Steyn kicks scrappy Sharks to victory



The Sharks strengthened their position on top of the Super Rugby standings when they beat the Cheetahs 19-8 in Durban.

Both teams scored one try each and the difference came down to penalty kicks with Frans Steyn kicking three of the Sharks four penalties. Tim Swiel kicked the other Sharks penalty. Jean Deysel scored a late try to help the Sharks consolidate their position in the Super Rugby standings. The flanker crossed with nine minutes to play after Ryno Benjamin’s 65th minute score had briefly given the visitors hope in a game that lacked any energy or zeal.

Eleven of the home side’s other points came via the boot of Frans Steyn during the second half, but coach Jake White will be pleased after his side moved six points clear at the summit despite their unimpressive display on the east coast. Tim Swiel, making his full debut, was in the thick of the action early on squandering a chance to settle any nerves by missing a penalty and then making a darting run through a hole, only to deliver a wayward pass.

At the other end, Elgar Watts was much more accurate with his first kick at goal, following an off-side call against the hosts, as the Cheetahs led after five minutes. Both sides then appeared to drift into slow motion with no further points coming for over 25 minutes. There were a few moments of excitement for the hosts in that period, though, with another debutant Tonderai Chavhanga showing promising signs down the left.

The Sharks finally had their first points in the 34th minute when the visitors were punished for not releasing and Swiel found his range. Another kickable penalty followed for side entry against Jean Cook, but the Sharks opted to set up a line-out that came to nothing. Then on the half-time hooter Swiel missed another straightforward kick. He missed to the left after Heinrich Brussow was punished for not releasing, leaving the sides all square at the break.

The Sharks took the lead for the first time six minutes into the second half when kicking duty shifted to Steyn, who knocked over his first chance after Maks Van Dyk was penalised for illegal scrumming by referee Jaco Peyper. They went even further ahead another six minutes on when Boom Prinsloo was called for collapsing a maul and Steyn banged over a monstrous 45-metre penalty.

The visitors were reduced to 14-men just after the hour as Brussow was yellow carded for hands constantly in the ruck after Cook had initially inexplicably knocked on right in front of goal with Steyn making it 12-3 from right in front. However, there was a response to come from the Cheetahs, and after Watts missed a penalty from distance, Benjamin crossed for a try on the left when Steyn’s attempted clearance was charged down by Hennie Daniller.

Watts missed the subsequent conversion, although it was a four-point ball game with 14 minutes to play. But Deysel ended any hopes of an upset when he went over on the left after Swiel initially carved open the defence by running through a hole in the visiting backline.

Final Score Sharks 19 (3) Cheetahs 8 (3)


Tries – J.Deysel
Pen – T.Swiel, F.Steyn 3
Con – F.Steyn
Tries – R. Benjamin
Pen – E.Watts
Cards – H. Brussow (61st min yellow)

Match Officials
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 1: Craig Joubert
Assistant Ref 2: Marius Jonker
TMO: Deon van Blommenstein

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Better known as Bunny, Took over after Pissant went over to the "Dark Side"


  1. We need to account for the fact that only 2 of the original 7 backline starters are still playing and 1 of them out of position.

    2nd choice 9,
    3rd choice 10,
    3rd? choice 13
    4th ? 5th choice wings.

    As it is, the Sharks have a nice cushion at the top of the log. Their tour is not hyper difficult. Depleted as they are, 8-10 points from the tour is doable and normally enough.

  2. @Timeo: and what can we say about the Stormers, Bulls, lions and Cheetahs on their injuries which is more than what Sharks are having at this stage, atleast the useless Stormers showed some intend of changes yesterday……Sharks playing the boring defence and kicking game most acused the Stormers and Bulls played the past few seasons. Is this games suddenly ok because Jake the snake say so and it is the Sharks?

    Sharks has score only 17 tries in 10 games, 38 penalty goals meaning they score 90% of their matches through penalties.
    Sharks only got 3 bonus points so far which one was from a loosing bonus point.

    For me the Sharks plays the same game many acuse the Stormers of being boring and cannot score 4 tries and all these games were in SA.

    Will have to see how they do on tour, but i suspect they will be even more in their win at any cause.

    JW can only play what he know and that is test match rugby were you win even if every game is ugly.

    This is how the Stormers got to their semi and final a few years ago and that is how Brumbies went about under him.

    Even the players said last year they want to play this year more running rugby, lucky for them he left…..

  3. Jake is a cunning sorcerer who like a jackal can choose to hunt as he did with Brumbies at times where the orders were to run the other team off their feet or scavenge with the test type rugby he pulls out to suffocate wins. He can out Zee-Bull the Bulls when he wants.

    I think that’s great for test rugby, it makes the NZ’ers go bananas but it goes against the spirit of exhibition I like to see with S15.

    As far as my opinion goes, Jake simply doesn’t care. He’s only thinking scoreboard come hook or crook & I admire that – just don’t always get a kick out of watching it take place in the non-test S15 format.

  4. @Jacques(Bunny):

    It’s not just Jake White. The Sharks have more talent in their current squad than the other SA teams also.

    Their game-plan is not ugly, yesterday’s game was only ugly because their execution was poor. No matter the game-plan, if it’s well executed and clever, to me it’s pretty. Poor execution or stupid rugby is ugly. Poor execution is excusable, stupid play not.

    The Lions were the champions of stupid for many-a-year, but the Cheetahs seem to want to take their place.

  5. There’s nothing wrong with the Stormers game-plan either. I loved watching them play their smothering defensive game over the last few years. This year they are just lacking talent in a few key areas. Poor kicking and poor set-pieces are killers when you rely that much on defense.

  6. Bunny – I too dug Stormers shut down D when they made semis got to finals etc.

    But your question is why do Stormers catch crap for their play vs Jake’s CCell’s which is similar but with better results….

    Jake White. Ccells can play anyway they want & its looked at as Jake’s mastermind planning. Jake soaks up a lot of the attention.

    AC on the other hand is practically invisible & he’s seen as just part of Corporation Stormers. Their play goes directly to that of the organization, not some wiley wizard behind the curtain moving the levers & drawing gameplan.

    Is it fair? Nope. But the sporting public is distracted by sleight of hand & shiney objects.

  7. I think I counted 8 times that a Sharks loose forward ran with the ball, receiving it at 10/12 channel and simply running into the very first person – never looking to change direction, offload – anything.

    Why must there always be a South African team that literally turns of young players in their thousands with our insistence to win rugby games without playing any rugby.

    Our rugby at the highest level has become as one dimensional and idiotic as our political discourse.

  8. And Timeo please dont give me the ‘execution was poor, gameplan is great’ schpiel.

    What execution of any plan or skill is necessary when you simple run at a man with no intention to play ball?

    Once more we will come unstuck at Bok level and there will be long tears and wailing noises about the refs, but the fact is we are not evolving our game because our most talented (richest) unions insist on playing pragmatic, low risk, low skill rugby that DOES NOT WIN BIG GAMES.

  9. @Cheetah Glory:

    I cannot speak for thousands of young players but for myself the bone-crunching collisions were pretty much the best part of playing the game.

    “… unstoppable force meeting an immoveable object….”

    and all that it implies.

    Fair if that’s not the game for you, but don’t presume it’s not so for others.

    Taking the contact and relying on your team to be there to continue possession according to a plan, is all about team-work. Rugby is after all a team-sport. You seam to glorify individualism only.

  10. @Timeo:

    no the other way around. you glorify individualism but saying its ok for one fat arse to just run into the first guy he sees.

    I want a player to always first look if another player is in a better position to take up the ball. Thats team rugby.

    Taking a big tackle as a means to put your man away- now thats a collision worth taking.

    Ours is just domkop crash and bash, and thats why we will never be champs. I am glad you enjoy this type of stuff, as long as you also enjoy never winning anything.

    We need balance. Power and intel. Our game is pretty much bang on where it was in 2007, if not slightly worse cause our best players are older.

    Sugar coat this all you like, but also cast a glance at the trofee cabinet, where its now been 5 years since we dominated the game. 5 years.

  11. and I am not sayin Cheetahs are any better. Yes they try to attack more but thats just cause they have less to lose.

    The minute they sense they can win a game they eliminate all risk and luckily for the game of rugby usually end up losing.

  12. @Cheetah Glory:


    5 years is 2009-2013 and over that time SA has the best record of the 3 conferences.

    2009: Bulls win
    2010: Bulls v Stormers final
    2011: Stormers 2nd on the log. SA had 3 teams in the top 7. More than Aus and NZ
    2012: Stormers top the log, Sharks in the final. 3 SA teams in the play-offs. More than Aus and NZ
    2013: Bulls 2nd on the log. 4 SA teams in the top 8. SA 22/18 in inter-conference play. NZ: 18/22 and Aus 20/20

  13. Championship titles:
    SA: 2, NZ: 2, Aus: 1

    Topping the log
    SA: 3, NZ: 1, Aus 1

    2nd Place on the log
    SA: 3, NZ: 2, Aus 0

    Best Average log position all teams:
    NZ: 3, SA: 2, Aus: 0

  14. @Cheetah Glory:

    I think SA teams trying to play running rugby against NZ teams are the real dom-kops.

    Fast and wide running rugby involves a large number of one-on-one situations and whereas SA players are typically big OR fast, the typical Pacific Island player is big AND fast. In one-on-one situations the SA player is going to be out-sized or out-paced most of the time.

    Clever rugby against NZ teams would be highly structured, with as many multi-man slow paced collisions and set-pieces as possible.

  15. @Duiwel:

    Sorry bud this for me is not a debate about the Sharks, who by the way are yet to tour.

    For me its about another year on and old SA still only uses one aspect of its game at pro level. Our coaches work hard to foster a balanced game plan at schools level and thats why we have very skillful players, but once these players hit the top tier we become this one-dimensional beast.

    I love the game of rugby more than I love south african rugby, and until the day we can honor the game by playing to all our strengths I will be suurgat.

  16. @Timeo:

    I get where you are coming from, but if our players were that little bit fitter both the Cheetahs and Lions could have beaten the Chiefs in a free-scoring game.

    I just think we play it safe, and no teams ever become great by playing it safe.

    To think somehwere in SA tomorrow a future Bok will start his career and 15 years later will be asked to run into the first man he sees because ‘we’ are not genetically good enough to anything else?

    Sad hey? And sadder still cause its simply not true.

  17. @Cheetah Glory:


    All teams have essentially the same facilities and the same amount of preparation time. If a team choose to be fitter than other teams, they must spend a larger fraction of their preparation time on conditioning, which inevitably means they have less time to spend on skills or tactics.

    Clever rugby for the Lions and the Cheetahs would be to leverage their genetics and their locations (at altitude) and play more like the Bulls.

  18. In most situations, running at the gap is not that clever either.

    The only way, one can run at a gap is to run at an angle. That not only makes you easier to tackle, it also puts you closer to a second defender and more liable for turn-over.

    The only time players should be running at the gaps is when they face a disorganized defense or have a mismatch and actually getting through the gap and gaining advantage is highly probable.

    How do you create the mismatch?
    By letting your forwards run into their backs for a few phases. A team working towards a plan. Where some do the grunt work and others the glory work.

  19. Here is an interesting little book I recently read:

    Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

    Mostly about Wall Street traders. Risk takers who do not understand the randomness involved in their actions and mistakenly attribute their success to skills.

    They always blow out and when they do it’s complete. Career over.

    Successful traders, the ones that survive, are those who understands randomness and avoids risks.

  20. Timeo –
    I agree. No wonder opposing defenses eschew the “Messerschmitt” moniker & instead refer to their marauding nemesis as…..
    “Black Swan” Willie LeRoux instead.

  21. Suurgat .
    For whatever reason -irrelevant.
    Simply suurgat cause their team is losing
    and the Sharks are winning.
    With swiel en plus.

  22. What does suurgat mean? Is it like aspartame or some other non-sugar sweetner?
    It doesn’t show up in translate.

  23. @Timeo:

    Best explanation I’ve read in years.

    Now that is what I would call intellegent rugby, in stead of leaking more than you are scoring = Cheetahs.

  24. @Timeo:

    Timeo I really get what you are saying. And in this vain what the Stormers and now the Sharks are doing is very smart as it secured them a fair amount of success and certainty.

    I guess from a fans perspective you have to choose between always doing OK (as a trader would) or whether you want to win the big things and inspire people and grow the game.

    SA chooses to play ‘smart’ rugby and lessen risk, but smart rugby does not make champions in sport. The best teams always add passion and spark to that intelligence.

    And thats why the Bulls won stuff playing the way they did. Yes their game was as pragmatic and ‘smart’ as it got – but they also brought a shit lot of passion (and bad music) to the table, and this total package inspired people to become Bulls fans.

    In stark contrast I cannot think of anyone who in the past 5 years became devout Stormers fans. Neither will this form of Sharks play recreate the buzz around the franchise that we saw in the 1990’s.

    I call it ‘ja well no fine’ rugby. You win, but somehow it does not feel all that great.

  25. Living abroad I really want to see the brand that is SA rugby become a global one. And have young players from all over Europe try to get into SA to play the game there.

    We have the stadiums and the support and the weather and the time zone to have the most amazing league that draws in players from all over. It can be the premier league of rugby.

    But our Super teams and for the most part the Boks do not sell the country. Our top tier rugby does not represent what the game in SA is about.

    And we do all this for the sake of rather being second than risk being third in the world.

  26. @Cheetah Glory:

    How is the current Sharks style, the last and previous years Stormers different to Bulls 2007/8/9 and Bok rugby 2007/8/9?

    The rest of SA Rugby (Cheetahs and Lions)have to addopt the style and work together with Heyneke, and the Bulls success and passionate story you referred to will become the SA rugby success story.

    The SA brand of rugby is well on it’s way.

  27. @Welshbok die Brandwag:

    Stormers game was built on defence and eeking out close wins. Tell me honestly that this last 5 years stormers team could beat another team by 90 points to make a semi?

    They could not score 4 tries an entire season at some stage.

    Lets start there.

  28. Can’t argue that in the end the Stormers were very uninspiring. Their defence was great but they were unable to turn it into meaningful success.
    Perhaps it was an injury machine. Or perhaps AC did not understand exactly what he had and how to build on it.

    And now they don’t defend so solid any more either. What happened to the D-Expert?

    On the Sharks the jury is still out. I think JW is building something. They will get better as things progress.

  29. @Timeo:

    I think Jake is a master at getting the basics right and building something solid, but he will always need an Eddie Jones type to take things an extra step up.

    I dont think he is the most creative coach – which in many ways make him perfect for SA rugby, if not for its evolution.

  30. Jees I fail to understand our love of failure in SA. Everytime we have a team at the top of the log, we call their gameplan boring and outdated. Every single freakin time. No matter who the team is, yet they top the superrugby log. Now that makes me think. Maybe just maybe, this nilly willy supposedly attacking brand of rugby, is a pipe dream, or for some a wet dream.

    Rugby is an easy game, play in the oppositions half, defend like trojans and pounce on mistakes. Those mistakes can include stupid pressure passes from having to run from the deep, to forcing turnovers in their half or getting penalties and scoring points from them. Now what is wrong with that gameplan again? Reducing the risks and waiting for your oppertunity to come. That model is used by most successfull ceo’s and dare I say, sports teams. Running from your own 22, now that is what I call stupid.

  31. I see Ulrich Beyers made the most running metres this past weekend, with 161m and Willie le Roux just behind him with 151m does this mean the 2 teams won with the new system of points scored not counting for anything anymore?

  32. Once you are in a winning culture
    you can tweak how you win.

    But if you run everything
    score tries but lose
    Because your defense is shit
    it hardly matters.

    Winning is paramount.
    The Sharks are winning.
    Let see the away leg.
    As for the suurgatte at home
    keep watching how the Sharks are winning
    and cry about how
    whilst the other SA side are losing
    as per usual.

  33. @Duiwel:

    I agree with you. Its much easier to tweak things while you are winning, and this is something Jake knows so well.


    Without being an expert in the game I always knew the Stormers game is too limited to win the big stuff, and I promise you the same is true for the Sharks.

    They play a game of rugby to best give them the opportunity to control matters, but once a team scores twice against them and they are behind, they players will have no reference to work on to fight back.

    The Stormers were a bit worse than the Sharks, in that they can completely dominate games yet win it by 4 points. The sharks at least build a proper lead and win games comfortably.

  34. Read paragraph 3 again Toppie

    In the modern game it’s taken
    as almost for given
    that you win your home games.

    It’s the away games that gives the measure.

    But at least the home wins are taken care off.
    Unlike some other sides.
    Al it amounts to is potential.

    Whether or not this potential is realised
    Or not
    As is often the case
    Is up to the Sharks.

  35. Sharks have a shot
    but Saffa teams run out of steam on the away leg
    and winning in nz is a myth.
    Time will tell.

    As for tje other Saffa sides
    Same old….
    Loads of excuses and blah blah blah
    On why they are losing.
    More often than not.