Sharks prevail against the odds

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 6 Feb 2015 at 11:21
Tagged with : ,

A plucky Sharks team, clearly still very much in the throes of pre season rust, tackled and harried their way to an unlikely, yet ultimately rather satisfying, 12-10 win over European champions RC Toulon at the Stade Felix Mayol last night.

It was clear from the outset that the two teams were looking for different things from the game. Toulon tried their best to play festival rugby on a night where rain made handling difficult. The Sharks made little progress on attack, in contrast opting to back the boot of Pat Lambie to win field position. With pressure defence forcing numerous mistakes from their hosts, Bismarck du Plessis and his team limited the Toulon attacking threat, although the home team did score the only tries on the night.

With Nicolas Sanchez unable to convert either of David Smith’s five-pointers, or succeed with a late penalty attempt, it was Lambie and Fred Zeilinga who prevailed, converting all of the Sharks’ opportunities between them.

While the Sharks will know there is much still to do, a solid hit out against good opposition – one that saw them on the right side of the scoreline to boot – is money in the bank.

RC Toulon 10. Tries David Smith 2
Sharks 12. Penalties Patrick Lambie 3, Fred Zeilinga


  • Full analysis to follow once I’ve got home and watched the recording

  • Comment 1, posted at 06.02.15 11:23:47 by robdylan Reply
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  • Any news on the guys who limped off? Reinach looked helluva uncomfortable.

  • Comment 2, posted at 06.02.15 11:25:34 by PTAShark Reply
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  • Toulon selected a an untested and unplayed unit for the most part so only benefit to them would be to throw the ball around and have a go. Im happy witht he way the Sharks played…if you dont practise playing like that and taking shots at goal etc in a full on match then when can you practise it. The wet and soggy field didnt allow for much enterprising rugby- evidenced by the number of times we turned Toulon over when they ran the ball. Altho Barnes and co missed a few knockons…either that or im not aware of a rule change. So take it for what it was…a good preseason hit out and team bonding.

  • Comment 3, posted at 06.02.15 11:26:55 by SheldonK Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 1) : How cold was it in the stands? I saw everyone had their cold weather gear out.

  • Comment 4, posted at 06.02.15 11:38:02 by vanmartin Reply
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  • I think we can take a lot out of this game, and that was ultimately the goal. Our scrum is rather worrying, although I think Barnes was a bit clueless as well. All in all, many lessons learned, AND we won, which is a bonus. Must say, for a friendly pre-season warm up, the french made a moerse fanfare! All with champers, fireworks, confetti, trophy and even Freddie’s “we are the champions” over the speakers! 😆

  • Comment 5, posted at 06.02.15 11:44:07 by Another Nick Reply

    Another Nick
  • @PTAShark (Comment 2) : ja hope it’s not to bad.

  • Comment 6, posted at 06.02.15 11:44:35 by JD Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 1) : hope you enjoyed the game!!! I know it’s a travel day for you but is there any news on Claassens?

  • Comment 7, posted at 06.02.15 11:46:08 by JD Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 4) : It was cold all right. Probably just a degree or two above zero. Pretty wet, but not sopping.

  • Comment 8, posted at 06.02.15 12:09:49 by robdylan Reply
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  • Fred Zeilinga looked the most amped to be there, good kicking both tactically and place, zippy on attack in the Toulon 22. Heimar made a decent break and Bizzie, Lambie,Botha and PSDT looked solid. My expectations were too great because they didn’t even look close to scoring a try. Not even one teeny tiny one. Really disappointed about that. And as for SP, yikes!

  • Comment 9, posted at 06.02.15 12:26:35 by SeanJeff Reply
  • @SeanJeff (Comment 9) : not true Matt almost scored but could not catch the ball on the try line.

  • Comment 10, posted at 06.02.15 12:28:25 by JD Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 8) : main thing is did you enjoy it?!?!?! and will the boss ever let you go again?!?!

  • Comment 11, posted at 06.02.15 12:29:41 by JD Reply
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  • For a warmup game we ticked a lot of boxes favourably! We also identified some areas that need further work. And we didn’t show our hand before the real season starts. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 12, posted at 06.02.15 12:36:52 by pastorshark Reply
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  • the boys came with a mission of a solid hit out to tests their set-piece, depth and structure. They came for a contact practice session to tick some boxes and will be very satisfied. They were never going to show what they had up their sleeves in terms of attack, they are strategically driven and will be making opposition worry. I am satisfied beyond with the result, and hope none of the injuries are serious.

  • Comment 13, posted at 06.02.15 12:41:35 by Richard Southey Reply

  • @pastorshark (Comment 12) : precisely Squire.

  • Comment 14, posted at 06.02.15 12:42:20 by Richard Southey Reply

  • Just a thought! Maybe HM should play Bissie at openside flank, as his value nowadays seems to be exclusively on the deck! That way we have Strauss’ accuracy at setpieces, and Bissie’s mongrel on the pitch, and contesting rucks. Marcel at 7, and Thormeulen at 8.

  • Comment 15, posted at 06.02.15 12:43:20 by KingCheetah Reply

  • @Richard Southey (Comment 13) : They can’t show what they have up their sleeves in terms of attack, because there is nothing! Nada, Zippo!!

  • Comment 16, posted at 06.02.15 12:44:14 by KingCheetah Reply

  • My dream team (15) for 2015:
    5-du toit

  • Comment 17, posted at 06.02.15 12:47:28 by tigershark Reply

  • @tigershark (Comment 17) : Botha and Bothma both already have international caps for other nations so can’t pla . . Oh, wait, that’s not your Bok team?

  • Comment 18, posted at 06.02.15 13:00:24 by Die Kriek Reply

  • @Die Kriek (Comment 18) : Position 13?

  • Comment 19, posted at 06.02.15 13:02:34 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • Lambie and Zeilinga good to go for FH this season. Maybe time to think of Cronje as 15 and maybe Swiel as well. SP? How much grace should he get? I hope he gets better but how long should we wait before pulling the plug?

  • Comment 20, posted at 06.02.15 13:04:28 by coolfusion Reply

  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 19) : Fair enough, don’t think Andre is the right man at 13, what about


    That could be a decent Bok team

  • Comment 21, posted at 06.02.15 13:09:50 by Die Kriek Reply

  • Quite concerned about positions 12 – 15.
    Just no spark whatsoever.

    We could have the best pack in the business(which I think we do) and those positions wouldn’t know what to do with the possession. And Im not talking about last nights performance, its still too early to tell from that showing. Im talking about just looking at the quality we have in those positions.

    Quite worrying when you consider Venter et al want to play a slightly more expansive game this year.

  • Comment 22, posted at 06.02.15 13:25:52 by John Galt Reply

    John Galt
  • @KingCheetah (Comment 16) : So the Sharks would then be in the same boat as your boys…with the difference being the Sharks’ ability to actually win games. 😈

  • Comment 23, posted at 06.02.15 13:31:30 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • Esterhuizen at 15? He couldn’t be worse than SP at the moment which means we can bring Steyn and Sithole on at center or Steyn and JP and leave Sithole on wing?

  • Comment 24, posted at 06.02.15 13:32:57 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 24) : Stevens at 15 couldnt be worse than SP…although the jersey may not fit…but besides that.

  • Comment 25, posted at 06.02.15 13:47:58 by SheldonK Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 24) : I actually don’t care where they put Esterhuizen but he cant be sitting on the bench!

  • Comment 26, posted at 06.02.15 13:53:30 by tigershark Reply

  • Stevens wasn’t impressive at all, and SP actually looks worse than he’s been in the CC. Those are the two guys who worried me the most.

  • Comment 27, posted at 06.02.15 13:56:59 by PTAShark Reply
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  • @Die Kriek (Comment 18) :

    hahah . your funny . funny bunny :p

  • Comment 28, posted at 06.02.15 14:09:45 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @KingCheetah (Comment 16) : considering your name; you’re baiting. Mate; I’m not going down this road with you. I’m objective, I rate teams with a critical eye, don’t do this thing of mudslinging… Let’s wait for Valentines Day and see who’s heart gets broken. I’ll pull up the stats so long…

  • Comment 29, posted at 06.02.15 14:23:54 by Richard Southey Reply

  • @Die Kriek (Comment 21) : The side I would select would be:

    15.Frans 14. Sithole 13. Fisher 12. Esterhuizen 11. Jordaan 10. Lambie 9. Reinach 1. Beast 2. Bismark 3. Jannie 4. PSDT 5. Lewies 6. Coetzee 7. Bothma 8. Mtembu

  • Comment 30, posted at 06.02.15 14:45:50 by Saffex Reply

  • @Saffex (Comment 30) : 😯 No Alberts?

  • Comment 31, posted at 06.02.15 14:49:52 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • @KingCheetah (Comment 15) : Bissy can play every position just pick him!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment 32, posted at 06.02.15 14:55:42 by JD Reply
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  • @tigershark (Comment 17) : like your team but I would use Chavanga on the wing and have Sithole at 13.

  • Comment 33, posted at 06.02.15 14:59:10 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 33) : Play PSDT from 1 to 23 lol :mrgreen:

  • Comment 34, posted at 06.02.15 15:58:32 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • @Richard Southey (Comment 29) : Aw your no fun!! 👿
    Lighten up bud, it was pre season stirring. What stats are you going to pull so long?? My heart won’t be broken, I will be with a hottie, so regardless of the outcome of the match, I will be good!
    @JD (Comment 32) : Exactly. Nowadays he seems to do better at contesting rucks, than hooking.

  • Comment 35, posted at 06.02.15 16:07:35 by KingCheetah Reply

  • Is it just me, or is Bryan Habana petulant all the time and moody when things don’t go his way?

  • Comment 36, posted at 06.02.15 16:12:14 by SeanJeff Reply
  • @KingCheetah (Comment 35) : 😎

  • Comment 37, posted at 06.02.15 16:18:53 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • Cape Town – Any Sharks enthusiast who missed the televised friendly match but noticed later that they sneaked home by four penalties to two unconverted tries against Toulon on Thursday, might have been excused for worriedly thinking: “Uh-oh, here we go again.”

    After all, the Durban-based team’s bluntness in the attack department may well have been a key reason for their narrow failure to land a vital home semi-final in last year’s Super Rugby competition, despite bossing the SA conference.

    The Sharks, in scoring only 29 tries in ordinary season, were joint second-worst with the Rebels for productivity in that department – the Bulls were the most try-shy, with 28 – even if their chart-topping success in leaking the fewest tries themselves (22) played a role in their credible enough third-place finish overall.

    In their first and only intended “proper” pre-season hit-out of 2015 in a wet, muddy Toulon, Bismarck du Plessis’s team failed to cross the whitewash at all, relying on a quartet of successful shots at goal for their slightly fortuitous 12-10 triumph in a forgettable, stop-start affair.

    The closest they came to a try was in the opening seconds of the second half, when tighthead prop Matt Stevens, probably not the ideal man to have in the situation, just failed to control a bobbling ball on the line after the Sharks had charged down a clearance kick.

    There will be pressure on the re-jigged brains trust at the franchise to inject more consistent X-factor into their play, given that home crowds were well less than robust in 2014 and there were some murmurs that Jake White’s conservative template didn’t help.

    In fairness, though, they won’t mind one bit at this stage that they slugged out this one the “ugly” way.

    Their new director of rugby, Gary Gold, has only just climbed aboard the strategic bus after his tenure in Japan, and the typically wintry northern-climes conditions they encountered on Thursday were light years from the type they will expect shortly in the early rounds of Super Rugby.

    Plus if the Toulon team they encountered was greatly below fullest strength – though it still featured many seasoned internationals from across the globe – the Sharks were only at roughly half or two-thirds strength themselves.

    When the all-southern hemisphere hostilities kick off, they will filter back such proven elements as JP Pietersen, Frans Steyn, Willem Alberts, Jannie du Plessis and Ryan Kankowski, among others.

    So just getting over the line against the wealthy French outfit was a confidence-boosting outcome, and given the heavy, slippery pitch conditions, they will have every right to protest that any backline vibrancy – almost entirely absent here – can wait for, say, the Super Rugby opener against the Cheetahs if it isn’t too impossibly humid at Kings Park next weekend.

    What we did witness was plenty of traditional Sharks muscularity and energy at the breakdown and in mauling play, with the likes of Marcell Coetzee, Mouritz Botha, Pieter-Steph du Toit and skipper Du Plessis himself to the fore.

    The Springbok hooker was yanked off at half-time considering the strong shift he’d put in, particularly in pilfering and slowing down opposition ball, whilst Du Toit, returning after missing virtually all of last season through injury, followed him off around the hour mark – a little more worryingly because of an upper-body knock, although the exit may have been more precautionary than anything else.

    The exciting young utility forward operated mostly at No 5 lock, but he also provided a few minutes at blindside flank as one of the team’s new recruits, Renaldo Bothma, spent time in the sin bin for a cynical late hit.

    That was an area where the Sharks probably need to buck up their discipline fairly quickly: Du Toit also conceded a penalty for a high – though not malicious – tackle at close quarters, and reserve hooker Kyle Cooper was very lucky to escape censure for a nasty, knee-up challenge that angered the home crowd.

    Right at the death, too, sturdy replacement centre Andre Esterhuizen gave away a penalty for another late tackle that saw Toulon move right onto the offensive for the closing seconds and set up a nerve-jangling finish.

    The Sharks are also likely to put a heavy emphasis on tightening up their scrum efficiency at training over the next few days; it was erratic with some good heaves and some retreats while the likes of Du Plessis and Bok colleague Beast Mtawarira were in the front row, but then considerably more vulnerable once that pair were withdrawn from the fray.

    Nevertheless, the squad looked suitably chuffed over their French raid afterwards, letting some champagne bottles spurt and presumably believing that if you can show blemishes yet still boss the scoreboard, you can’t be a bad outfit …

  • Comment 38, posted at 06.02.15 16:21:45 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • @KingCheetah (Comment 35) : haha! Well played sir. I don’t have sense of humor – I was called DarkDestroyer for a reason 😉 cheers. Not sure what stats I was going to pull up – stats don’t matter if you ain’t got the trophy in your cabinet.

  • Comment 39, posted at 06.02.15 16:25:07 by Richard Southey Reply

  • @sharks_lover (Comment 38) : your cut and paste skills are incredible! 😉

  • Comment 40, posted at 06.02.15 16:27:02 by Richard Southey Reply

  • @SeanJeff (Comment 36) : No its not just you, it set in with the hero worship he got in the Cape, and couldnt really deliver on.

  • Comment 41, posted at 06.02.15 16:55:31 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Richard Southey (Comment 39) : 😆 good luck for the season.

  • Comment 42, posted at 06.02.15 16:56:36 by KingCheetah Reply

  • @KingCheetah (Comment 35) :
    This hottie you will be with – whats his name? 😈

  • Comment 43, posted at 06.02.15 17:23:23 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Richard Southey (Comment 40) : Except he forgot to cut and paste the source and the author’s name….

  • Comment 44, posted at 06.02.15 18:49:04 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Big Fish (Comment 43) : Ice cold

  • Comment 45, posted at 06.02.15 19:34:58 by robdylan Reply
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  • What did ou guys make of Hadebe at flank?I thought he was decent…Mo played out of his skin especially 2nd half!Now my dream team

    I’ll ad Cooper,Thomas,Lewies,Mtembu,Zeilinga,Esterhuizen,Oosthuizen and Odwa on the bench

  • Comment 46, posted at 07.02.15 00:27:34 by BarendL Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @BarendL (Comment 46) : Good team. The bench needs another prop unless you have Thomas covering both positions.

  • Comment 47, posted at 07.02.15 08:07:24 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • @Big Fish (Comment 43) : You are confusing me with someone else. I am Cheetah supporter, and not Cape Town boykie, hence my preferences in “Hotties” are decidedly female, and that is not gonna change ever!! 😆

  • Comment 48, posted at 07.02.15 10:28:39 by KingCheetah Reply

  • @tigershark (Comment 17) : + one on that team selection, that’s mouthwatering 😆

  • Comment 49, posted at 07.02.15 11:00:21 by Quintin Reply

  • @BarendL (Comment 46) : ja that’s a good team and I’m sure the starting team will be almost the same.

  • Comment 50, posted at 07.02.15 23:42:01 by JD Reply
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  • @KingCheetah (Comment 48) : hahaha ja boet every thing can change just not that!!!!! Now if only you change to the “Black and White nothing else matters” side!!!!

  • Comment 51, posted at 07.02.15 23:51:56 by JD Reply
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