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Sharks at Newlands – Post Mortem

Written by Maria Delport (Letgo)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 9 Mar 2015 at 10:37
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , ,

The Sharks were beaten by the Stormers. It was a hard match to watch, especially after so much of the emphasis last week was on the referees and how “THEY” lost the match. To be trampled like we were against the Stormers, after our team was boosted with Sprinbok returnees and after, in our opinions, we “technically” beat the Bulls, was painful.

The first half wasn’t all that bad though. Within the first few minutes Pat Lambie put Odwa Ndungane through a small gap, for perhaps, our first clean break of the season. The Sharks did effectively get 3 points from that play, Lambie obliging with an easy penalty.

Soon after, the Stormers decided to drive a kickable penalty deep into our 22. They were camped in our 22 for 15 minutes, but mostly because the Sharks couldn’t scrum. We conceded 2 tight-heads in this period and they broke our backs on their own scrums. Ironically the try was conceded after we managed to get out of our half and under pressure, Catrakilis sent what looked like a poor kick up field. You should never let a rugby ball bounce.

The lead up to Pat Lambie’s try was encouraging. An attack down the short side and a Reinach grubber re-gather, seemed sure to setup a try, with oodles of space to the right. Cynical play in this instance already stopped any chance we had so when Groom was yellowed for collapsing a driving maul that was sure to end in a try, I was surprised that the penalty try did not follow. Pat Lambie was the beneficiary of that decision as the next line out set-up some space out wide for Lambie to slip over for a well worked try, although, this one could also have been a penalty try and Scarra Ntubeni was lucky that his team wasn’t reduced to thirteen. A dangerous tackle on Lambie’s collar, completely ignored by the officials. Catrakilis got a chance to even up the scores with a penalty soon after.

Another good period of attacking play was started by Lambie when he slipped through a gap and set the Sharks up on attack inside the Stormers 22, the attack broke down, when Jaco Peyper called accidental offside on Marcell Coetzee and Frans Steyn – strictly according to the laws, a Stormers scrum was the right call. Unbelievably, the Sharks decided to put their legs into it and got a tight-head of their. Unfortunately another good attack broke down, when the ball was ripped from Kankowski’s hands. Strictly according to the book, play on, ripped, not a knock-on would have been the right call.

Catrakillis slotted another penalty just before the end of the half, giving the Stormers a 3 point lead going into the sheds, but at this point the Stormers started to look very dangerous on attack, especially Damian de Allande and Cheslin Kolbe were very difficult to contain.

The second half was scrappy. While the Stormers looked much more dangerous on attack and only a few desperate tackles saved us from conceding more than two penalties, there were far too many errors from both teams in this half to make it a classic. The Sharks were specifically good at spoiling good possession, but unfortunately that of their own, as much as that of their opposition. Careless passes and handling errors, the order of the day.

With less than 20 minutes to go, the Sharks were still hanging on, a Pat Lambie penalty keeping them within scoring distance, but the Stormers dominance and pressure were finally too much and a charged kick by Cobus Reinach – an unfortunate common practice in his game – ended in a penalty try after more poor decision making under pressure. All in all, a good summary of the match, as the pressure the Stormers put on us and the way the Sharks handled it, was ultimately what won and lost the match.

The Sharks coaches will have a lot to think about, a few things that need serious attention, however, I feel, there are still a few pleasantly surprising positives lurking, that should not be thrown away because of this bad performance. It would be difficult to keep faith in your plan under the circumstances, easy to revert back to the old way of thinking, but then the first 4 games would really have been a waste. I’m hoping for a better platform next week, but for our backs to continue looking for the gap and taking the opportunity when it seems to present itself.


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