The spirit was willing…

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 20 Apr 2015 at 09:24
Tagged with : , , ,

Looking back at Saturday’s defeat against the Bulls, there are again a number of different ways in which to view the Sharks’ performance. We tend to polarise very quickly into positive and negative camps as Sharks fans, and just like last week, I’m battling to decide which one to join.

I find it interesting that independent voices – those who didn’t give the Sharks much chance of winning this match from the outset – are prepared to cut the team a little slack given the loss of key personnel to injury and suspension. While I have some sympathy for that point of view, I certainly don’t think that it alone excuses a third successive defeat; perhaps, though, we do have to include it as a mitigating factor and hope that with more of their first team regulars filtering back while on tour, the Sharks will improve again.

Looking back at the low point of the year – the Crusaders hammering – the Sharks were slated for their attitude and a lack of effort. While the last two games have certainly been better in that regard, with Saturday’s performance against the Bulls a complete turnaround from the Lions fiasco from a defensive performance, as fans we now need to question whether attitude is the only problem.

In short, we’ve seen a team full of stars lose badly due to simply not being prepared to try. On Saturday, we saw a team full of understudies giving it a full go, but ultimately failing due to a lack of ability. While somewhat more palatable, the result remains the same and as fans, surely we have the right to question the continued inclusion of players who just don’t ever seem to come up to the standard required.

People are people – players are human and they make mistakes, but the same mistakes from the same players week in and week out is becoming too much for us to stomach.


  • Must say Hougaard’s try was a beauty. Oosthuizen got caught napping and they punished us for that. Peyper also killed us, I’m not sure how we pissed him off but it showed. IT’s commendable to let the ball go from a scrum where the front rows has collapsed, but hell just ensure then that the defending flanks stay bound to the scrum!

  • Comment 1, posted at 20.04.15 09:28:16 by Dragnipur Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Attitude and Defense – fixed

    Lineouts – Was fixed, now completely broken again.
    Goal Kicking – Both Fred and Cronje missing way more than acceptable.

    Will they fix the above at the expense of defense and attitude, or can they actually fix the problems without breaking the functioning aspects?

  • Comment 2, posted at 20.04.15 09:31:28 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • No excuses are good enough at this point imo.

  • Comment 3, posted at 20.04.15 09:31:43 by Seth101 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Author
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 2) : Its rather worrying that we don’t have proper back-up for Lambie. Not sure if Fred is just rusty, but he doesn’t look comfortable at all.

  • Comment 4, posted at 20.04.15 09:36:38 by Another Nick Reply

    Another Nick
  • @Seth101 (Comment 3) : Agree, every week we as supporters just have to accept the excuses that is provided. Enough is enough already! đŸ‘¿

  • Comment 5, posted at 20.04.15 09:37:33 by Rvw Reply

  • What is going on with the goal kickers? We would’ve won had Fred put all his kicks through. And don’t get me started on Cronje, I can’t stomach him. Giant needs to start, both Wentzel and Botha are willing, but not really effective in the tight-loose. Reinach seriously needs some guidance from an experienced scrummie, sooner Claasens can join up with the team the better. Andre is pure class, and I think he is being shoehorned into being a one dimensional crash baller, but he looks like he can offer so much more. I read that Paul Jordaan might be ready to start playing again after the bye, now that would be awesome. Couple that with Bissie and Frans making their returns, then we might have some hope for the tour.

  • Comment 6, posted at 20.04.15 09:41:55 by KingRiaan Reply

  • @Another Nick (Comment 4) : Fred is class, but rather rusty I think. Last year when he was suppose to get the majority of playing time in the CC, they chose to play Cronje over him.

  • Comment 7, posted at 20.04.15 09:43:39 by KingRiaan Reply

  • @Another Nick (Comment 4) : Fred had a shocking game. Kicks was screwed up, backline never got going. His worst game in a sharks jersey. He’ll do better on tour.

  • Comment 8, posted at 20.04.15 09:45:13 by Dragnipur Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • The season is lost IMO. Now is the time to start building the core of next year’s team and a more intelligent playing style.

    The fact is we are very likely to lose at least our front row after the WC – who knows which other players will follow suit.

    I do not see the point of all the journeymen in the team. I am not saying discard them completely, but we cannot have these retirees consistently blocking the opportunity for younger players.

    The defense looked a lot better this week. Likewise the coaches need to focus on one aspect of the game each week and start improving slowly – without obviously losing that what they have improved on.

    Likewise our second tier players need to put serious time into their basic skills – e.g. lineout throwing for Kyle and Franco, goal kicking for Fred, etc.

  • Comment 9, posted at 20.04.15 09:49:40 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @KingRiaan (Comment 7) : @Dragnipur (Comment 8) : Fred is good, no doubt, but the last couple of days made me miss Pat so bad. For a start, Fred needs to put over his kicks. Those are just points wasted in the water, which could have had a major effect on the outcome.

  • Comment 10, posted at 20.04.15 09:51:26 by Another Nick Reply

    Another Nick
  • I’ve made peace with the fact that we’re in a rebuilding phase a while back so the loss is not as painful as it normally would be. Rebuilding does not, in my opinion at least, imply that players are afforded endless opportunities in the hope that it’ll come right. Perhaps the coaches don’t see it as a rebuilding phase though and are simply operating in survival mode? I think some clear communication from the union on whether they consider this a development season or a salvage operation would go a long way right now.

  • Comment 11, posted at 20.04.15 09:51:56 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 11) : I will cut the coaches slack if we loose while in a rebuilding phase. However operating in survival mode is not going to bring anyone much joy.

  • Comment 12, posted at 20.04.15 09:53:49 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 9) : Yep can’t agree more.
    Leave the lacklustre, overpaid players at home and let them play VC to keep fitness for the WC or whatever (guys like Beast, Bissie, Jannie, Frans, Hoffman, Cronje, Stevens, Murray, Reinach, Sp) đŸ˜¯ – take a bunch of youngsters with overseas and start working on gameplans & combo’s for CC. Only bok players I will take is Willem + Marcel. Sure we will get a few hidings but we are anyway heading that way with all these players so we don’t have much to lose do we? đŸ˜•

  • Comment 13, posted at 20.04.15 09:54:31 by RedSharkUtd82 Reply

  • @Bokhoring (Comment 12) : Most of us will cut them slack I believe. But then they must actually do it and use the younger guys – yes I’m like a stuck record lol.. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 14, posted at 20.04.15 09:56:31 by RedSharkUtd82 Reply

  • Another thought I had over the weekend. Venter said he concentrated on attack, not defence at the start of the season. Our attack hasn’t looked that good this year thus far though. There were a few great attacks, but loads more wasted opportunities.

  • Comment 15, posted at 20.04.15 10:01:01 by Dragnipur Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Dragnipur (Comment 1) : Geez trhat was a horrible blunder by him. His attempt to card / penalise Beast was also very bizarre.

  • Comment 16, posted at 20.04.15 10:19:37 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Another Nick (Comment 4) : Fred is not the answer….I would go with Lionel knowing he will make s few mistakes but contribute a lot to our game and direction.

  • Comment 17, posted at 20.04.15 10:25:31 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • To whoever was at the game, quick question after an observation – Pollard had a good game but he looked old and unhappy on TV, was I imagining things?

  • Comment 18, posted at 20.04.15 10:25:56 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @vanmartin (Comment 11) : The Vodacom Cup loss to SWD is bugging me more than this loss. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 19, posted at 20.04.15 10:28:39 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • There was an improvement from the team though. We just didn’t have the resources on the field to beat them. Even Cobus cut his double step then pass habit by 80%.

  • Comment 20, posted at 20.04.15 10:31:14 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 17) : I haven’t really seen enough from Lionel this season to be able comment on his game. Though when he came on I must admit he attacked the gain line more than Fred.

  • Comment 21, posted at 20.04.15 10:47:49 by Another Nick Reply

    Another Nick
  • @Dragnipur (Comment 15) :

    Defence is a hell of a lot easier than attack

  • Comment 22, posted at 20.04.15 10:52:04 by MornĂ© Reply
  • @MornĂ© (Comment 22) : And also require your players to be a lot fitter. Successful attack is also almost more about what you do off the ball than with the ball.

  • Comment 23, posted at 20.04.15 10:56:13 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 23) :

    Now that you mention it, was trying to get it through someone’s thick skull on the weekend that 90% of what you need to do in rugby to be successful is off the ball.

    But yes, it is that and a hell of a lot more.

    For coaches it is understanding what it means when you say ‘creating and maintaining momentum on the ball’ and attack (believe it or not) can only operate within structures (why no-one ever got this head’s up rugby thing that came with PDV).

  • Comment 24, posted at 20.04.15 11:01:27 by MornĂ© Reply
  • @MornĂ© (Comment 22) : Morne, I have high admiration for your rugby knowledge, but attacking is really not that difficult. We are taught since kindergarden days that the whole point of rugby is to create space on the outside so that you can have an overlap with the fast buggers with the gel in their hair can score in the corner. Its really not rocket science. I think that once you want to do fancy things, thats when you [email protected] up. Get the ball, hit it up two or three phases then pass the hell out off the ball and get it to the wings. Also none of these skip pass crap, that pays of only every couple of games. These guys get told since the day they first held a rugby ball to make the ball do the work. In my (fairly limited rugby knowledge) opinion, rugby is a simple game that people want to complicate unnecessary.

  • Comment 25, posted at 20.04.15 11:03:24 by KingRiaan Reply

  • @MornĂ© (Comment 24) : You are so right there. If the players don’t work hard off the ball to get back in the defensive line or in a supportive roll, then you will always struggle.

  • Comment 26, posted at 20.04.15 11:06:07 by KingRiaan Reply

  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 18) : Pollard had a damn rusty game. You could see he’s been out a few weeks.

  • Comment 27, posted at 20.04.15 11:06:29 by Dragnipur Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • my concern is not just the loss eventhough thats really not good especially at home. My concern is over our game plan. There is no unpredictability and opposition defenses are just smashing us which leads to us giving away penalties but also tiring us out that we end up slipping up on defense.We also seem to collapse very easily at scrum time- our props need to hold themselves up. But of huge concern is the apparent lack of depth as our VC side and last years u21s and u19s are being manhandled but all opposition…so those guys not exactly putting any pressure on top side

  • Comment 28, posted at 20.04.15 11:07:37 by SheldonK Reply

  • @MornĂ© (Comment 24) : Brendan had a column a couple of months about just that issue – that you have to work so much harder off the ball on attack. The man clearly knows his stuff – it is just worrying that it does not seem to get translated in how the Sharks attack.

  • Comment 29, posted at 20.04.15 11:13:35 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @SheldonK (Comment 28) : That is why I would like the Sharks to stop buying all these retirees, and start looking for promising Varsity Cup players to get into the Sharks system.

  • Comment 30, posted at 20.04.15 11:15:10 by Bokhoring Reply
  • In the Chiefs game, they ran a kick back – three consecutive guys ran this funny L shape, first going infield, then out and passing to a player on the inside running that same line – ended in a try.

    Kept the defense completely wrong footed. Pretty impressive try that. Not sure if they train those running lines, or whether it is natural ability…

  • Comment 31, posted at 20.04.15 11:20:26 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @KingRiaan (Comment 25) :

    The problem you sit with (creating space on the outside) is defences are just so damn good and organised now.

    I can entertain you for hours on why defence will always be on up on attack (remember Jake White’s theory of rugby, you win without the ball?) which means that on attack you need to be so much more organised and precise.

    The one thing you are quite right about is the ‘fancy’ things. In any play you need to give players max two options to execute. We easily overcomplicate things and that is where everything falls apart.

    Here is a cool stat for you;

    Most tries of set phases are scored within 3 phases – this means that as soon as you have the ball for 4, 5, 6 etc the less likely it is you will score.

    @Bokhoring (Comment 29) :

    Few simple principles I think is crucial for a good attack.

    * Have no more than 3 starter moves for running attacking maps of set phases
    * Have no more than 2, at the very most 3 options for the creator of each move (eg option 1 inside pass; option two short around outside shoulder; option 3 long wide drift behind dummy running pod)
    * All roles to be executed at pace and with precision – ek wil my beste panty bekak every time I see a dummy runner 4 meters in front of the ball pretending he will catch a ball – you are a dummy runner for a reason, to fix defenders and create space.
    * No player receives a ball in a standing position – momentum on the ball is absolutely crucial and momentum can only be created or maintained with players on the move whether you handle the ball or whether you are used as a decoy. In practice sessions I have my 3 options (for the ball carrier) run the play as if all of them are the option being executed. If they all expect the ball they work their ass off getting into the best position to receive it.

  • Comment 32, posted at 20.04.15 11:35:38 by MornĂ© Reply
  • Forwards not really the problem though. Toothless backs are a massive worry. Both in Defence and Attack.

    Basically we need to do better than the likes of Odwa, Waylon, Hoffman, Stephens etc etc.

    Sbura should be playing 13 in place of Waylon. Ungerer in place of Hoffman, Anyone in place of Fatt Stephens.

  • Comment 33, posted at 20.04.15 11:36:54 by John Galt Reply

    John Galt
  • Am I the only one that thinks Mvovo could have done more to prevent the Bulls from scoring their try? I watched it again and noticed this – Paige broke from the scrum and passed to Hougaardt, he drew in Mvovo and passed back to Paige, Mvovo ran into Hougaardt just after he let the ball go, why didn’t Mvovo take Hougaardt to the ground? Instead he just let him go. It wouldn’t have been a late tackle in my opinion as Mvovo was already committed to the tackle before Hougaardt passed.

  • Comment 34, posted at 20.04.15 11:49:44 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @MornĂ© (Comment 32) : Ek wil my panty bekak as ek die soveelste stut of flank sien wat die bal kry van 9 vanaf ‘n stilstaande posisie met 4 verdedigers wat vir hom wag. Fisika het al hoeveel keer bewys dat jy op jou agterent gaan beland, 3 m terug van waar jy begin het.

  • Comment 35, posted at 20.04.15 11:53:06 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Ben (Comment 34) : Not a late tackle in your opinion, but it was Peyper that was blowing. Therefore; late, dangerous, cynical and 10mins in the bin if he took Hougaard out.

  • Comment 36, posted at 20.04.15 11:54:03 by Another Nick Reply

    Another Nick
  • @MornĂ© (Comment 32) : @Bokhoring (Comment 35) : Julle manne moet ophou julle vrouens se panties aantrek – nee man nee :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 37, posted at 20.04.15 11:54:43 by RedSharkUtd82 Reply

  • @RedSharkUtd82 (Comment 37) : đŸ˜† đŸ˜†

  • Comment 38, posted at 20.04.15 11:56:38 by Another Nick Reply

    Another Nick
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 35) :

    And that

  • Comment 39, posted at 20.04.15 11:58:33 by MornĂ© Reply
  • @RedSharkUtd82 (Comment 37) : Is net nie goeie maniere om dit in haar kas terug te sit na jy ‘n Sharks game gekyk het nie :mrgreen:

  • Comment 40, posted at 20.04.15 12:13:59 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @MornĂ© (Comment 32) : That is a problem the Sharks have had for a long time- lack of 3 options. There is an outside flat option but no inside or depth option. Hence so predictable.

  • Comment 41, posted at 20.04.15 12:14:16 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Bokhoring (Comment 40) : Wahahaha touche đŸ˜‰ :mrgreen:

  • Comment 42, posted at 20.04.15 12:19:59 by RedSharkUtd82 Reply

  • @MornĂ© (Comment 32) :

    Is that stat regarding the phases and tries corrected for the differences in the likelihood of the situations?

    There will always be more 3 or less phase situations in a match, than 4 or more. When you take the number of tries expressed as a % of the number of times the specific phase event occurs, do the stat still hold?

  • Comment 43, posted at 20.04.15 19:04:10 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @fyndraai (Comment 43) : That’s a very interesting question

  • Comment 44, posted at 20.04.15 20:33:54 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author

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