Sharks Shred the Lions

There were no emotions left at the start of the game, just numbness and confusion. Maybe there could have been a small flame of hope, but that was soon replaced by indifference and coldness. I tried to get angry and there were plenty of worthy reasons for me to do so, but what’s the point?

After a very promising start, the Lions soon lost interest and that was all the Sharks needed to close the game and add yet another punctuation to the “Rugby is a tough business” statement. The Lions managed to hold onto their lead to just into the 2nd half, but in truth the game was lost when Laurence yellow carded Hendrik Roodt just before the break. It seemed to go all pear – shaped from there on.

The Lions had their opportunities but lacked the accuracy and killer instincts that were on display one short fateful week ago. The usual penalties and unforced errors began to creep in and within a period of knock on’s; missed tackles; dubious penalty decisions and crooked lineout throws the Sharks took the game beyond the reach of the Lions. As is the case so often in the past, this was the first 10 mins of the 2nd half.

An initial reaction would be to get upset with the players, but with all things considered, they must have had a lot on their minds. Their hearts were not in this particular match and even though they like to be considered as professionals – who can really blame them?

Like in every game the Lions lose, there were positives and the forwards played particularly well against a pack that is feared and well reputed throughout the competition. Warren Whitely worked hard as did Franco and the front row would be feeling pretty pleased with themselves after out scrumming their foes hands down.

At times the match became quite open with line breaks, followed by counter attacks and open field running. The Lions did have their fair share of this, but the Sharks made the most of their opportunities, whereas the Lions were not able to conjure up that final move that puts a player in the clear.

Protection of the ball in contact was poor in general and by both sides, but the Lions were the ones to have lost it on the most inopportune of times and while both teams were guilty of missing tackles, the ones that the Lions missed looked to be the softer and most costly.

The only thing that really annoyed me was Andy Capastango’s totally biased commentating throughout the game. If he wasn’t going on about one KZN high school or another he was then just about willing his team to score that bonus point try! His outrageous burst of “Bull in a china shop” excitement when Jean Deysel went over for what was in my opinion a very soft try was way over the top and although I could not see him, I heard his words spoken through a great big smug smile.

The Lions coaches and administrators are in a very precarious position and not just for obvious reasons. I believe that their biggest challenge is how to deal with the players in a way that they still get the best out of them, but without upsetting anyone. It cannot be emphasized enough how important the next 11 months are and the sole focus of everyone should be on how we are going to play ourselves back into Super Rugby.

There is no time to shrug our shoulders and wait till next July, we need to be like Rocky Balboa – the underdog, training like a wild animal, fiercely focused on our goals and not allowing any obstacles to hinder our passage. The Currie Cup must be seen as a stepping stone to our ultimate objective, where even winning it again must be seen as secondary to our return to Super Rugby.

By the time we have our go at the Kings (or whoever it may be), we will be so tough, so grim and determined and so mercilessly effective that we shall dispose of them like a hammer crushing a fly.

The Currie Cup is still wide open, with the Cheetahs, who lost heavily to us now beating the Bulls and WP who lost to the Sharks, just scraping past the Grikwas. This was therefore a very good result for the Sharks, helped indeed by the results of other matches and circumstances.

Although the drawing board will need to be consulted once again, I don’t think that the boys were too far off the mark. It really was just execution and moral that was not where it aught to be on the night.

The scorers:

For the Sharks: Tries: Sithole, Ndungane, Deysel Cons: Bosman 3 Pens: Bosman 3

For the Golden Lions: Tries: Penalty try, Grobbelaar Cons: James 14

16 comments to Sharks Shred the Lions

  • emiel

    LV, agree with your views regarding the game as well as the general situation in the Lions camp.

    Regarding the list of next years contracted players that de Klerk released, I would urge the Lions to release fringe players such as the Ross and Moolman brothers, Stephan Greef, des Fountain, Deon van Rensburg and James Kamana, and instead contract promissing youngsters such as Caylib Oosthuizen, Ruan Dreyer, Ruan Botha, Volmink and Combrink.

  • Blesbeer

    All we need next year, is a bullish match 22 and some promising youngsters as back-up… But we need to keep our star-players happy and release them to play Euro on super rugbyin the super rugby window… So we can’t boot to many players!

  • Blesbeer

    All we need next year, is a bullish match 22 and some promising youngsters as back-up… But we need to keep our star-players happy and release them to play Euro on super rugbyin the super rugby window… So we can’t boot to many fringe players!

  • I was hoping this wouldn’t happen, but what else did we expect.

    If you founf out that you might nor have a job and salary next season, how would it affect your current situation and mindset?

    Think we might be expecting too much of a bunch of guys who have this uncertainty hanging over them.

    The timing of this announcement leaves much to be desired. A Team wanting to prove they belong at the top level and wanting to defend their CC title, finds out before round 2 that they will not be playing SupeRugby next season.

    I swear this was all planned by SARU to really kill the Lions.

  • lionsno23

    Ruan Botha is on his way to WP

    Perhaps the lions thanked the Sharks for their vote!!!!

  • frikkie28

    LV – Your statement “we need to be like Rocky Balboa – the underdog, training like a wild animal, fiercely focused on our goals and not allowing any obstacles to hinder our passage. ” is just too late. This is what the player were suppose to do since January when SARU said the Kings will play next year.

    Willa – Whether SARU plan to kill the lions should not be a factor. The union knew since January that the kings would play next year and logic dictates that it would be at the expense of another team.

    The union got themselves into this situation. Management is just not capable and should have been replaced as a whole many years ago, and especially after the 2009 situation just before the B&I Lions game. This was not done.

    The player in my view played below par nearly the whole Super rugby campaign. Just look at the huge number of mistakes(forward passes, knock on’s, loss of possesion in contact, bad lineouts etc) and then suddenly against the Sharks in Jhb they can play a near faultless game? This does not make sense. Basic rugby skills is not something they could have learned the week before that game. They had to have those skills the whole season.

    I’m not for one second trying to say the decision by SARU (on political grounds, or what ever other reason) makes rugby sense, I’m just saying that the union(management and players) could have prevented this whole issue, and that they could have prevented this whole situation.

  • With you Frikkie, I just think the timing of it sucks.

  • Ek dink ons het almal rede om gegrief te voel oor die gebeure en elkeen het sy eie lykskouing (post mortem) gedoen maar die vraag wat ek vra, is dit regverdig om bestuur te blameer. Neem in ag die volgende paar goedjies:

    Met dié betuur het ons die CC gewen, wat moet ons meer doen,
    Ons het die SR Rugby seisoen begin met ot 10 gereelde spelers beseer, watter provinsie sou beter kon doen. Die Crusaders en Reds het dit bewys,
    Wat sou gebeur het as of die WP of die Bulle onder geeindig het. Sou hulle uit gewees het.

    Ek peroonlik dink nie die vinger moet na bestuur gewys word nie.

    Op die einde van die dag het SARU en die ander provinsies ons in die rug gesteek en was daar geen meriete in die besluit nie.

  • 13

    Hey lionsno23.
    Is Ruan Botha’s move confirmed? Have heard nothing but rumours up to this stage.

  • Lion Roar

    LV, I think the dubious send off of Roodt was the turning point of the game and the other penalties also were inconsistant to what Lawless was blowing. Deysel’s try, which can blamed for poor tackling from the Lions, came from a penality for blocking from a kick-off. The Kick-off from that try the Sharks did exactly the same thing, with 4 blockers and this was not picked up. I feel SARU will ensure that we get the short end of the stick this season to ensure that we do not win as this will complicate thier decision. We had the dominate forward players, everytime we got on the move lawless would blow us out of the game, this whole season we will see some very bad calls go against us, watch this space!!

  • LionRoar, yeah, that blocking from the kick-off was shocking. Roodt was watching the ball and the Sharks player ran into him. Poor decision.

    Lawrence was my favorite referee for many years, but he has really been poor lately.

  • Lion Roar

    I agree 100% Willa, he was a one of the better refs, but his decisions on Saturday were suspect. Our rolling mauls could never get ahead, before we could get set to start moving he would already call “That’s one”. This was continued throught the whole second half, and he would call “That’s 2″ while we were moving forward?

    I don’t like it when we always blame refs, but something did not taste right in that second half, and it was not the billies.

  • Lion86

    I have to agree with you guys regarding Lawrence. Look refs make mistakes, but all the mistakes he made resulted in points to the sharks.He was shocking in that game.

    Have to get Sithole credit for his try though,he went around Esterhuizen like nothing, I think Esterhuizen is still trying to catch him. He was also good on cover defence. All he needs is some game time, if we had a superrugby team I would have loved to see him in a lions jersey.

  • Blesbeer

    We don’t have proper wingers… Volminc was great on debut but doesn’t live up to the promise he has shown. Esterhuizen is just plain slow… Think Deon would beat him in a footrace? Apart from, that… I swore at Lawrence for the first time every on Saturday.. He pick Roodt and nailed him the whole game!! Agree fully with you guys, our maul close to the line? We would have scored!! It was pretty blatant that one!!! And the players knew it!!! This is sickening!!

  • Lion4ever

    I was really happy when we got that penalty try early in the first half and my Sharks mate was livid. We did some good things in the first half, but just seemed to want to play basketball rugby. This was a game we should have won.

  • Blesbeer

    Amen L4E…

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