Super Rugby 2018
Rebels vs Sharks
Final Score: Rebels 46 – Sharks 14
Referee: Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Damon Murphy (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)
Can anyone tell me what is wrong with the Sharks?
They told us they have this massive pack of forwards that will dominate all-comers. They say they have some of the most exciting backs in the competition. They say that they are going to play a new, fast, open, modern style of rugby.
So what is wrong?
Why do none of those things ever happen?
Why do the wheels come off so easily?
Way back on the 11th of February, in my season-preview for the Sharks, I suggested that they deserve the sobriquet of “The Most Successful Team Never To Have Won Anything!”
I also asked “Perhaps 2018 will be their year?”
I did add that they have been saying that every year is “their year” – 2008 through to 2018.
I ended my preview by saying that they have the manpower, but then asking: “Do they have the brainpower?”
On the evidence of the season so far, brainpower is one element that is certainly missing from the Sharks.
Winning just one game out of five played suggests that their 2018 season might well be one of their worst ever.
The question must be asked: Where is the lack of brainpower most evident? Where is the whole thing going wrong?
As an outsider with no personal connection to the Sharks or their inner workings, it does seem that the problem lies in the coaching squad and structures.
If we look at the game against the Rebels, serious questions need to be asked about how this team is coached if they, once again, came off second best in the forward exchanges, while their discipline and defence let them down, again.
When you miss 12 tackles in the first 20 minutes of a game, and then miss a further 18 in the rest of the game, there has to be a reason, somewhere…
When a team carries the ball just 83 times and makes a mere 458 meters with the ball, just 5,5 meters per carry, something is not working the way it should. (The Rebels carried the ball 118 times but made 813 meters with the ball in hand. 7 meters per carry.)
When a team passes the ball just 108 times and only 90 go to hand, meaning that close to 2 out of 10 passes is going astray, then there is a reason….
When a team takes the ball into the ruck a mere 45 times and still loses possession 3 times, something needs fixing. (The Rebels took it into the ruck 80 times and lost the possession just once.)
Just to add to the frustration, this was a game where the ball was in play for just 29 minutes!
In my preview to this match I suggested that the Sharks loosies are all too big and too slow. The pack is big, but ponderous….
Wait, I have just found the word that describes the entire Sharks outfit:
And that is the way they are playing their rugby too.
I come back to my suggestion that the problem rests with coaching!
Robert du Preez (Senior) has not yet convinced anyone that he has an alternative to the ponderous rugby that the Sharks have been playing since Jake White was recruited to replace the hastily (and oddly) fired John Plumtree.
Gary Gold could not turn them around, and Du Preez has shown no inclination to follow the lead of the other three South African franchises and play a faster, modern game.
The fans frustration is evidenced by the empty seats and private suites at Kingspark.
I am wondering whether players like Lukhanyo Am, Lwazi Mvovo, Robert du Preez (Junior) and Curwin Bosch are enjoying playing static rugby? I am wondering whether Thomas du Toit is enjoying being minced on the wrong side of the front-row? There is a danger here! Any one of these players could decide to hop off to foreign climes if they are not enjoying their day-job back in Durban!
I am wondering how long it will take the Sharks’ power brokers to decide to do something about their team’s lack of progress and continued lack of success.
I am no longer sure that we can call them: “The Most Successful Team Never To Have Won Anything!”
Tries: Rangi, Mafi, Genia, Meakes, Haylett-Petty, Sa’aga
Cons: Hodge, Debreczeni 4
Pens: Hodge, Debreczeni
Tries: Mvovo, Louw
Cons: Du Preez, Bosch
Yellow Card: Bosch
Rebels: 15 Jack Maddocks, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Will Genia, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman (c), 4 Geoff Parling, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner
Replacements: 16 Mahe Vailanu, 17 Fereti Sa’aga, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Ross Haylett-Petty, 21 Richard Hardwick, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 Tom English
Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Tera Mtembu, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha (c), 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Wian Vosloo, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Kobus van Wyk, 23 Garth April