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Sharks v Griquas – the good and the bad


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 12 Aug 2014 at 16:07
Tagged with : , , , , ,

In the first of a new series of articles, I’m going to pick up five positive aspects from the Sharks’ opening Currie Cup win over Griquas, as well as look at five areas that were concerning. The hope is that as the season progresses, we end up with nothing at all to worry about and can gush forth about only positives.

Let’s look at the positives first:

1) The scrumhalf issue is a non-issue. Based on the performances put in by both Cameron Wright and Hanco Venter, we have nothing to worry about in this position. Sure, it’s early days for the youngsters, but they really couldn’t have asked for a better start. If anything, the problem is going to be figuring out how to accommodate four great senior 9s once Cobus Reinach and Stefan Ungerer return.
2) The kicking we did was sensible and proportionate. Unlike in Super Rugby where every good ball was kicked away, on Saturday, you felt that there was real purpose behind every kick, with the players weighing up their options carefully before using the boot. Kick execution was, for the most part, very good, with some lovely rolling touch finders employed to win position.
3) Fred Zeilinga remains a match winner. Sure, he may have been a little rusty at times, but you simply cannot fault the way this young man directs matters at flyhalf. In a Currie Cup where many teams are weakened, Zeilinga’s class is going to prove decisive for the Sharks.
4) There is pace and power aplenty amongst the three-quarters. The performance of S’bura Sithole and Paul Jordaan in particular was incredibly encouraging, while Tonderai Chavangha also showed just how dangerous he is going to be this season. An area of historical weakness for the Sharks now looks to be a real strength.
5) The forwards stood their ground. So often we’ve seen under-strength Currie Cup packs capitulate against Griquas. Despite their rustiness and the after-effects of far too long in a plane that was far too small, the Sharks forwards delivered 60 minutes of very good ruby (and another 20 of reasonable rugby) – enough to give us plenty of hope for the games to come. The scrums, in particular, were hugely encouraging.

Let’s add a sixth positive, just because this is the first episode in this series….. we actually won the bloody match. Hands up everyone who thought we were going to lose! Yes, I know. There really were quite a few of you!

Now, for the negatives, starting with the most obvious.

1) No bonus point. Seriously, you won’t get a better opportunity to score four tries than when you play against 14 men for 90% of the game.
2) Ball retention. There was far too much good ball given up through runners getting isolated, or too few men at the breakdown.
3) Place kicking. Fred left too many points out there, simple as that. He will improve, I’m sure.
4) Soft moments. The execution wasn’t where it needed to be at times, which you can mostly blame on rust, I guess. There were too many knock-ons, some unforced kicking errors and some costly lapses on defence, all of which conspired to keep Griquas in the game.
5) That final quarter was a disaster. You don’t go from being 3 tries up and pushing for a fourth, to desperately clinging onto a win. Blame it on a lack of match fitness, or perhaps the after effects of the flight, but the final 20 minutes from the Sharks simply weren’t good enough.



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