An unpalatable truth

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Lions, Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 5 Jul 2017 at 09:12
Tagged with : , , , , ,

I hate lost opportunities and while all the talk this week is regarding how the Bulls “wanted/needed it more” at Kings Park this last weekend, the stark reality is that the only team who had anything real to gain from Friday’s game was the home side.

Going into the game, the Sharks had a real opportunity to overtake the Highlanders on the combined log and move into that coveted seventh spot; with the Kiwi side likely to win handsomely in their last game against the Reds, the Sharks could nonetheless have set themselves up for a seventh placed finish and a far easier quarter-final (against the Lions in Joburg) had they just taken maximum points from the Bulls game and then eked out any sort of win at all against the Lions in the final round.

That possibility is now gone and we have to accept that the Highlanders are not going to slip up next week, hence a seventh-place finish is now basically impossible.

The only hope left for the Sharks is for the Crusaders to lose against the Hurricanes in Wellington next Saturday. That would open the door for a first-place finish for the Lions….


…. that of course means that the Sharks need to ensure that the Lions win at Kings Park.

What a bloody wonderful choice for the coach, isn’t it? We all know that going to Christchurch to play a quarter-final is going to be a waste of everybody’s time and money, but if (and it’s a big if) the only way to avoid that scenario is to essentially throw a game, is it something worth doing? Answers on a postcard, please – I’m still going to be angry for a few days yet that we blew a chance to do this the right way.


  • I differ in opinion basically. I don’t believe that the Sharks must hope for a semi final against an “easier” opponent if they will not make it against the Crusaders. As you said it would be a waste of time and effort.

  • Comment 1, posted at 05.07.17 09:16:43 by JustPlainSHARK Reply
  • Let’s be ridiculously optimistic and say the team are convinced they can veat the Saders at home and wanted this route, to get a home final… #MindBlown

  • Comment 2, posted at 05.07.17 09:16:56 by T-Shark Reply
  • Where we lose our quarter-final makes no difference to me.

  • Comment 3, posted at 05.07.17 09:18:50 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • A trip to NZ is inevitable should we be lucky enohgh to remain in SA (and the unlikely chance of beating the Lions). Let’s face it, we have too much depending on a fairytale route to the final. Best we start focusing on the Currie Cup.

  • Comment 4, posted at 05.07.17 09:19:17 by boertjie101 Reply

  • Play Crusaders in Christchurch. Would be an epic upset. Lions wony underestimate us in playoffs so they will be up for it. Crusaders might just ease into the game and if we can play well it could just upset the applr card. We di play well down there. Don’t throw games, play to win at all costs

  • Comment 5, posted at 05.07.17 09:19:18 by ebenp Reply

  • I mean that we have a mediocre hope to be in the quarters when you KNOW you won’t make it any further. To analyse permutations how we might get there is like a bug heading for the windshield and hoping the car might swerve to avoid it.

  • Comment 6, posted at 05.07.17 09:20:24 by JustPlainSHARK Reply

  • @T-Shark (Comment 2) : wait, hang on. So if we beat the first-placed team, we get their place in the draw? Home final?

  • Comment 7, posted at 05.07.17 10:03:59 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : I doubt that. He probably means home as in SA at Ellispark.

  • Comment 8, posted at 05.07.17 10:14:12 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Comment 8) : I’m not actually sure. I know they did make some changes to the way this works, but I’ll admit I’ve not actually studied them yet.

  • Comment 9, posted at 05.07.17 10:28:23 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Highest seed always gets home game in play-offs.

  • Comment 10, posted at 05.07.17 10:33:02 by McLovin Reply

  • So if the Sharks finish 8th it’s all away games whatever happens.

  • Comment 11, posted at 05.07.17 10:33:46 by McLovin Reply

  • Then again I could be wrong. 😆

    Need to check. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 12, posted at 05.07.17 10:34:34 by McLovin Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 9) : The quarterfinal winners will progress to the semifinals. Instead of the following the Shaughnessy playoff format used from 1996 to 2016, the semi-finals will be drawn according to a predetermined bracket.Under the new format, the winner of Quarter-final 1 (which will feature the highest-seeded conference winner and the lowest-seeded wildcard) will play the winner of Quarter-final 4 (which will feature the fourth-seeded conference winner and the highest-seeded wildcard) and likewise with the winners of Quarter-finals 2 and 3. The two semi-final hosts will be the highest-seeded winners of their respective quarter-finals.

    The winners of the semifinals will advance to the final, at the venue of the highest-seeded team.

  • Comment 13, posted at 05.07.17 11:01:20 by Die Kriek Reply

  • Throwing a game to in order to try and manipulate proceedings for an easier path through the playoffs is just piss-poor form, in my opinion. Play your best, and if you are soundly beaten, applaud the winners, look at where you were beaten, and work on improving on those aspects.

    Of course, the Sharks have demonstrated themselves to be serially incapable of that last bit… 🙄

  • Comment 14, posted at 05.07.17 11:04:50 by Culling Song Reply
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    Culling Song
  • @Die Kriek (Comment 13) : ok, so seeding always affects location. No way he Sharks are playing any play-offs at home, in other words.

  • Comment 15, posted at 05.07.17 11:06:07 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 15) : Correct, but we do get the ‘easier’ opponents if we manage a miracle

  • Comment 16, posted at 05.07.17 11:19:13 by Die Kriek Reply

  • So Sharks & Highlanders upset Saders & Lions in quarters – Final at Newlands. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 17, posted at 05.07.17 11:21:40 by McLovin Reply

  • Actually a Stormers win in a home quarter/semi would also be an upset of sorts. 👿

  • Comment 18, posted at 05.07.17 11:23:34 by McLovin Reply

  • I have to say that chances arent high that the Sharks will win another Super Rugby game this year and if they did it would be an upset. Overall i think we have done ok in Super rugby, nto great just ok. What i want to see now is what we can learn and improve going into CC. If like previous years we actually regress in CC then i will be quite anoyed.

  • Comment 19, posted at 05.07.17 11:49:26 by SheldonK Reply

  • Great article, Rob.

    I feel there is something missing from our game. We have a hard edge up front, but our backline play is hot and miss. We need a NZ backline/skills/attack coach to come in and educate our guys.

    We need our coaches to give our team the freedom to play the situation, after first teaching them how to read a situation.

  • Comment 20, posted at 05.07.17 14:31:51 by StevieS Reply
  • Sharks ended 2016 season on 43 points, scored 40 tries and gave up 30 tries including NZ opposition. Now they sit on 42 points, scored 35 tries and gave up 30 tries including the weaker Aus opposition. There is a good chance the Sharks will end on 42 points having given up more tries than last season and scoring less. So how can anyone honestly say this is an improvement on the Gary Gold coached team. Nobody defended Gold last year, but many seem willing to accept this from a RdP coached team and somehow say this is an improvement over last year. Talk about alternate facts.

  • Comment 21, posted at 05.07.17 15:02:40 by Dancing Bear Reply
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    Dancing Bear
  • @SheldonK (Comment 19) : At the start of the season I thought qualifying for the quarters would be par for this team. But hell, getting klapped by an inexperienced Bulls team at home (and losing to them in Rugby Challenge too) does not say a lot for our depth.

    It also brings back unwanted memories of another unfortunate loss against the same team at home.

  • Comment 22, posted at 05.07.17 15:09:14 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 21) : This is what is knows as “an inconvenient truth” :mrgreen:

  • Comment 23, posted at 05.07.17 15:23:19 by Culling Song Reply
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    Culling Song
  • @Culling Song (Comment 23) : I’m just glad nobody considers this a safe space where only positive Sharks comments may be heard. :mrgreen: 😉

  • Comment 24, posted at 05.07.17 15:26:27 by Dancing Bear Reply
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    Dancing Bear
  • @Culling Song (Comment 23) : I was about the only oke prepared to stand up for Gold…. just for the record.

  • Comment 25, posted at 05.07.17 15:40:18 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 25) : Not true.

  • Comment 26, posted at 05.07.17 16:02:07 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @robdylan (Comment 25) : I believe i also said that not all the blame should rest with the coach and the players need to be held acountable. I also said that its all well and good to change a coach but then we need to judge him the same. People were very scathing about Gold…the grass is not always greener as they say

  • Comment 27, posted at 05.07.17 16:03:24 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 24) : How many games did Johan Ackerman’s! Lions win in his first two years on the job?

    Can we please for all that is good and holy stop calling for the coaches’ heads after half a season

  • Comment 28, posted at 05.07.17 16:08:06 by Die Kriek Reply

  • My opinion is that its really too short to raise a “solid” opinion on any coach on just one season. I stand to be corrected, but Garry arrived a week before our first game. Surely, he can’t then be credited for the results in that game. In a similar fashion, I am not buying it that John M suddenly change the entire Bulls’ culture with a few emails or phone calls in 2/3 weeks for the Sharks game.

    I said before and I am saying this again, the Sharks’ challenges started with the “firing” of John P. Going forward, we need leadership in the team, which we currently don’t have. That’s why I am so strongly in favour of Keegan making his return to the team.

  • Comment 29, posted at 05.07.17 16:17:10 by BluffShark Reply

  • On that note before considering “dropping” any person (coach / management or player) confirm if the problem was with them and if confirmed and only if confirmed, then decide if the “devil we know is not better than the devil that might come”

  • Comment 30, posted at 05.07.17 16:22:22 by BluffShark Reply

  • @BluffShark (Comment 30) : Fortunately these decisions are not up to us supporters, but to blokes like Teich.

  • Comment 31, posted at 05.07.17 16:25:40 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Die Kriek (Comment 28) : Gold was fired after arriving the week before the Super Rugby season, RdP had an entire Currie Cup and an entire pre-season, and failed to improve on Gold’s results. Nobody argued against firing Gold after his very short stint. So it is OK to fire Gold after barely finishing on Super Rugby season, but we can’t criticize RdP after a CC campaign and a Super Rugby campaign? Just trying to bring some perspective. My view, Gold was not nearly as bad as everyone made him out to be, and should have been given at least one more Super Rugby season.

  • Comment 32, posted at 05.07.17 16:35:49 by Dancing Bear Reply
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    Dancing Bear
  • @Die Kriek (Comment 28) : Agreed, the players need the kick in the nuts. RdP can only do so much, but he has to make drastic disciplinary choices

  • Comment 33, posted at 05.07.17 16:42:41 by jdolivier Reply

  • I hear what you’re saying Rob…if, for the sake of argument, coach Rob stacked the team with about half guys who would normally be reserves, the game would be in no doubt against the lions: ignominy. Then keeping the ace cards (premium players) for the playoff might boost the chances, however that just feels weaselly and wrong. As to why the bulls so-called wanted it more, they probably did, and spoke about it in the media all week. No psy-ops from the Sharks, no head faking, just head scratching and an unprofessional level of preparedness and mental preparation. Why didn’t the Sharks want it more? Maybe they looked at the games to come: Lions/Lions or Lions/Crusaders and just freaked themselves out. I think most of us (with way less information that coach Rob) see that the team composition is wrong: Reinach, Dan du Preez and April have failed to have a truly great game this season and at risk of sounding like an arm-chair critic I wouldn’t have them start. Consistency isn’t always productive. What steams my clams is that other teams maintain consistency or get stronger as the season progresses…we get weaker and end with a whimper…a second law of Sharks thermodynamics.

  • Comment 34, posted at 05.07.17 17:02:55 by SeanJeff Reply
  • Worst case scenario: Jaco Peyper to ref the lions game with Johan Greeff as TMO, Rashivenge and Immelman as ARs. That would be WWE level narrative of lions getting everything their own way…flip, I’ve come to have very negative feelings about the lions, particularly when things go their way all the time, a kiwi level of a charmed life…I mean, South African refs would want a South African team to have the best chance of victory and don’t tell me they wouldn’t unconsciously think about that…they are human.

  • Comment 35, posted at 05.07.17 17:08:03 by SeanJeff Reply
  • Rob tells the sharks to lose they will probably win by 3 bonus points.

  • Comment 36, posted at 05.07.17 18:19:43 by coolfusion Reply

  • @BluffShark (Comment 29) : You forget Keegan had one off game and is therefore now crap…

  • Comment 37, posted at 05.07.17 18:22:06 by coolfusion Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 11) : May be the best thing for them since they tend to do better under pressure and away than having easy games at home when they completely forget a seasons worth of training.

  • Comment 38, posted at 05.07.17 18:23:41 by coolfusion Reply

  • @jdolivier (Comment 33) : Agreed 100%

  • Comment 39, posted at 05.07.17 18:24:30 by coolfusion Reply

  • “Answers on a postcard” lol thats a great touch there Rob

    I dont see going to Christchurch as a waste of time, we can put up a fight, maybe win, but broadly we can use it as a experience builder for our squad (even if we lose nearly a third of it to Europe every year)

    Next year we will have a new SR format and hopefully more success for the Sharks.

    depending on many factors we could go all and way in the currie cup this year.

  • Comment 40, posted at 05.07.17 19:13:45 by revolverocelot Reply

  • Today I choose to be the optimist … Crusaders to be on a low after the Lions tour. Sharks to have a blinder and win by 5.
    Robs done pretty well in my books. We’ve kept players this season, our ‘B’ team has been competitive. Were adapting our gameplan to a more modern style. A better start, one or two core refereeing decisions going our way and we could be sitting on 50 points. Last season it felt like we had scraped the tin for every last point. This year it felt like we left some out there. I call that progress

  • Comment 41, posted at 05.07.17 21:22:06 by byron Reply

  • On Gary Gold. As far as I can remember he was appointed as our director of rugby and was not meant to have been couching…. he hardly got the time to fulfill this role. He was with the sharks for 2 years, not 1. Gold resigned and was not fired.

  • Comment 42, posted at 05.07.17 21:33:49 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @SheldonK (Comment 27) : Yep, I remember you wanting the continuity of him continuing. I wanted him to fulfill the
    role he was appointed in – as director of rugby.

  • Comment 43, posted at 05.07.17 21:39:34 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 42) :
    We can always trust the CNN watcher to straighten up the facts. 🙂

  • Comment 44, posted at 05.07.17 22:18:48 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @robdylan (Comment 25) : Ahem 😀

  • Comment 45, posted at 05.07.17 22:28:56 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @fyndraai (Comment 44) : :mrgreen: Now Im starting to doubt the substance of that post. Ill have to use Google or Wikipedia to verify it. 😆

  • Comment 46, posted at 06.07.17 10:00:10 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 31) : Agreed

    @coolfusion (Comment 37) : I disagree and as I have stated on numerous occasions. Keegan had a good season and I have watch numerous of his games for the Sharks 15 – and as such I am strongly supporting bringing him back. My opinion as i have indicated on numerous occasions is that we lack leadership in the team.

    @SeanJeff (Comment 35) : Please NOOOOOO. don’t “jinx” it for us even further.

    @byron (Comment 41) : Not enough. we unfortunately requires a hat trick of “favourable” outcomes this weekend to get a quarter F against the Lions.
    True optimistic: We some how end 7th on the log and both the Highlanders and us won our quarters and semis….

  • Comment 47, posted at 06.07.17 11:20:10 by BluffShark Reply

  • @BluffShark (Comment 47) : And I thought I had the edge on being overly optimistic! So we could have a home final!

  • Comment 48, posted at 06.07.17 11:58:51 by T-Shark Reply

  • @BluffShark (Comment 47) : Umm sarcasm dude…

  • Comment 49, posted at 06.07.17 13:10:28 by coolfusion Reply

  • @T-Shark (Comment 48) : 😛 Overly optimistic:

    Quarter-final 1: 1 v 8 = Crusaders vs. Highlanders
    Quarter-final 2: 2 v 7 = Lions vs. Sharks
    Quarter-final 3: 3 v 6 = Stormers vs. Chiefs
    Quarter-final 4: 4 v 5 = Brumbies vs. Hurricanes

    Semi-final 1: Winner QF 1 v Winner QF 4 = Brumbies / Hurricanes vs. Highlanders
    Semi-final 2: Winner QF 2 v Winner QF 3 = Stormers vs. Sharks

    Final = Sharks vs. Highlanders

    All I say, is that next week we are supporting the Reds to prevent the Highlanders to get a single log point. We beat the Lions. This will result in us playing the Lions…..

  • Comment 50, posted at 08.07.17 00:27:03 by BluffShark Reply


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