered an elbow injury in practice 2 days ago,taking him out of the tour,any news on that?sure hope the injury isnt to bad.

  • Comment 15, posted at 18.01.14 08:27:37 by kaapsebra Reply

  • @kaapsebra (Comment 15) : I also heard a whisper, but no confirmation yet. It doesn’t sound like it will put him in doubt for the Bulls game though.

  • Comment 16, posted at 18.01.14 11:15:06 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Saracens playing well today. The are offloading like SH team. It shall be tough to beat them now.

  • Comment 17, posted at 18.01.14 18:39:02 by KILLER SHARK Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
  • @KILLER SHARK (Comment 17) : Saw their match this afternoon. Agreed, The Sharks should have their measure, but not in their first real match of the season.
    Unless they decide to go with a second string side maybe . . .

  • Comment 18, posted at 18.01.14 20:38:02 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • Come On Leicester !!

    Trust the last leg of my treble to be a nailbiting affair . . . 🙄

  • Comment 19, posted at 18.01.14 21:37:28 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre

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