Cape Town - In
an exclusive interview, former Sharks skipper GARY TEICHMANN discusses the Sharks’ leaky defence, poor crowd
attendance and the clash with the Hurricanes on Saturday.
Sport24 asked: You’ve said that there
are two types of rugby players – the game breakers and
the grafters. Explain why you fell into the latter category during your playing
Gary Teichmann: Game breakers are players
who can do something special at any given moment, whereas the work rate of the
grafters in the game is way higher. I was the type of player who was less
flamboyant, but who would put in the hard yards and lead by example.
asked: Since dispensing of John Plumtree’s services, Sharks fans have endured a
rollercoaster Super Rugby ride. What do you believe has gone wrong behind the scenes?
Teichmann: The change at boardroom level and the comings and
goings of coaches since Plumtree’s departure has had a big effect. The players
appear to be caught between game plans. They played a conservative,
defence-based game with Jake White at the helm and under Gary Gold the emphasis
has been more on attack. To me, it looks like a team that is not really sure of
how they want to play the game and when you lose, your confidence is eroded.
Brendan Venter taking the pre-season and Gold coming in late was far from
ideal. While the Sharks have already leaks more tries than the whole of last
season, their attacking options haven’t been that great either. For me, defence
is about attitude and confidence, whereas attack is something that players need
to train really hard at in order to perfect.
asked: In his book John Mitchell said, “I strongly
suspect the Sharks are running out of money, which could be problematic for the
game in this country.” Your opinion?
Gary Teichmann: While I can’t comment on
the financial side, as I don’t have the figures in front of me, you simply
can’t expect the finances to be flowing when season tickets and crowd
attendance on match day is not what the union had hoped for. In terms of the
number of fans coming through the turnstiles, it’s certainly not looking good
for the Sharks. I believe the problem stems from the Sharks not investing
enough in youth, which was never an issue in the past. As a province, I feel we
have taken our eye off the ball in terms of youth development. I believe John
Smit needs to forge a vision and a plan of action, because that is all loyal
Sharks supporters are asking for. However, I must stress that there is no quick
Sport24 asked: The Sharks have
announced the signing of Jacques Potgieter. Your take?
Gary Teichmann: I would contradict myself
if I said it was a great addition, because I believe we should be focusing on
the youth. I know for a fact that there are quality youngsters coming through
the ranks. One such example is 19-year-old Daniel du Preez. I’m not suggesting
Potgieter is a bad player, but it’s time for the Sharks to rebuild and start
bringing quality youth products through. Young players should be given more opportunities.
The youth also have the positive effect of keeping senior players on their
toes. If there is no quality youth coming through, then your senior players are
not put under any real pressure.
Sport24 asked: The South African
player drain post-World Cup 2015 is inevitable. However, how can we stem the
tide and retain the core group of our player pool?
Gary Teichmann: The South African Rugby
Union has to think outside the box to keep our top South African talent. The
way we have contracted players in the past has not been correct. However, what
I believe is that Saru is now going to own more of the player than the union.
In my view, that will stand us on a better footing for international rugby and
that’s what it’s really about. The New Zealand Rugby Union has contracted
centrally for a long time. My question is why have we taken so long to change
it around? Moving forward, Saru has to own the major portion of a player in the
best interests of South African rugby.
Sport24 asked: Bismarck du Plessis has
recently relinquished the captaincy. Give us your take and explain what
qualities a leader of men must demonstrate both on-field and off.
Gary Teichmann: The first mark of an
effective captain is that you have to have the respect of your fellow players.
I believe that you are on a hiding to nothing if you don’t. You can’t demand
respect, you have to work to earn it. Secondly, the relationship between the
coach and the captain has to be very tight. I had that with Ian McIntosh and
Nick Mallett, until towards the end. You have to be on the same page and strive
for the same objectives in the best interests of the team. Bismarck is a great
player, but perhaps he was a better captain under White, because the latter was
more dictatorial. There isn’t a right way or wrong way to captain a side. There
was a huge difference between how Francois Pienaar captained the Springboks and
how I did. Francois came across exceptionally well in team talks and was a
motivational leader. However, if I had tried to copy his captaincy style, I
don’t think I would have been successful. Being an emotional captain is not a
bad thing, but I tried to lead from the front and hoped that other players
would follow suit. I was inspired by Wahl Bartman’s quiet but effective form of
captaincy. Bartman really let his rugby do the talking. As a
wasn’t big on giving lofty speeches before a game and relied a lot on my senior
Sport24 asked: On-field discipline
has proved a problem for the Sharks this season, having incurred three red
cards and three yellows. What does sound discipline come down to?
Gary Teichmann: First let me say that we
were just so well-disciplined under Ian McIntosh that we didn’t need any team
protocols in that regard. But jokes aside, I believe discipline is all about
setting standards. Mac always stressed to us as a team that we just couldn’t
afford to lose a player during a match. However, we also had some fiery
characters in our side which I think is crucial, because if a team has 15 Pat
Lambies who are cool, calm and collected, they will also struggle. A successful
team needs a combination of both types of personalities. Fiery characters just
need to be kept in check by more composed players.
Sport24 asked: The Sharks tackle the
table-topping Hurricanes. How can they be beaten?
Gary Teichmann: The Sharks have to close down the Hurricanes’ space,
as the hosts are deadly in broken field. The Sharks’ defensive line has to be
so strong if they have any chance of winning the game and they must make their
first-time tackles. The fact the Sharks have missed the most tackles this
season – 243 – underlines their fragility on defence. When I was still playing
for the Sharks, there were phases when we were losing and our confidence was
low, and in those instances we would always work on getting our defence right.
If your defence is strong, from there you can create opportunities. As a
defender you have to put the pressure on the attacker and it has to be on your
terms. I believe whichever team dominates the area between the defensive line
and the attacking line will win the match.
Roger De Sa
Hennie le Roux
Peter de Villiers
Ian McIntoshCarel du Plessis
Braam van Straaten
Johan AckermannJapie Mulder
Pat SymcoxJoe van Niekerk