As ever, Sharks remain unstable
THERE is one thing you can rely on regarding the Sharks in Super Rugby this year is that they are consistently unreliable. If you were a betting man, you could make a fortune on the Sharks given their consistent trend of backing up a good victory with a disappointing loss, only to respond positively the next match.
But then they fail to pitch up the following game. This is what happened this last weekend when a poor Bulls team pitched up at King Park with hunger in their bellies to face a Sharks team that simply expected to win.
The hungry team won, the team going through the motions lost.
Since when does a Sharks team go out onto the Kings Park pitch and play with less hunger than the visitors?
The problem with the Sharks is that they are fantastic one game, and poor the next. They were superb in beating the Stormers in the match preceding this game, but then collapsed against a Bulls team that had more enthusiasm.
Let’s look at how it started: in round one, the Sharks lost to a terrible Reds team in Brisbane and then responded to beat the Brumbies in Canberra.
Without going into the whole sequence of Sharks games, that is their pattern. They are simply inconsistent.
They are princes one week and paupers the next.
This last weekend, the Sharks were at home and expected to beat a Bulls team that had won only three games the whole season, but the visitors out-passioned them.
A disgruntled Sharks coach Robert du Preez said: “We were very disappointing. There was little intensity. We looked very disjointed. Most sadly was that the attitude was not there.”
Du Preez said the monthlong break since the victory over the Stormers at King Park meant nothing because the Bulls had had the same break.
“We had Boks players not available because of injury but the Bulls had the same, so we simply have no excuse,” he said. “We simply had a lack of composure.”
There are some that say it might have turned out better for the Sharks had Du Preez played Curwin Bosch at flyhalf and Garth April at fullback, but the coach disagrees.
“I thought Garth had a good first half in the way he took it to the line, but he was a bit of a lone ranger,” Du Preez said. “The defeat had nothing to do with the flyhalf. The fact is that the team performance was unacceptable. We trained really well during the week. We were ready, but mentally just did not pitch up.”
The Sharks have a bye this week and then play the Lions in Durban in the last round of the competition before the quarterfinals. The Durban team have already qualified for the playoffs having been assured of being runners-up behind the Lions in Africa Group 2, but they might as well not pitch for the play-offs if they do not get their minds right. Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines is struck by Jeff Horn of Australia during their WBO World Welterweight title boxing match at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday. The 29-year old Australian defeated boxing veteran Pacquiao in an unanimous decision, with the judges scoring 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113 in Horn‘s favour.