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Then we will fight in the shade

Written by (Big Fish)

Posted in :Bulls, Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 4 Jul 2012 at 22:49
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

Back in the days before Rob created the enlightened rugby blog that is now Sharksworld, we used to hang out on another site filled with some interesting folks. Before each Springbok match, there used to be a piece written by one author in a pseudo-epic style which was used to rile up the fans for the game. There were lots of “beholds” and “hearkens” in the piece, and I rather enjoyed it.

In recent times, Sharon has shown similar genius in writing articles that quickened the pulse and got the hopeless romantic in all of us chomping at the bit come kick-off time. Sadly, she isn’t around right now to ignite the fire in the belly before our Schizophrenic Sharks side takes on a Bulls side that smells a play-off place in the shadows.

I don’t have the talent of the above-mentioned authors, and sadly, I lack their zeal and faith in their teams. Perhaps partly due to my profession, I am a boring realist, and I think the Sharks will struggle to beat the Bulls, especially with all the injuries they have suffered.

No Willem Alberts means much less front-foot ball. No Pat Lambie means no clear direction and reliable boot in the flyhalf channel. And no Jacques Botes means no injection of pace and urgency at in the last quarter. The Sharks were up against it prior to these injuries – they are just much worse off now.

Added to the above, I remain chronically irritated with the simplistic game plan and sheer tactical naiveté shown by the coaching staff. John Plumtree has without fail managed a very mediocre mid-table finish in Super Rugby every year, and given the player resources at his disposal, this is just not good enough. It is time for a change at Ye Olde Kings Park.

So where does that leave us this weekend? Game already written off, television consciously tuned to just about anything not rugby-related? Well, not quite.

You see, supporting a team is not the same as worshipping one. As fans, we need not believe that the Sharks are the best team, that they can do no wrong, or that they deserve to be in the play-offs. We also need not believe that the heads of the union and the coaches know their arses from their elbows. We also need not believe that the Sharks will beat the Bulls this weekend.

No, rather, supporting the team means that we should still hope that the Sharks pull of a win, and if possible, we should tune in and support them on the day. And that’s what I am going to do.

The Sharks do not have the pedigree of the Bulls (great history and awesome set-up), WP (incredible talent-pool) or the Cheetahs (Grey College – say no more). We are a jumped up team of B-Divisioners who bought our way to the A-Division and had the audacity to stick around. We will have to be very clever if we hope to compete with the natural leaders in SA rugby. And sadly, right now we are not being that.

So, I think we need to be realistic and freely voice our concerns, but my fellow fans, I hope you will join me in still hoping for the best, and still believing in our team (which is not the same as believing in the current coaches, or players, for that matter). The Sharks, and Sharksworld, deserves a bit more passion than we have been showing of late – lets wear our hearts on our sleeves for a bit, and damn the sceptics to heck (that means you Megantron).


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