Crusaders put sword to Sharks


That infamous 5-6 reverse to the Queensland Reds in 2004 was shocking beyond description, although there was just a single point to separate two equally useless teams that day, but this shocker will be sadly remembered for a stunningly inept performance from a Sharks team that went into the match third on the overall table, top of the SA Conference, and protesting that the Sanzar judicial world were against them.

Sharks coach Gary Gold was the first to say he and his players had nowhere to hide.

“There is nothing more we can do than apologise for that performance,” Gold said in echoing the words of his captain, Patrick Lambie, to the crowd at the final whistle.

“It is not just the fact that we copped 50 points, but the manner in which we did,” Gold said.

“You see the ball bouncing in your 22, and there is no urgency to grab it … you look for the spark, but it is not there.

“We just kept giving them soft opportunities,” Gold said of a first half-an-hour in which the Crusaders went 28-0 up. “It was an unacceptable performance and I am not going to blame the players, I take the responsibility. I put my hand up and we will fix it. We have to show some character now … and some discipline.”

Indeed, there have been times when the Sharks have been wronged off the field, but boy, you cannot argue with the relentless stream of red cards against them. The cards just keep coming and at some point it has to be said the Sharks players are no longer defendable.

Let’s pull out a moment in the 39th minute. The Sharks are a few metres from the Crusaders’ posts. The visitors have been no angels in the first half-an-hour and are down to 12 men through three yellow cards. The Sharks sense they can make inroads on the daunting 3-28 deficit on the scoreboard. So Jean Deysel (allegedly) knees a Crusaders player in the head and is red-carded.

The scoring chance is gone, and so is Deysel.

Seconds later, the half-time whistle sounds, and the booing starts. What a load of rubbish, the diehards chant. And who is going to disagree? – The Sunday Independent

Original source: Crusaders put sword to Sharks