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The Stormers scored 10 tries and effectively won the Neo Africa Tri-Series with their two wins … the Sharks lost twice and touched down just once in the process.

Rob Houwing writes for Sport24 that it may be the silly season, but that has still got to be considered a fairly worrying state of affairs among fans and personnel of the big Durban franchise as the Vodacom Super 14 looms very large.

The Sharks, rightly considered one of South Africa’s “big two” in the competition for several years now, may well be in danger of surrendering that status after the Stormers certainly fired a shot across their bows in winning by a comfortable 29-14 at Newlands on Friday.

It followed the Durban team’s 26-0 humbling at the hands of the Force a few days earlier.

Of course not an awful lot ought to be read into the pre-season landscape, especially as their coach John Plumtree did rather more “fiddling” and experimenting with combinations in the tournament than the Cape side.

But alarm signals are, nevertheless, very far from absent.

The Sharks have reinforced their ranks fairly modestly this year, and that despite receding depressingly in last year’s competition to sixth after a rampant start and installation by many neutral pundits as favourites.

They also experienced a mortal blow recently in the injury-enforced termination of Argentina flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez’s short career at the Absa Stadium, after there had been great hope he would provide some — much-needed, frankly — “X-factor” to their back-line in his second South African season.

Sometimes you get the feeling, too, that the versatility offered by international stalwarts like John Smit and Ruan Pienaar provides more confusion and uncertainty than it does clarity to the cause.

Once again, in the clash with the Stormers, skipper Smit looked uncomfortable and unconvincing at tighthead prop, where he has bulked up for that specific role, yet it was clear as the living daylight that their best scrummaging solidity comes when he is back at No 2, between Beast Mtawarira and Jannie du Plessis.

That leaves the ever-nagging question: what becomes of Bismarck du Plessis?

Similarly, if Pienaar harboured aspirations of returning to his favourite scrumhalf slot, the Sharks may now desperately require his talismanic presence (when fit again, mind) in the No 10 channel.

They may be lucky, you see, if either of Monty Dumond or Steve Meyer proves anything better than an honest workhorse at flyhalf – and they are not exactly bursting with creative options in the string-pulling No 12 position.

Plumtree was putting a brave face on things at the after-match press conference on Friday.

“We improved … the physicality of our game was right up there, which was great. We’ve just got to put a little bit of gloss on it, and there are players coming back into our plans (after injury) to improve options.

“Our intensity was good, especially in the first half. In the second half the referee (Craig Joubert) killed it. Either we changed our habits or he changed his; I’m not sure which.

“There was a lot of good counter-rucking in the first half; in the second we weren’t allowed to do it. I hope the game doesn’t turn into a soft one of tiddlywinks … it’s pretty boring to watch 35 penalties dished out.

“It will probably take referees some time to settle down but I think we’ve possibly seen three different behaviours from three referees (in this tournament).”

Asked by Sport24 whether momentum was now needed very quickly, considering that the Sharks have only two home Super 14 games – against the Chiefs and Cheetahs – before embarking on a tough, five-match overseas leg, Plumtree replied: “Well, that’s the idea, yeah.
Everyone wants to get off to a good start.

“We’ve got work to do. We started pretty late; the Springboks came quite late into our preparation, we’ve had some injuries and disruption at No 10 as well, so it hasn’t been perfect preparation for this Tri-Series.

“There was a difference in selection between the two teams, don’t forget. Allister (Coetzee) pretty much stuck with his strongest outfit right the way through – I gave (a broader spread of) players a chance to impress. That’s important in trial week.

“How we gel as a 15 and 22 for the Chiefs game is going to be really important over the next couple of weeks. That’ll be our challenge.
“There’s good competition in the pack … my side’s going to be really firing and really physical by the time we hit the Chiefs. If nobody talks about us this year that’s fine, because we were talked up last year and didn’t do anything.

“I thought we played like a netball team against the Force. We turned out like a rugby team (against the Stormers); that’s what I was happier about.”

Plumtree did confess that the Stormers look in fairly robust fettle.

“They’re a good side, for sure. Plenty of speed, and they’ve got some power. They’re pretty all-round this year. They’ve come off what was a successful Currie Cup for them, and they’ve built on that.

“They’ve got continuity, in their coaching too, and they have some world-class players right through the team … they must have cost a lot (laughing) but good on them. I hope they go well.”

He will obviously want his Sharks to fare better, but some observers may be quietly tweaking their views …

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48 COMMENTS

  1. “I thought we played like a netball team against the Force. We turned out like a rugby team (against the Stormers); that’s what I was happier about.”

    The looked like a ice hockey team on Friday, allot of huff and puff but they do not play rugby or look like one of our two best teams in SA.

    What to do with klip Bismark :?:

  2. since the conversational prospects of this thread/topic is/are limited anyway

    >> Flippie skryf:
    >>
    >> “Ek het uiteindelik vanoggend tyd kon afknyp vir n bietjie swartbaars
    >> hengel en het afgesit dam toe. Na ‘n rukkie was my wurms op en terwyl
    >> ek rondkyk vir nog aas, merk ek ‘n pofadder in die lang gras langs die
    >> dam met ‘n padda in sy bek. Ek besef dadelik hy kan my mos nie pik met
    >> die padda in sy bek nie en ‘n padda is bleddie goeie swartbaarsaas.
    >>
    >> “Ek gryp die adder-kerel toe agter die kop en haal die padda versigtig
    >> uit en gooi hom in my aasemmer. Wat nou gemaak met ta pofadder?
    >>
    >> “Skielik onthou ek die bottel Klipdrif in my piekniekmandjie. Met die
    >> een hand haal ek hom uit en trek die prop met my tande uit. (Dis was
    >> ‘n bottel 10 jaar Klippies met ‘n kurkprop.)
    >>
    >> “Versigtig gooi ek ‘n bietjie in sy keel af. Sommer dadelik word adder
    >> se kind slap in my hande terwyl sy oë omrol. Ek los hom toe weer in
    >> die lang gras en gaan aan met my visvangery.
    >>
    >> “So ‘n rukkie later voel ek iets stamp, stamp so aan my voet. Sal dit nie
    >> wragtig dieselfde pofadder wees nie! Die keer met twee paddas in sy
    >> bek…”

  3. sEEing that nobody aPPreciated the joke -or the rugby content of the thread let me publish this opinion.

    For Cab to notice and for the decendant(s) of “SiRRah DuiwelseslypstEEn” and his agterryer Andries StockenstrOOm to take notice of:

    http://www.pitpass.com/fes_php/pitpass_feature_item.php

    The interesting quip – from an oft discuSSed topic line on RW- is the foLLowing

    On the “eternal batchelor” and unoFFical Viceroy of Africa- our dearest Cecil…

    “There was once a country in Africa named after this feLLow. He is perhaps best remembered for the Oxford scholarship his estate funds and worst remembered for the framework he invented that was to become the basis of apartheid”

    So – you so caLLed educated lot – next time you talk k@k with us lot uneducated and unwashed Afrikaners- go “read” History first at the samesaid Oxford, probably also geTTing blues for poetry aPPreciation and pederastry – then get on your high fuKKin colonial horse!

    The rest of the marketing muDDafuKKers- and the so caLLed klevah financial piepols ea White coLLar criMMies, can read the context of the article as weLL!

    Not that it would change the Busine$$- wiLL it?

    Oh and remember

    TS Eliot is speLLed with only ONE l.

  4. Cab

    You were not included as one of the “horsemen”, just as a maTTer of clarity. The argument or rather statement is suPPorting comments I made the other day that you kind of “agrEEd” with.

    BTW

    When are you oFF to Spain?

  5. Reply to WiLLem @ 12:01 pm:
    ja nee, i apologise, its just that okes were banging on about verwoerd and vorster not being so bad and all, and then i was blamed for liberal education, so i decided to partake in the kakpraat – you have no arguement from me on the pommerainians, their empire caused more kak than anything else, in fact there are still some pompous buggers believe they have one. yep i am in spain and surrounded by them. they a funny lot, there’s a certain type of englishemn who will go live in aniother country and not even try and learn a word of the culture or language he is in – mind you there is aldo the opposite.

  6. Reply to WiLLem @ 10:12 am: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!

    Reply to WiLLem @ 9:54 am: :bowdown:
    :respek:
    :applause:
    :applause:

    Mens verwys hierna as ‘n PK

    As cab so goed in ons taal kon debateer as wat ons in syne debateer sou ek meer respek vir hom gehad het, maar as mens ‘n man beat in ‘n debat in jou tweede taal…

  7. Funnily enough the Portuguese took a different tack

    All brotherly love and m—dnaai and policies of “assimilation” and priets and free education and citizenship and equality and stuff and still got massacred by their thousands by their so-called brothers they were trying to assimilate….in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea….

    Try googling UPA and Angolan colonial war….

    Verwoerd was correct… if you understand his policies which cab never will…. he applied a system of balkanization which is today a far more accepted way of integrating countries than the liberal Euromengelmoes kak….

  8. Reply to cab @ 12:23 pm:

    No problem

    Ag Dankie Dawie- bly ek kon ‘n vrOOm vrOOm in jou Vrydag sit.

    mAAr sOOs ek rEEds gese het- CaBBi is nie eintlik die target gewEEs nie.

    On most of this – there is an actuaLL agrEEment between the two of us, as I agrEe with most of his arguments anyway.

    Maybe we are – though on oPPosite sides of the “centre” but within a certain distance.

    But that is a bleDDie gOOde arti on PitpaSS ek scheme.

  9. Reply to cab @ 12:33 pm: Nah screw it….

    I spoke to a black guy who told me on 26 June 1995 he had one of the lekkerest rounds of golf ever that afternoon with all the whities dronk in the pub…

    I told him that just for that I will NOT support the roundbaal

    If SA makes the final I will loan a set of golf cclubs, find a course (there is one in Kempton) and play a round of golf while the final is on…. at least there won’t be any darker hued people on the golf course…

  10. Bananas going through a
    tough get-ready programme
    and matches.
    Problem is only 4 in the
    squad will make the WC
    team – the rest are all
    playing in Europe up to
    two weeks before the
    tournament.

    I think if they score a
    goal in the first round
    it will be hailed as a
    victory.

    Quarter finals?
    Dream on!

    Still only 150 000 of the
    anticipated 400 000 tickets
    sold to foreigners.

    Tens of thousands of beds
    cancelled.

    HKLK

  11. Reply to WiLLem @ 3:06 pm:

    Brand sukkel nog bietjie met
    die internet. Laat my dink aan
    die grappie van die IT ou wat
    die kode PICNIC gebruik.
    Vra iemand hom waarvoor dit
    staan.
    Seg hy: Problem In Chair Not In Computer.

  12. Brand

    Dis ‘n Anglo wat dit geskryf het

    “n Anglo wat sy geskiedenis ken – en nie selektief dAArOOr is nie.

    Niks fout met Ingelse/ rOOineKKe by default nie- ken great mense…

    soMMiges pis my net eksponensiEEl af

    en as huLLe nou nog $harks Jersey’s dra…..

  13. En preek oor hulle superiority…

    Soos dat hulle WO2 gewen het…

    Uhm nee julle het nie

    Amerika het

    Dis eers na Des 1941 dat die hele storie gedraai het en dis juis toevallig toe Roosevelt betrokke geraak het en raai net etnies watter Europese gemeenskap is meerderheid in Amerika…

    Die Roosevelt en Eisenhower name behoort dit weg te gee…

    Ja heel toevallig die Duitsers…

    So die Huislbly Duitsers het WO 2 verloor teen Rusland en die Etnies maar Amerikaanse Duitsers…

    En die Britte het Ra Ra Ra agetrna geskree en oorlogsmisdade gepleeg wat ongestraf gebly het want hulle het die wenners se kant gekies…

  14. Yip Dawie

    Ek he my punt gemAAk

    Nou gAAn ek leKKa rus- hehehe – primary care to 3 boys!

    ChEErs almal – Mag die chEEtahs juLLe almal se spaNNe in 2010 opzaber!

  15. Reply to Boertjie @ 3:26 pm:
    Nog paar ander ook –

    PEBCAK – problem exist between chair and keyboard
    EEOC – equipment exceed operator capability

    Het al menigmale van daai gehad! :roll:

    My pa het net beginne email, maar kon nie so lekker die storie van Windows se vensters verstaan nie. Ek kry een slag ‘n vonkpos in die lyn van: “Hallo, ek het nou vir jou lang email getik en toe kliek ek langsaan, nou’s alles weg! Nie my skuld as brief nie heel by jou uitkom nie…”

    Kom toe agter hy het in Outlook Express reply op my pos, dan maak dit nuwe kleiner venster oop in die voorgrond, maar agter kan mens nog stukke van my oorspronklike pos sien in die hoofvenster. Hy skryf toe stukkie, wil eers weer lees wat ek geskryf het van daar agter in die hoofvenster, ne natuurlik toe hy kliek om af te scroll in die hoofvenster gaan die nuwe kleiner venster agtertoe en is dit ‘weg’!

    Maar nou heel bedrewe, selfs met selfoon & sms!

  16. Too fkn late too start flapping now
    season’s started.
    from the looks of it.
    It going to be a fckn long one. :whatever: ers.

  17. I don’t think it’s widely known
    that China’s casualties were
    the worst:
    China – 10-20 million
    Germany – 6-8 million
    Japan – 2,7 million
    UK and USA ½ million each

  18. There was a youngster blowing
    one in the neighbourhood.

    Didn’t have time to wonder
    what had hit him.

  19. Reply to The Brand @ 2:53 pm:

    Maak dieselfde kak geluid.
    Kry vir jou.
    Blaas hom sodat jou bure
    jou kan moer.
    En koop twee slabs Brooklax –
    jy gaan dalk sukkel om die
    ding uit jou gestel te kry
    as hulle met jou klaar is.
    :brownie:

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