Make this about pride, not revenge

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 23 Mar 2016 at 10:37
Tagged with : , , , ,

There are, of course, many good things about Easter, particularly for those to whom the Christian faith is important. A bitter-sweet time of year indeed as we go from the lows of the paradoxically-named “Good Friday” to the miraculous rebirth of Easter Sunday. In 2015, though, for Sharks fans, things got significantly darker on the Saturday in-between.

I’ll make a confession: I did not watch last year’s Easter Saturday humiliation at the hands of the Crusaders. I had taken my kids on a family outing and rather than seeing the carnage (as the Sharks succumbed to a 10-52 defeat at the hands of the Crusaders) first-hand, I was forced to experience it through a stream of increasingly desperate and despondent WhatsApp messages and tweets. I’m generally pretty good about going back and re-watching games anyway, but that one I still haven’t watched and simply cannot bring myself to. 2015 was a terrible year for Sharks Rugby and what happened that day was perhaps the sharpest individual example of a campaign-long problem, each one of those eight Crusader tries driving another nail into the coffin in which the Sharks’ pride was to be buried.

“Pride” has been a big theme for the Sharks so far this year, enjoying something of a revival (and a 4-match unbeaten streak) after the lows of the year before. New captain Beast Mtawarira and the other senior players mention the word a fair deal in post-match talk – usually in the context of wanting to make their fans proud of them again. They get the message, it seems, and they know just how pissed off we all were after that day and quite how unacceptable that performance was. Talk is cheap, of course, but the boys are walking the walk on the field as well, to a pretty good extent and fans on the whole are definitely regaining the pride that was lost on 4 April 2015.

With the Crusaders again heading to Kings Park for an Easter Saturday fixture, another abstract noun comes up – namely “revenge”. This, to me, is a bad word and not one we should be using, because it implies that the Kiwi team did something bad to us, that they are to blame for the 10-52 debacle and that we somehow need to “pay them back” for that. When you seek revenge, you turn your focus onto the enemy, rather than addressing your own culpability, your own failings, your own weaknesses. This is a trap that the Sharks cannot afford to fall into, because to use another cliché, this is about us, not about them.

As a fan, I want a performance on Saturday that makes me happy to wear my jersey in public the following day. That does not imply, necessarily, that I need the team to win each week, but it does mean that I want them to die trying. Last year’s performance against the Crusaders was gutless. This year, I want to see a team – flawed in some ways and learning in all ways – that will go out and play with commitment and passion for 85, 90 or however many minutes it takes. I want to see the boys playing for each other, making tackles that illustrate just how much this means to them, hitting rucks as if their very lives were at stake. In short, I want them to play this game they way they’ve played every other game so far this season and if they do that, I’ll be proud of them.

I don’t care about revenge and neither should they.


  • Could not agree more Rob.

  • Comment 1, posted at 23.03.16 10:54:57 by catfish Reply
  • Playing for pride is good, but in sport it often has the connotation that you no longer have a chance to win a competition or qualify for a finals stage. I want the Sharks to play like they want to win the competition by going full out to win each and every game. A tough schedule and conference means that this year very likely won’t be the year, but I would still like them to go for it.

  • Comment 2, posted at 23.03.16 10:55:58 by Bokhoring Reply
  • We humiliated them in 2014 with 13 players on the field and they got us good last year. Let’s hope for a cracking game! And a sharks win of course.

  • Comment 3, posted at 23.03.16 10:58:26 by Dragnipur Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Sharks by 6.

  • Comment 4, posted at 23.03.16 11:07:31 by Seth101 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Author
  • I was at a wedding that day and sat through the ceremony updating my browser every time to more bad news. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and have never watch the game, something I feel very fortunate about.

    I hope we come out on Saturday feeling pumped for the match, in front of a great crowd, well rested and ready for what is going to be a huge battle. Sharks are going to have to fight for this win but believe win can take this.

  • Comment 5, posted at 23.03.16 11:28:41 by Hulk Reply

  • Great piece boss. Agree 100%.

  • Comment 6, posted at 23.03.16 12:18:57 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 6) : thanks Van! Hope you had a great birthday yesterday

  • Comment 7, posted at 23.03.16 12:22:58 by robdylan Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 6) : bit late but happy birthday. Hope you had a super day.

  • Comment 8, posted at 23.03.16 12:39:16 by JD Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : yes must say revenge does not seem fitting for the time of year! Pride of the jersey does seem better! Sharks by 6! 😈

  • Comment 9, posted at 23.03.16 12:41:22 by JD Reply
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  • If the Sharks class of 2016 play with pride in the heritage and traditions of Sharks rugby that has gone before them, then I will be satisfied whatever the result may be.

  • Comment 10, posted at 23.03.16 12:44:11 by Bump Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : @JD (Comment 8) : Thanks guys! It was spent with family sharing a great meal. Can’t ask for more.

  • Comment 11, posted at 23.03.16 12:54:12 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Bump (Comment 10) : lots of birthdays around here. It’s yours today, right? Happy birthday mate!

  • Comment 12, posted at 23.03.16 12:55:57 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 12) : I know it will be difficult but any chance of putting up a birthday list?

  • Comment 13, posted at 23.03.16 13:04:14 by JD Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 11) : great!! Family is the best to be around on your birthday.

  • Comment 14, posted at 23.03.16 13:05:07 by JD Reply
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  • @Bump (Comment 10) : congrats (if Rob is correct), hope you have an awesome day!

  • Comment 15, posted at 23.03.16 13:05:59 by JD Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 11) : happy birthday!!

  • Comment 16, posted at 23.03.16 13:06:51 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • I tend to watch a Sharks game a second time after seeing it live on TV. Just to make sure I notice and observe finer details. Saturday’s game I watched live. I still haven’t watched it again…..

  • Comment 17, posted at 23.03.16 15:44:03 by JustPlainSHARK Reply

  • I remember that all too well as it was on my birthday…birthday wishes flew well out the window that day…but over it and looking forward to a passionate and fired-up Sharks game this year! May the spirit of rugby prevail!!! Sharks by 9

  • Comment 18, posted at 23.03.16 16:33:48 by DuToit04 Reply

  • Trots wees op wie en wat jy is kom as jy tevrede is met jouself, Wraag maak ‘n mens moeg en en maak jou ontevrede met jouself. So Boys wees trots om ‘n Shark te wees want ons ondersteuners is TROTS om ‘n Shark te wees en BAIE TROTS op julle. GO SHARKS GO.

  • Comment 19, posted at 23.03.16 16:37:57 by Bronzi Shark Reply

  • @vanmartin (Comment 6) : A bit late…but Happy Birthday from me too!!

  • Comment 20, posted at 23.03.16 16:58:47 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • Personally, with a vivid memory of “the slag” at Kings Park still firmly lodged in my memory banks, I’m not too hung-up on the motivating factor driving the Sharks….I just need them to win – there’s no negotiating this result, I need my win.

  • Comment 21, posted at 23.03.16 17:54:25 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @Bronzi Shark (Comment 19) : well said!!! Vat hom flaffie!!!

  • Comment 22, posted at 23.03.16 23:05:10 by JD Reply
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  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 21) : yes time to beat the Saders again!!!

  • Comment 23, posted at 23.03.16 23:09:01 by JD Reply
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  • Teams announced, but Thomas not getting game time for me is a serious problem, how long before he too moves back too the Cape? How do you go from being the strongest Prop in SA basically to nothing?

  • Comment 24, posted at 24.03.16 08:44:03 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @sharks_lover (Comment 24) : How fit is he? He has been out injured for quite some time. He is still very young remember. Doubt they want to rush him back too early

  • Comment 25, posted at 24.03.16 08:50:12 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 25) : what I’ve heard is that Thomas takes a long time to get match fit after injury. He’s playing warm-up games for the sharks XV at the moment.

  • Comment 26, posted at 24.03.16 09:14:30 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 26) : That i fully understand. He is a big boy but young so muscles still adapting. And to be honest the last time i saw him a couple weeks ago he did seem to be carrying a bit of excess weight.

  • Comment 27, posted at 24.03.16 09:16:24 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 27) : Let’s be frank. He needs to lose 10kg at some point.

  • Comment 28, posted at 24.03.16 09:28:54 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Brilliantly said!

  • Comment 29, posted at 24.03.16 09:38:42 by David12246 Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 28) : Pretty much frank 🙂

  • Comment 30, posted at 24.03.16 10:05:41 by SheldonK Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 28) : @David12246 (Comment 29) : @SheldonK (Comment 30) : must say I do think he dropped a couple even before the season started.

  • Comment 31, posted at 24.03.16 16:28:19 by JD Reply
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