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Omar to teach these dogs to fight?

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 20 Oct 2015 at 10:55
Tagged with : , , , ,

“Behind every successful cerebral figure there lies a Rottweiler whose job it is to browbeat, badger or bully the footsoldiers into line. Ian McGeechan had Jim Telfer to wave the big stick, Gordon Brown employed Damian McBride as his enforcer and Alan Solomons has Omar Mouneimne to keep his Edinburgh side on their toes.” IAIN MORRISON, The Scotsman, 19 January 2014.

An interesting opening line to an article dredged up from the archives and one that sheds a little light on the character of (and role to be played by) new Sharks defence and breakdown coach Mouneimne. With a background in sports that includes several martial arts, as well as the introduction of the Ultimate Fighting Championship to South Africa, it’s pretty clear that this 40-year-old Zimbabwean is hard to the core – in fact, learning to pronounce his Lebanese last name is possibly the least hard thing about him!

While his recent past may, to some, appear a little chequered (with a number of job changes in the last few years) there’s very little doubt that he brings a hard edge and approach to defence and tackle-point aggression that border on the obsessive, to the teams he coaches. Repeat appointments to work with Alan Solomons at both the Kings and Edinburgh speak volumes, as well as his work with the Italian national team alongside none other than Nick Mallett. He is no stranger to Super Rugby either, having worked with the Stormers in 2010. Those who remember their Southern Hemisphere history will recall that the Cape side finished second on the log that year; more pertinent is a “points against” column reading just 171. With Mouneimne and Jacques Nienaber coaching collisions and defence, the Stormers conceded 116 fewer points in the competition than the second best team. 116…. just let that sink in a little.

For a Sharks team, in other words, that looks frankly clueless on defence (with a Technical Director who seems to float in and out of the picture without ever spending much time on the topic), I believe that appointing an obsessive pitbull like Omar Mouneimne is nothing short of a master stroke. Rugby is a simple game, after all and if you cannot prevent tries from being scored against you, you will lose more games than you will win, regardless of what happens at the other end. For a new look Sharks team trying desperately to forge some cohesion and perhaps even a new identity, I can think of no better place to start than by becoming obsessive about defence.

Omar Mouneimne eats, sleeps and breathes that obsession and I look forward to seeing just what he can make of this group of pups.


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