robdylan

Pienaar has the inside lane on Sharks 10


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :In the news, Sharks, Super 14 on 8 May 2008 at 13:02

Jake White has said this of Ruan Pienaar: “His unique versatility means he can play at international level in every position in the backline, but I have always felt that his natural game was strongest in every position other than scrumhalf.”

White is not alone in believing that Pienaar’s smooth running game is restricted at scrumhalf, where the basic responsibility is to feed the backline from a standing position. Because it is when Pienaar runs on to the ball, as is the case when he is occasionally at flyhalf, that his natural talent is showcased, writes Mike Greenaway on www.iol.co.za.

Where most others often seem hurried or pressured at 10, Pienaar has that easy-going style of a Stephen Larkham, and the same natural feel to his passing as the great Wallaby that sees his skip-passes out wide, effortlessly finding their mark.

Pienaar is the spitting image of another Free Stater, Henry Honiball, who often used to deflect praise from himself by using the expression, “in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king”, to suggest that he was the Springbok flyhalf because of a shortage of 10s at the time. None of that was true.

But Henry’s expression has some validity in South Africa in 2008, and this is why Dick Muir’s decision to use Pienaar at flyhalf following the injury to Frederic Michalak could pay off handsomely for Pienaar, the Sharks and the Springboks.

Peter de Villiers has few options in the position. There has been nothing of Springbok merit at the Bulls, Lions, Cheetahs and Sharks this season (discounting Michalak), leaving Peter Grant the only option playing in the country. We have not forgotten Andre Pretorius but, given that he is perpetually injured, he cannot be included in any coach’s plans.

The best flyhalf option for De Villiers is Butch James, who at Bath is continuing the excellent form he showed at the Rugby World Cup in France.

To my mind, James was the Boks’ player of the World Cup. He went into the showpiece with many having reservations about his knees, not to mention his capabilities, but he confounded the sceptics with consistently excellent performances.

De Villiers would be mad not to pick Butch this year and next year, too, which would probably bring him towards the end of his career, although with Butch you never know.

The point is that he probably will not be around for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. So who does that leave us with? Grant, who is certainly not a bad option, but also Ruan Pienaar if he continues at 10 for the Sharks – and the indications from the Sharks camp are that if he steps up over the next month, he can consider the shift permanent.

It is a positive opportunity for Pienaar and the Springboks. There are many good scrumhalves, but few accomplished flyhalves.

Grant is promising but at this stage limited. He has the very good gain-line game of Honiball, but not yet the wide game that Honiball was equally good at, nor the polished tactical kicking game.

Pienaar, though, has all of those strings to his flyhalf bow, but not Grant’s experience in the position, and Grant is the better defender.

Both are young men who will improve a great deal in the build-up to the next World Cup, and they both could learn a great deal in the Springbok camp if they were mentored by Butch over the next few years.

The No 10 shirt on the back of Pienaar for Saturday’s game against the Cheetahs is hugely exciting for the Sharks and for the Springboks.

Pienaar did very well last week against the Crusaders in the worst conditions imaginable. Imagine what he could against the Cheetahs on a perfect winter’s day in Durban.



60 Comments

  • To be perfectly honest, I don’t really care whether it’s Pienaar or Barritt who’s entrusted with the number 10 jersey. All that I want is for them to give that guy a decent run in the same position.

  • Comment 1, posted at 08.05.08 13:10:54 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • Who’s Jake White ???

    Peter Grant will be @ 10… :wink:

    PDV… prefers specialists not so much in favour of versatality… :grin:

  • Comment 2, posted at 08.05.08 13:12:44 by Charlie Reply

    CharlieSuper Rugby player
     
  • My Bok backline at this stage would probably be:

    9 Januarie
    10 Grant
    11 Habana
    12 Jacobs
    13 de Villiers
    14 Chavanga/Nokwe
    15 Jantjes

  • Comment 3, posted at 08.05.08 13:23:20 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • unless, of course, you consider Butch, in which case it would be

    9 Januarie
    10 James
    11 Habana
    12 Grant
    13 Jacobs
    14 de Villiers
    15 Jantjes

  • Comment 4, posted at 08.05.08 13:24:11 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • Who’s Jake White ???

    Comment 2 of 2, posted at 08.05.08 13:12:44 by Charlie

    The guy who introduced the rugby world to beer fetchers…..

  • Comment 5, posted at 08.05.08 13:28:26 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive PassCurrie Cup player
     
  • Nevermind the Sharks 10 dilemma, who is going to be our next 15? Surely Stef T at 33 doesn’t have more than 1 more season in him? And his predictable ping-ponging good enough for the S14?

    If Pienaar is the future at 10, then Frans has to play 15 or Waylon move to the wing to be able to accomodate all 3 of them + Barritt in the Sharks backline.

  • Comment 6, posted at 08.05.08 13:29:02 by Le Requinny Reply
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  • I would like to to see Odwa given a good run at 15 in the Currie Cup….

  • Comment 7, posted at 08.05.08 13:30:32 by Dive Pass Reply

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  • DP,

    :lol: :lol: :lol:

  • Comment 8, posted at 08.05.08 13:31:25 by Charlie Reply

    CharlieSuper Rugby player
     
  • I agree with DP. I think Odwa has always looked superb at fullback. Only problem is, we are so short of good wings.

    I also have a strange feeling that Frans is going to be best utilised at 13.

  • Comment 9, posted at 08.05.08 13:35:45 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • Odwa is good enough for 15 in CC, but we neeed to look long-term and DECIDE on who our 10/12/15 will be out of Ruan, Frans & Barritt. Look no doubt all 3 are all good enough for these positions (excl Barritt at 15)but all the interchanging just confuses the players, let alone prevents them from settling & developing in 1 position.
    For example Ruan was being touted as a long-term 15 at the end of last season, and now he is being touted as the solution at 10??!!

  • Comment 10, posted at 08.05.08 13:37:02 by Le Requinny Reply
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  • Its easy… Pietersen at fullback

  • Comment 11, posted at 08.05.08 13:38:52 by molly Reply
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  • Ok then, so what about this line-up for the S14 next season, give them all an extended run in those positions:

    15-Odwa (give him a full CC at 15 to get fully settled at 15)
    14-Murray
    13-Steyn
    12-Barritt
    11-JP
    10-Ruan
    9 -Kockett

    bench-Mentz/Stef T, Adi, Charl Mcleod?

  • Comment 12, posted at 08.05.08 13:39:32 by Le Requinny Reply
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  • molly, the way JP is playing this eason, eish… :roll:

    Diunno if I’d trust him at the back…not against the quality teams at least!

  • Comment 13, posted at 08.05.08 13:40:25 by Le Requinny Reply
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  • Ja, I’m not sure either, but if he can get his form back I wouldn’t mind seeing him at the back. Although Odwa has been very good under the high ball lately and is quite consistant in his play. But JP would be far more threatening (in more ways than one :wink: )

  • Comment 14, posted at 08.05.08 13:44:00 by molly Reply
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  • Quinn – you have it spot on there… probably what I would do.

    As for JP at 15… I reckon he’s been defensively sound this year. Just pants on attack.

  • Comment 15, posted at 08.05.08 13:46:14 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • lol, JP would be threatening to both us and the opponents, depending which game he brings on that day & whether he remembers his hands!

  • Comment 16, posted at 08.05.08 13:46:16 by Le Requinny Reply
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  • I think we all agree on the fact that the players need to be told they are playing a certain position for the duration of the competition, barring injury. Gives them confidence to settle & get used to the different combinations.

    Clearly the opposite of what happened this season :roll: Though I agree it is highly frustrating & not that clear-cut on deciding who is best where…but surely these questions should have been addressed during pre-season games & not during the course of the S14?

  • Comment 17, posted at 08.05.08 13:49:06 by Le Requinny Reply
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  • howzit guys, i think pienaar definitely has the talent to make a good number 10 eventually.
    i’d like to see a bok trial match this year though, with the following backlines against each other…

    09. FDP vs Ricky
    10. Butch vs Grant
    11. Habana vs Nokwe
    12. Steyn vs Bosman
    13. Fourie vs JDV
    14. JPP vs Chavanga
    15. Percy vs Jantjes

    Only fair that the guys in posession should get a crack at keeping their positions… although i think that FDP, Steyn and JPP might lose theirs after the trial.

  • Comment 18, posted at 08.05.08 13:55:00 by Ghost10 (YNWA) Reply

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  • I think Steyn, JP and Ruan are not fullbacks, too erratic…. Odwa on the other hand is too slow to be anything more then a goodish S14 wing but I think giving a bit of assistance he could develop into a very good fullback.

    Terblanche is back to the old player we weren’t too sorry to see move to Wales.

  • Comment 19, posted at 08.05.08 13:55:58 by Dive Pass Reply

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  • Comment 18 of 19, posted at 08.05.08 13:55:00 by Ghost10 (YNWA)

    The one player I wouldn’t like to see in the mix is Percy….he really should retire from international rugby with the glory of the RWC. But he could act as a mentor to his successor.

  • Comment 20, posted at 08.05.08 13:58:11 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive PassCurrie Cup player
     
  • We as South Africans underestimate the value of experience in our sports teams… U need guys like Percy and Butch to stay there for at least another year in order to ease the new guys in.

  • Comment 21, posted at 08.05.08 14:03:10 by Ghost10 (YNWA) Reply

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  • ha ha quinny… that was so naive it was funny ;)

  • Comment 22, posted at 08.05.08 14:03:23 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • :!:

  • Comment 23, posted at 08.05.08 14:06:58 by Le Requinny Reply
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  • sometimes you have to state the obvious to the blind palookas :mrgreen:

  • Comment 24, posted at 08.05.08 14:07:24 by Le Requinny Reply
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  • I agree on Butch but Monty is currently 34 and has all those records and achievements behind his name,he has nothing more to gain and I can only see his continued playing tarnish his good name.

  • Comment 25, posted at 08.05.08 14:11:01 by Dive Pass Reply

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  • sometimes you have to state the obvious to the blind palookas :mrgreen:
    Comment 24 of 25, posted at 08.05.08 14:07:24 by Le Requinny

    I hope your are referring to the selectors and coaches and not your fellow posters ;)

  • Comment 26, posted at 08.05.08 14:11:58 by Dive Pass Reply

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  • if the boot fits ;)

  • Comment 27, posted at 08.05.08 14:13:26 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • lol, yes – unless your name is Stan or Rob :grin:

  • Comment 28, posted at 08.05.08 14:14:07 by Le Requinny Reply
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  • Hey Rob did you send Stan an invite to be part of sharksworld?

  • Comment 29, posted at 08.05.08 14:15:51 by Dive Pass Reply

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  • You know I usually enjoy Greenaway’s articles, but this rates as his most biased piece ever written. It almost has the JJ Harmse Hougaard fascination in it.

    I reckon Grant is still no-where near Butch, and what we need from a flyhalf, but to suggest as his one sentence does that ‘all’ Grants limitations is Pienaar’s ‘strengths’ and thus making him a real contender is a bit premature isn’t it?

    We have a major problem at 10, and if Pienaar is given ample opportunity here and by next year if it comes off I will be the happiest guy in the world because of our lack of depth at 10 – but I reckon this article, is at best, 1 year premature.

  • Comment 30, posted at 08.05.08 14:19:22 by MorneN Reply
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  • You are all going to think I am mad – but when Fred left the field the other day – my first thought was to put Adi in at Flyhalf.

  • Comment 31, posted at 08.05.08 14:19:52 by Nessa Reply

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  • 29 – no, I don’t think he wants to be a part of what we’re building here, if you know what I mean ;)

  • Comment 32, posted at 08.05.08 14:21:57 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • Oh and dont worry too much about where to fit Frans and Adi in and so on – pretty soon they will be moving to the Cape! We’ll find space for them…

  • Comment 33, posted at 08.05.08 14:22:01 by MorneN Reply
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  • 30 – Morras, I tend to agree. I don’t think we have anyone who can claim to be anywhere near the finished article at 10. The best we can do is pick a guy with the right attributes and give him time to settle into the position.

  • Comment 34, posted at 08.05.08 14:22:44 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • if Adi doesn’t get strong assurances from Plum about regular game time, I reckon he’ll be off to Ireland in the next few months.

    Unless, of course, the national coach convinces him otherwise.

  • Comment 35, posted at 08.05.08 14:24:55 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • Rob – the last time I spoke to Adi at Loftus – he didn’t say so, but I get the feeling he is still hoping to get his Bok colours again and one can’t blame him. I think he was overlooked for the last WC and the next one he will be too old.

  • Comment 36, posted at 08.05.08 14:26:26 by Nessa Reply

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  • which province Rob?

    Munster & Leinster’s centres are pretty settled…

  • Comment 37, posted at 08.05.08 14:26:49 by Le Requinny Reply
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  • Unless, of course, the national coach convinces him otherwise.
    Comment 35 of 35, posted at 08.05.08 14:24:55 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!)

    Ja I’m Pieter De Villiers and Vernon Koekemoer will convince Adi to stay…

  • Comment 38, posted at 08.05.08 14:27:45 by Dive Pass Reply

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  • off for a run. Catch you guys later.

  • Comment 39, posted at 08.05.08 14:32:54 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • Cheers Rob.

  • Comment 40, posted at 08.05.08 14:35:06 by Nessa Reply

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  • a run :?: :!: :shock:

  • Comment 41, posted at 08.05.08 14:37:38 by Le Requinny Reply
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  • you can run Rob but you can’t hid from the Sharks team announcement….

  • Comment 42, posted at 08.05.08 14:41:36 by Dive Pass Reply

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  • LOL @ DP!

  • Comment 43, posted at 08.05.08 14:46:46 by Nessa Reply

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  • Come oh Nessa you must have an inside track on the team with all your contacts?

  • Comment 44, posted at 08.05.08 15:02:34 by Dive Pass Reply

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  • Sharks 22:

    15. Stefan Terblanche
    14. Odwa Ndungane
    13. Adrian Jacobs
    12. Francois Steyn
    11. JP Pietersen
    10. Ruan Pienaar
    9. Rory Kockott
    8. Ryan Kankowski
    7. AJ Venter ( Capt )
    6. Jacques Botes
    5. Johan Ackermann
    4. Albert van den Berg
    3. Brendon Botha
    2. Bismarck du Plessis
    1. Tendai Mtawarira

    Replacements:
    16. Craig Burden
    17. Jannie du Plessis
    18. Steven Sykes
    19. Jean Deysel
    20. Keegan Daniel
    21. Bradley Barritt
    22. Waylon Murray

  • Comment 45, posted at 08.05.08 15:07:21 by Dive Pass Reply

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  • i have the team, but can’t put it up yet

  • Comment 46, posted at 08.05.08 15:08:13 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • Well I can ;)

  • Comment 47, posted at 08.05.08 15:09:29 by Dive Pass Reply

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  • ok – yes I can. It’s up

  • Comment 48, posted at 08.05.08 15:09:32 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • “Pienaar caught the eye on numerous occasions, but he is so

    flaky that one has to wonder whether he’s a help or a hindrance to a side. Some of his short runs were absolutely diabolical, as he both intimidated the oppo, and shocked his

    team-mates……….who the devil knew what he was going to do.”

    Patrick on Ruan last… pretty apt in his ‘own’ way…

  • Comment 49, posted at 08.05.08 15:10:10 by bryce_in_oz Reply

    bryce_in_ozCurrie Cup player
     
  • Patrick Innes… good guy, but knows sod all about anything that happens outside of New Zealand.

    Hell, compared to him, I don’t even seem biased.

  • Comment 50, posted at 08.05.08 15:11:43 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • Lol… true but he’s getting better of late…

  • Comment 51, posted at 08.05.08 15:14:55 by bryce_in_oz Reply

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  • Rob that might be a nice touch for this site, if you could get an Aussie and a Kiwi rugby follower with more then 2 eyes between them to do an article here….maybe there are some blogs down under you could organise an exchange with? Hell maybe you even get your next door neighbour to give us a pom’s perspective on the game.

  • Comment 52, posted at 08.05.08 15:20:35 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive PassCurrie Cup player
     
  • Just to throw something else into the middle…

    This is an argument that could quite easily have been made towards the start of one Joost van der Westhuizen’s career… and what a mistake that would’ve been.

  • Comment 53, posted at 08.05.08 15:22:11 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • DP – If you click on the “Green and Gold Rugby” link you’ll see that we already have a link exchange with an Aussie blog.

    Is it just me, though, or do there not seem to be as many Aus and NZ rugby blogs as there are SA ones? I’ve searched and searched and turned up nada besides the Silver Fern, which is more of a message board.

  • Comment 54, posted at 08.05.08 15:23:29 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • They are very far away down under, they take time to catch-up with these modern fangled things….

  • Comment 55, posted at 08.05.08 15:26:41 by Dive Pass Reply

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  • I have a couple of cousins-in-law in New Zealand. Very keen to get one of them to write for us, but the little blighter is ignoring my mails.

  • Comment 56, posted at 08.05.08 15:29:39 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • I have just posted a notice on the Silver Fern… I reckon I will be banned within minutes

  • Comment 57, posted at 08.05.08 15:35:25 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • :)

  • Comment 58, posted at 08.05.08 15:37:29 by Dive Pass Reply

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  • You could always link Japie questions to the Inside Rugby (best rugga show around albeit Aussie) panel… some of Phil Kearns’ answers are classic (and his commentating is Mexted with brains…lol)…

    http://blogs.foxsports.com.au/rugby/

  • Comment 59, posted at 08.05.08 15:39:55 by bryce_in_oz Reply

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  • Try Rugby Heaven.co.nz . Hope Pienaar really does well, and isn’t snatched by another team. Remember Henri left Natal after school and started his provincial playing for OFS we were just lucky he wanted to come home after Varsity. So we need to prevent Ruan wanting to go home.

  • Comment 60, posted at 09.05.08 00:55:18 by Dynamite Reply

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