Super Rugby: Lessons from Napier

Tim Reynolds Roar Pro

By Tim Reynolds, Tim Reynolds is a Roar Pro

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    The Napier game between the Hurricanes and Sharks had lessons for both teams, and a huge life lesson for everybody else.

    The Sharks were magnificent, with their aggressive attack and defence (mostly), a ray of hope for them and the Springboks. Every forward charge had mean intent and generally made progress even while being tackled. Their backs had a similar goal, and if they weren’t running into gaps they were powering into the tackle and setting up the next assault.

    In all they must have dominated about 80 per cent of the game. They have to ask themselves why they didn’t win from there.

    The Hurricanes were freak opportunists, who created or exploited any chances that came their way while messing around in a lot of their play. The kickoffs were a classic demonstration of how superior the Sharks were in the fundamentals.

    Every Shark dropout towered into the air and gave their players so much time to get to the ball deep in the Hurricanes’ half. The Hurricanes’ dropouts were meek hand-overs of the ball to the opposition, who promptly returned the ball to the half way. Well into the second half the Hurricanes tried a short kick, which was a long time to absorb what was going on.

    The Hurricanes badly missed the never-say-die physicality of Ardie Savea. He has the same refusal to stop which makes Jean-Luc Du Preez such a good player. Without Savea the Hurricanes forwards can get bullied, as they were at Napier.

    Also Ihaia West showed his flair and his flakiness. Brilliant moments, like his backhander for the first try and his resilience to kick the last conversion to win the game, counterbalanced by his first conversion miss, the kick out on the full, and the almost charge down which ironically led to Vince Aso’s try – possibly a 14-point turn around.

    The Sharks need to understand why they lost a game they totally dominated. The Hurricanes need to get a lot more physical and not rely on freakish talent to save them – they’ve used up all their get out of jail free cards. And we all can learn a lesson.

    How the Sharks have revived their fortunes from the rabble that lost to the Rebels; how the Hurricanes kept at it when all seemed lost; and what a fantastic game rugby can be when both sides give it a go.

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    The Crowd Says (18)

    • April 8th 2018 @ 2:19am
      felix said | April 8th 2018 @ 2:19am | ! Report

      Cheating antipodeans,Australian ref is the same as a New Zealand ref.
      Both want to see SA lose.
      Shame on you for doing it so blatantly,reminds me of Bryce Lawrence,stuff the whole super rugby,its 2 against 1.

      • April 8th 2018 @ 6:33pm
        Ken Catchpole’s Other Leg said | April 8th 2018 @ 6:33pm | ! Report

        Felix, putting aside the extremity of your accusation here, I will say that I saw a significant imbalance in the penalty count.
        In one example, the ruck demolishing Shark late in the game was pinged for going off his feet because he had pushed three Canes players over (they collapsed under him). What? That is called a counter ruck and excellently executed.
        The referee seemed to be watching one team only late in the match.

        Don’t know why an Aussie ref would want to help a NZ one. Nevertheless it seemed he did.
        Can’t imagine conscious bias. Maybe he was star struck? Or crowd struck?

    • April 8th 2018 @ 5:43am
      Ben said | April 8th 2018 @ 5:43am | ! Report

      Not so sure Ardie is the player that can stop those big safa forwards “bullying” us.
      As Hansen and co point out hes not a dominant tackler and is more often a scragger..much like Hooper.
      The dominant tacklers like Cane, Reid, Kaino are the players that stop bullying.
      I thought the canes were down a level or 2 that they show in the kiwi derbies.
      We didnt deserve to win this one but champion teams find ways to.
      To play poorly without Beauden and a lot of the game without Perenara and win, is extremely positive.
      Still on target……

    • April 8th 2018 @ 8:02am
      Peter Kelly said | April 8th 2018 @ 8:02am | ! Report

      The drama that is rugby – sometimes you just never no why the scoreboard wasn’t in your favour, at 72 minutes it looked like the sharks had done enough, at 85 it would seem not, kiwi team seem to be able to play till they win regardless of the clock – if you read the stats without the score the sharks won but theres only one stat that matters at final whistle.
      The looks and reactions from both teams said it all – stunned and in disbelief sharks very jubilant hurricanes

    • Roar Rookie

      April 8th 2018 @ 8:20am
      Paulo said | April 8th 2018 @ 8:20am | ! Report

      Dodged a bullet on that one it must be said. I wonder how much of that was due to missing B.B. and TJ (for the most part). Hard to gauge as the game was really dominated by the Sharks forwards, but maybe with more experience and smarts the ‘Canes may have adjusted earlier. It’s in the books now though, and a win is a win.

    • April 8th 2018 @ 10:22am
      Tim Reynolds said | April 8th 2018 @ 10:22am | ! Report

      Sometimes editorial changes can polish an article, and sometimes they can make it look like the writer doesn’t know their facts. West’s backhander that led to a try did not produce “the first try” but the first one for Laumape. I’m not sure why the editor chose to not give Laumape his moment in the sun.

      Re Ardie Savea’s possible impact on this game, it would have been more in the symbolic area of showing the rest of the Hurricanes pack that they could fight fire with fire. Often the Hurricanes forwards were driven back by Sharks backs.

      And what about Robert Du Preez’s kicking? That gives the Sharks the confidence to really have a go, knowing they already have about 15 points in the bank.

    • April 8th 2018 @ 10:48am
      The Sheriff said | April 8th 2018 @ 10:48am | ! Report

      Any fair spectator would say the better team lost.

      • Roar Rookie

        April 8th 2018 @ 12:22pm
        Die hard said | April 8th 2018 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

        I am just saying I thought it was a fantastic game. Fantastic skills, pace flair and drama. Excellent contest. Both teams deserved to win. It was a shame to see a loser.

        The officials were what they were. I don’t think they affected the outcome

        • April 8th 2018 @ 2:48pm
          cuw said | April 8th 2018 @ 2:48pm | ! Report

          nope – that was again not very good

          at one point in the second half Sharks had committed 6 fouls ( penalties ) straight. so when does a card come??

          as i said on another post – it seems refs are under instructions to keep players on the park.

          in one match the ref sad- ” we had a warning – now we have another warning “.

          in the Lions match – peyper says no more fouls at the mauls. so does it mean its ok to foul in other aspects of the game?

          then he says no more fouls in the 5m.

          in fact i take my hat off to the saffa commentary who said it will be better for all to award a penalty try and end the game rather than dragging it on.

          if u notice in these matches – the yellows for repeat fouls come out after 70 minutes. and some dont even give ( like Kubo when he reffed the chiefs a few weeks back).

          this is a big problem . if u saw Waraahs match – Hooper commits a foul and then walks of without even looking a the ref.

          as if he knew that was a sure- card – offense. i think that kind of thing is not good.

          • April 8th 2018 @ 6:25pm
            Ken Catchpole’s Other Leg said | April 8th 2018 @ 6:25pm | ! Report

            cuw
            ‘one point in the second half Sharks had committed 6 fouls ( penalties ) straight. so when does a card come??’

            Equally it could be asked, how only the Sharks were deemed to have been at fault 6 times consecutively?
            As lopsided as Jaco in SA at times this refereeing display was very poor.
            Don’t know what he was thinking but it wasn’t balanced.
            Hurricane gridiron blockers had free reign was just one imbalance.

            • April 9th 2018 @ 2:50pm
              cuw said | April 9th 2018 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

              “Equally it could be asked, how only the Sharks were deemed to have been at fault 6 times consecutively?”

              i dont care – simply becoz this is not the only match it happened.

              i saw Kubo warn Chiefs and do nothing , i saw Peyper warn Lions and do nothing , and many others that i have forgotten after watching many matches.

              my point is that if a ref keeps on penalizing one side a few times , then a card must come after about 3 -4 consecutive penalties.

              otherwise what is the point of it all? last night Chiefs v Gloucester match , 4 consecutive penalties and the fifth is a card to Glos.

              look at the penalty counts of super rugger – they are very high. and then look at how many have been to the bin – very few.

              this is not the case in Aviva ( and perhaps Top 14 ).

              i just dont like repeated infringements that blunt the attacking side.

              one eyes reffing is a different matter that can only be solved with neutral refs. but refs being reluctant to give cards is not doing any good to super rugger.

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