Jaguares players celebrate a try against the Sharks at the Velez Sarsfield Stadium on Saturday. Photo: EPA/Juan Ignacio Roncoroni
Jaguares players celebrate a try against the Sharks at the Velez Sarsfield Stadium on Saturday. Photo: EPA/Juan Ignacio Roncoroni

Jaguares defeat shows all is not well at Sharks

By Mike Greenaway Time of article published Jun 10, 2019

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DURBAN – For Sharks supporters, the most distressing aspect of their team’s 34-7 defeat to the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on Saturday was a weak performance that confirms that all is not well in the camp.

The Sharks went into the match knowing that they had to win if they were to have a chance of making the quarter-finals but the lack of intensity was hardly becoming of a team that wanted to make the playoffs, do-or-die!

The suggestion, rather, was that this is a Sharks team that is fed up with a coaching set-up that saw fit to make a change at flyhalf when there was absolutely no need for it.

Coach Robert du Preez chose to play his son in the crucial flyhalf position despite the unfortunate 25-year-old not having any form to speak of, and it showed. Du Preez Jr wasn’t especially bad, but at the same time he offered very little in terms of giving the Sharks meaningful direction and game management.

Curwin Bosch, who was removed from the No 10 position for Saturday’s game so that the coach could make his bewildering change, was conspicuous by his absence.

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In short, the Sharks lacked innovation and drive, and the general apathy of the players suggested that they were at odds with the coach’s decision to make a change at flyhalf for this most crucial of games.

Given what was at stake, the Sharks’ performance was confirmation that the players do not play for the coach and the sooner the Board of the Sharks make a change, the better.

The Sharks return home from Argentina at the bottom of the South African conference and this week they have to beat the Stormers in the final round of the regular season by a considerable margin if they are to have any hope of making the playoffs.

Given the way they played against the Jaguares, it is not going to happen. The Sharks players have had their say. They want change, and the sooner the better.

The Sharks go to Newlands this week outside of the top eight after failing to pick up a losing bonus point in their humbling defeat to the Jaguares.

Luckily, though, they are still two log points ahead of the Chiefs and Highlanders thanks to the Bulls’ drawing with the Highlanders in Dunedin and the Brumbies beating the Waratahs. The Crusaders also did them a favour by thrashing the Rebels.

The Sharks (33 points) may surpass the Rebels (34) if they beat the Stormers and the Melbourne-based team lose to the Chiefs.

But a loss to the Stormers will render all of this academic, and for Sharks fans tired of the Du Preez era, this will not be a bad thing at all.



The Mercury

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