Time to turn the screws

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 24 Feb 2015 at 10:17
Tagged with : , , , , , , , ,

The win over the Lions was wonderful for the Sharks and I’m sure, as fans, we are all still buzzing after the great wet weather performance that delivered a rather unexpected bonus point. For the Sharks team, though, those celebrations would have been over by Sunday already and all at Kings Park are already fully focused on the next challenge: Saturday’s trip to Loftus.

This is Super Rugby, after all. After a poor performance against the Cheetahs, the Sharks will have been very relieved to get that opening win, but time to rest on past successes is not a luxury that any side can afford in this competition. And while the set piece – in fact the general forward – performance against the Lions was superb, it helps the Sharks nothing if they are not able to replicate it at Loftus.

That the Bulls look vulnerable and disorganised at the moment is not up for debate – but this fact only adds further pressure to a Sharks outfit that will now be expected to win and win well in Pretoria. Loftus is a ground that has brought its share of great victories to the Sharks, but has also been responsible for some painful defeats and if there’s one lesson we can learn from history, it’s that getting ahead of yourself is likely to lead to heartbreak at the highveld fortress.

Gary Gold has hinted at a little rotation this week; that in itself, while necessary, is perhaps cause for concern. Ryan Kankowski is a man who might well come strongly into contention to add height and lineout prowess to the back row; otherwise it would make sense to me to keep the pack (and the tight five especially) together this week. Lourens Adriaanse is a man who now needs to be brought closer to the action, since Jannie du Plessis will need to be rested before too long, while Mouritz Botha could also have a role to play.

It’s hard to imagine the coaches breaking up the impressive halfback pairing at this stage, but the need to get Fred Zelinga onto the park and in the groove at some stage over the next fortnight will be key; after all, as per agreement with the Boks, Pat Lambie cannot play every match and the Sharks need to balance game time across the squad – hopefully without disrupting their fledgling winning momentum.

The team’s goal this week, though, must surely be to take what they did against the Lions and turn it up a notch against a Bulls outfit that looks vulnerable. It’s time for that Sharks pack to step up and reclaim their mantle as the best in this competition.


  • Sorry Rob, rotation of key players should never be cause for concern. In this competition rotation is essential, and this weekend’s visit to Loftus is the ideal time to rotate.The sooner you give players like Ungerer, Zeilinga and Esterhuizen a chance to start the better, they need to be kept match fit and ready to step up when needed.

  • Comment 1, posted at 24.02.15 10:34:19 by jonnow Reply
  • It’s going to be a tough game this. No matter in what shape or form the Bulls are in. But I’m sure the boys are more than up for it. Just wish we still had Keegan Daniel, he always seemed to have an extra bit of magic in reserve for when we played the Northern Cows.

  • Comment 2, posted at 24.02.15 10:36:02 by KingRiaan Reply
  • @jonnow (Comment 1) : don’t get me wrong bud, I’m well in favour of it. But as a fan, I also like to see momentum maintained.

  • Comment 3, posted at 24.02.15 10:37:07 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Agree, its time to close our eyes and rip off the band-aid. Lets get this rotation thing down.

  • Comment 4, posted at 24.02.15 10:41:36 by Southern_Shark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • Looking forward to the game. Very curious to see which players are rotated.

    I see Lawyer and SR debutant Jaco van Heerden (and *ahem* Pretoria born) will be the ref. I thought he was pretty good last year in the CC. Hope he has a good game this weekend.

  • Comment 5, posted at 24.02.15 10:44:20 by gregkaos Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @gregkaos (Comment 5) : I’m not worried about him. He is a fast learner

  • Comment 6, posted at 24.02.15 10:49:50 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @gregkaos (Comment 5) : Just to point out before the knives come out. I don’t believe in anyway that Jaco will be biased. If anything I tend to find refs in their home towns are typically very unbiased as they are more aware of the possibility of been biased.

  • Comment 7, posted at 24.02.15 10:50:07 by gregkaos Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 6) : Yeah I re read my post and thought it sounded like I was upset\worried about it. Definitely not. He showed a lot of potential last year, and the more good refs we have the better Rugby will be going forward.

  • Comment 8, posted at 24.02.15 10:53:13 by gregkaos Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Going to be a huge forward battle. And areal bombardment since our backlines defense should keep them at bay. If PSDT catches Matfield with ball in hand, he’ll tackle him into retirement! Line out battle should be good as well.

  • Comment 9, posted at 24.02.15 10:54:06 by PTAShark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • The guys that have to be rotated during the season should include:

    Beast, Bissie, Jannie, Marcell, Willem, Reinach, Lambie, JPP, Steyn (Maybe PSDT, Mvovo).

    So these guys can’t play past round 5 and you don’t want to rotate them all out (Bissie can play till Round 6), since that would really screw up momentum.

    So do we keep the tight 5 this game and rotate some of them next week against the Stormers. It’s quite a balancing act. I can see why coaches don’t do it when it’s not enforced.

    Our upcoming games:

    Bulls A
    Stormers A
    Cheetahs A

    If one of the above guys have not been rested during one of these games then they will have to sit out for the next game.

    Chiefs H
    Force H
    Crusaders H
    Lions A
    Bulls A

    And then we have a bey, so these last 5 games are game we can target to get some continuity, as the whole team will be rested by this point.

    Highlanders A
    Hurricanes A
    Waratahs A
    Reds A
    Rebels A

    Here we have another bey at the perfect time, so no Boks would have to be rested.

    Stormers A

    It’s only really the first 10 rounds where the Boks have to be managed really smartly. After that our coaches can implement rotation as they find it best.

  • Comment 10, posted at 24.02.15 10:57:59 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • I’m nervous about this game……I fear a backlash from the Bulls. I wouldn’t change the team too much, max 2 changes and one of them won’t be Lambie just yet!

  • Comment 11, posted at 24.02.15 11:03:09 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • I think Lambie and Reinach will only be rested after Frans has settled at 12. But they might have to be rested against Cheetahs, since we don’t really want to lose them for Stormers and Chiefs.

    Steyn should be back for Stormers game?

    Bissie can be rested against the Force.

    Jannie and Marcell should also be rested before the Chiefs game. It would be nice to have a more full strength team for that game. (I don’t know about PSDT & Mvovo, but it would be good to rest them at some point also, even if they don’t fall under the Bok rest rules).

    Willem, JPP and Steyn would not be back this week. Only from round 4 or 5. So their rest periods would differ from the rest. It actually works out quite well.

    Lewies, Oosthuizen and Mouritz is also due to return at some point so it shouldn’t be to hard to give PSDT a game somehwere.

    And we are still waiting to see Wilson and Perez, Chivanga, who can cover for Mvovo.

  • Comment 12, posted at 24.02.15 11:08:30 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • With Boks forced to rest (an idea i think should be a permanent fixture) slight rotation is very good but not whole scale changes. Slight changes allow guys to settle in before other s are change. Its a reason i hate coaches that make all the subs at the 60min mark. Deysel is probably due start if he is 80min match fit. Id start Hoffman and Lambie but with Reinach and Zeilinga to play off the bench. So perhaps start Esterhuizen over Williams. Remember Reinach, Zelinga and Wiliams are club team mates so would have played as a combo a few times.

  • Comment 13, posted at 24.02.15 11:11:03 by SheldonK Reply

  • Another player that really deserves to be in the starting team on saterday is Giant, man that guy impressed me on saterday and I believe he was a big part in the scrum domination.

  • Comment 14, posted at 24.02.15 11:11:03 by KingRiaan Reply

  • @Pokkel (Comment 11) :

    I actually, really wouldn’t start rotation yet. Make changes, yes, maybe. If I feel it would strengthen the team, but rotation at this point?

    Lambie and Reinach should both be rested for the Cheetahs game. Keep the rest of the team the same, with hopefully Frans Steyn and JPP having already played one game against the Stormers and really strengthened the rest of the backline.

    Hoffman, Zeilinaga, Mvovo, Steyn, Sithole, JPP, SP against Cheetahs.

  • Comment 15, posted at 24.02.15 11:11:19 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Letgo some of your venues are wrong.
    2nd Bulls and Stormers games and the Rebels games, all at home.

  • Comment 16, posted at 24.02.15 11:22:23 by JarsonX Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner
  • @Letgo (Comment 12) : Gary and Brendan won’t be rotating because they are forced to by the Boks. It’s what they believe in to get the best results out of the squad. All the players will be rested at some stage, just not all at once obviously.

  • Comment 17, posted at 24.02.15 11:28:18 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Pokkel (Comment 11) : You and me both mate!

  • Comment 18, posted at 24.02.15 11:29:16 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Rotate away, just make sure it means a more focused and monster scrum than last week.

  • Comment 19, posted at 24.02.15 11:43:06 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • And play a great game so that Jesse Kriel will start spamming Smitties inbox.

  • Comment 20, posted at 24.02.15 11:47:06 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • I would give Fred and Andre a start, bring Lambi on at half time, that way we have him to close off the game and get Fred some game time.

  • Comment 21, posted at 24.02.15 11:49:52 by CrazySharkFan Reply

  • @CrazySharkFan (Comment 21) : How about Lambie starts at 10 then moves to 15 and Fred in at 10 or they start off that way (Lambie 15 Fred 10) and one of them gets subbed by Cronje?

  • Comment 22, posted at 24.02.15 12:08:38 by coolfusion Reply

  • No scratch that I vote for continuity and stability. Once we win 3 games on the trot we can start playing with the formula. What we have now “seems” to work. Let’s test that first before changing. Maybe a little upfront as I don’t think we should use Matt Stevens ahead of Adriaanse. I also think Mouritz should maybe come on in the second half as Giant Mtyanda did some great work as the starter alongside PSDT and Coetzee, Bothma and Mtembu ahead of Deysel and Kanko for now.

  • Comment 23, posted at 24.02.15 12:18:54 by coolfusion Reply

  • It seems Willem Alberts and Beast will be available for selection for the Stormers game, as well as Steyn and Pietersen, meaning Kankowski and Deysel will be pushing for a starting berth in the loose trio. Pundits are saying that Esterhuizen looks likely to start at 12. I think Giant might start again, with the experience of Botha coming on the bench to close out the game, I don’t see Wentzel featuring in this game. Also Thomas Du Toit, should start in a straight swap for Chadwick. Odwa might retain his place on the wing, with Sithole featuring on the bench. A big game this, as a victory will offset the loss to the Cheetahs at home.

  • Comment 24, posted at 24.02.15 12:26:38 by Richard Reply

  • In terms of resting and rotation, it is stating the obvious that backline players can go for longer stretches given the physical demands that differ greatly to that of the pack, Fred and the Scrumhalves should be getting more game time off the bench so they can get some match practice, but given that Lambie missed the bulk of last year he said he would like to play as much as possible and be given about 3 games off, compared to the 5 of the Springbok forwards, so if those can be spread out well, with the 1 bye week – he gets a months rest. Fair play indeed.

  • Comment 25, posted at 24.02.15 12:31:07 by Richard Reply

  • @Richard (Comment 24) : I would probably go with Odwa on wing rather than Sithole. If there is to be some rotation I would opt to swop Esterhuizen for Williams but keep Murray for now (he still need to prove himself a little and a little experience outside Esterhuizen would be a good thing) and Sithole off the bench.

  • Comment 26, posted at 24.02.15 12:33:55 by coolfusion Reply

  • Swiel is also back this week, which could make things interesting. Am I then correct in saying we will then have 4 FHs? 1 exceptional, and 3 VERY able replacements. The stint at Quins will have done Tim the world of good, but now he has to fight it out for a bench spot with Zeilinga and Cronje. Or perhaps one of them will be used as FB when SP gets a rest..

  • Comment 27, posted at 24.02.15 12:38:40 by Another Nick Reply

    Another Nick
  • Rotation against other SA teams at this of the competition is just not wise. Change the props but please leave Giant there. Start with Deysel at flank and Bothma at the back.

  • Comment 28, posted at 24.02.15 12:45:12 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • IMHO rotation has a number of objectives, the least important of which is the Bok management requirement to rest key players after 5 games, that should be seen as a given.
    At this stage of the season none of the players need resting, but resting them now rather than later on in the season when they are really in need of it has numerous benefits. Rotation of players should always be done as soon as possible rather than later on, even if it does come at the expense of perceived momentum.

    Just compare the way venter rotated in the Currie Cup in 2013 compared to the way jake approached it in SuperRugby last year. Chalk and cheese. Keeping players match fit and ready as well as psychologically part of the team and full of confidence are just as important if not more important objectives of rotation as resting of players is.

  • Comment 29, posted at 24.02.15 12:47:51 by jonnow Reply

  • Hopefully, apart from injury and a clear loss of form, the coaches have planned their rotation out even before the competition, in order for the players to know exactly how many games they will be starting etc. You don’t want any of the good players to be sitting on the side of the field thinking that they are not good enough for the team. If I’m correct, that is what Venter did in the CC, each player knew exactly which games they would be starting and which ones they will be resting in.

  • Comment 30, posted at 24.02.15 12:51:29 by KingRiaan Reply

  • Rotation need not mean wholesale changes each time.

  • Comment 31, posted at 24.02.15 12:51:53 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Another Nick (Comment 27) : Swiel can try his luck at 15 but I don’t think he is ready to lift Zeilinga at the nr 2 spot for FH. But it will help to get him in soon enough as there will be those games we are without Pat and Fred will need a nr2.

  • Comment 32, posted at 24.02.15 13:02:27 by coolfusion Reply

  • @KingRiaan (Comment 30) : Gold and Venter are renowned squad managers and man managers, no one is dropped and the ethos of rotation is welcomed by the players.

  • Comment 33, posted at 24.02.15 13:07:19 by Richard Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 32) : True. Here is my question though, where do you fit in Cronje? Grey squad?

  • Comment 34, posted at 24.02.15 13:22:46 by Another Nick Reply

    Another Nick
  • I would be weary of making any changes at this point. Once we have sufficient momentum, then start making small changes to allow for the benefits of rotation.

  • Comment 35, posted at 24.02.15 13:30:43 by stevovo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @Another Nick (Comment 34) : I Lionel and Tim are both decent alternatives at both 10 and 15. I think it’s likely both will start in Vodacom cup, but one of them (probably Lionel) is due a rotation in at some point and it will probably be at 15.

  • Comment 36, posted at 24.02.15 14:00:09 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 36) : And at the point where Lambie takes his compulsory break? He probably will cover 10 as Fred’s alternative?

  • Comment 37, posted at 24.02.15 14:11:39 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 37) : I think either he or Tim could do that job. Lionel probably has the inside track because he’s been training longer, but that can change.

  • Comment 38, posted at 24.02.15 14:14:07 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @jonnow (Comment 29) :

    Well said. It would be good to see a well managed rotational system throughout this Super Rugby season.

    I am so used to our teams playing the first choice, at all cost, it is difficult for me to shift from this thinking myself.

    But I remember Currie Cup 2013 and it was refreshing. It doesn’t help to rest your first choice if your second choice isn’t trusted to to the job when he needs to be rotated in.

  • Comment 39, posted at 24.02.15 14:14:42 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @coolfusion (Comment 37) :

    I don’t know about that. As far as the Bok contracted players are concerned, I believe they are supposed to be given a full week without rugby. So I don’t think it would count just as far as the Bok requirement for testing the players are concerned.

  • Comment 40, posted at 24.02.15 14:16:36 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • I guess it is a toss up between which games you see as must win…play your top players against them.

    Keep the team intact for the Bulls, your replacements should then be the starting guys for the following game.

    I trust Gold and Venter will have things 100% under control though, so I’m not too concerned about the preferred rotation method.

  • Comment 41, posted at 24.02.15 14:21:21 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 36) : I like the idea of Tim at 15. He has a decent boot, and is a slippery runner. Deceptively fast too.

  • Comment 42, posted at 24.02.15 14:25:07 by Another Nick Reply

    Another Nick
  • @Letgo (Comment 10) : maybe time to also give Doc a break this week?!?!?!

  • Comment 43, posted at 24.02.15 16:18:47 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • @Another Nick (Comment 27) : I had no idea Tim is still with the Sharks. 😯

    We have Lambie, Cronje, Zeilinga, Swiel and maybe even Steyn that can cover flyhalf. Maybe one of the above names (excluding Lambie) will have to focus on playing fullback. In that case we could possibly have 3 goal kickers on the field at the same time. Assuming Lambie plays 10, Steyn plays 12 and one of the others plays 15.

  • Comment 44, posted at 24.02.15 19:10:27 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Ben (Comment 44) : Not really saying that’s a good thing nor is it a bad thing. Just interesting to note.

  • Comment 45, posted at 24.02.15 19:14:15 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Ben (Comment 44) : @Letgo (Comment 39) : I agree and ask the Chiefs about that ,cost them last season,momentum in SR way more important than rotation. Why play players out of position just for the sake of having them on the field,if you don’t back SP or Van T then go buy a proper 15 this is not amateur stuff,and all past SR winners have had some serious talent at 15,just asking just my view

  • Comment 46, posted at 24.02.15 21:23:04 by benji Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @Ben (Comment 44) : Would be nice if they updated the squad on the website so we could keep track of who is in contention. Despite numerous coaching changes, some things never change. πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 47, posted at 24.02.15 21:45:29 by Here be dragons Reply

    Here be dragons
  • @robdylan (Comment 6) : Should be fine…

  • Comment 48, posted at 24.02.15 21:48:53 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • @Letgo (Comment 10) : You have a few too many away games there…we can’t play Bulls and Stormers away twice! The second Bulls game is a home game and is the second Stormers game…the game against the Rebels is also at home…

  • Comment 49, posted at 24.02.15 21:55:32 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • @JarsonX (Comment 16) : That’s what I said… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 50, posted at 24.02.15 21:59:22 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • @KingRiaan (Comment 30) : I’m pretty sure that’s how they are approaching it…

  • Comment 51, posted at 24.02.15 22:04:24 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • @Another Nick (Comment 42) : Just his defence makes me a bit nervous…

  • Comment 52, posted at 24.02.15 22:08:01 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • @Ben (Comment 44) : Didn’t actually think of it that way, but ja.. a very real possibility. 😯 @pastorshark (Comment 52) : I’m hoping his stint at the Quins improved his defence. Time will tell I guess..

  • Comment 53, posted at 25.02.15 07:38:17 by Another Nick Reply

    Another Nick
  • @Another Nick (Comment 53) : Fair enough…

  • Comment 54, posted at 25.02.15 08:21:33 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • Crucial game this to keep momentum. Bulls at home will never be easy. I would let Deysel start at 7 and Bothma at 8 and keep Giant at lock.

  • Comment 55, posted at 25.02.15 13:50:38 by RedSharkUtd82 Reply


Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.