Is the scoreboard telling the truth?

Written by Pierre McLeod (pierre_mackie)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 24 Feb 2014 at 11:25
Tagged with : , , , , ,

After only the second week of this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby, one definitely gets the feeling that the Sharks are living up to all the pre-season talk and hype, but are they really as good as the score board tells us?

Two weeks ago they had their opener against the Bulls at Kings Park and usually these early home games are boring 80-minute games with penalty kicks deciding the winner, like last year’s 12 – 6 win over Stormers. The poor, humid conditions normally contribute to poor handling and a lot of stop and starts.

Surprisingly, that was not the case when the Sharks beat the Bulls 31 – 16. The Sharks had the upper hand in the set pieces and enjoyed possession and territory which ultimately allowed them to score 4 tries. It was however not a smooth run for the Sharks as the scoreboard tells us, as the Sharks gave away too many penalties and the goal kicking from Patrick Lambie was nothing to write home about. It could be that the Sharks were just better prepared to compensate for their poor discipline. The Bulls had 5 penalty kicks on the night of which they missed 3 and a further 2 drop goals.

In return Lambie also had a poor night with the boot as he also missed 3 conversions and Francios Steyn failed with 2 penalties. The positives for the Sharks would be scoring a bonus point for those four tries, which is as scarce as hen’s teeth this early stage of the competition. Another positive would have been keeping the Bulls from crossing their try line, as they only allowed one push over try late in the second half. Discipline is something the Sharks need to look at as the competition progresses, if they had played any other team that could have made better opportunities from so many penalties it could have been a different result altogether.

On the weekend the Sharks had their first cross conference game against the Hurricanes. From the first kick-off the Sharks were dominating in all areas of the game, but failed to get the points on the board. It was not a case of the Hurricanes being fantastic on defense, but more a case of the Sharks being their worst enemy on attack. Lambie slotted an early penalty from a difficult angle, which was looking promising comparing to last week’s game. Lambie only missed one conversion on the night, which gives you the idea that he’s been working hard on that over the last week, as he finished the night with 86% kicking accuracy.

The most disappointing part from the 27 – 9 win over the Hurricanes must probably be only scoring 10 points from 61% possession and 71% territory in the first 40 minutes. The Sharks did however had the opportunities to put more points on the board but failed to take early penalty kicks and two scoring opportunity, one where Lwazi Mvovo made a clean break and the second where the ball was ripped out of Ryan Kankowski’s hand as he went over the try line.

So, after two weeks the score board is looking good with a convincing 31 – 16 bonus point win over the Bulls and a 27 – 9 win over the Hurricanes, but the Sharks need to work on their discipline, goal kicking and converting good momentum and dominance into points.

It is good to see that Jake White is rewarding his players for performing and not making unnecessary substitutes or rotating players every week. Having the benefit of two wins from two games and heading into a bye, little things like discipline and making the most of your opportunities when you are dominating and on the front foot is something the Sharks can still sort out in this early stage of the competition. Oh yes, and we are still waiting for the return of JP Pietersen!


  • if the Sharks ball carriers would just pass 👿 the score could have been huge

  • Comment 1, posted at 24.02.14 11:38:38 by bobby 26 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
  • @bobby 26 (Comment 1) : I could have killed Steph for taking contact instead of passing to Odwa. Ditto Deysel.

  • Comment 2, posted at 24.02.14 11:51:56 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • TBH I think its a fair reflection so far.

    Tries for the Sharks: 6
    Tries against the Sharks: 1

  • Comment 3, posted at 24.02.14 11:59:16 by gregkaos Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • I missed the game this weekend, went camping and haven’t had time to check the highlights. All I can say is after last year, I am so glad we can beat any NZ team by 18 points, be 2 from 2 and still have so much room left for improvement! Still think this is going to be our year!

  • Comment 4, posted at 24.02.14 12:08:41 by HeinF Reply

  • I thought the Hurricanes defended very well in the areas and at the times it really mattered.

  • Comment 5, posted at 24.02.14 12:11:45 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 2) : and Jordaan and Mvovo,in a close game it could cost us

  • Comment 6, posted at 24.02.14 12:47:36 by bobby 26 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
  • No complaints from me – 2 good teams put to the sword.

  • Comment 7, posted at 24.02.14 13:18:14 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 7) : Tad generous calling the Bulls a good team so far 😛

  • Comment 8, posted at 24.02.14 13:31:49 by Bokhoring Reply
  • i feel the ref missed a few things at the breakdown with the sharks on the tryline, but you got to hand it to the hurricanes for playing the ref. Once again it was nice to see Bissie chatting to the ref during the game.

  • Comment 9, posted at 24.02.14 13:37:55 by Dunx Reply

  • @Bokhoring (Comment 8) :
    3 SR titles says otherwise.

    The season is still young. Although it probably doesn’t feel like that to the Bulls fans. 😆

  • Comment 10, posted at 24.02.14 13:41:16 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 10) : Perhaps more accurate to rephrase as one good team and one historically good team

  • Comment 11, posted at 24.02.14 14:11:19 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Big Fish (Comment 10) : the Bulls were actually a lot better against us than they were against the Cheetahs.

    If I were a Cheetahs fan, I’d be very worried after that gemors on Friday night

  • Comment 12, posted at 24.02.14 14:15:08 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @gregkaos (Comment 3) : I wasn’t trying to be too critical, but do think if they want to win the trophy these are the things they need to rectify before it cost them games in the future

  • Comment 13, posted at 24.02.14 14:28:58 by pierre_mackie Reply
  • @Big Fish (Comment 7) : they prob couldnt have asked for a better start, and credit should be given where its due, but its not been faultless

  • Comment 14, posted at 24.02.14 14:30:51 by pierre_mackie Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 12) :
    Yeah, I was surprised. Really expected them to come back hard and take the game.

    The half back issue is really bring them. Not sure van Zyl is the right fit either. They need a classic scrum half like Schreuder or Vermaak.

  • Comment 15, posted at 24.02.14 14:33:21 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Dunx (Comment 9) : ref but even more so the AR Lourens vd merwe I think his name is? Canes’ 9 did not put a single straight ball into a scrum even with Cobus requesting the AR to check. And this after he was blown up at the first scrum. 9 was eventually penalised again later and then subbed before he could receive yellow.

  • Comment 16, posted at 24.02.14 23:38:28 by KILLER SHARK Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter

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