Big contributions from small numbers needed

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 2 Mar 2016 at 12:18
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

While the Sharks forwards did well to overcome a slow start against the Kings in last week’s Super Rugby opener, nothing less than a dominant 80 minutes from the pack – and the tight five in particular – will be required if they’re to get the job done against Argentina’s Jaguares at Kings Park this weekend.

It was perhaps not surprising that there was a lack of rhythm early on; three of the starting pack were playing their first Super Rugby game for the Sharks, while two others in the pack have yet to break into double digits of caps. Beast Mtawarira, Etienne Oosthuizen and Marcell Coetzee are the only Sharks veterans left in a pack that up until recently boasted 50-cap stalwarts in every jersey and anyone who understand the up-front mechanics will tell you that cohesion in a pack takes time to develop, particularly when it comes to the set pieces.

The performance of the loose trio was superb in PE, of course, with all of Coetzee, Philip van der Walt and the two du Preez boys playing massive individual innings. It’s on the tight five that the spotlight should be shone more brightly, though and it’s the so-called “big men in small numbers” who will know that a big lift in accuracy is required against the Jaguares in Round 2. I say “accuracy”, because I cannot fault the intensity that’s been shown by all the players to date this season, even against lesser opposition. There’s very little doubt in my mind that everyone in the tight five is working their asses off with maximum enthusiasm, but there’s some definite fine tuning required to ensure that the line outs and scrums become the dominant platform they should be and that the breakdown turns into a steady and reliable source of quick possession, rather than a lottery equally likely to end in a turnover or penalty against the team.

The Kings, bless them, threw everything they had at the Sharks early on and to their credit, managed to find a few chinks in the up-front armour. Given the gulf in talent, their challenge was never going to last 80 minutes, but the Jaguares will have no such problem this coming Saturday. Willie le Roux and the others enjoyed plenty of good front foot ball in PE and used that platform well to launch the attacking game. They may well find a very different game experience this weekend, though, if that forward platform is not properly laid by Beast Mtawarira and his cohorts.

Early signs are that Stephan Lewies might come into the Sharks starting lineup this week. The team will be confirmed tomorrow morning.


  • Having 50 cap veterans in every position in the past got us nowhere. In fact some of the individuals may even have hindered us. I’m enthused about the youth and the motivation and drive they are bringing, despite their inexperience. What is more important is getting the right blend of individuals. Team comes first kind of individuals. Let’s hope we are getting there with this lot.

  • Comment 1, posted at 02.03.16 13:38:58 by Kiss_the_Gold Reply
    Gold's Member
  • For me Cooper and Adriaanse must start Saturday!

  • Comment 2, posted at 02.03.16 14:12:05 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • @JD (Comment 2) : I agree. Bring Coenie on in the second half.

  • Comment 3, posted at 03.03.16 02:49:51 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 3) : Agree with both. Also Cooper can up his game while the young understudy gets a well paced introduction into super rugby. There is nothing that guarantees Chilli will be at 100% from day one so build the young man slowly just in case.

  • Comment 4, posted at 03.03.16 06:53:55 by coolfusion Reply

  • @Kiss_the_Gold (Comment 1) : problem was that those 50-plus cap veterans were asked to carry most of the burden.legs cant last.nothing wrong with their passion for the jersey and motivation to win.

  • Comment 5, posted at 03.03.16 08:43:07 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • I don’t foresee slow motions shots of Matt Stevens belly hanging out of a Sharks jersey in the scrum this season. That is already a vast improvement in my books.

  • Comment 6, posted at 03.03.16 08:59:29 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 3) : @coolfusion (Comment 4) : must say I’m a bit surprised that they kept Franco and Coenie in the starting team. Going to be a very tough challenge and hope they will step up when the game starts!

  • Comment 7, posted at 03.03.16 17:20:59 by JD Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 6) : must agree with you the props looks lean and strong!! (well at least as lean as props can be ;-P)

  • Comment 8, posted at 03.03.16 17:22:50 by JD Reply
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