Sharks show spirit – but result remains the same

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Lions, Original Content, Sharks on 21 Sep 2015 at 09:29
Tagged with : , , ,

The Sharks rallied late to score two tries and give a little respectability to an 18-26 defeat to the Lions in Currie Cup rugby on Saturday. While the visitors were competitive for much of the match, they again fell well short of the standard set by the log-leading side this year.

Fans were encouraged by a first-half showing that saw the hosts fail to assert the expected dominance; in fact, both sides were guilty of squandering opportunities in a tight affair, with a penalty to Lions flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff finally breaking the deadlock deep into the second quarter. Joe Pietersen levelled matters with a penalty of his own, with Boshoff again striking just before half time see the Lions take a 6-3 advantage into the break. Sharks fans – a rather cynical and sober lot after the travails of this season – dared to dream of a famous upset, yet were again to be cruelly denied 40 minutes later.

Boshoff stretched the lead twice more in the second period, with Pietersen pulling three back to see the Sharks trail 6-12 heading into the final quarter. As has so often been the case this season, though, a period when the Durban side simply failed to pitch on defence proved costly, with first Lourens Erasmus and then Courtnall Skosan scoring tries within five minutes of one another. With a 20-point gap suddenly appearing like a crevasse before them, the Sharks were well in catch-up mode and any hope of winning the game evaporated.

To their credit, the visitors finished the stronger of the teams, scoring two good long-range tries through Pietersen and Francois Kleinhans. In the final analysis, though, it was yet another match where the Sharks emerged with zero log points (the fourth of the season so far) with the only scant consolation the inability of the Lions to score four tries on the day. This, in some quarters, might be seen as evidence of progress.

The Currie Cup log, however, tells a different story. With three games yet to play, the Sharks are now fifth and barring a miracle, will miss out on a play-off spot for the first time in ten years of this competition.

Golden Lions (26) – Tries: Lourens Erasmus, Courtnall Skosan; Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (2); Penalties: Boshoff (4).
Sharks (18) – Tries: Joe Pietersen, Francois Kleinhans; Conversion: Joe Pietersen; Penalties: Pietersen (2).


  • Competitive…but falling short…that sums it up right there…

  • Comment 1, posted at 21.09.15 09:35:11 by pastorshark Reply
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  • if the Japan game showed anything, it is how under coached and uncommitted this Sharks side is. thankfully the Lions butchered so many tries and the granny scrums helped. the tight five at least put up an effort the first half and where much much better. I have always had a sentimental soft spot for Dale but jeepers, he looks completely outclassed in the tight, the loose, the scrums heck everything.

    Would also like April to get a start! As good as Odwa was last weekend, his age showed again this weekend. unfortunately all the rugby Planet has played this year is also showing but what other options do we have?

    Gotta win against Cheetahs and Kwaste for any hope now… A Bulls victory might make me forget all the crap before this….. 😈

  • Comment 2, posted at 21.09.15 09:38:24 by Kabouter Reply

  • What the game also showed is how good a player Kwagga is. A Bok loose trio of Kwagga, Kriel and Vermeulen would “sit ore aan”.

  • Comment 3, posted at 21.09.15 09:40:47 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
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    Spirit of Rugby
  • @Kabouter (Comment 2) : The tight 5 was better…so Marais a better bet than Hadebe? I just don’t have the confidence that we can perform like that consistently…

  • Comment 4, posted at 21.09.15 09:42:27 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Spirit of Rugby (Comment 3) : But with that loose forward trio we couldn’t bash it up…and we wouldn’t be able to play three flyhalves in one game! What are you thinking?

  • Comment 5, posted at 21.09.15 09:43:33 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Silver lining: at least Meyer isn’t our coach. We’d be losing High School second teams were that the case.

  • Comment 6, posted at 21.09.15 09:53:45 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Spirit of Rugby (Comment 3) : Maak die Leeus almal Bokke doesn’t sound like a too absurd suggestion to be honest.

  • Comment 7, posted at 21.09.15 09:54:41 by vanmartin Reply
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  • …so once again we learn: skill will always trump spirit.

  • Comment 8, posted at 21.09.15 10:01:34 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 8) : Of course skill PLUS spirit is enough to enable a tier 2 nation to beat former world champions!

  • Comment 9, posted at 21.09.15 10:13:13 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 8) : skill added with commitment / passion

    If I was the one with the funds I would target Werner Kok ASAP. He looks more dangerous than Kwagga for Blitzbokke and the Sharks can only benefit from his skill and attitude. Kanko and Keagan of yesteryear provided this but alas we have lost that spark in the loosies.

  • Comment 10, posted at 21.09.15 10:15:16 by Kabouter Reply

  • @pastorshark (Comment 4) : I have to be honest there were positives in the front row and lineouts and my optimistic opinion is that if we had this base last week, we could have beaten the WP.

    I am worried about the locks as there Ettas played his best game of the year but still not close to the performance he put in vs Crusaders last year. Planet looks tired and the amount of rugby he has played this year is showing. If both twins are fit I would like to see Dan moved to lock this week. We are not using the back of the lineout as option enough, maybe due to Monde not finding any jumpers,so we can compenate for playing two 4 locks. I dont think Dan at 5 will loose us much in terms of jumping options but our pack will have significantly more grunt with both twins on the park. Dan also compares very favorably with the Highlander locks from SR

    who played hooker in the second half vs Lions warmup? Monde and Chad has been terribly disappointing in all aspects and our side is much weaker with both of them on the park. It breaks my heart as they have been in the union for so long and stayed committed but at the moment Vodacom Cup seems to be their max level.

  • Comment 11, posted at 21.09.15 10:27:14 by Kabouter Reply

  • For now I would sink all my efforts and funds into a good coach. See the japan game. A good coach can work miracles with mediocre to sub standard players a bad coach can sap the spirit of teams with great potential and even some great veterans won’t really help.

  • Comment 12, posted at 21.09.15 10:38:37 by coolfusion Reply

  • Spirit and character. .. we have a fortune in those 2 commodities already…

  • Comment 13, posted at 21.09.15 10:41:15 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 13) : sometimes it does look like the boys come out second half drunk on some kind of spirit…

  • Comment 14, posted at 21.09.15 10:46:13 by Kabouter Reply

  • @Kabouter (Comment 11) : Eneglbrecht our prop played hooker in the warm up game.

  • Comment 15, posted at 21.09.15 10:47:46 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Kabouter (Comment 10) : Interesting thought…

  • Comment 16, posted at 21.09.15 10:54:34 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 15) : darnit, Adriaanse being injured is really causing havoc

    any u21 prop ready for CC?

    does anyone know the status of Herbst contract?

  • Comment 17, posted at 21.09.15 10:55:38 by Kabouter Reply

  • @Kabouter (Comment 11) : I agree on the Dan thing…give it a go!

  • Comment 18, posted at 21.09.15 10:56:00 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Kabouter (Comment 14) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 19, posted at 21.09.15 10:57:18 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Not to invest in April is criminal by Gold. Whenever that boy touches the ball something happens.

  • Comment 20, posted at 21.09.15 10:57:24 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • @Kabouter (Comment 11) : @SheldonK (Comment 15) : Engelbrecht did play hooker in that game…and our scrums CRUNCHED the Lions that night! I would really have experimented with him there…seeing him at hooker reminded me of Tommy Lawton! Lineout throws might be an issue, but surely they could work on that…and it couldn’t be much worse than it was with Hadebe and Cooper…

  • Comment 21, posted at 21.09.15 10:59:42 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Just sad! Words fail me when it comes to Bok and Sharks rugby.

  • Comment 22, posted at 21.09.15 11:06:39 by StevieS Reply
  • @pastorshark (Comment 21) : who played next to him then? if it was Dale and Thomas, then the theory of hooker and lock being weak scrummers really adds up. If I remember the writeup- PSDT was lock then as well.

    going the alarmist route I would pick:

    1 Dale
    2 Engelbrecht
    3 Du Toit
    4 Du Preez
    5 McDuling
    6 Kleynhans
    7 Du Preez
    8 VD Walt
    9 Claasens
    10 April
    11 Esterhuizen
    12 Williams
    13 Jordaan
    14 Sithole
    15 Pietersen
    16 Kramer
    17 Marais
    18 Oosthuizen
    19 De Bruin
    20 Reinach
    21 Mjekevu
    22 Cronje

  • Comment 23, posted at 21.09.15 11:08:24 by Kabouter Reply

  • @Kabouter (Comment 23) : It was Thomas and the young prop from the Bulls…Gerhard something or other…PSdT was on at lock…one of the bits of evidence behind my theory of the scrumming problems being 2 and 5…

  • Comment 24, posted at 21.09.15 11:12:01 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Kabouter (Comment 23) : I like that, though I would probably swop Pietersen and April…

  • Comment 25, posted at 21.09.15 11:12:53 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 24) : Lions and Province have been showing for a while now that a frontrow that dominates in their primary objectives are much more valueable than guys who are monsters in the loose (and Dean Greyling has proven the reverse…)

    if we can monster the Bulls in the front, we can reduce the threat of ther backline this coming game, just as Province did… Also give our backline a few good balls and maybe they can play even close to their ability

  • Comment 26, posted at 21.09.15 11:21:50 by Kabouter Reply

  • The commentators Saturday made the point that the Lions had played a lot as a unit – and with the number of new players in the XV isn’t that the key? I didn’t think Saturday was that bad, certainly an improvement on what I’d seen before – particularly the first half the front 5 shaped up well. So I’d love continuity with any changes based around finding answers to a couple of key positions. Back these guys – they’re not individually untalented and at least for the next year, they’re what we have. The U21s btw who so many people want to seem to promote players from – are also sitting 5th.

  • Comment 27, posted at 21.09.15 11:22:04 by JR Reply

  • @Kabouter (Comment 26) : Agreed…

  • Comment 28, posted at 21.09.15 11:24:59 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Kabouter (Comment 23) : Yeh id take that lineup

  • Comment 29, posted at 21.09.15 11:25:28 by SheldonK Reply

  • @JR (Comment 27) : Your point is very valid (although our u21’s had a splendid away result vs the Lions and do have a game in hand)…

  • Comment 30, posted at 21.09.15 11:31:08 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 25) : yeah, ease April in. the few Community Cup games I saw he really played very well at FH but his smaller size might (not that Joe is massive but he is ok in defense) mean he is more valuable as first receiver on third, fourth etc phase ball

    we need to see more grunt and effort from tight 5. this week was better but maybe a shakeup there can help as our locks need to be rotated.

  • Comment 31, posted at 21.09.15 11:31:35 by Kabouter Reply

  • @JR (Comment 27) : maybe but apart from the really poor performance against the Leopards the u21s has been very encouraging and in this competition the Sharks squad is much worse than the CC squad, compared to competition. What we are at least seeing here is a resemblance of team play and some guys really putting their hands up. also consider that the Thomas and the twins are still u21 and they are part of the few perfoming players in the CC.

    other option is to shift them back down if it becomes clear that the Sharks wont make the SF and the u21s can….

  • Comment 32, posted at 21.09.15 11:34:55 by Kabouter Reply

  • @pastorshark (Comment 30) : plus good play vs WP (twice) and Bulls. Just that Leopards and Kings games…

  • Comment 33, posted at 21.09.15 11:36:12 by Kabouter Reply

  • @pastorshark (Comment 5) :@Spirit of Rugby (Comment 3) : Exactly!!! Running around opponents, avoiding contact and looking to keep the ball alive are stupid! We should just blindly bash the ball up all day πŸ™„ πŸ˜†

  • Comment 34, posted at 21.09.15 11:38:19 by ChrisS Reply
  • @pastorshark (Comment 25) : Yup. April 15. Get the veteran to dictate play. April can be more effective at fb.

  • Comment 35, posted at 21.09.15 11:45:23 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 35) : Agreed…

  • Comment 36, posted at 21.09.15 11:47:45 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 30) : I agree and I was surprised that they weren’t higher. I just saw some moments on Saturday (offloads to players who weren’t expecting them – Lions kicks into acres of space because nobody was covering) that spoke to a side who needed to spend more time together. The worst case scenario is that we chop and change every week and gain nothing. I’ve not seen April but if he’s so talented – then great, give him a run at 15 out of the spotlight a bit and when he’s settled and we’re winning, then try him at 10… Thats probably going to be Vodacom at this stage but thats a good environment to test him alongside some of the upcoming U21s.

  • Comment 37, posted at 21.09.15 11:56:25 by JR Reply

  • Yup…

  • Comment 38, posted at 21.09.15 12:29:55 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Kabouter (Comment 31) : Are you another HM fan? Going on about size and this and that. Our coaches are not able to coach us on how to manipulate and lock defences….next best thing is use the Stormers backline model…play guys that are naturally gifted and forget this size obsession. If the guy has little BMT and a bad tackling technique then that is a different discussion. Can’t tell me those Stormers small boys have bad techniques or lack BMT. Brendan Venter once wrote an article on the many talented small black guys we have in SA and how coaches are going to have to think differently and actually coach for change if this game is going to grow in SA….and I add be more entertaining and effective.

  • Comment 39, posted at 21.09.15 14:38:40 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 39) : not at all, it was more said in jest… if you look at my 10,12,13 I would like to see it was April, williams and Jordaan – none of them are “big” but rather skillfull

    we have not seen enough of April at this level to be able to comment about his defense. I am more concerned about more suspect defense in the 10 channel as he looked solid at Community Cup level but this is a big jump up

    in general we need more aggressive defense from the backs. we have strong boys there (Esterhuizen and Jordaan – he broke almost all the strength records at Blitzbokke level) but we never really put the Lions on the backfoot with clever aggressive defense

  • Comment 40, posted at 21.09.15 15:08:49 by Kabouter Reply

  • Losing doesn’t phase me any more. It’s all too common.

    We need a coach of Eddie Jones’ calibre.


  • Comment 41, posted at 21.09.15 20:10:30 by Orlok Tsubodai Reply

    Gold's Member
  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 39) : We’re world leaders at locking defences…it is unlocking them that we need to get better at… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 42, posted at 21.09.15 21:46:59 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Both Sharks and Boks are playing ugly boring rugby at the moment, and the results are showing.

    Tough times indeed for Sharks and Boks supporters and looking hard for a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

  • Comment 43, posted at 22.09.15 10:13:32 by stevovo Reply
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