Bitter-sweet weekend for Jake

    2014-05-05 15:00
    Gavin Rich - SuperSport

    Johannesburg - The first win scored overseas this season by a South African team in Vodacom Super Rugby was something for him to crow about, but it was a bitter-sweet weekend for Cell C Sharks director of rugby Jake White.

    According to the website, if Frans Steyn is widely acknowledged as the player the Sharks can least do without because of the backline injuries that have afflicted them this season, then Marcell Coetzee was probably the next most influential player.

    Coetzee has been a revelation this season since adding ball stealing on the ground to his CV, and the turn-overs he has affected have played a massive role in the Sharks’ success that sees them top the log with six rounds to play.

    Coetzee would have been an influential figure in the Sharks challenge against the Brumbies in Canberra this coming weekend and also the following week, when the Durbanites are due to bump into a fit again Richie McCaw in the match against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

    However, it was confirmed after the 22-16 win over the Rebels in Melbourne at the start of the weekend that Coetzee will be flying home to have a shoulder injury repaired.

    Coetzee left the field early in the Melbourne match and was replaced by Keegan Daniel, who played well but isn’t at the same level as a ball stealer and momentum shifter.

    Fortunately for the Sharks, they have plenty of experience to bring in as replacement for Coetzee.

    Daniel has played over 100 Super Rugby games for the Sharks, while Jacques Botes, who is flying to Australia to replace Coetzee in the squad, is one of the most capped players in South Africa when it comes to games spread across both Super Rugby and Currie Cup.

    Scavenging ball on the ground is the Botes speciality, so it will be interesting to see if White is tempted to bring him straight into the match day squad for the Brumbies clash.

    The Coetzee injury aside, the other matches played this weekend would have left White with plenty of reason to feel respectful towards his future opponents.

    The Brumbies lost badly to the Crusaders, but then the Crusaders haven’t lost to an overseas side in Christchurch for what seems like forever and the Brumies were in good form before that.

    And then Christchurch is where the Sharks visit next, with the Crusaders now on a roll and back to the form that has made them multiple champions.

    Then comes the Blues in Auckland, a venue where the Sharks did well under their previous coaches but also a place where the Blues, as they showed against the Reds this weekend, can destroy you if you are even a small bit off your game.

    The Sharks then return to Durban to face the Stormers, who should have Eben Etzebeth back and who showed signs of resurgence in beating the Shark-killers, the Highlanders, two days ago.

    However, if the Coetzee injury and what lies ahead is the bitter part, the sweet part is that the Sharks have won eight games in 10, and are comfortably ahead of the South African conference and have a five point lead over the Brumbies at the top of the overall log.

    The win over the Rebels was the first by a South African team overseas this year and it should ease their mood as they spend their week at the Sydney beachside suburb of Coogee in the build-up to the Brumbies game.

    In the past some teams have had their chances derailed by too much enjoyment of Coogee and there can be a tendency for that environment to induce a relaxed atmosphere, but there are still enough areas of the game that the Sharks need to work on after Melbourne for them to avoid falling into the trap.

    What was really good about the Sharks against the Rebels was the way they made use of turn-over ball to punish a Rebels team that had enough possession but just couldn’t break down an organised and physical Sharks defence for whom Jean Deysel was a particular stand-out.

    Read More On:  sharks super 15 frans steyn rugby

    Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

    Comment on this story
    Add your comment
    Comment 0 characters remaining
    Live Video Streaming
    • Blitz
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
    • SS1
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
    • SS2
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
    • SS3
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
    Sport Talk
    Most Read


    13 February 2015
    • Crusaders v Melbourne Rebels, Christchurch 08:35
    • Brumbies v Reds, Canberra 10:40
    • Lions v Hurricanes, Johannesburg 19:10
    14 February 2015
    • Blues v Chiefs, Albany 08:35
    • Sharks v Cheetahs, Durban 17:05
    • Bulls v Stormers, Pretoria 19:10
    15 February 2015
    • Waratahs v Western Force, Sydney 07:05


    02 August 2014
    26 July 2014
    19 July 2014
    12 July 2014
    11 July 2014
    06 July 2014
    05 July 2014
    04 July 2014
    28 June 2014
    27 June 2014
    31 May 2014
    30 May 2014
    24 May 2014
    23 May 2014
    18 May 2014
    17 May 2014
    16 May 2014
    11 May 2014
    10 May 2014
    09 May 2014
    03 May 2014
    02 May 2014
    26 April 2014
    25 April 2014
    19 April 2014
    18 April 2014
    12 April 2014
    11 April 2014
    05 April 2014
    04 April 2014
    29 March 2014
    28 March 2014
    22 March 2014
    21 March 2014
    15 March 2014
    14 March 2014
    08 March 2014
    07 March 2014
    01 March 2014
    28 February 2014
    23 February 2014
    22 February 2014
    21 February 2014
    15 February 2014


    Rank Team P W Pts

    Opinion Poll

    Does the Waratahs' Super Rugby victory give the Wallabies an edge heading into the Rugby Championship?

    Monday Quiz Madness!

    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.