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When continuity is king


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 17 Sep 2013 at 08:32
Tagged with : , , , , ,

While I completely understand and endorse the rotation policy that’s been adopted by the Sharks thus far in the Currie Cup, I can’t shake a nagging feeling that at least one of the problems besetting the team could be blamed directly on this approach.

The intention here really isn’t to nitpick, of course. Let’s keep in mind that this article comes on the back of a rare win in Kimberley and with the team just a point of the competition leaders with four games to play. In other words, from a pure competition point of view, the Sharks are doing incredibly well and for the most part, getting the wins when they need them. What is concerning, though, is the manner of some of those victories and in particular, the messiness at set piece that continues to hamper progress.

Now I’m far from an expert, but one thing I do know is that lineouts, for example, are an area of the game that only tend to get better the more a particular combination plays together. It’s not just about the hooker or the locks; rather, it takes a co-ordinated effort from all members of the pack to ensure success, from the man calling the move, the hooker throwing it in, the lifters, the jumper, the ripper, the cleaners and so on. Changing just one of these men can, of course, have an impact on synergy – changing four members of the tight five between one match and another essentially means the pack starts from scratch.

I think it goes without saying that scrumming is even more dependent on a concerted and integrated showing from all of the nine players involved. This is perhaps even more important under the new engagement sequence, with scrums lasting longer and less often decided within the first second based on which front row gets a better hit. To my way of thinking, the more often a particular forward combination (and tight five combination plays together) the better they’re going to become at scrumming as a unit.

I think the Sharks have done a pretty good job of giving everyone in the tight five a decent shot at game time over the last six weeks; now, though, I think it’s time to settle on a first-choice combination and allow them to start building some synergy through consistent selection.



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