Well, it seems young Rocco Jansen didn’t do enough on Friday night to warrant a Sharks contract, so the young Bull is on his way back to Pretoria – leaving thinner than ever in the wing department.
The other somewhat worrying news (depending on your perspective) is that John Plumtree seems to have settled on playing conservative, ten-man rugby in the Currie Cup, since he feels the Sharks lack any game-breakers in the backline. Now we all saw how dismally the Sharks failed with a defensive approach in the Super 14 – and that was when we had our first-choice backline available.
Plum has been making noises about “attack being very difficult to coach”. Mate, it wouldn’t be if you actually hired a proper attack coach. Saying that it’s too difficult and that you’ll rather just focus on defence and hope for the best sounds a lot like throwing in the towel, to me. I guess the proof of the pudding will be in the eating, but I must say, I was really expecting a bit more.
It appears that all of the Sharks returning Boks will be included in the team to face Province, with the possible exception of Ryan Kankowski, who’s nursing a few bumps and bruises. A further concerning development is that flyhalf-elect Guy Cronjé also seems to be battling for fitness. Let’s hope he pulls through, because I, for one, don’t know if I can stand watching another episode of the Dumond Show this season. I guess we’re going to see lots of Andries Strauss at outside centre too.
One silver lining is the fact that the rolling maul is very much back on the cards this season. This can only bode well for the Sharks – at least this weekend, while we still have some of our monster pack available. It’s going to get pretty tricky once the likes of Carstens, Muller and maybe even Sykes head back to the Bok camp.
Possible Sharks 22:
15 Stefan Terblanche, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Andries Strauss, 12 Riaan Swanepoel, 11 Luzuko Vulindlu, 10 Guy Cronjé, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Johann Muller (capt), 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Skipper Badenhorst, 1 Deon Carstens
16 Craig Burden, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Albert van den Berg, 19 Keegan Daniel, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Monty Dumond, 22 Lwazi Mvovo