Alistair Hargreaves

Seeing the glass half full

2011-05-11 14:17
Sport24 columnist Alistair Hargreaves (File)
Alistair Hargreaves

A lot can happen in 40 minutes. Championships can be won or lost, teams can disintegrate into individuals, dreams can be shattered and history can be made.

No matter where or when and regardless of which teams are playing, every second counts. However unremarkable some stanzas of rugby may seem, we learn at lot from each and every one.

Our second half display against the Brumbies on Saturday is a fine case in point. It wasn’t the most spectacular rugby ever seen, nor did it make up for a disappointing first half in which we found ourselves 16-3 down. We are also well aware that it certainly does not mean we have ‘arrived’ as a team; far from it.

However, when the final whistle sounded with the scoreboard reading 34-16 in our favour (and a bonus point victory confirmed), it did say something. A few things in fact.

It said we haven’t lost the will to fight and our dedication to playing winning rugby. It revealed that we still firmly believe in our ability, take huge pride in the colours we don, and have the character necessary to win a competition as brutal and taxing as this one.

Taking all that into account, we are under no illusions that we still need to improve considerably if we are to end up with a favourable draw in the knockout stages of Super Rugby.

This week however (at least in my books) is no time to harp on about the negatives.

Our responsibility as rugby players is to be hard on ourselves and our team mates in order to grow and become the strongest unit possible. However, I also feel that every now and then we need to take time out to survey the bigger picture and consider the positives.

We are fortunate to have a bye this weekend and that means a bit of time to switch off mentally and recover physically from the high intensity of this ever-demanding competition. It also provides us players time to reflect upon an intriguing first 11 rounds of rugby.

We currently find ourselves fifth on the combined log standings. With a guaranteed four points this weekend, we are in a good position for the last five rounds of the tournament. We have already toured, which means the remainder of our games are all in South Africa.

We have very limited injury concerns at this stage, good depth in all positions, and a full squad to choose from. We are playing with a well-settled side boasting a wealth of experience, led and run by people we enjoy and respect.

When you put it all in perspective, things are looking pretty good for the Kings Park faithful. Could  things  be better? Sure. Could they be worse? Definitely!

Who knows what the next forty minutes may bring. It could define a season, unearth a prodigious new talent or it could just be another small step in the journey of a team quietly fighting their way to the top.

Alistair Hargreaves was educated at Durban High School and captained the SA Schools side in 2004. Besides being a stalwart in the Sharks' second row, he's also played two Tests for the Springboks.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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