Well, it never rains without pouring, to paraphrase an old saying. Don’t be surprised to see John Plumtree enquiring at his local arc dealership as his already meagre backline resources look set to be thinned even further.
As satisfying as the win against Boland was, it has not come without its own hefty price tag, as both starting halfbacks, Rory Kockott and Guy Cronjé, have been cited and face the possibility of missing the upcoming game against the Bulls through suspension. We all saw Cronjé yellow carded for a supposed “tip tackle”, whatever the hell that is. I thought it was frankly ludicrous that the player received anything more serious than a penalty for a completely innocuous hit, but this is the IRB we’re talking about and they reckon that throwing their weight around amounts to about the same thing as flexing their muscles.
Kockott, never one to resist a cheap shot when it’s on offer, has been cited for striking a player. I guess it’s a case of “when will he ever learn” and perhaps it’s time for Plumtree to investigate bringing Charl McLeod into the starting line up on a more regular basis while allowing the petulant Kockott a little time off to decide whether he’d rather be a rugby player or a boxer.
So, assuming both are found guilty and suspended, which, let’s be honest, they will be, we’re once again looking very inexperienced among the backs, just at a time when the existing combination was starting to gel. Plum mentioned in a media report that his plan was to play Juan Martin Hern´ndez at centre this week, assuming he arrives, which would have made good sense and allowed Cronjé a little more time to settle at flyhalf, with experienced players on either side. Assuming no Cronjé, though, it looks like El Mago will go straight in at flyhalf – that’s of course barring any further delays to his work permit. He is expected in Durban today.
I would imagine that McLeod would be a pretty obvious direct replacement for Kockott and, with Ross Cronjé on standby, scrumhalf is the one area where we can, at least, afford to lose a player. Let’s hope that the Argie does indeed arrive and bring his kicking boots with him, though, or else we may have no option but to start with Ross at scrumhalf and let him take the kicks. We’re then down to the prospect of Monty Dumond at flyhalf, which would frankly be suicide against the Bulls.
Waylon Murray should also hopefully be fit to take his place on the bench this week.
Brace yourselves, Sharks fans, it’s going to be a nail-biting week down in Durban.Tweet