robdylan

Looking ahead to 2009


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super 14 on 28 Oct 2008 at 13:38
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So guys, we’ve won the Currie Cup. Let’s start doing a little bit of forward planning towards our next goal… winning the 2009 Super 14!

If there’s one absolutely great thing that John Plumtree has brought to the Sharks team in the latter stages of the Currie Cup, it’s continuity of selection. It’s absolutely vital in terms of the Super 14 that we maintain this approach as far as possible, particularly in the backline. I am a great believer in specialistion, which is why my ideal Sharks squad for the 2009 Super 14 has (at least) a primary and a secondary player in each position on the field. In going through these names, I’ll highlight where I feel we lack depth.

Loosehead Prop: Beast is the man in possession. Number two is Deon Carstens, although I see his role as specialist impact prop. Burra Mtetwa is the third in line, while Robbie Harris (who will be back in Durbs soon) and Pat Cilliers provide backup.

Hooker: Management of the two top hookers in the country is going to be Plumtree’s biggest challenge. I think we can expect that Bismarck du Plessis and John Smit will alternate in this position. I would definitely go with Smit to start every match, as he’ll presumably be the squad captain. This would entail using Smit as a tighthead in those games where Bismarck is chosen as the starting hooker. Despite taking a step or two backwards in this year’s Currie Cup, Craig Burden provides a strong third option.

Tighthead Prop: Given that John Smit will start at least some games in this position, Jannie du Plessis will be the other first-choice tighthead. Number 3 is a position where an element of rotation can be accommodated, as it’s a position that places huge physical demands on a player. Pat Cilliers and Robbie Harris will provide adequate backup to Smit and du Plessis.

Number 4 Lock: Steven Sykes is first choice. He has shown in the latter stages of the Currie Cup that he can make the step up against top opposition and should start every game. Joe Snyman must surely be his deputy, after a strong NPC campaign with the Hawke’s Bay Magpies. Albert van den Berg would be my choice for impact lock, able to cover either 4 or 5 off the bench.

Number 5 Lock: Johann Muller is first choice, with the bigger, tougher Al Hargreaves providing the backup. Joe has a huge job to do next season as he will provide leadership to the team when Smit is not on the field. Again, Al van den Berg will always be the bench lock.

Open-side Flanker: Jacques Botes as first choice, with Keegan Daniel as his backup. Daniel will always be the loose forward on the bench. Skollie Ndlovu is probably just that little bit too small to be effective at this level, meaning it’ll be a big step up for young Warren Whiteley if further cover is required here. There’s definitely a procurement opportunity at flanker.

Blind-side Flanker: Jean Deysel all the way. Backup here remains a big problem and if the Sharks don’t manage to procure decent backup, we’ll be left backing the young Justin Downey or Mike Rhodes, or else going back to players such as Nik Blignaut, who have failed at this level before.

Number 8: It’s Ryan Kanko, boys. Again, the worrying thing here is that his backup comes in the form of Jean Deysel and Keegan Daniel, both of whom have other jobs to do in the loose forwards. Rhodes again comes up as an option here, as does Adriaan Theisinger, although throwing a 19-year-old straight into the Super 14 cauldron is not always a good idea. This really does again highlight the Sharks lack of experience at loose forward, outside of the established trio.

Scrumhalf: Can I go out on a limb here? Let’s assume, just for a moment, that Ruan Pienaar really enjoys his time at flyhalf on the EOYT and decides to settle there. That leaves us with Rory Kockott and Charl Mcleod as first and second choice respectively. Pienaar can, of course, move back to 9 in a real emergency, or the precocious Ross Cronjé could be thrown into the deep end.

Flyhalf: Again, this all depends on Ruan Pienaar. If he accepts the first-choice flyhalf berth, with Len Olivier as his understudy, I’d say we’re in great shape. Lionel Cornelius, Adrian Jacobs, Frans Steyn and Riaan Swanepoel provide adequate cover, if needed. If Pienaar decides he wants to only play scrumhalf, then we need to find a Super 14 quality flyhalf urgently.

Left Wing: JP Pietersen first choice, Wesley Bodmer is his backup. Lwavi Mvovo and Henno Mentz provide “utility wing cover” in the squad, but there’s probably room for one more winger of established pedigree.

Inside Centre: This must be Frans Steyn’s preferred position next year. Let him start every match at 12. Riaan Swanepoel is his understudy, with Lionel Cornelius and Andries Strauss providing cover in the wider squad.

Outside Centre : Here I’d propose a horses for courses approach, with Adrian Jacobs and Waylon Murray each used in situations which will highlight their particular strengths. The highly-rated young Luzuko Vulindlu will be third in line.

Right Wing: Odwa Ndungane as first choice, with Chris Jordaan as backup. Again, outside of Mentz and Mvovo, there’s not too much backup.

Fullback: Stefan Terblanche will continue as first-choice fullback in what will surely be his swansong season. Unless you move one of the first-choice wingers to full-back, though, there really isn’t any good backup here, so fullback is another area where the Sharks need to do some intelligent procurement and fast.



67 Comments

  • so, my first-choice 22 for the opening game:

    1 Beast
    2 Smittie (c)
    3 Jannie
    4 Sykes
    5 Joe M
    6 JB
    7 Wolscooter
    8 Kanko
    9 Rocket
    10 Pinie
    11 JPP
    12 Fransie
    13 Adi
    14 Odders
    15 Oom Stef
    16 Bis
    17 Deon C
    18 Big Al
    19 Keegs
    20 McLeod
    21 Swannie
    22 Waylon

  • Comment 1, posted at 28.10.08 13:54:38 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
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  • Open-side Flanker: Luke Watson will be looking for a job soon….

    :twisted:

  • Comment 2, posted at 28.10.08 13:56:38 by Sauce Reply
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    Worcestershire SauceCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Sauce (Comment 2) : we need someone to polish the Currie Cup. Maybe Luke could use his Bok jersey…

  • Comment 3, posted at 28.10.08 13:58:59 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
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  • Listen i don’t care what you do with him…just sign him

  • Comment 4, posted at 28.10.08 14:00:14 by Sauce Reply
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  • What happended to that Neanderthal lookalike we had.

    I think his name was Nick Strauss?

  • Comment 5, posted at 28.10.08 14:01:41 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @Sauce (Comment 4) :

    no worries.

    Daddy dearest has just announced his campaign to run for EP pres. Luke will captain the Elephants next year. :cool:

  • Comment 6, posted at 28.10.08 14:03:47 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 5) : yes… what about him? You think he’s good enough to play Super 14 for us?

    I sure as hell don’t!

  • Comment 7, posted at 28.10.08 14:06:24 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
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  • @Sauce (Comment 4) : maybe Rudi S can use him as a comical talking garden gnome…

  • Comment 8, posted at 28.10.08 14:06:56 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
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  • Harris is coming back soon?

  • Comment 9, posted at 28.10.08 14:07:25 by just blackshark Reply

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  • @robdylan (CC Champ ‘08) (Comment 7) :

    As back-up if needed not as a starter by any means.

  • Comment 10, posted at 28.10.08 14:07:47 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 6) : Yea The mighty elephants, best career move he can make

  • Comment 11, posted at 28.10.08 14:10:03 by Sauce Reply
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  • a bit premature. i cannot see the sharks going into next year without a specialist flyhalf. i know pienaar is an option but the way he was played during the latter half of the cc suggests he is to stay at 9 with the option to move to 10 later in the game or when injury strikes down the number one flyhalf. i have a sneaky suspision that the sharks are after an overseas flyhalf. they seem intent on winning the 2009 s14, they are going to make sure they have every position covered. the valke flyhalf that was bought is cover for cc and vodacom cup.

  • Comment 12, posted at 28.10.08 14:13:51 by try time Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 10) : I’d be happier with more quality back-up for lock, flank (to cover both sides) and fullback. But who?

  • Comment 13, posted at 28.10.08 14:14:40 by just blackshark Reply

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  • @just blackshark (Comment 9) : yes – he told me so. He’ll be back in Durbs in time for the Super 14. The Nottingham move was just a loan thing.

    @KSA Shark © (Comment 10) : well, I guess as backup, but I’d far rather back a youngster like Downey or Rhodes, in that case.

    So getting onto my Wildebeest soapbox, I’d like to see Whitely, Downey and Rhodes as a settled loose forward combination in that team. None of this rotation bollocks.

  • Comment 14, posted at 28.10.08 14:15:29 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
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  • oh and unless mentz goes through some amazing turnaround, i don’t see him playing a s14 game. waylon will be stand in wing.

  • Comment 15, posted at 28.10.08 14:18:18 by try time Reply

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  • @robdylan (CC Champ ‘08) (Comment 14) :

    Oh ok…so much for our goodbyes…

    Do you think Frans is being secretly prepared for flyhalf as well ???

  • Comment 16, posted at 28.10.08 14:18:23 by just blackshark Reply

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  • @just blackshark (Comment 13) : you tell me. There just aren’t stacks of quality locks floating around – especially not no 4′s… That Kruger youngster from the Bulls, or maybe even Fudge Mabeta might be decent targets, but they’re both still young. Danie Rossouw, perhaps? Bakkies is out of the question… maybe Rory Duncan can be enticed back from Japan? But it’s doubtful…

    Adriaan Fondse is pretty good, but he’ll be with WP for at least another two years.

    As for fullback… to be honest, I reckon we need to turn JP into a fullback and rather look at bringing in another winger. Pity we didn’t join the race to sign Trompie Nontshinga. Maybe Dewald Potgieter won’t want to stay with Griquas?

  • Comment 17, posted at 28.10.08 14:18:29 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
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  • @try time (Comment 15) : :lol: Yeah…I was kinda thinking the same thing.

  • Comment 18, posted at 28.10.08 14:19:05 by just blackshark Reply

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  • @just blackshark (Comment 13) :

    I have no idea either. Rob Just mentioned Blignaut as a possible and i think Strauss is better than Blignaut though.

    I initially thought he was a youngster but he is 30 already. :shock:

    been around for a while but only just made the Sharks for the 1st time this year.

    Squads:
    2008
    The Sharks (ABSA Currie Cup Premier Div)

    2004
    Natal Wildebeest (Vodacom Cup)

    2003
    Natal Sharks (ABSA Reserve Div A)
    Natal (Vodacom Cup)

    2002
    Natal SA ‘A’ (SA Cup)

  • Comment 19, posted at 28.10.08 14:19:52 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @try time (Comment 15) : yeah – agree with you there. Henno is past it.

  • Comment 20, posted at 28.10.08 14:20:07 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
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  • @just blackshark (Comment 13) : fullback is covered by frans jp and odwa. lock is solid enough. alistair has improved a lot. and flank is covered by keegan and sykes. we will only have serious problems if we lose multiple players to injuries. but lets not think that way.

  • Comment 21, posted at 28.10.08 14:20:57 by try time Reply

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  • @just blackshark (Comment 16) : yeah, but I’d like to see Frans settle at 12 and play there for at least 2 seasons… then we can look at him as a 10

  • Comment 22, posted at 28.10.08 14:20:58 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
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  • hey – anyone remember we won the Currie Cup? Let’s start the celebrations all over again!

  • Comment 23, posted at 28.10.08 15:10:13 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
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  • @robdylan (CC Champ ‘08) (Comment 23) : no i am not using up the good feeling too quickly this time. i don’t want to be caught without good feeling for another 12 years. in 1996 i expected them to win in 1998 so i used up all my good feeling. 10 years is a long time without good feeling.

  • Comment 24, posted at 28.10.08 15:42:00 by try time Reply

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  • @try time (Comment 24) : explains a lot about you :)

  • Comment 25, posted at 28.10.08 15:51:04 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
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  • @robdylan (CC Champ ‘08) (Comment 25) : haven’t you noticed i am happier on the blog this week. you can’t moan when the silverware is in the trophy cabinet. i would hate to know how long it took to clean out that cabinet.

  • Comment 26, posted at 28.10.08 15:56:06 by try time Reply

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  • @try time (Comment 26) : he he… you are a changed man, I see!

  • Comment 27, posted at 28.10.08 16:21:38 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
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  • Hi all
    Reading comments from players Snoor and others it seem Smitty’s future is T/H so bearing that in mind we wont suffer in the front 3 no matter which combo we use locks are ok loose trio we need an 8 and a 7 For 8 I suggest that guy we loaned to the falcons Thabo Mamojele i just have a feeling about him no 7 is the problem for me i really cant find one that says him although i did like the look of the sa version of the caveman. if all else fails we could always entice AJ back as the reason he left was to play for a cup winning side!!!!!!!
    FB is also a problem Steph wont be able to play 14 games for us The blond dude that played wing for us cant remember his name might be a good back up

  • Comment 28, posted at 28.10.08 16:58:31 by Fattmann Reply
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  • @Fattmann (Comment 28) : Chris Jordaan

  • Comment 29, posted at 28.10.08 17:06:12 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
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  • yep thats the dude thanks Rob

  • Comment 30, posted at 28.10.08 17:08:19 by Fattmann Reply
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  • @Fattmann (Comment 30) : no worries. That’s what I’m here for

  • Comment 31, posted at 28.10.08 17:44:21 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
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  • PaarlBok rates Chris Jordan highly as a fullback. From the same valley.

  • Comment 32, posted at 28.10.08 17:57:05 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • You guys are wasting your time here on possible team selections…as the Lions will be winning the Super14 in 2009.

    So in short it doesn’t really matter what team you put out cause the Lions are going to be very formidable.

    :mrgreen: :wink:

  • Comment 33, posted at 28.10.08 18:43:48 by CoffeeShopBok;-) Reply

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  • @CoffeeShopBok;-) (Comment 33) : Spoke to Loffie today. He tells me he’s signed a bunch of unknowns

  • Comment 34, posted at 28.10.08 19:16:43 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
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  • @robdylan (CC Champ ‘08) (Comment 34) :

    As in he doesn’t know who he has signed? :razz:

  • Comment 35, posted at 28.10.08 20:58:16 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @CoffeeShopBok;-) (Comment 33) :

    Man I DO admire you (Not in the Stormers way). :smile: To still be so confident after everything you have had to endure for your team. :wink:

  • Comment 36, posted at 28.10.08 20:59:40 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 35) : I don’t think it’s quite that bad yet :-)

  • Comment 37, posted at 28.10.08 21:06:55 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
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  • @robdylan (CC Champ ‘08) (Comment 34) :

    :lol:

    @KSA Shark © (Comment 36) :

    I’ll be there right to the end…when someone has to switch the lights off on their way out..

    Daar is nie pille vir domgheid(sp) :wink:

  • Comment 38, posted at 28.10.08 22:06:00 by CoffeeShopBok;-) Reply

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  • @CoffeeShopBok;-) (Comment 38) :

    :wink:

    BTW

    I am off to Bangkok tomorrow night :cool:

  • Comment 39, posted at 28.10.08 22:07:35 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @CoffeeShopBok;-) (Comment 38) :

    Maar daar is blare om die pyn te verlig. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 40, posted at 28.10.08 22:10:15 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 39) :
    One night in Bangkok makes a hard man crumble…

    Watch out for ‘em khatois…

  • Comment 41, posted at 28.10.08 22:18:31 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 41) :

    I will be spending 4 nights there. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 42, posted at 28.10.08 22:22:49 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • http://www.bangkoksevens.com/

  • Comment 43, posted at 28.10.08 22:23:35 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • Yo yo yo!

  • Comment 44, posted at 28.10.08 22:54:48 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
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  • We DESPERATELY need another lock. I would make that my number 1 priority!

  • Comment 45, posted at 28.10.08 22:55:03 by Villie Reply
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  • The sharks are in a great place. PdV is doing their flyhalf experiment for them. If it works, problem solved. If not, they need to sign another international and let Steyn play 12. Their backline is already miles better than it was during this year’s S14. By this time next year it should be clear if he can be a 10 or not.

  • Comment 46, posted at 29.10.08 01:04:07 by fyndraai Reply
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  • good article rob. i must say people rate the sharks for their depth but outside of the top 23, it looks a little sparse and young…
    Most worried about flyhalf!

  • Comment 47, posted at 29.10.08 09:59:35 by CapeShark Reply
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  • @fyndraai (Comment 46) :

    Agreed, Plum must be thrilled that De Villiers is doing all the experimenting (at international level, he must have misunderstood why they are called test matches!!!).

    But Plumtree is a well seasoned forwards coach, he wasn’t tempted, like most, to play Smit at prop and I doubt he will next season. I am interested to know his reasoning in playing Cilliers at loosehead in his comeback, does he see him there in the long term?

  • Comment 48, posted at 29.10.08 13:14:15 by Dive Pass Reply

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  • @Dive Pass (Comment 48) : I also wondered about that, particularly when Pat started turning out at 1 for the juniors as well…

  • Comment 49, posted at 29.10.08 13:17:09 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
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  • @Dive Pass (Comment 48) :

    he must have misunderstood why they are called test matches!!!).

    :mrgreen: :lol:

  • Comment 50, posted at 29.10.08 13:17:35 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 50) :

    I personally blame the influence of our old good friend Muir, if rugby were a science, he would be the guy in the white lab coat shouting “Eureka!” and thinking he had developed a way to convert iron into Gold (or is that Green and Gold?).

    I see Odwa as Oom Steph’s potential successor….

  • Comment 51, posted at 29.10.08 13:27:20 by Dive Pass Reply

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  • @Dive Pass (Comment 51) : must say – I kinda agree, but then who is the next big thing at wing?

  • Comment 52, posted at 29.10.08 13:44:47 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
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  • @robdylan (CC Champ ‘08) (Comment 52) :

    John Smit… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 53, posted at 29.10.08 13:46:13 by Ice Sharkadelic Babe Reply
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  • @robdylan (CC Champ ‘08) (Comment 52) :

    The cupboard is a bit bare there but that is the beautiful of having had a successful rugby season….the wallet is thick ;)

  • Comment 54, posted at 29.10.08 13:49:04 by Dive Pass Reply

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  • @Ice Sharkadelic Babe (Comment 53) :

    seems he’ll fit in anywhere anyway, coz he is intelligent.. :twisted:

  • Comment 55, posted at 29.10.08 13:49:29 by Ice Sharkadelic Babe Reply
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  • @Ice Sharkadelic Babe (Comment 53) :

    Burden to hooker….Smit to wing?…..John is looking a wee bit too rotund these days ;)

  • Comment 56, posted at 29.10.08 13:52:21 by Dive Pass Reply

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  • @Dive Pass (Comment 51) : @robdylan (CC Champ ‘08) (Comment 52) :

    Whatever happens, I don’t want an “up-and-under” fullback…

  • Comment 57, posted at 29.10.08 13:58:34 by just blackshark Reply

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  • @just blackshark (Comment 57) :

    Agreed attacking ability at pace is important facet to add a different dimension to the back line

  • Comment 58, posted at 29.10.08 14:07:41 by Dive Pass Reply

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  • @Dive Pass (Comment 56) : what about the big Kenyan…

  • Comment 59, posted at 29.10.08 14:08:35 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
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  • @Dive Pass (Comment 56) :

    He might get quite good momentum if he rolll… :lol:

  • Comment 60, posted at 29.10.08 14:10:01 by Ice Sharkadelic Babe Reply
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  • @robdylan (CC Champ ‘08) (Comment 59) :

    Big Kenyan? The only one I’ve seen of late is Sharks under 19 lock, he didn’t have a great final (in case we are taking the whole converting players into other positions to its extreme ;) ).

  • Comment 61, posted at 29.10.08 14:14:42 by Dive Pass Reply

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  • @Ice Sharkadelic Babe (Comment 60) :

    Sis Ice that’s our national cappie ;) …. and besides he went to Pretoria Boys and he has that whole secret handshake thing going with Rob, so you might be in trouble with the WEBMASTER….

  • Comment 62, posted at 29.10.08 14:17:29 by Dive Pass Reply

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  • @Dive Pass (Comment 51) :

    I have had the same thought for a day or so now.

    Who stuffed frans around and played him everywhere except where he won us the world cup?

    Who was RP playing under when he had the 9 v 10 dilemma to start with?

    Who is the Bok backline coach now?

    :sad:

  • Comment 63, posted at 29.10.08 14:18:13 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 63) :

    Look give Dick his dues, he took us out of the Putt Pit but he does have a tendency to get too carried away with moving players around out of position.

  • Comment 64, posted at 29.10.08 14:23:09 by Dive Pass Reply

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  • @Dive Pass (Comment 62) :

    he has a whole different secret with me… :wink: Dont get me wrong her…i luv the guy!! :lol:

  • Comment 65, posted at 29.10.08 14:24:06 by Ice Sharkadelic Babe Reply
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  • @Ice Sharkadelic Babe (Comment 65) :

    Ja it’s like family members…the closer you are to them, the more you are allowed to poke a bit of fun at them every now and then.

  • Comment 66, posted at 29.10.08 14:29:29 by Dive Pass Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 63) : i was never sure of dicks coaching skills, but he definately can spot talent. and ruan has shown everyone he is a master at 10. the only man standing between stardom or the bench is ruan. the same goes for frans. only difference is frans is hardegat and has cooked his own cow.

  • Comment 67, posted at 29.10.08 14:32:19 by try time Reply

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