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Xerox Golden Lions 10 10 48
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What are we expecting, exactly?


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 2 Sep 2014 at 12:19
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , ,

I think the title pretty much sums it up. What are our expectations from this year’s Currie Cup campaign, as fans? And are those expectations fair or realistic?

Let’s look at a few facts. We won the Currie Cup last year and did so in style, utilising and rotating amongst a rather large squad. Brendan Venter endured some initial criticism and a fair few fan doubts early on, as his chopping and changing led to some continuity and cohesion issues up front. Dark days there were indeed, with a loss to Griquas at home and bad defeats to Province home and away, before pulling off an amazing underdog victory in the final.

Since then, the team has had yet another change in coach – and Jake White has brought in his own philosophies and ideas about selection. A huge number of players have moved on – I count 22 names that featured in last year’s Currie Cup squad, and not in this one – while there is this year the added complication of no involvement from the Springboks even in the knock-out rounds. Injuries, particularly in the second row, have been cruel and while the emergence of a guy like Stephan Lewies has been a positive, he has carried a heavy workload for such a young man and is now starting to show the effects of that.

The team is also onto its third captain in as many campaigns, and also its fourth head coach, with Brad Macleod-Henderson taking the reigns on his own for the first time. Last year, Venter ran the Currie Cup team himself, with Macleod-Henderson one of the deputies.

Now we can look at all the above factors and point to a number of failings – succession planning, continuity in selection and game plan, player development, skills, etc – none of which can be fixed in the short term. The team is what it is at the moment and we have the players that we have. Given the above factors (and an inability to change the past) it’s probably pretty pointless and counter-productive to expect a perfect, trophy-retaining, campaign. Even more pointless is blaming the players that we have, or even the coaches who I’m sure are all doing their best to deliver under difficult circumstances while at the same time learning and growing.

Perhaps we need to cut everybody just a little bit of slack? Just a thought.



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