Play to your strengths, Sharks

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 6 Aug 2014 at 12:21
Tagged with : , , , , , , , ,

While the Sharks go into the upcoming Currie Cup campaign a little bit light on experience, given the large number of Super Rugby players out of contention, they nevertheless boast some key men in their ranks.

The challenge for the coaching staff will be to come up with – and implement – a style of play that suits the personnel available, rather than slavishly adhering to the Super Rugby blueprint that was based on up-front dominance and tactical kicking.

Analysing the way the Sharks played under Jake White, a number of key men stick out. Big, blockbusting loose forwards like Marcell Coetzee, Willem Alberts and Jean Deysel are used incessantly to suck in defenders and force opposition mistakes with big hits, while the big boot of Frans Steyn, in particular, is key to the sort of territorial dominance on which the game plan is built.

The Sharks will go into their 2014 title defence, though, with a far different mix in the back row and at half back. While it’s expected that the tight five should stand up well enough – and perhaps still dominate at scrumtime against many teams – the lack of really big loose forwards must surely necessitate a different approach. Coming up against more physical back rows, the Sharks cannot be sure of winning ball at the breakdown and thus should look to rather avoid contact, using the skills of Tera Mtembu and Jacques Botes to keep the ball alive, rather than always go to ground and recycle.

The approach once the ball is actually secured, though, will require even more thought. While Fred Zeilinga proved himself at this level last year, his kicking game lacks the length that Steyn’s has; and one feels that with a three-quarter line the envy of any other in the competition, a flyhalf that simply attempts to kick the cover off the ball at every opportunity would be playing away from the team’s strength, rather than towards them. No, with Paul Jordaan and S’bura Sithole in midfield, it is not in the Sharks’ interests to kick the ball away and they simply have to come up with a plan that involves using the creative centres and loose forwards to find space and exploit it.

In Tonderai Chavanga and Odwa Ndungane they’ll have a pair of devastating finishers unlikely to be matched in this watered-down competition, with the former quite possibly the fastest man in the Currie Cup this year.

The line out should be a strength too and we’re looking for innovative plays off this phase that make best use of Zeilinga’s variation on attack and the pace out wide.

Let’s hope that we get to see just a little bit more creativity with ball in hand this Currie Cup campaign.


  • can someone or something PLEASE email this to BMH!!!! This kick…kick…kick is so overated! Thank you in advance! ????

  • Comment 1, posted at 06.08.14 12:41:13 by capesharks Reply
  • Young estherhuisen has a big boot on him…

  • Comment 2, posted at 06.08.14 12:57:38 by The Quirk Reply
    The Quirk
  • @The Quirk (Comment 2) : Quick, convert him into a flyhalf 😈

    Agreed Rob, we need to play to our strengths.

  • Comment 3, posted at 06.08.14 13:13:09 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • HEAR HEAR!!! Well said Rob!

    NB BMH!

  • Comment 4, posted at 06.08.14 13:30:29 by [email protected] Reply

  • In my fairy tale world (which requires constant changing, I must admit), I’m hoping the CC will see phase 2 of the JW plan come into play….

    ….where we see the conversion from very basic kick-&-bash rugby (as practiced during SR), into a hybrid in-between, before entering into full phase 3 smart running rugby (for SR 2015)….

    “I have a dream…” 😈

  • Comment 5, posted at 06.08.14 13:47:53 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • I fear that the Sharks may start off playing that same territory based approach with one off runners. Like you say I dont think we have the personnel for that type of game and it definitely doesnt suit them. a high tempo game keeping the ball alive is what would best suit the sharks. What will be interesting is to see how we front up on defense as a high tempo game can sometimes result in leaking points easily.

  • Comment 6, posted at 06.08.14 13:57:13 by SheldonK Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 5) : :mrgreen:

    (You never know)

  • Comment 7, posted at 06.08.14 14:07:26 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • well said Rob

  • Comment 8, posted at 06.08.14 14:51:47 by stevovo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • Ek hoor hulle wil vir Esterhuizen speel op 7 Flank. Lekker belaglik as jy my vra????????

  • Comment 9, posted at 06.08.14 15:03:50 by Sharkie NW Reply

  • @Sharkie NW (Comment 9) : Grapkas.

  • Comment 10, posted at 06.08.14 16:24:49 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Has anyone seen the juniour teams play and if so are they (attempting) to play Jakeball?

  • Comment 11, posted at 06.08.14 16:27:15 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 11) : Are you contemplating having a nibble at my fairy tale? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 12, posted at 06.08.14 16:30:44 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 12) : Or should that be a TerraByte…Sharks new marketing spin

  • Comment 13, posted at 06.08.14 16:34:25 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • Get Kockott back here now!!! OPEN UP THE CHEQUE BOOK TODAY JOHN

  • Comment 14, posted at 07.08.14 08:02:20 by KILLER SHARK Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 12) : I like your fairy tale a lot. I really hope that is the intention.

  • Comment 15, posted at 07.08.14 09:05:52 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 13) : Good one.

  • Comment 16, posted at 07.08.14 09:06:29 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • With Esterhuizen and Fisher at 12 and 13 respectively they form the biggest center pairing in CURRIE CUP rugby… not just jnr level.

  • Comment 17, posted at 07.08.14 09:06:53 by sharksupport Reply

  • @sharksupport (Comment 17) : And they ay HM has a size fetish? Fransie is big too. Fat lot of good that did!

  • Comment 18, posted at 07.08.14 12:12:23 by KingCheetah Reply


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