Young Sharks take a pounding

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 23 Jul 2017 at 17:24
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

Caretaker Currie Cup coach Paul Anthony was brave in defeat on Friday night and managed to take a number of positives out of his side’s 48-12 defeat at the hands of the reigning champion Cheetahs in round 1. SA Rugby’s somewhat bizarre decision to overlap these opening Currie Cup rounds with the Super Rugby finals series was always going to put sides like the Sharks and Lions at a disadvantage and this indeed proved the case, to nobody’s great surprise.

Anthony – acting as head coach for the first time at senior provincial level – took a side to Bloemfontein where 14 of the match 22 had never played in a Currie Cup game for the Sharks (and 8 had not yet played a first-class game at all). Add to that the addition of three players who arrived in Durban halfway through the training week and a late reshuffle at scrumhalf and it’s actually rather amazing that the Sharks competed as well as they did in the first half.

That the Cheetahs had pitched up expecting the Sharks to roll over was evident from the first kick-off, but the Sharks had other plans and limited their hosts to a single try in the opening quarter, with a conversion and penalty adding to a ten-point buffer. That was all but erased when S’bura Sithole scored a cracker of a try for the Sharks and with Benhard Janse van Rensburg finding the uprights, it was a 3-point game (10-7) after 21 minutes. The Sharks held the Cheetahs well, but eventually conceded a second, but would have been happy enough with a 7-17 deficit at half time.

Coach Anthony spoke a lot about “shape” and it’s clear that the Sharks lost virtually all of that in the second period, as the disjointed buildup and lack of experience took their toll. The Cheetahs scored four tries in the second half, one of them right on the final whistle, against just a single consolation score to replacement loose forward Bandisa Ndlovu for the Sharks. Anthony’s post-game assessment that the final score flattered the Cheetahs (since two of those scores had been long-range efforts scored off turnovers) will, unfortunately, not make too much difference to the official result and while it was encouraging to see so many players get a decent run, the reality is that the Sharks will not be competitive at Currie Cup level with this team and will need to reintroduce a host of Super Rugby players at the earliest opportunity if the intention is to avoid a third successive season without Currie Cup play-off participation.

There were some positives on the night – Jacques Vermeulen and (to a lesser extent) Wian Vosloo were impressive, while Mzamo Majola also looked good. Ross Geldenhuys suffered at scrum time, but will doubtless find his feet once he’s more familiar with the players around him. Cameron Wright, with that quick accurate pass and big boot, was the pick of a backline division that otherwise failed to live up to expectation, although winger Ilunga Mukendi always looked brave when he got hands on the ball.

Cheetahs 48: Tries Cassiem, Rhule, Small-Smith, F Venter, R. Venter, Mkhabela. Converions Marais (3), Blommetjies. Penalties Marais (3).
Sharks 12: Tries Sithole, Ndolvu. Conversion Janse van Rensburg


  • Even Brandon Bailing looked good, in all fairness, the second half was really an abysmal failure for the cc squad. Think there are a couple of the boys playing on Friday with huge potential going forward

  • Comment 1, posted at 23.07.17 17:57:52 by jdolivier Reply
  • Perhaps Cameron should have kicked for poles – they may have gained a little more confidence

  • Comment 2, posted at 23.07.17 18:41:50 by Julesgr8ter Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @Julesgr8ter (Comment 2) : bloody good idea. One area in which Ben10 has consistently failed to perform is kicking at poles. Rather disappointing.

    Bear in mind, though, Cam wasn’t even down to start….

  • Comment 3, posted at 23.07.17 21:37:19 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : true story 😀

  • Comment 4, posted at 23.07.17 22:27:16 by Julesgr8ter Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • I feel this could be a painfull CC year. Just dont think the Sharks have the quality depth we think, and even our first choice would struggle. Best hope is to give guys gametime to build the squad for super rugby depth.

  • Comment 5, posted at 24.07.17 09:08:19 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 5) : @robdylan (Comment 3) : Any idea who we will be able to choose from for this competition, ie who are we losing, who will be in Japan, who isinjured and who will likely be with the Boks?
    Homework somebody.

  • Comment 6, posted at 24.07.17 10:07:30 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 6) :

  • Comment 7, posted at 24.07.17 11:17:25 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : the only variable I haven’t taken intop account there is “who is likely to be with the Boks” because I don’t know.

    Contracted Boks are not eligible for selection.

    Philip, Andre, Stephan and Lwazi going to Japan.

    Probably safe to assume we will lose Jean-Luc and maybe Lukhayno and Chiliboy to the Boks at some stage.

  • Comment 8, posted at 24.07.17 11:18:25 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : That’s a decent looking squad…

  • Comment 9, posted at 24.07.17 11:26:48 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : Thanks, no reason why we shouldnt be competitive. Some guys are going to be gaining some good experience at the same time.

  • Comment 10, posted at 24.07.17 11:42:49 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle

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