Sharks v Griquas – the good and the bad

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 12 Aug 2014 at 16:07
Tagged with : , , , , ,

In the first of a new series of articles, I’m going to pick up five positive aspects from the Sharks’ opening Currie Cup win over Griquas, as well as look at five areas that were concerning. The hope is that as the season progresses, we end up with nothing at all to worry about and can gush forth about only positives.

Let’s look at the positives first:

1) The scrumhalf issue is a non-issue. Based on the performances put in by both Cameron Wright and Hanco Venter, we have nothing to worry about in this position. Sure, it’s early days for the youngsters, but they really couldn’t have asked for a better start. If anything, the problem is going to be figuring out how to accommodate four great senior 9s once Cobus Reinach and Stefan Ungerer return.
2) The kicking we did was sensible and proportionate. Unlike in Super Rugby where every good ball was kicked away, on Saturday, you felt that there was real purpose behind every kick, with the players weighing up their options carefully before using the boot. Kick execution was, for the most part, very good, with some lovely rolling touch finders employed to win position.
3) Fred Zeilinga remains a match winner. Sure, he may have been a little rusty at times, but you simply cannot fault the way this young man directs matters at flyhalf. In a Currie Cup where many teams are weakened, Zeilinga’s class is going to prove decisive for the Sharks.
4) There is pace and power aplenty amongst the three-quarters. The performance of S’bura Sithole and Paul Jordaan in particular was incredibly encouraging, while Tonderai Chavangha also showed just how dangerous he is going to be this season. An area of historical weakness for the Sharks now looks to be a real strength.
5) The forwards stood their ground. So often we’ve seen under-strength Currie Cup packs capitulate against Griquas. Despite their rustiness and the after-effects of far too long in a plane that was far too small, the Sharks forwards delivered 60 minutes of very good ruby (and another 20 of reasonable rugby) – enough to give us plenty of hope for the games to come. The scrums, in particular, were hugely encouraging.

Let’s add a sixth positive, just because this is the first episode in this series….. we actually won the bloody match. Hands up everyone who thought we were going to lose! Yes, I know. There really were quite a few of you!

Now, for the negatives, starting with the most obvious.

1) No bonus point. Seriously, you won’t get a better opportunity to score four tries than when you play against 14 men for 90% of the game.
2) Ball retention. There was far too much good ball given up through runners getting isolated, or too few men at the breakdown.
3) Place kicking. Fred left too many points out there, simple as that. He will improve, I’m sure.
4) Soft moments. The execution wasn’t where it needed to be at times, which you can mostly blame on rust, I guess. There were too many knock-ons, some unforced kicking errors and some costly lapses on defence, all of which conspired to keep Griquas in the game.
5) That final quarter was a disaster. You don’t go from being 3 tries up and pushing for a fourth, to desperately clinging onto a win. Blame it on a lack of match fitness, or perhaps the after effects of the flight, but the final 20 minutes from the Sharks simply weren’t good enough.


  • Some really good things to take from the match now the Sharks must just build on it!!!! Hope they can stop this tendency of letting teams back into matches that should have been secured.

  • Comment 1, posted at 12.08.14 16:16:16 by JD Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld JD
  • Nice idea! Can’t disagree on anything although I’d add that our loose trio were fairly anonymous for large parts of the game. Hoping to see a huge improvement there.

  • Comment 2, posted at 12.08.14 16:17:14 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld vanmartin
  • Rob what happened to the down time?

  • Comment 3, posted at 12.08.14 16:18:09 by JD Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld JD
  • @vanmartin (Comment 2) : did you mean the lock trio and two loosies?

  • Comment 4, posted at 12.08.14 16:19:45 by JD Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld JD
  • @JD (Comment 3) : WordPress allows you to schedule articles.

  • Comment 5, posted at 12.08.14 16:20:07 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld vanmartin
  • @JD (Comment 3) : haha I got bored! Meant to write this piece yesterday and ran out of time. Decided to just bash it out quickly before I leave tomorrow.

  • Comment 6, posted at 12.08.14 16:20:21 by robdylan Reply
  • @vanmartin (Comment 2) : I think you can probably roll that point in with negative number 2….

  • Comment 7, posted at 12.08.14 16:20:51 by robdylan Reply
  • I really thought Griquas would take it, considering how cohesive they have been over the last few months.

    Great win for us.

  • Comment 8, posted at 12.08.14 16:21:10 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @vanmartin (Comment 5) : you’re technically correct, but in this instance I didn’t actually use that functionality 🙂

  • Comment 9, posted at 12.08.14 16:21:17 by robdylan Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : Agreed, reason I point that combo out specifically is that there ‘absence’ was felt on defence too. They have to step up now because Lewies is pretty much an extra loosie and should he be out for the next game…

  • Comment 10, posted at 12.08.14 16:27:56 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld vanmartin
  • @robdylan (Comment 6) : nice piece Rob ja must say it seems as if there’s lots more positives than negatives.

  • Comment 11, posted at 12.08.14 16:36:15 by JD Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld JD
  • @vanmartin (Comment 10) : ja hope the move Oosthuizen in to no4 and pick a real loosie. Would be nice they could use this time to look for a open side for next year’s Super rugby.

  • Comment 12, posted at 12.08.14 16:39:36 by JD Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld JD
  • We’ve got much to be upbeat about…especially young talented hungry players putting their hands up.

  • Comment 13, posted at 12.08.14 16:57:24 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • “after-effects of far too long in a plane that was far too small”
    That picture of Lewies on the plane!

    Speaking of young talented players, seeing how quickly Thomas adjusted to not only sort out his side of the scrum, but begin to dominate is very very encouraging.

    Really enjoyed the story from the commentators about a franchise trying to recruit him while he was at home, watching the Sharks playing CC, wearing a sharks supporter jersey. :mrgreen:

    Also think Fred should get some extra credit for the performance of the debutant scrumhalfs. He seemed to communicate with them very well.

  • Comment 14, posted at 12.08.14 17:28:23 by gregkaos Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld gregkaos
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 13) : ja maybe time to try an young hungry loosie?!?!?!?!

  • Comment 15, posted at 12.08.14 18:16:19 by JD Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld JD
  • @gregkaos (Comment 14) : imagine Lewies and Big Tom sitting next to each other…….

  • Comment 16, posted at 12.08.14 18:22:58 by JD Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld JD
  • @JD (Comment 15) : Did however seem as though Terror relied on Botes for some decision making advice at times….Botes will prove to be a very good guiding hand to Terror until he is completely comfortable with the captaincy role.

  • Comment 17, posted at 12.08.14 18:41:34 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • Good article and great idea.I agree with CW,SU and HV the problem at 9 is very fixed.EO needs to go back to lock and Sharks need to find new 6 & 7

  • Comment 18, posted at 12.08.14 19:23:15 by benji Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 17) : Botes is a good leader and player, I was referring to playing a lock at loose forward and it should be better to play a youngster.

  • Comment 19, posted at 12.08.14 19:39:30 by JD Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld JD
  • Great concept article Rob…interesting and sparks lots of thought and debate. Just my thoughts- the kicking was a lot more thoughtful so was it the personnel that did it better or was there better instruction from the coaches? I do love when the Sharks 9s play the vast majority from the base allowing the 10,12,13 space and time. However i do hate when our 9s think they are the only play maker! Our forwards were good but can see it was a new combo and they were a little unsure of themselves. and lastly just something to think about…yes our ball retention wasnt the best but with the way the super rugby side etc play are the Sharks actually comfortable keeping the ball for long periods or do they prefer the opposition to have it and then strike off counters?

  • Comment 20, posted at 13.08.14 08:18:54 by SheldonK Reply
  • The good: Reinach, Ungerer, Venter, Wright

    The bad: Hoffman’s employment contract

  • Comment 21, posted at 13.08.14 09:03:49 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Culling Song
  • So…who picked our boys to win on SuperBru? Is ek al een? lol

  • Comment 22, posted at 13.08.14 09:04:39 by capesharks Reply
  • @SheldonK (Comment 20) : On Saturday, our boys held onto the ball for long periods of play, where they usually kicked it away in during SR.

    Seems they are learning, or getting used to which areas of the field should be used for kicking, and which areas are there for running.

  • Comment 23, posted at 13.08.14 09:05:04 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • @Culling Song (Comment 21) : I believe a few comments above has now definitively proven that Hoffman’s contract is for medical experimentation only. 😆

  • Comment 24, posted at 13.08.14 09:07:31 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 24) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 25, posted at 13.08.14 09:30:00 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Culling Song
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 23) : Yeh they def did hold onto it more. Just saying the reason we turn it over easily sometimes is cos we not used to having the ball. I still enjoyed the 2010 CC under Plum where we held the ball through phase after phase and only kicked it when we absolutely had to.

  • Comment 26, posted at 13.08.14 09:53:37 by SheldonK Reply
  • @SheldonK (Comment 26) : Back in 2010, our forwards never tried to clean out the ruck individually…they always cleaned it as a unit of at least two guys.

    When I was std. 7 (grade 9), we were taught to clean out by grabbing onto the first team-mate you could grab hold of…off course, the scrummy became part of the clean-out unit far too often for his liking 😀

    But cleaning out as a unit is the very basics of rugby which is often neglected.

  • Comment 27, posted at 13.08.14 10:02:54 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 27) :

    Very good point. You often see guys losing at the breakdown point, because the guy competing is in a position of strenght and one guy, sometimes two, are very rarely strong enough to get rid of a good ball stealer in that position.

    They repeated the Sharks 2013 final last Friday before the first CC game. Lambie darted to the try line, were tackled, Bissie and Ludik were over the tackle instantly and Charl could pick up a clean ball to go over for the try.

    The number of players to the breakdown and the timing of the cleanout needs to be perfect every time.

  • Comment 28, posted at 13.08.14 10:10:33 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Letgo
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 23) : hope they keep on doing that!!!! GO SHARKS!!!!

  • Comment 29, posted at 13.08.14 10:52:56 by JD Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld JD

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