A wasted opportunity to do some good

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 7 Apr 2015 at 09:23
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The jokes abounded after the Sharks – who had taken the field in special jerseys to commemorate their support for organ donation – took a record hammering from the Crusaders on Saturday.

“Looks like they’ve already donated their brains”, quipped one. “A distinct lack of heart,” was the other ironic chirp, although guts and spine were just as evidently missing from the Sharks’ display. One comedic genius hit the nail squarely on the head at full time, saying he’d hate to be in the shoes of whomever was responsible for auctioning the special jerseys off after the game.

Who in their right sodding minds would want to buy one of those jerseys after the Sharks so defiled them? Perhaps a Crusaders player, keen to have one for his trophy room? I guess the only slight consolation for us fans is that the team chose to show such disrespect to a jersey that (at least) wasn’t the traditional black and white one.

There’s a nugget of valuable truth in this sorry tale, though. When you’re a professional rugby team, paid handsomely to play rugby for a living, then the rugby has to come first. That might sound like an awful thing to say – heartless even – but those who know me will hopefully realise that I am massively in favour of charitable works and am not for a second suggesting that the Sharks should do less of it. I am hugely proud of the good works that the Sharks brand puts their name behind and even got into a debate on this very topic with a fan on Twitter a few weeks ago, who suggested that the sideshows should stop.

Saturday’s debacle has made me change my mind. I’m not saying that the Organ Donor drive was in any way to blame for the poor performance, but I fear the Forever Fans legacy campaign will be forever tainted by the memory of this shocking result. The Sharks as a team and as a brand now need to put all their energy into re-establishing credibility as a rugby team, rather than devoting hours during the week to photo shoots, ad campaigns and goodness knows what else. These players, as valuable marketing commodity, lose value every time they are seen taking a beating (and worse, being guilty of foul play) and it’s long past time that they start to show their real value again – on the field of play.

Less marketing, Sharks. Less sideshows. Less clever media stunts and glamour photo calls. More blood. More sweat. More rugby. That’s the first step to regaining our respect.


  • “Less marketing, Sharks. Less sideshows. Less clever media stunts and glamour photo calls. More blood. More sweat. More rugby. That’s the first step to regaining our respect.”

    Hammer, Nail – Head.. Well said!! 😉

  • Comment 1, posted at 07.04.15 09:38:12 by RedSharkUtd82 Reply
  • Hearts and passion flatlined on Saturday.

  • Comment 2, posted at 07.04.15 09:40:06 by JarsonX Reply
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  • Well said Rob. The rot has to stop. I’m an embarrassed and annoyed fan.

  • Comment 3, posted at 07.04.15 09:40:08 by Pokkel Reply
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  • I’ve been offered box tickets for the Bulls game at Kings park in 2 weeks. I’m not even sure I would make the effort quite frankly.

  • Comment 4, posted at 07.04.15 09:42:17 by Pokkel Reply
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  • Well they got me to sign up as a organ donor but I do take your point Rob. I think there is a case to be made for too many distractions.

  • Comment 5, posted at 07.04.15 09:43:58 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 4) : Can’t blame you lol.. At the current rate they would have to pay people to go watch the next game at KP :mrgreen:

  • Comment 6, posted at 07.04.15 09:45:32 by RedSharkUtd82 Reply

  • To use your own expression: Hammer. Nail. Moered the head right through.

  • Comment 7, posted at 07.04.15 09:45:56 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
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  • Rob,is there something wrong at the union that we the fans arent aware off or was it just and off day for the players?the body language on the field did not look good.

  • Comment 8, posted at 07.04.15 09:54:17 by Phil46 Reply

  • Couldnt agree more. I wanted to post about my misgivings of changing the jersey for the game in the name of a very worthy cause but just felt it would be taken the wrong way and I even felt bad about thinking along those lines. At the end of the day its the jersey that define the team when on the field – it should not be tampered with. By all means continue supporting the good causes but find new innovative ways that will offer the least disruption to the team.

  • Comment 9, posted at 07.04.15 09:54:50 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 5) : Well then taking a 50 point pasting may well have been worth it.

  • Comment 10, posted at 07.04.15 09:57:37 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • The Sharks looked like #Rugbyginners on Saturday.

  • Comment 11, posted at 07.04.15 10:00:08 by JarsonX Reply
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  • Agree Rob and I think the Sharks need to ask SuperSport to remove their Rugby’ginners ad, if im gonna start supporting a team it will most definitely not be the Sharks, they looked like a bunch of Rugby’ginners on the weekend

  • Comment 12, posted at 07.04.15 10:00:40 by pierre_mackie Reply
  • Agreed 100%. The same goes for Smit trying everything he can to get people to actually come watch rugby, and missing the point of good rugby = better crowds. The Sharks need to start focusing on rugby again, not on everything else.

  • Comment 13, posted at 07.04.15 10:02:18 by Seth101 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Author
  • @JarsonX (Comment 11) : Haha, thinking along the same lines

  • Comment 14, posted at 07.04.15 10:02:35 by pierre_mackie Reply
  • Very well written article,ties in with a lot of the chat in the stands these past few weeks about the closing of the stands behind the posts and selling the space off to advertisers.
    Not many happy O.N F .on that score.
    The jersey should be a sacred thing,and a good example is the A.B jersey that has only one logo on it Addidas .
    Current Sharks jersey has so many logos on it,its almost hard to find the Shark.
    Time to return to basics,like a young Mike Tyson coming into the ring in plain black shorts,no socks ,no robe.
    When the boy arrived in the ring it was obvious that he was there to do one thing,fight,not sing rap songs or win a bling contest
    Sharks need to hit that field on Saturday with one thought in their mind,play winning rugby.
    By the way I wonder how much Jean Deysel’s jersey fetched on the auction.

  • Comment 15, posted at 07.04.15 10:05:44 by The hound Reply
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  • We are still sadly no closer to knowing what the heck the issue was/is.

    I do agree that all these off field distractions are definitely not helping this group play rugby as a team – maybe the tour will do them a world of good, getting away from their day-to-day lives.

  • Comment 16, posted at 07.04.15 10:06:08 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • Good article. This team needs to forget everything else except rugby – cos they don’t play it very well.

    And maybe we could start by bringing some hungry players in – Sithole is long overdue a start. Maybe give Ungerer and Esterhuizen more time AND freedom to express themselves.

    Those red cards are also indicative of some serious issues in the squad. Gold needs to address those ASAP.

  • Comment 17, posted at 07.04.15 10:09:27 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • Sigh.

  • Comment 18, posted at 07.04.15 10:15:05 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pierre_mackie (Comment 12) : If a team has to make ads to get fans they have the whole concept wrong. Concentrate on winning rugby and the fans will follow, whether they’re 6 or 60.

    Brands are built on a reputation for quality. Mediocrity does not create a base of aspirational fans. If iconic brands, such as Nike, suddenly started producing crap sports gear they’ll lose their market share in no time.

    This is what has happened at the Sharks. No amount of media spin, ads and new stupid-looking mascots will do the job.

  • Comment 19, posted at 07.04.15 10:17:44 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
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  • This last game is the result of a problem that has been at the Sharks for a few years now. The old boys club!

    There are a handful of players that are bigger than the game and in my opinion don’t respect the team, coaches and management at the Union. We will not name them, but we all know who they are.

    On Saturday you could see that some of the players don’t respect Lambie as captain and just do what they want. This shows no respect for the coaches choice for captain and for a talented player.

    I feel that the coaches and management need to grow a pair and start working with the young new talent and get rid of the old boys club. If the excuse is that they need the experience to win games then that mentality is fraud. I would rather support a young team that is loosing with heart than this old boys club that has no heart.

  • Comment 20, posted at 07.04.15 10:18:36 by Sagroup Reply

  • @Big Fish (Comment 17) : Not that you’d say so reading Gold’s response…

  • Comment 21, posted at 07.04.15 10:21:00 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Great article Rob,bring back prfessional into the core focus and I would like to repeat . The top soccer teams with billions of dollars floating around them with billion dollar superstars all have one factor in common,a hardcore autocratic coach with pedigree and no player is larger than the team,Fergies boot to a Beckham head comes to mind,so why is it different at the Sharks

  • Comment 22, posted at 07.04.15 10:38:37 by benji Reply
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  • @Sagroup (Comment 20) : Which players did you see that dont respect Lambie?

  • Comment 23, posted at 07.04.15 10:52:45 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • I am not going to slag players off. I feel naming and shaming is wrong. Watch the game and how frustrated Lambie look. The senior players did not rally around him and support him. I really felt sorry for him, not a nice position to be in.

  • Comment 24, posted at 07.04.15 11:10:14 by Sagroup Reply

  • I feel it should go even further. I feel the Sharks players should do 2 hours of community service each week. Working with the community, cleaning, helping at old age homes, etc. Remind them they are just ordinary mortals and bring them face to face with the ordinary man on the street so they can be reminded how much they mean to their local community.

    SA rugby has a problem with huge egos. NZ players especially tend to remain humble and part of their communities.

  • Comment 25, posted at 07.04.15 12:39:14 by Feather Reply

    Gold's Member
  • @Feather (Comment 25) : Bugger that! They should be on the field, in the gym, in the analysis room and nowhere else.

  • Comment 26, posted at 07.04.15 13:34:19 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
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  • Wow Rob, impressive. On the 18th March I tweeted “imho players involved in too much other kuk during the week. Should be focussed on the game only.” You did a great job of stripping that out of context and then a kuk job of trying to give me a lecture on humanity, or something like that. Great to see you’ve eventually taken my advice and righted the location of your head! Don’t worry about the apology: I’m not as sensitive as you! Just equally passionate about the team. Prost.

  • Comment 27, posted at 07.04.15 18:20:02 by MikeN Reply

  • @MikeN (Comment 27) : Take this post as the apology.

  • Comment 28, posted at 07.04.15 19:47:34 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Spirit of Rugby (Comment 26) : two.hours.a.week?

  • Comment 29, posted at 07.04.15 21:57:14 by Feather Reply

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