‘Jaws’ theme music will better suit the Sharks

2015-02-26 00:00

IT has become a sort of watery King’s Park tradition that Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1970 classic Have You Ever Seen the Rain? blares out when a Sharks crowd is caught in a deluge and needs galvanising (or tender loving care).

It was just a passing thought, but it would have been entirely appropriate had the dark, atmospheric theme music from Jaws been played as the Sharks took on the Lions in the rain at King’s Park on Saturday night.

This 1975 film about a man-eating shark earned composer John Williams an Oscar. The music, creating the mood of imminent danger, has an alternating pattern of just two notes. Williams says his composition grinds away, “instinctual, relentless, unstoppable”.

He could have been talking about the rugby played by Bismarck du Plessis’s Sharks in the King’s Park paddy field last weekend. While the Sharks were relatively comfortable in the conditions, the Lions were tactically and technically all at sea. Their high tempo rugby is suited to dry, hard fields and they will be ­wondering, following that wet-weather nightmare, if it will ever be safe to go back into the water.

The Sharks’ challenge was founded on a solid forward effort with a ­composed flyhalf Pat Lambie providing the direction.

Pieter-Steph du Toit, with 11 takes on his own ball, headed the weekend’s ­Super Rugby lineout statistics and the Du Plessis brothers and Dale Chadwick held sway in the scrum.

The challenge now is to play with some consistency and produce another performance of passion and accuracy at Loftus on Saturday evening. The Bulls, with high expectations in their season build-up but now facing their third ­successive loss at Loftus, will be ­desperate to kick-start their season.

As Sharks number eight Ryan Kankowski remarked sagely this week, Super Rugby is not won in the first month of competition but it can be lost by teams making a dreadful start.

The Sharks are relieved to have their first win and optimism is starting to stir among their supporters again.

On paper, which often translates badly to grass, the Sharks ought to grow stronger as the season progresses. For starters, five Springboks — Frans Steyn, JP Pietersen, Willem Alberts, Beast Mtawarira and Toulon scrumhalf Michael Claassens — have still to return while a sixth, Kankowski, is already on board but is currently surplus to requirements.

These international players have the potential to transform a good Sharks team into title-contenders but no one seems quite certain exactly how they will perform on their return to the frontline. This is particularly true of those who have been in Japan (Steyn, Pietersen and Kankowski) and in recent seasons the oriental experience has not brought out the best in South African players.

The brooding Steyn, at his best, is a world-class performer. He has ­apparently shed weight but it is his ­mental state which holds the key to his performance. This is certainly also true of the talented but moody Pietersen.

The Boss says you can’t start a fire without a spark; Pietersen may need a rocket.

Celebrating the weekend win at King’s Park was no more than the hardy, long-suffering Sharks supporters deserved. One, a former Natal centre, was in the grumpiest of moods even before kick-off. His text message to me read: “The sad state of Sharks rugby. Beer ­prices in the Stadium. Draft 440 ml for R25. Equates to R28,40 per normal 500 ml. Not reasonable.” (You can tell he is an accountant.)

So it is just as well the Sharks won. Drinks are handed around with gay abandon when the supporters are smiling. But had they lost, in those miserable conditions and with those inflated ­prices, the drowning of sorrows would have made for an expensive evening.

And a lonely one.

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