Province hand Sharks food for thought ahead of semi-final

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks, WP on 15 Oct 2017 at 11:08
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

The Sharks appeared to have matter under control, with a handy 13-3 lead against Western Province by half time in Saturday’s final Currie Cup pool match in Durban. Some lacklustre play in the second period allowed their desperate visitors in for four tries, however, and they surrendered their proud undefeated home record in going down 20-31.

It was an odd game throughout, with the Sharks certainly showing rustiness on attack after their week off. Thoughts of the upcoming knock-outs and the need to stay fit for those games were clearly front of mind and it’s probably also fair to say that the fanfare around veteran Odwa Ndungane’s send-off probably took some focus away (as did the interrupted training week given Monday’s flash floods). The home side appeared to have things well under control, pushing strongly into Province territory early on and scoring a cracking try through Marius Louw from a lineout inside the first five minutes. Curwin Bosch did the rest of the damage in the half with a penalty and a drop goal, whilst Robert du Preez could manage only a solitary penalty for his team as their attacking intentions continually came to naught against strong Sharks defence.

Province, though, were masters of the rush defence themselves on the day, rucking aggressively and beyond the point of contact and generally always being in the faces of the Sharks’ halfbacks, whether legally or otherwise. The Sharks backs – rusty as they were, committed a plethora of handling errors as a result and with referee Jaco Peyper having one of his “funny days” with the whistle, the penalties all went the way of the visitors as well. Du Preez played a real purple half of rugby, using his educated boot to pin the Sharks back in their half and also profiting from good team attacking play to score two tries himself within just a few minutes of one another. Scrumhalf Dewald Duvenage and lock JD Schickerling added further scores and before the Sharks could draw breath, they’d conceded 28 unanswered points and were certain to lose the match.

A late consolation try to Kobus van Wyk was absolute ages in coming and again underlined a worrying tendency for the Sharks to make poor decisions in the opposition red zone. It was finally a good skip pass by Garth April that allowed the winger to go in, but the Sharks certainly made a meal of that score and found themselves 11 points adrift as the final hooter went immediately afterwards.

The Sharks face the resurgent Bulls in Saturday’s first Currie Cup semi-final and coach Rob du Preez will have a bit of head scratching to do in the week as he tries to turn around from this error-strewn and rather uncommitted performance. Not much of a dress rehearsal and a pretty poor send-off for Ndungane, assuming this was indeed to be his last game.

Sharks (20): Tries Louw, Van Wyk. Conversions Bosch (2). Penalty Bosch. Drop-goal Bosch.
Western Province (31): Tries R du Preez (2), Duvenage, Schickerling. Conversions du Preez (4). Penalty du Preez.


  • Wiser heads than me reckon that the kicking strategy was psy-ops, 3D chess played by Coach du Preez to keep some cards to the chest, letting the opposition think that Sharks are going to mainly kick going into the semis. I hope that’s the case, and that the guys are taking this seriously. I understand there wasn’t anything to play for as far as the log was concerned, but its still disappointing to see province get one over on the Sharks at home. Echoes of 2013 though. When big Kobus scored his try at the conclusion of the match, Werner Kok tackled him late, totally unnecessarily. Should we face them in the final, I hope Kok gets tackled very hard and very legally…and that we win of course.

  • Comment 1, posted at 15.10.17 11:47:43 by SeanJeff Reply
  • @SeanJeff (Comment 1) : Problem is the kicking needed to be better. Not the goal kicking that was on target. But exit kicks and line kicks provided unnecessary pressure due to inaccuracy. In fact if they had been better the score would have been different. Good tactical kicking would have allowed us to use the forwards on attack a lot more. I saw them making meters every time they wanted to, with almost every player. Should have kicked into 22 and then dismantle province with forwards.

  • Comment 2, posted at 15.10.17 12:31:02 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 2) : A jldp and even a Chris cloete or a Kollisi would be great for our breakdowns.

  • Comment 3, posted at 15.10.17 12:46:05 by coolfusion Reply

  • I was very disappointed with the one dimensional play from the Sharks. Scheduer needs to start. He at least brings pace to the game which allows us to get on the front foot. I’m worried with our inability to create overlaps and space for our finishers. We can’t really introduce new things now but improve our accuracy

  • Comment 4, posted at 15.10.17 15:42:44 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 4) : all they must do is get back the “aggression” they showed in the previous games and they should be ok!!!

  • Comment 5, posted at 15.10.17 16:12:18 by JD Reply
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  • off topic

    everyone aware that marcell suffered another long term knee injury, that means he got hurt with us, left to complete rehab with ulster, got hurt there, recovered and now got hurt again, out for 9 months, poor guys. made 5 appearances for ulster since arriving in northern ireland.

    Im happy for Deysel though, seems to have found a fresh start in irelands first with munster last year and now with ulster. like jaco taute the pace of nh rugby seems to suit them.

    I seem to remember their being reports that arno botha was also signing with ulster

  • Comment 6, posted at 16.10.17 02:54:36 by revolverocelot Reply

  • @SeanJeff (Comment 1) : Werner Kok plays hard, but generally fair. Doubt the late tackle was intentional or malicious. Think it’s wrong to wish for that, but to each his own.
    Also not sure what to make of the Sharks. They have generally been good all season, but have had their usual off games. I am sure they will be fired up for the semi. Of course taking it easy, in a match before the semis, has backfired before. Lets hope that is not the case.

  • Comment 7, posted at 16.10.17 07:19:19 by KingCheetah Reply

  • @revolverocelot (Comment 6) : Quite a few guys have found a new lease of life overseas. Dessel as you mentioned was playing the rugby that first made people sit up and take notice. Lions Ludik also playing some good rugby. Yes, Marcel’s injury is very unfortunate, as he was in great form.

  • Comment 8, posted at 16.10.17 07:21:23 by KingCheetah Reply

  • @KingCheetah (Comment 7) : ❓ Whats wrong with hard and legal, its not as if Sean wished Kok an injury.,,, Cheetahs are probably wishing they employed a lot of “very hard and legal” in their game against the Lions.

  • Comment 9, posted at 16.10.17 08:52:49 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Does anyone else wonder why the open secret of Robert du Preez returning to the Sharks remains just that – an open secret.. Why dont the Sharks or WP actually acknowledge that it is going to happen?

  • Comment 10, posted at 16.10.17 09:52:38 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @KingCheetah (Comment 7) : Although not dangerous, I also think that tackle was late and a bit unnecessary. It was very similar to the tackle that saw Coetzee getting penalised for the Boks. A penalty would not have made a difference,but if we were behind by less than 7, a penalty for us on the halfway could have been interesting. Players should start checking stuff like this, it could cost their teams.

  • Comment 11, posted at 16.10.17 10:24:27 by HeinF Reply

  • Being a a wedding i didnt watch the game live and probably thank goodness for that seeing the 2n half implosion. Looks like we made a lot of subs just after halftime so that cohesion probably wasnt there. When you see RDP Jnr play games like that i cant help but feel Bosch needs to play 15 next year.
    Also as a side note nice to see Pat Lambie back on the field again this weekend.

  • Comment 12, posted at 16.10.17 10:32:45 by SheldonK Reply

  • @HeinF (Comment 11) : Yes I agree, it is sometimes overeagerness. But yes it does lead to frayed tempers, and possible injury.

  • Comment 13, posted at 16.10.17 11:16:17 by KingCheetah Reply

  • To be honest I was very worried about our winning streak and feared we might get complacent. I actually hoped for a scare like this before the play-offs so that they can focus on the matches ahead.

  • Comment 14, posted at 16.10.17 11:29:03 by Farlington Reply

  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 10) : probably waiting for the Currie cup to be over before announcing any new signings as I’m sure signing of Mapimpi was also not announced yet although that also seems to be signed and stamped.

  • Comment 15, posted at 16.10.17 11:39:31 by JD Reply
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  • @Farlington (Comment 14) : ja a win would have been nice but I’m sure the loss woke up the players and coach!!!

  • Comment 16, posted at 16.10.17 11:41:04 by JD Reply
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  • @KingCheetah (Comment 8) : I did not watch the Lions vs Cheetahs game but worries me a bit is that a somewhat “under strength” Lions team could beat a near full strength Cheetahs team that’s not doing to bad in the Pro 14!? Now I just wonder how good is the rest of the Pro14 teams compared to SA Super rugby teams or was the Cheetahs success thus far only due to Pro14 teams struggling to adapt to SA playing conditions?!

  • Comment 17, posted at 16.10.17 11:48:32 by JD Reply
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  • My Sharks team for the semi final:
    1. DuToit 2. Chilliboy 3. Geldenhuys 4. Paul 5. Botha 6. Daniel 7. JL DuPreez 8. D DuPreez 9. Schreuder 10. Bosch 11. Nkosi 12. Louw 13. Am 14. van Wyk 15. April
    Bench: Schoeman, Marais, Droste, Vermuelen, Claasens,Ndungane

  • Comment 18, posted at 16.10.17 12:39:02 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 18) : Good side. Chilli to start?
    And can anyone shed light on the 22-man squad vs 23-man squad story for the knockouts?

  • Comment 19, posted at 16.10.17 13:07:09 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 19) : Yeh Chilli based on him being a Bok, have to reward that…and i think Marais as a sub is better than Chilli a a sub. As far as i kno CC is 22man squads due to financial reasons and something about helpng the smaller teams- but yeh makes no sense to me

  • Comment 20, posted at 16.10.17 13:32:11 by SheldonK Reply

  • Food for thought indeed, trust we regroup from this and remain focused. We have to win the title this year, we have been so far ahead of the pack that WE JUST HAVE TO WIN! A good, solid, competent team – bring the trophy home men! I reckon we are going to play out of our skins this weekend and absolutely pump The Bulls.

  • Comment 21, posted at 16.10.17 14:28:15 by Richard Reply

  • @JD (Comment 17) : Lions weren’t really understrength. In addition the playing style the Cheetahs have been exposed to in Pro14, is quite different to that of in SR. Lions were simply better on the day. Many are saying Pro14 is weak, Yet sides like Munster, Leinster and Scarlets beat teams , or drew in the EC. Montpellier are a pretty powerful team. I can’t say how the teams would do in SR. But I think the top teams like Leinster, Ulster, Scarlets and Glasgow would definitely be competitive. Glasgow had 11 Scottish internationals in their team that beat the Cheetahs by 3.

  • Comment 22, posted at 16.10.17 14:34:36 by KingCheetah Reply

  • I am sure the men are going to be primed and ready for the semi, and I hope the fans pitch up. Rob and the team will expect nothing less than the trophy back home and after winning 10/12 we only have two games left. Really am hoping for a technically superior and ruthless showing to secure a home final. Super amped for the match!!!

  • Comment 23, posted at 16.10.17 14:34:50 by Richard Reply

  • @JD (Comment 17) : Lions that played on Saturday with regular SR experience.
    Jacques van Rooyen, Dylan Smith (back from injury), Robbie Coetzee, Marx, Adriaanse, Ferreira, Kwagga, Ross, Vorster, Rohan, Skosan, Coetzee, and Mahuza. So 13 out of the match 22, and 12 of the starting 15 were SR regulars
    So really not a weak Lions team at all. They were missing Whiteley, and a few others through injury, but the other absentees, were due to Japanese commitments. So they were pretty much at full strength for the CC.

    Cheetahs played their Pro 14 side, bar one or two players, but were still without injured players that could have significantly strengthened the team.
    Cassiem, Neill Jordaan, Justin Basson, Huggett, Fred Zeilinga, Neil Marais, Francois Venter, and Sergeal.

  • Comment 24, posted at 16.10.17 15:12:14 by KingCheetah Reply

  • Well so much for my theory that the coach told them to take it easy. Rob apparently laid into them for the performance of the past weekend. Maybe the players decided on a go slow themselves?

  • Comment 25, posted at 16.10.17 17:47:12 by coolfusion Reply

  • @JD (Comment 16) : Doesn’t seem like the coach expected them to perform like this either so maybe a wakeup for players yes.

  • Comment 26, posted at 16.10.17 17:58:42 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 25) : Rob Du Preez has no chill, he would have been miff to lose the game and his record for Fortress King’s Park.

  • Comment 27, posted at 16.10.17 18:09:11 by Richard Reply


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