Front row and centres to be the difference

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Bulls, Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 22 Oct 2008 at 18:11
Tagged with : ,

I see two key areas in which the Sharks can really expect to get the upper hand on Saturday.

The front row is an area where the Sharks boast absolutely unparalleled depth – something the Bulls just can’t match. The real strength of the Sharks’ props is the amount of work they do around the field, in broken play and on defence. This, of course, is in addition to their basic role of scrum dominance. Beast Mtawarira is a real legend, with his trademark punches over the advantage line and massive tackles something that few looseheads can claim to do better. Jannie du Plessis is also big on defence, while in Deon Carstens, the Sharks have one of the the quickest, most skilful impact props in the country.

The Bulls, in contrast, boast a solid (if somewhat overrated) player in Gurthrö Steenkamp at loosehead. The big prop is very mobile and has good hands. He has never stood out as a great scrummager and I fully expect du Plessis to have the upper hand at scrum time. Rayno Gerber and Werner Kruger are both journeymen and although capable in the set pieces, neither really offers a hell of a lot outside of these areas.

Hooker, of course, is a complete no-brainer, with the Sharks battling to choose between two current Springbok hookers. Derick Kuün has always been known more for the size of his yapper than his impact on the game and he cannot hope to match Bismarck du Plessis’s all-round impact, either in the tight or the loose. Comparisons between John Smit and his one-time protégée, Malatse Rallepele, just don’t really make any sense at this stage either. No, I’m afraid the Sharks’ set of 5 Boks easily trumps what the Bulls have to offer.

Assuming that the loose forwards and halfbacks will cancel each other out, to an extent, I think that it’s in midfield where the Sharks have another area of potential supremacy. Frans Steyn is now really settling down nicely at inside centre and his defence, in particular, has been rock-solid the last few weeks. As his partnership with incumbent Bok outside centre Adi Jacobs develops, the two really do seem be understanding each other a lot better.

Last time the Sharks played the Bulls, the home team conspired to make Bulls centres Wynand Olivier and Marius Delport look far better than they actually are. The latter, in particular, cannot hope to live with Jacobs when the Sharks man is on form. What’s more, Olivier’s newly-discovered passing game tends to all but disappear when the pressure is on. Expect the blonde bombshell to keep the ball to himself all afternoon as he tries to run around Steyn – a tactic unlikely to prove successful this weekend.

On attack, the Sharks may just find a few gaps opening up as well later on, particularly if Jean Deysel manages to commit a defender or two before getting the ball out to Steyn and Jacobs. The Bulls don’t really have a midfield specialist on the bench, while the Sharks, in Brad Barritt and Waylon Murray, have a second established partnership to turn to, just in case the all-Springbok first-choice pair don’t have the desired impact.


  • Good piece and true.

    We will have the upperhand in both the FR and the Centers IMO.

    MORE of an upperhand in the FRs and that will give our backs a solid base to work with.

    Go Sharks.

  • Comment 1, posted at 23.10.08 07:08:22 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • morning KSA,

    where o where in this modern day and age can one buy a time traveler, to not only travel back in time but to make the weekend come all ready, sjees this week drags on and on.

    it does seem that the Sharks have the edge on paper and on preformance, in 1996 whe had the comenth the hour cometh the man in Juba, who will it be this time time around??

  • Comment 2, posted at 23.10.08 07:22:57 by barend Reply
    barendVodacom Cup player
  • Great piece, Rob :mrgreen:

  • Comment 3, posted at 23.10.08 07:32:45 by Charlie Reply
    CharlieSuper Rugby player
  • @barend (Comment 2) : why would you need to travel back in time to make the weekend come all ready seems the tension of waiting is getting to you :mrgreen: :lol:

  • Comment 4, posted at 23.10.08 07:44:57 by KSA Sharkette Reply
    KSA SharketteCurrie Cup player
  • Well written piece and cannot fault your assessment around the forwards. I do believe in the centre we do have the players in both Steyn/Jacobs, including the bench, that can do the “business” for us. However we would be foolish to undersetimate a guy like Marius Delport, he is powerful and strong on his feat and a difficult man to bring down at the best of times.

  • Comment 5, posted at 23.10.08 07:45:47 by Thingfish Reply
    ThingfishAcademy recruit
  • @KSA Sharkette (Comment 4) :

    She had a few glasses of wine last night and may still have a hangover, :wink:

    When she reads the commetn later in the day she will realise that he didn’t make a mistake in his post. :wink:

    Bye, see ya all tomorrow.

  • Comment 6, posted at 23.10.08 08:55:51 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • the difference between our scrums and other teams scrums is johan muller. victor doesn’t have the same strength during scrums. scrums are more than just the front three.

  • Comment 7, posted at 23.10.08 09:15:07 by try time Reply
    Super Rugby player
  • This morning I made myself a promise… ” I’m not going to read anymore articles about the final”.

    Well…needless to say…I broke my promise and read this one…and boy was it a good decision….cos now I have that extra bounce in my step. :mrgreen:

    We did make their centres look good the last time around, didn’t we?
    I doubt that Meisiekind and Co. will be that lucky this time around, Adi and Steyn will tear them apart.

    Yesterday I did something I hadn’t done for over a year…I went over to the “dark side”…just to catch the mood in the Blue camp. The Bulle massive seems convinced that Beast is an overrated prop and that he would never make it to their first team. :shock: Who are they kidding? My visit didn’t last long…these guys are nuts. :roll:

    Sharks by double-figures…

  • Comment 8, posted at 23.10.08 09:16:14 by just blackshark (dead bull gives you mince) Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!Super Rugby player
  • @just blackshark (dead bull gives you mince) (Comment 8) : Watte?
    I used to be Beasts biggest critics when it came to his scrumming needless to say he has shut me what hey like to call The F__K up.

    Glad to see the comment in the main article where it says Guthro is overrated, at least im not alone.

  • Comment 9, posted at 23.10.08 09:25:22 by PJLD Reply
    Clayton(PJLD)Team captain
  • @PJLD (Comment 9) : I think all the Bulls are overrated. The only one I’d have in the Sharks team is Habana

  • Comment 10, posted at 23.10.08 09:38:12 by robdylan (Go Sharks!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
  • Great post! Lets hope the scoreboard bares testiment to these advantages. Go sharks!

  • Comment 11, posted at 23.10.08 09:39:19 by billy Reply

    billyVodacom Cup player
  • KSA – Rob

    Enjoy the weekend – the whole weekend
    everything going on around the big game as well.

    Cheers for now

  • Comment 12, posted at 23.10.08 09:44:19 by The Brand Reply

    Currie Cup player
  • @PJLD (Comment 9) : Exactly boss, that man has grown in leaps and bounds and is without a doubt the Bok 1st choice.

    They said something about him not being able to run for over 5m…clearly they didn’t watch the semi vs Lions…

    @robdylan (Go Sharks!) (Comment 10) : Pretty much…and even he is slowly starting to lose favour with me.

    Does Bakkies count ?

  • Comment 13, posted at 23.10.08 09:55:35 by just blackshark (dead bull gives you mince) Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!Super Rugby player
  • @robdylan (Go Sharks!) (Comment 10) : Crap man – That sounds like Whites famous Irish quote!!!!

    Don;t be jinxing us!

  • Comment 14, posted at 23.10.08 10:04:50 by beez Reply

    beezUnder 21 player
  • This two weeks break is just too much. Even as a ‘neutral’ it’s become too drawn out. :evil:

  • Comment 15, posted at 23.10.08 10:11:15 by McLovin Reply

    McLovinAssistant coach
  • @PJLD (Comment 9) : Guthro isn’t overrated, he just isn’t as good as Beast. He will grow into a fine prop in time to come.

  • Comment 16, posted at 23.10.08 10:18:57 by Sauce Reply
    Worcestershire SauceCurrie Cup player
  • It gave me time to build up stock for the weekend.
    Steak beer and boerewors

  • Comment 17, posted at 23.10.08 10:19:31 by PJLD Reply
    Clayton(PJLD)Team captain
  • @McLovin (Comment 15) : Yea agreed – this wait has been ridiculous

  • Comment 18, posted at 23.10.08 10:19:51 by Sauce Reply
    Worcestershire SauceCurrie Cup player
  • @The Brand (Comment 12) : thanks Brand. Really hoping for the right result this time – at least from our own perspective :)

  • Comment 19, posted at 23.10.08 10:22:00 by robdylan (Go Sharks!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach

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