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Ken Borland



A single miss costs the Sharks 0

Posted on February 27, 2017 by Ken

 

A single miss in an otherwise top-class kicking display by Pat Lambie cost the Sharks victory as they went down 26-28 to the Reds in their opening SuperRugby match in Brisbane on Friday.

Lambie missed a penalty three minutes from full-time that would have snatched a fortuitous victory, given that a Reds team that played with 14 men for 20 minutes outscored them by four tries to two.

With Lambie earlier kicking six-from-six, the Sharks enjoyed a 26-18 lead with 16 minutes remaining, but a poor finish to the game saw them concede two tries.

The Sharks made a great start with a try in the second minute when the Reds were throwing passes around and flyhalf Quade Cooper dropped the ball, outside centre Lukhanyo Am pounced and a quick interchange with wing Kobus van Wyk then put flank Jean-Luc du Preez away to storm over the tryline.

Lambie’s conversion made it 7-0, but the Sharks were unable to threaten the Reds’ tryline again in the first half, largely because they had to make do with a tiny proportion of possession, their failure to hang on to the ball for long periods meaning they had to do most of the defending.

Cooper and Lambie traded two penalties each to make the score 13-6 at the half-hour, but Van Wyk then turned village idiot and tried to take a quick lineout inside his own 22, an isolated Curwin Bosch conceding a scrum. The Reds forwards drove strongly and eighthman Scott Higginbotham dotted down through the pile of bodies for the home side’s opening try, Cooper’s conversion levelling the scores at 13-13.

Lambie snuck a penalty in the last-minute of the first half, thanks to lock Ruan Botha twice putting great pressure on Reds scrumhalf Nick Frisby, for the Sharks to lead 16-13 at the break, and the visitors showed hitherto unseen control in the opening exchanges of the second half, dominating territory and hanging on to the ball much better.

Lambie succeeded with a 43rd-minute penalty to stretch the lead to 19-13, but Queensland centre Samu Kerevi struck back with the first of his two tries six minutes later.

Running with great power and awareness, he burst through a gap between scrumhalf Cobus Reinach and Am, to score after the Reds chose a scrum under the shadow of the poles instead of a kick at goal. Cooper failed with an easy conversion attempt, which allowed the Sharks to hang on to a slender one-point lead.

With referee Nick Briant suddenly remembering that there is no tolerance for neck-tackles this season, Reds lock Kane Douglas was yellow-carded for pulling at Beast Mtawarira’s neck in the 57th minute.

With a lot of the Reds muscle gone, the Sharks understandably went for rolling mauls when awarded penalties, but there was no accuracy in their first couple of attempts, but eventually eighthman Tera Mtembu rumbled over in the 61st minute after the Queenslanders disintegrated.

Lambie converted for a 26-18 lead, but they were to score no further points as they seemed to lack a clear plan in the final quarter.

Kerevi is a particular threat in this Reds side and he muscled over from close range again in the 64th minute, but the killer blow was landed by his midfield partner Duncan Paia’aua, who ran an excellent line back inside, cutting straight through before replacement scrumhalf James Tuttle finished strongly.

The result was a sharp reminder to the Sharks of the accuracy that is required to win overseas – they simply made too many errors in discipline and decision-making, although a losing bonus point was some reward for the competitiveness they showed.

Mtawarira was full of energy in the front row, Du Preez was a force with ball-in-hand and Am was exciting at times in the backline, but the overall Sharks performance was not good enough to earn victory.

Scorers

RedsTries: Scott Higginbotham, Samu Kerevi (2), James Tuttle. Conversion: Quade Cooper. Penalties: Cooper (2).

SharksTries: Jean-Luc du Preez, Tera Mtembu. Conversions: Pat Lambie (2). Penalties: Lambie (4).

http://citizen.co.za/sport/sport-rugby/1438777/clumsy-sharks-fluff-their-lines-at-vital-moments/

Top-class Sharks halfbacks hoping for a change in injury fortunes 0

Posted on February 21, 2017 by Ken

 

Pat Lambie and Cobus Reinach have endured a wretched time when it comes to injury in recent SuperRugby seasons, but Sharks backline coach Sean Everitt said on Tuesday that the team are excited about being able to field a top-class halfback pair in this year’s campaign.

“That’s where we’ve fallen short in the last couple of years, losing Pat early and then Cobus being unlucky in the last few years, means they have missed a lot of SuperRugby which is never easy for a team to lose their first-choice halfbacks. And SuperRugby is not really the sort of tournament you want to breed youngsters in, that’s more for the Currie Cup, and we’ve also had no Frans Steyn.

“But the youngsters are important and they’ve been working hard, because Pat has to rest at some stage. Innocent Radebe and Benhard Janse van Rensburg have done well and Curwin Bosch can play flyhalf as well.

“Cobus will certainly provide some x-factor, he’s an opportunist, but he does the basics well and has a good boot too. He’s been here a long time, he knows the systems well and he delivers on the field,” Everitt said.

While experience at nine and 10 will obviously be cherished by the Sharks, they do have a herd of youngsters challenging for backline places and that has pleased Everitt as well.

“The youngsters have a lot of enthusiasm and since losing JP Pietersen, Willie le Roux and Odwa Ndungane last year, the Currie Cup bunch have grown considerably. They’ve certainly played themselves into contention and that’s exciting.

“We have Kobus van Wyk on the wing, although we will look at him at centre if we have problems there. But Lukhanyo Am has done well in the Currie Cup and has had good preparation, so we’ll be looking to build up his combination with Andre Esterhuizen.

“Jeremy Ward is obviously a good signing because he was one of the top age-group players in his position [centre] last year and we mustn’t forget Johan Deysel from the Leopards, who played in the 2015 World Cup for Namibia. It’s time to move on and these guys have what it takes,” Everitt said.

But there is also the presence of veteran French fullback Clement Poitrenaud and Everitt said he would play a leadership role in guiding the young backline.

“Clement is definitely in contention for selection in the match-day 23, he has a lot of experience having played 47 Tests. We have a young backline, so he will be good for us, leading and helping those guys. He’s very popular amongst his team-mates, his English is quite good and he has a good sense of humour. Most importantly, the guys admire his skill-set,” Everitt said.

http://citizen.co.za/sport/sport-rugby/1428003/sharks-holding-thumbs-their-dynamic-duo-keep-fit/

As if dismal performance was not bad enough for Sharks … Lambie injured & Deysel banned 0

Posted on June 03, 2016 by Ken

 

As if the dismal performance over the weekend was not bad enough for Sharks supporters, there was even worse news on Tuesday as Pat Lambie was ruled out for six weeks and Jean Deysel received a seven-week suspension after his stupid red card against the Crusaders.

Captain Lambie has injured his neck vertebrae and his absence continues the curse of the captaincy for the Sharks. Bismarck du Plessis was named as the captain for the season but is currently suspended for an idiotic act of foul play, which his replacement, Deysel, has now replicated. Another member of the leadership team, Francois Steyn, is also suspended for a dangerous tip-tackle.

Eighthman Ryan Kankowski now looks certain to be handed the poisoned chalice and the responsibility of leading his team away from the precipice. Although, as director of rugby Gary Gold points out, the Sharks are still handily placed in the competition – in seventh place on 19 points, the same as conference leaders the Bulls, who do however have a game in hand – there is little doubt that they are standing at a crossroads.

If the Sharks don’t change direction, quickly rediscover some heart and sense of team purpose, then their season will probably sink without a trace. Alternatively, beating the high-flying Lions in Johannesburg this weekend would be just the tonic required to allow them to start forgetting about all the travails of the last few weeks.

Gold is not trying to make excuses but is also not just going to throw in the towel.

“It is an emotional time and it is a challenging week for us. People point at the scoreboard, and that is how it should be. But I honestly feel this adversity gives us an opportunity for real growth.

“We will fix it. I believe in these players, it is a great group of guys. We are just not playing well at the moment and nobody can deny that. But we are still in the hunt. It is not the end of the world, we are not in the bottom half of the table. We are just going to have to show some character. We are going to have to step up to the plate. It is as simple as that,” Gold said.

Lambie’s replacement at flyhalf is likely be Fred Zeilinga, who has shown he is not out of his depth in Super Rugby, while Renaldo Bothma should return to the starting line-up to replace Deysel.

Jantjies able replacement for Lambie & Pollard – Gold 0

Posted on April 14, 2016 by Ken

 

Sharks coach Gary Gold believes that the Springboks have a ready-made replacement in Elton Jantjies for the injured flyhalf duo of Pat Lambie and Handre Pollard following his pivotal role in the Lions’ convincing 24-9 victory in their SuperRugby match in Durban at the weekend.

“Sometimes we mustn’t be afraid to say that we lost to a better team. The Lions defended very well, they kept us out despite wave after wave of attack and I thought Elton Jantjies was outstanding, he controlled the game very well.

“Elton is more than deserving of the Springbok flyhalf position. Pat Lambie and Handre Pollard are both out, which is not great for South African rugby, but there’s no way Elton would let you down. He’s cool, calm and composed and kicks his goals well. I think he’s outstanding,” Gold said.

With the Sharks being tryless, questions were once again asked about the attacking ambition of the team, but Gold said his side have played with intent.

“The game plan is okay, but we must just execute better. The guys came out and showed intent and I was proud of that. If we had taken that opportunity in the first five minutes, after a really good wave of attack, then who knows what might have happened?

“Sometimes we were attacking from the wrong areas and the penalty count against us was very high, which makes it very difficult. We looked quite good through the phases, especially off the lineout, but we were not able to launch off the scrum, where the Lions kept getting the ascendancy. The back three are getting enough ball, but whether it’s in the right areas is another story and we don’t do enough with it,” Gold said.

The director of rugby confirmed that flank Marcell Coetzee, who has been in brilliant form, has been ruled out of their tour to New Zealand due to a serious knee injury suffered against the Lions.

“We have certainly been written off before the tour, so it will be a great test of character. The guys will have to man up and take on the challenge, but it will be a fun challenge. We have got to right the wrongs of the last few weeks, but there have been many weeks of rights before that,” Gold said.



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