Sharks prepared to win ugly

2011-05-25 09:08

Gavin Rich - SuperSport

Johannesburg - Sharks coach John Plumtree has hinted that his team has now reached a stage of the season where they might have to shelve the quest for the entertaining rugby that wowed their fans last year and win ugly if they have to.

The Sharks go into a series of four matches that are all must wins if they hope to stay alive in the competition into the play-off stage. It was interesting to note from his words at a press conference at Mr Price Kings Park on Tuesday that the focus might have shifted slightly for the Sharks from the previous week, when they were poised to over-take the Stormers at the top of the South African conference.

While not giving up hope of overtaking the Stormers if the Cape team should slip up in some of their remaining matches (they need to lose twice for the Sharks to overtake them now), it appears that the emphasis has now shifted to ensuring that the Durbanites just finish in the top six, which would ensure they take part in the quarter-final round.

“The players know we cannot afford to drop another game as there are pretty much four teams vying for fifth and sixth spot,” said Plumtree.

“Those four sides have all been inconsistent this year, winning a few more than they’ve lost, but it’s going to be the side that holds its nerve and plays the best rugby that kicks on. We’ve only got one more home game and then three away so the challenge that faces us is a massive one.”

A win on Saturday will considerably ease the Sharks’ task as the Waratahs are one of the bigger challengers among the group of teams that Plumtree mentioned. But he noted that the Waratahs face a stiff challenge that could become much tougher if they get knocked over in Durban.

“If the Waratahs lose to us it will be tough for them as they then go onto Pretoria to play the Bulls. The other team in that group battling for fifth and sixth spot (the other being the Bulls) is the Highlanders, who have a couple of tough derby games to look forward to in the final weeks, so it is going to be very interesting from here.

“If we do the job this weekend and the Waratahs lose to the Bulls, that effectively puts them out. That’s the great thing about his competition, four games out and everyone’s talking about finals. It’s great for everyone, except the coaches (who have to handle the stress).”

It was when speaking of the Waratahs that Plumtree hinted that the Sharks may have to change tack a bit after a season where the quest to play the running style that won them the Currie Cup, and the failure to get it together, particular in the South African derbies, has been a talking point.

“The Waratahs have had some injury problems too. They’ve lost Wycliff Palu and Phil Waugh, and one or two backs, like Drew Mitchell. They have some senior players out, so it has been a difficult season for them,” said Plumtree.

“The thing about the Waratahs and the Australians is that they like entertainment and winning with it, but have figured out this year that if they can only win without entertaining, then that is a track they have to go down. We want to do the same, we want to entertain and win. We want to play attractive rugby at our home ground and it’s what we based our Currie Cup on.

“But we haven’t always been able to do that this year. So like the Waratahs, we might have to think on embarking on a different way forward as well. The South African culture in sport is mainly not about how you cross the line, but just so long as you cross that line first.”

The Sharks would have noted that the Stormers have scored far fewer tries than them this season and generally play a style of rugby considered ugly by some of their supporters, who want to see the Cape side play a possession based game not unlike what the Sharks did last season.

However the Stormers, by engaging their approach, have won two more games than the Sharks have and even though they haven’t picked up as many bonus points as the Sharks, it has enabled them to go five points clear at the top of the SA conference.

The question of course is whether the Sharks have the team to adopt a more conservative, percentage orientated approach. Their forwards just haven’t played well enough for most of the season for them to bank on the forward superiority needed for that game, and flyhalf Patrick Lambie is not really a player geared towards a kicking orientated approach.


  • coolio_101 - 2011-05-25 09:15

    Sharks to end 2nd on SA conference after the Stormers.

      Marx - 2011-05-25 09:39

      Coolio101 Aka Siener van Rensburg.......and the world ended on Saturday nè.....

      Hannes - 2011-05-25 09:44

      Coolio, now that's what I call being realisted and objective. Marx, really? Bet the hotel is still trying to get their money out of you.

      Marx - 2011-05-25 10:26

      Hannes...what's realisted?? "Realisted" = No Super Ruby Titles...Ever...

      Hannes - 2011-05-25 10:32

      Thx Marx, well spotted... realistic

      Lloyd - 2011-05-25 10:34

      Marx, ek het n foto van toe die Stormers laas n trofee gewen het. Dis wit en swart.

      !!Vrystaat!! - 2011-05-25 11:11

      Sharks still have to play Cheetahs and Bulls, dont see them making second.

      Paul - 2011-05-25 11:20

      ek het ene wat da Vincy gepaint het Lloyd.

      Lloyd - 2011-05-25 11:29

      Paul, ek kan nie glo hy was nog op skool toe hy begin paint het nie. Dis darem maar n rukkie terug.

      shark4eva - 2011-05-25 12:10

      Marx "Super Ruby Titles" ? If you want to point out spelling mistakes, ensure your own spelling is perfect! Sharks will pull it through, wait and see!

  • Hybrid - 2011-05-25 09:16

    What is this entertaining rugby they are talking about it has already been looking pretty ugly the last few weeks.

  • Lloyd - 2011-05-25 09:23

    That the difference between the Bulls and the pretenders. The Bulls play championship winning rugby and the fans are happy, regardless of how it looks. The rest of the teams play millionaire rugby and have nothing to show for it.

      watalife - 2011-05-25 09:42

      Ja Lloyd the bulls will deffinetly take the S15 cup AGAIN ne? Will they play the Rebels in the final on home Turf or Soweto your home ground?

      sparkster - 2011-05-25 09:43 were the first nob head to moan about the Stormers playing boring rugby(no tries) even though we were winning games week in and week out.So shut your little beak .Bulls champion rugby has got them up to 8th place,Brilliant Champion rugby that is.GIVE US A- N.O.B.H.E.A.D,What we get????

      Lloyd - 2011-05-25 09:52

      Sparkie, can you perhaps specify where I said the Stormers play boring rugby? Please don't hurt my feelings by calling me a knobhead. Before I forget - no cups 10 years and nothing is about to change.

      Raka13 - 2011-05-25 10:05

      Lloyd, thats exactky how Die Slag van Bloedrivier looked like, ugly but victorious...and only lasted a short the Zulu(literally) is victorious who played a million dollar game. Moral of the story, first beat the record of the Crusaders before you claim the status of the best/champion.

      Raka13 - 2011-05-25 10:11

      Lloyd, that is exactly how Die Slag van Bloedrivier looked like, ugly but victorious....and only lasted for a short while. Now the Zulu(literally) is victorious and he played a million dollar game. First overtake the Crusaders's record of trophies before you claim champion status.

      Lloyd - 2011-05-25 10:11

      Raka, I get your point but I was talking about the S.A. teams. By the way, unless you missed something, the Bulls are 3 x champions (in 4 years).

      sparkster - 2011-05-25 10:20

      and how is this year looking nob head( and no its not the knob you thinking of)

      Lloyd - 2011-05-25 10:29

      As I said before, sparky has the bestest chirps.

      sparkster - 2011-05-25 10:39

      Lloyd its not a chirp nob head its a Question , how is it looking this year?

      Lloyd - 2011-05-25 10:50

      O.k. sparky. This year is looking a bit tough, but you can't write them off. You happy?

      Marx - 2011-05-25 11:21

      Sparkplug, wil jy nie maar ophou jou eiertjies tel nie? No one remembers or cares where who ended on the log, they remember which team won the trophy, and sadly, your trophy cabinet is just as empty as your comments. Lloyd, daar's nog baie games wat gespeel moet word, en ñ paar over confident, "wen die beker in Mei" spannetjies kan nog uit die bus uitval.

      Paul - 2011-05-25 11:23

      Sies man spankster....jy praat lelik ou.

      Lloyd - 2011-05-25 11:29

      Marx, ek weet. Ek het net die aap n bietjie ge-humour.

      MonsterHOND - 2011-05-25 11:33

      Loyd - I will concede - the Bulls have won it 3 in four years, That does not make them the best Team ever in the comp, what you forget is that there have not been any one team that got the wooden spoon more than you either.... So while we are talking history - keep it all in mind.... or does that make them the worst team ever in the comp...... On average spot on the log over the history of the compition - you rate well below other teams.....

      sparkster - 2011-05-25 11:52

      Oh Marx, take your nob out of LLoyds mouth.As you said , No one cares who won the Trophy last year or the year before or the year before that.Its about this year that counts and thus far you are sitting in a position you are not used to and its killing you.So Hush Puppy .Who knows, the Cheetahs might just give you a groot clap this weekend.

      Lloyd - 2011-05-25 12:33

      Monster, ek eindig eerder 10 keer laaste en wen die trophy 1 keer, as wat ek 10 keer tweede eindig, sonder n trophy.

      Marx - 2011-05-25 12:36

      Haai sjoe SparkPlug maar jy's oulik !! Mense soos jy wat konstant aanmerkings maak van seksuele aard op ñ rygby forum, is 9 uit die 10 keer seksueel gefrustreerd en heel moontlik ñ "pervert" !!!!

      Lloyd - 2011-05-25 13:13

      Marx, onthou jy vir Andre wat n paar weke terug op was vir n dag of twee? Almal het hom gekoggel oor hoe hy lyk. Ek dink dis sparky wat net sy naam gechange het.

      Marx - 2011-05-25 14:02

      Lloyd, Sparkplug is Dummford......die idioot het dit nou die dag in vir Saffa in hakkies gewys. Hy's maar stadig, baie stadig.....

      Lloyd - 2011-05-25 18:19

      Marx, weet jy wat? Die spelling, grammar & lack of intellect het bekend gelyk, maar ek kon dit nie plaas nie. Jy is dood reg.

  • scipio - 2011-05-25 09:27

    You haven't played entertaining rugby all season you chop. You can't be very entertaining with all the bloody handling errors and schoolboy mistakes your team keeps dissing out week after week. The Bulls style aint ugly rugby. It's ugly to those teams they demolish. It's the single most effective game-plan executed on the super rugby front. Just take a look at the Semis and Finals the Bulls contested in Super rugby (apart from the 2007 final vs the Sharks). They showed such a level of dominance, one wonders if they were playing some second tier league Team. Great teams devise their own legacy. You can copy our game plan, but you won't reap the success the Bulls did. Plumtree you have been tested and found wanting.

      Hannes - 2011-05-25 09:45

      The Twickers game was pretty damn entertaining

      Shistirrer - 2011-05-25 13:24

      "It's the single most effective game-plan executed on the super rugby front." - Wow. That must be why the Bulls are occupying a spot in the bottom half of the log. No, dude, as always you a re a blinkered Bulls supporter living in the past. That game plan is as far past it's sell by date as most of your players. I see you are looking for a scrumhalf - have you thought of exhuming Danie Craven? His age profile fits right in with the rest of the squad.

      hardloop - 2011-05-25 17:25

      As a Stormers supporter I think there is nothing wrong with the Bulls game plan. They used it last season and demolished everyone. The problem is the players and their level of commitment. And I don't give a sh*t how many tries you score, it is NOT entertaining to get beaten so if you shaks supporters think it's fun to play fancy rugby at Twickers but get clapped by 25 points maybe that's the reason you're choking against the more success driven local teams - who just clap you, never mind "entertaining" rugby. And obviously the most successful game-plan in the recent era (that is the last five years) has obviously been the Bulls. They found a strategy of total rugby and it works. They are committed to winning by any means necessary, using all the weapons at their disposal. Not only were they the best kicking team last season they were also the top try scorers. And it's indicative of the success of their gameplan that by emulating that total rugby strategy it was the Bulls and Stormers who contested last years final. Wow, it hurts to say how good the Bulls are (were/can be). Go Stormers, Go Bulls!!

  • Raka13 - 2011-05-25 09:31

    The coaching staff at the Sharks must do something right, they don't have many "Stars" and still they are a very competitive team?

      Rob van den Heuvel - 2011-05-25 10:36

      Agreed, the Bulls with all their big names have been disappointing to say the least both with their style of rugby and the results they've achieved, not only in this years Super 15 comp but also towards the end of last years Currie Cup. All I heard from those with blue blood was that they were fielding their B-Team, whatever!

  • milswanka - 2011-05-25 09:42

    As a proud Lions supporter I am not hurt after what happened to us last week, because I am so used to losing, but please do "US"(Lions supporters) a favour and bring those Ausies back down to earth?

  • thumper - 2011-05-25 09:45

    hahaha, sharks supporters had a lot to say about stormers winning without scoring a lot of tries early n the season. Now they wanna change strategy and secure a win before entertaining? It might just be too late, try thinking about that earlier next season. The Bulls are gonna klap them again at Loftus and end their top 6 hopes! I won't even remind them about the Cheetahs!

  • SAFFA-CAT - 2011-05-25 09:54

    The Sharks locks need to step up massively, and the lineout throwing has to improve, regardless of WHO is doing the throwing in. Sharks lineout has been a touch iffy the entire season, and I think this needs JUST as much attention as the centre 'disaster' so many have blamed for the Sharks woes. Plan B also needs to be hauled out, as everyone and their neighbour KNOW that Alberts and Deysel are used as primary ball carriers - nullify them, and game is already over. They should move Stef to fullback, put Ludik in the centre. Good luck Sharks! That said, those damn Tahs (like the bastad Brumbies) can always pull something special out of the hat.

      Rob van den Heuvel - 2011-05-25 10:39

      Best thing Plum could do is drop Bismarck to the bench so he can watch and learn how to feed a line out.

  • terry - 2011-05-25 10:03

    I dunno about that - right now the Sharks are playing ugly and losing! We played the wrong game against the Bulls by trying to take them on at forwards with Deysel, Alberts, and Bismark trying to bash the ball up - and they just smashed them back. What happened to the fast paced ball in hand approach that we used to beat the Bulls last year, where the ball was moved swiftly away from the rucks and malls, and Bakkies and Spies spent the afternoon running around looking for a mall to crash into. This time we seemed to want to run the ball into Bakkies and Spies - it was just stupid and it didn't work (of course it didn't help that we kept dropping the stupid ball). Charl McCloud seems to have adopted the same style as Kockett - where he stands and waits for 5 minutes before he passes the ball, and by this time the defence has been set. Last year that ball was being moved quickly and we could hit different chanels and found the gaps before the defence could reset - and it worked. Why aren't the Sharks doing that this year??? Frustrating!

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-05-25 10:08

      @Terry - I think Hoffman should be given a start. Seriously. I was livid when we let him go from here. He really is a massive talent (even at 10 never mind at 9). Charl has not done the business for you guys this season - so why the fear to play Hoffman I wonder?

      Lloyd - 2011-05-25 10:13

      I honestly think that Rory Kockott is a different player since he joined the Lions. I now almost like him. I also think that Hoffman should pach his bags and go play overseas since his talent will never be appreciated here.

      sparkster - 2011-05-25 10:22

      Lloyd its not that he is a different player its that he is getting more game time.Dont try be clever nob head

      Lloyd - 2011-05-25 10:29

      As I said before, sparky has the bestest chirps.

      sparkster - 2011-05-25 10:43

      You seemed to be a bit stuck hey Lloyd.You seem not be able to answer a Q relating to the game but only when someone is insulting you.must be very used to it....Let me answer for you..."As i said before,Sparky has the bestest chirps"

      sparkster - 2011-05-25 10:47

      I know you probably got paid a fare amount for it but hell Lloyd you look funny in the Vodafone add.Sorry dude dont mean to be rude just very funny

      Lloyd - 2011-05-25 10:52

      O.k sparky, I meant from an attitude point of view he looks a different player. 'but only when someone is insulting you.must be very used to it....'. Now THAT'S a chirp.

      sparkster - 2011-05-25 11:15

      Nah Lloydkie, not good enough.You get a shop called exclusive books, they should have some books on rugby.Maybe you should buy a couple

      Lloyd - 2011-05-25 11:18

      'You get a shop called exclusive books, they should have some books on rugby.Maybe you should buy a couple'. There's that chirp again. How do you do it?

      sparkster - 2011-05-25 11:55

      How do i do it?? Hell Lloyd i dont think its appropriate to talk about it on this site, their are books on that to if need.

      Lloyd - 2011-05-25 12:35

      'their' are books. Maybe you should get a book on English spelling and grammar.

  • Plato - 2011-05-25 10:04

    “While not giving up hope of overtaking the Stormers if the Cape team should slip up in some of their remaining matches (they need to lose twice for the Sharks to overtake them now)” The probability is there that the Stormers will loose another two games – against the Bulls and Cheetahs. But the Sharks will not overtake them as they will loose again at Loftus.

  • Doug - 2011-05-25 10:50

    As long as Adie Jacobs and Pieterson are in the side, they have no chance.......

  • vicj - 2011-05-25 11:02

    Saturday against the Bulls was very ugly - hope it does not get any worse or uglier

  • Rasky - 2011-05-25 11:03

    Ag please, the Sharks are finished!!

      shark4eva - 2011-05-25 12:23

      I remember people saying the same thing about the Bulls and Cheetahs a couple of weeks back - in this competition anything can happen - no one is giving The Reds a chance? Yet they are top of the log! We should support all SOUTH AFRICAN teams guys, think we have lost focus. In the local derby's yes support your team, but when we playing Aus and NZ root for our boys be it the Bulls, Cheetahs, Stormers, Lions or Sharks. We are playing a World Cup at the end of the year, let's unite now to support our boys against the Aussies and Nz teams!

  • crocowild - 2011-05-25 11:10

    The only time i saw the Sharks backline continuously play brilliant rugby in such a way everybody struggled against them ,was when David Campese was involved as consultant.They have never been the same since he left. The players seemed to have lost their focus as a team.Petersen and Mvovo should start every game as wings.Lambie should be given Carte Blanche as a flyhalf.The kid is that good and because he is young he should be continually encouraged to do just that what he is good at,be a general.Keep AD Jacobs on inside centre.Motivation seems to be a problem.Bismarck looks as if something s wrong.Daniels should never be left out.

      Lloyd - 2011-05-25 11:21

      They don't normally have sportsmen on Carte Blanche.

      sparkster - 2011-05-25 11:57

      Oh Gosh Lloyd, please bro their are foreigners that read this site to and you making us South Africans look like a bunch of Half Twits.Please man??

  • C-Bass - 2011-05-25 11:37

    Well Plum I think its a tad late to be speaking about winning ugly this late in the season! Would have taking winning ugly any day over losing 5 matches! Why have younger players not been giving chances especially in the backs? Could hardly have done worse than the current centre pairing! And why are we trying to run everything from all over the field? What happened to Lambie's tactical kicking? Get into position first and then launch the attack. And I said it before the game that we don't have a plan B if our ball carriers don't get over the advantage line as was proven by the Bulls double hits! Think that Plum needs to pull a rabbit out of the hat and try a different centre combination with a more tactical approach playing possession retaining rugby in the opposition's half. And our forwards need to step up and sort the lineouts out as its shamble at the moment. Shorten it and take it quicker. Go Sharks go!

      Pipes - 2011-05-25 14:57

      Can't agree more. My humble prediction early this year after we 'bought' a 'has been' centre to pair up with another 'has been' full-back was that we will not make it past the quarters. The lack of mid-field talent spelt disaster from the word go. Unfortunately our lock combination also looked very ordinary against the likes of Bakkies, Victor, Bekker and even the young Elstadt. You will never win the tournament without raw talent on Lambie's outside. Invest in players like Sadie or Barry Geel.

  • tut - 2011-05-25 11:42

    Who cares? It was nice to see the Bulls dishing out a physical hiding to the Sharks second to none. Get of your throne Plumtree and stop making excuses for your teams own arrogance!

      shark4eva - 2011-05-25 12:25

      Arrogance?! Oi tut, du Preez is out for 6 weeks coz of arrogance! Bulls beat the Sharks now they are already in the about arrogance ;-)

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