Passing and how the forwards take up the ball- the art of passing. Either players in South Africa have been instructed not to pass or they find the art pointless is debateable. Countless times this weekend players and more worryingly midfielders (12 & 13) have the option to pass when there are players on the outside but instead looking to take the contact and bump off the man.
This is an ancient way of playing the game. Attacking the man instead of space has also proven to be another trend within our game. The most expansive centres for the South African franchise belonged to the Bulls duo of Jan Serfontein and Jesse Kriel this weekend. A very big improvement from the duo who have seldom pass in the previous 6 rounds.
Both had a combined total of 13 passes and three offloads. In comparison to a Rene Ranger for example who made a mammoth 15 passes on his own.
Majority of the South African centres will not throw the ball often instead looking to hit it up every time and this makes it easier to defend. When the majority of players have the ball tucked in their options are limited to an audacious ‘out the back door’ pass to hitting it up.
Strength and brains could be a formidable combination if some of our midfielders or loose forwards attempted it. Watching the Stormers game could have left a few Stormers fans frustrated in how John ben Kotze blew two try scoring opportunities by tucking the ball in and taking contact instead of passing. The pass requires timing and thought. A skill we need to make more use of. Loose forwards always taking it up leaves the defence with so little to do.
When forwards are in a stagnant position and receive the ball with no momentum. The reliance to make it over the gain line is lowered. Imagine the difference when a forward comes at pace, taking the ball up with momentum into space. What would prove more efficient for a side moving forward? The tweaking of small things could improve the South African side’s attacks massively. What we saw from some of the sides this weekend, while marginally effective was a trademark of stone-age rugby.
Be smart- The officiating of Angus Gardner will leave a lot to be desired and it will be yet another puzzling official in not just round 7 but in the entire tournament. Over the years one has seen how great captains have handled matches and interaction with referees. Richie McCaw, John Smit and Jean de Villiers some of the best in my era.
The conduct of Sharks captain Tendai Mtawarira was not acceptable. The frustration was evident. The Sharks lost key player Marcel Coetzee, they got penalised at a rate of knots at the scrum and their general standard of play was below average. In fact it was poor.
The Sharks looked like a side that was already off on tour. It will be an uphill from here for the men in black and white to make the play offs.
Beast was at the tip of his boiling point and like his coach a few weeks ago was having another argument with the official. A referee in this occasion who also got frustrated. It was very frustrating for the Beast. His choice of words though not offensive managed to lack any respect for the official and in some perspective cost the Sharks 50/50 calls.
The Springbok loose head muttering ‘….it’s not fair….’ in the middle of several arguments with Gardner. The Sharks camp may be feeling frustrated with the recent officiating in the last few weeks.
A Springbok with over 100 games for the Sharks should know better. Young players are watching and they will follow in their role models’ example. If he was to throw around his toys in that manner. There will be no respect shown to referees in our future generations.
Yes, they are some poor calls from the officials but rugby must maintain its standards of respect. The game can’t become like football otherwise it will spiral to an abyss of no return.
Considering Gary Gold just got punished for his lack of respect towards the officials. It was as if the Sharks as a group did not learn from the incident. A captain must keep his cool, even in the heat of the battle. When he loses it, the side will end up in no man’s land.