Inject Boks with Sharks DNA

Oom Rugby

Hi guys, today I want to look at a wonderful Sharks try in their match against the Highlanders. It was a completely unstructure try that happen thanks to a small mistake, little bit of luck, but mostly because of the fantastic alertness, decisions and small skills of the Sharks players.

Let us take a look!

This is the 4th phase after a Shark scrum. The interesting thing is that the scrum was almost exactly on that spot, so the Sharks was not making headway. The Highlanders defence is by no means in trouble after the phase play. In fact they actually moving forward with cohesion because Sharks was caught behind the advantage line. But one Highlander is making a mistake. Can you see?

The prop Lomax is getting involve unnecessarily at a ruck that is already won.

Sharks is not very organised because they was caught deep, so Schreuder hit the prop Schoeman for a tight carry to try set up some shape again. But Schoeman see that the link between the Highlander ruck defence and the line defence is broken… Lomax is back on his feet but have lost contact with 8th man Whitelock. There is space, and Schoeman is Elon Musk. He will go into it.

Now it start to get interesting. Because Schoeman cut inside, it mean Whitelock make a weak inside shoulder tackle. There is split seconds for the Shark support players to react. They must read the contact and make a decision.

Do they go in to clean? Seal? Latch? Run a line for a offload? The clues will be in who dominate the contact, and how the contact is developing.

Lewies see that Whitelock is the weaker party and that Schoeman can dictate. He also see that more space is available, so he decide to take a offload line early and call to Schoeman on his inside. You can see him shouting.

Schoeman is hit by another Highlander but show wonderful soft hands to put Lewies into the gap. Lewies make many meters and what is interesting to me in the picture above is that as he is tackled his first priority is to look for another offload.

The fact that he don’t decide to go to ground to place the ball is a tribute not only to his confidence in his skills but also to the Shark philosophy to keep the ball alive. Players do not do this if a coach preach safety first.

Lewies trust his skillset, and he trust that there will be a player on his shoulder.

Jean-Luc Du Preez is that player. Lewies execute a very difficult offload as he go to ground and Jean-Luc gather it beautifully with one hand to make more yards. Now it get interesting again…

As we see above, Jean-Luc realise that he don’t have support, so he go to ground. But he still have one option left before he go into ball protection mode. Enter Lukhanyo Am.

What is interesting is that Am is actually delaying himself. He don’t hurry to get there to seal or clean. If you watch the video you will actually see that he was sprinting but then he slow down. He can see that Jean-Luc is looking for a option to pop-pass. Am will time himself perfectly to get there only as Jean-Luc hit the deck and twist to pop the ball for him.

After a few more small offloads we get to this. Schoeman have carried again and as he is tackled he will be in peril of a poach. We can see the dangerous situation above.

But this is where awareness and rugby IQ coming into play. Who do you think will clean? It is the flank Vermeulen, who is almost the furthest away! He see the danger early and react instantly, rushing over to clean the jackal just as he want to take the ball. It is a small, critical moment.

Thanks to Vermeulen the Sharks have quick ball and that is what flyhalves want. Du Preez sum up the situation and see that he don’t have a lot of width outside him – only three players. He is faced with equal Highlanders numbers (two defenders outside of the frame) but he can see they want to be aggressive. So he pull back for a long pass as if to hit Nkosi or Esterhuizen.

At the last minute Du Preez pull the ball back and drop it onto his boot to put the grubber through. It is so delayed that the Landers buy it like a cheap bag of koeksisters at the traffic light. They have come up too flat.

Nkosi react immediately and bullet forward to chase the ball. What is also interesting is that Du Preez must kick the ball at a angle so that it also move away from Smith who is coming across as cover. It is such a good kick that we can forgive his police moustache.

Nkosi’s speed is as important as his reaction time. He burn Matt Faddes and then show excellent judgement and skill to dive forward and grab the ball to get it down on the grass before it go out.

From start to finish this was a wonderful passage of play. It was like some very quick punches by Mohammed Ali that the Highlanders just could not deal with.

It show us how important it is to have players who can dominate contact, and the options that give us. It show us how important skills training is, and how that unlock the confidence players have in their actions. We see how important alertness, anticipation and decision-making are and how skills add to the options that players can use in different situations. Finally we see how a more open philosophy allow players to harness that confidence and use these skills.

When it all come together, as we see above, it is blerrie hard to stop! Well done Sharks, and let us take some of this DNA of power and skill into the green jersey as well!

DISCLAIMER: English is Oom’s third language, after Rugby and Afrikaans.

- Oom Rugby

Let's chat

  • Pseudotarzan

    Very well explained Oom, I’m salivating at the thought….. At which traffic light can I get some of those koeksisters man!

    • Oom

      use to be on the corner of Brill street and dan pienaar in Bloemfontein. if you can get there – they lekker!

      • Dr Hoffman

        “inject-boks-sharks-dna” what dna is that, the one where u have only one 4 games the whole year, the one that lifted them off the bottom of the sa conference? The one where u are only hot every 4th game or so. The one where u get smashed by weak aussie teams? why is it that when ever the sharks win the odd game the SA media goes absolutely nuts and writes absolute nonsense?

  • boemelaar

    Oom, great article. I particularly liked these quotes: “There is space, and Schoeman is Elon Musk. He will go into it.” “…the Landers buy it like a cheap bag of koeksisters at the traffic light.” and finally “It is such a good kick that we can forgive his police moustache.” Classic. Made my day.

    • Oom

      cheers hey Boemelaar!

  • Sharky

    Nice analysis! Isn’t it nice to see the Sharks clicking for once?

    • Oom

      yes absolutely it is great. I am a neutral guy but I think our rugby in a place where we all want to see franchises doing well and improving

  • Simon Clements

    One of three fabulous games they have played this year.

  • Barry Smith

    Thanks, interesting read. The Bulls have also had some moment of brilliance this season, so I am really looking forward to Saturdays bash! It is critical for both sides, so hoping for a repeat performance!

    • Oom

      cheers Barry yes some bright sparks here and there just hoping that fans and administrators has patience to let them become a flame

  • Bokfan

    Oom se engels word slegter elke uitgawe haha. Love dit!

  • Chris Mouton

    Oom, I really enjoy your columns. Unfortunately I couldn’t watch them play, as it was a smasher of a game. I’ll watch this Saturday when we play against the Bulls. Here’s to hoping that we perform consistent this time! I really hope that this match will be a good advertisement of SA rugby, as I believe that Mitchell really improved the Bulls unit.

  • Maxwell

    what the Boks need now is highly professional players which are consistent in attack and defense.We cant afford to have players with a roller coaster performance. high penalty counts against them, high knock on counts, high yellow cards and red cards offenses, lack of urgency in attack with support, lack of urgency in defense with support and no BMT in the Bokteam. The above mentioned are all game-killers. If you look at NZ players them all have this skills.We have one guy and we all know who he is Malcom Marx who is injured at the moment.The players need to take responsibility and change their attitude. Dont blame coaches. The coach coaches the gameplan and players need to enforce by any means it on the field.Bottomline.

  • Redge

    After 1 game,lol! Typical SA when a team play a really good game the next thing is they will win the title! The Bulls will beat them this weekend then I suppose we will need their DNA? Take NZ. Ben Lam will walk into any international team and is by far the best wing in NZ at the moment BUT won’t be picked for NZ yet as he first have to prove himself. We want to pick a player after 1 good game e.g Snyman at lock although PSDT plays excellent rugby every weekend. A few seasons ago Jesse Kriel was rated as better than Gerber,lol! So how did that work out? Wilco Louw is by far the best in SA on his side of the scrum and playing every game almost 80minutes BUT now, again after 1 or 2 above average games, Nayake is all of a sudden the man!? At Loftus the Bulls scrum was excellent against the Stormers. Don’t blame only the front row when a teams pack gets hammered

  • Mark Richards

    Fantastic dissection and explanation of the build up to the try Oom. Bugger the language, you just made me want to watch that try again with a more refined eye after your excellent analysis.

  • Redge

    Oops Bulls DNA now Oom? Sorry Stormers as they beat the Bulls last week? O no they played like schoolboys against the Chiefs so wat nou? Lol!

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