Ross Skeate

Upping the ante

2012-05-16 11:58
Sport24 columnist Ross Skeate (File)
If you had any doubts about Lwazi Mvovo's jet shoes, re-watch last weekend's game against the Force. It was quite breathtaking really. The man has got some serious wheels. I think he might just be able to take me in a foot race, just.

His two tries on the weekend helped us towards the biggest winning margin we've had all season... and a very welcome five points.

I know the Force will have gone back to the drawing board and seen where the leaks in their defensive system came about, but they’ll be hard pressed to find much more reason than some great individual brilliance from so many of the Sharks boys. Pride and passion has always been something we’ve engendered at this club. This result was just the logical consequence of so much blood, sweat and tears. Sometime it’s just your day in the sun.

So after a try-fest, the kind of which the Tank hasn’t seen in some time, we head into the next game against the Cheetahs who had a narrow loss to the Stormers over the weekend. They’ve always been a tough prospect for us although we have come out victors the last few encounters. Running out to the roar of all those Harleys will mean getting back to the quick Bloemfontein pitch and never-say-die Cheetahs boys.

After that bruising one, we’re into the Stormers in Durban where we will be looking to get some revenge after the narrow by-the-skin-of-our-teeth loss in the beginning of this marathon season in Cape Town.

As I wrote last time this little spurt of games is extremely important to how we position ourselves moving towards the play-offs. Of course it goes without saying how much of an advantage having a home fixture is; as opposed to the international travel nightmare that an away match can bring... much like last year's trip to a very quiet Nelson where we came up short against the Crusaders. And we learnt first-hand why New Zealand has such a small population; it’s just so darn hard to get there!

Luckily, and this rarely happens to us, a few of the weekend's results went our way and saw us into an ever so slightly stronger log position. It’s firmly in our hands now whether we make the most of the momentum we have chalked up over the last two weekends and capitalise on the gain in form. Seeing a few more blistering tries from Lwazi would do the trick, and the boys (although carrying a few battle wounds) are as motivated as ever to continue building a winning culture.

But there is some bad news... your favourite, longhaired, tattooed Shark won’t be seeing the field for at least another month; which sadly sees me missing this significant stage of our season. I can't even begin to explain how frustrating life can be sitting on the sidelines watching the boys run out, and the training for four hours every day doesn’t make it any easier! At least the gun show is coming along nicely. 

Finding a few hobbies and generally trying to keep the mind busy and off the void (left by the lack of game time); often finds injured players doing the strangest things. Not me though, I personally have been trying to decide whether to become a broody troubled musician/artist/writer, a traveling shoe salesmen, or an Eskimo.

Of course, each comes with its own pros and cons, and all three require some element of talent or aptitude. My first problem is that I’m not broody enough or talented enough (genius savant I am not) which rules out my first option, I’ve got terrible fashion sense which rules out the second and being cold every day of the year doesn’t really appeal. Although eating what you catch and having wolves as pets does seem like a noble way of living…guess I’ll need to work on my walrus steak cooking skills.

Beyond that, the life of an injured player can be as frustrating and soul destroying as you allow it. If I can make one suggestion to anyone going through something similar, the key I have found to not committing suicide is to be very conscious of the path. In other words, focus on what you need to do, when it needs to be done and understand that this is your fate at the moment, no matter how hard to swallow (kinda like a chunk of walrus loin).

Ross Skeate plays lock for the Sharks and represented the emerging Springboks in 2007.

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