Ok guys – I promise, just one more whine before I turn positive again. The Sharks now NEED to make a change in the back row, else face total breakdown annihilation at the hands of Richie McCaw and his merry men this weekend.
I have mentioned this a number of times before, but the time has now come to shout it from the rooftops. Jacques Botes, Keegan Daniel and Skholiwe Ndlovu are all far too similar to be included in the match 22 together, particularly when one considers the negative impact they have on Ryan Kankowski’s game. The mercurial number 8 is being sucked into doing the donkey work in the trio – a role that doesn’t suit him and nullifies his attacking edge.
Jean Deysel, if rumours are to be believed, is probably still a week or two away from being recalled to the squad. His presence will make a huge difference, but given Saturday’s unfortunate hiccough in Bloemfontein, Plumtree can no longer put off promoting another big loose forward; we no longer can afford to lose any games.
Fortnately for Plumtree, both Justin Downey and Mike Rhodes have been playing well for the Sharks XV, with the former already close to the squad, having joined the tour as cover for Deysel. Although Rhodes is a lot bigger and probably a better direct replacement for Deysel, he isn’t quite in Downey’s class (yet) in terms of focus and temperament. Downey, at 1.93m and 104kg is roughly the same size as Kankowski (and a good 15kg heavier than either of Daniel or Ndlovu) and has the ability to play either a looser or tighter game as required.
To my mind, Justin Downey is a must for the number 19 shirt this week. Let Daniel and Botes do thier usual blitzkrieg in the opening period, but if things start to go awry and we find ourselves lacking a big ball-carrying option in the back row, we need the mulleted wonder on the wood this weekend.Tweet