robdylan

Pienaar is our flyhalf


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 30 Jul 2009 at 09:50
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One of our regular readers, jarsonx, pointed out an interesting article that appeared on the Beeld website two days ago. It’s in Afrikaans, so for those of you not comfortable in that language, I’ll summarise it here and provide my rebuttal.

The gist of what the (unfortunately uncredited) author has to say is that the elevation of Morné Steyn to the Bok starting fifteen, coupled with the arrival of Juan Martin Hernández (what a mouthful – he needs a catchy nickname!) signal the end of Ruan Pienaar’s aspirations of playing flyhalf and that he will need to revert to scrumhalf to stand any chance of playing first-team rugby for the Sharks. John Plumtree has been quoted as saying he now has “options” in terms of selection, which the author has taken to mean that Pienaar will play scrumhalf with the Argentinean at pivot. He reckons that the rumoured signing of Louis Ludick will put paid to any possibility of Hernández being used at fullback.

Now, I believe that this is purely speculative and completely incorrect on a number of points. The first being the insinuation that Pienaar has now dropped behind Steyn in the Bok pecking order. He hasn’t. He has simply lost his place due to an injury picked up in Bloemfontein, which the coaching staff clearly feel has not healed sufficiently to allow him to play in Durban. Were it a case of Pienaar being fit, yet not deemed good enough to start, he would be on the bench, not out of the 22 entirely. As I’ve mentioned numerous times before, Peter de Villiers is loyal to a fault and has stated in the past that Pienaar is his first-choice flyhalf for the Springboks. The moment he returns to fitness, Pienaar will be back in that number 10 jersey for the Springboks, mark my words.

Next, when you look at the Sharks, I think it’s pretty patently obvious to everybody who watched the shambles that was the latter part of our 2009 campaign that you need to have at least two top quality flyhalves in your squad. We identified right at the start of the season that Pienaar was the one player in the squad for whom there was not adequate backup and that a successful Sharks campaign would hinge on his availability. Pienaar was injured, we were forced to play Fran Steyn (our first-choice 12) at flyhalf and the wheels came off. Not only did we have an ineffective pivot, we were forced to blood a raw youngster outside him in Riaan Swanepoel. One could argue that the experiment did far more for Swannie’s credentials than it did for Fransie’s, but I digress.

So, I see Hernández coming in as a straight replacement for Steyn – the ultimate utility player who can cover flyhalf, inside centre and fullback with ease, just like Steyn. Or rather, better than Steyn. The Sharks have plentiful depth at scrumhalf with the petulant Rory Kockott, the precocious Ross Cronjé and the underrated Charl McLeod all itching for game time. With Pienaar and Hernández available at flyhalf, together with Monty Dumond, Guy Cronjé and even Len Olivier in reserve, we now have enough depth at pivot to withstand a serious injury, to Pienaar or anyone else.

The Ludick signing is a rumour at this stage. It’s one that’s been mentioned in enough places that their might be some truth to it, but the fact is, until it is formerly announced by the Union, we’d be foolish to take it for granted. Fact is, though, that Stefan Terblanche is unlikely to make it through another Super 14 and unless we sign a fullback, we’re going to be caught out. The Argentinian may well prove a good option at fullback, but it would be great to have Ludick in reserve as well. The latter can even be used at wing, perhaps as a replacement for the ageing Odwa Ndungane.

Plumtree is spot on when he talks about having options. It was a lack of options at flyhalf that nailed us this year, so it’s good to see that the coaches have learned from their mistakes. I don’t for an instant believe that any of this puts Ruan Pienaar’s future at flyhalf in doubt. In fact, I’m incredibly keen to watch him, as well as Cronjé and the other youngsters, become better players as they learn from the Wizard himself. I’ve read that Hernández is going to play a specialist coaching role at the Academy while he’s in Durban as well, which can only bode well for the next generation of flyhalf talent coming through the ranks.



35 Comments

  • Don’t pay attention to Beeld or Rapport – they are the print versions of Voldy.

    And you are 100% correct – you need two quality fly halves in any team and with a little lateral thought one could surmise that having such a quality 10 – could help Pienaar game immensely.

    As to a nickname – Whats wrong with – El Mago – The wizard ?

  • Comment 1, posted at 30.07.09 10:15:33 by Worcestershire Sauce Reply
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    Worcestershire SauceCurrie Cup player
     
  • Would like to contributea constructive comment, but unable to get past the “or rather, better than Steyn” bit. Frans Steyn for President! :grin:

  • Comment 2, posted at 30.07.09 10:15:43 by Just a Fan Reply

    Just a FanCurrie Cup player
     
  • Fully agree – Ruan has the talent, and know he must just be given the backing.

    Like the scrumhalf descriptions too.

    But surely Odwa isn’t exactly “ageing”?

  • Comment 3, posted at 30.07.09 10:20:02 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Worcestershire Sauce (Comment 1) : yeah – that occurred to me as I was typing :)

    @Just a Fan (Comment 2) : of what?

  • Comment 4, posted at 30.07.09 10:21:45 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 3) : his performances of late are looking a little old and stale

  • Comment 5, posted at 30.07.09 10:25:03 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Just a Fan (Comment 2) :
    Of what? The High School Musical fan club?

  • Comment 6, posted at 30.07.09 10:25:18 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Worcestershire Sauce (Comment 1) :

    There are a couple of things I avoid.

    The Rapport (I like Louis de Villiers though)
    Superrugby on Mondays
    Any opinionated piece Stephen Nell, Ashfak Mohamed writes and only watch Boots and All if John Robbie is on.

    If I need material for comedy I watch those.

  • Comment 7, posted at 30.07.09 10:27:32 by Morné Reply
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  • I call for MARTHINUS!Or Kortbroek

  • Comment 8, posted at 30.07.09 10:31:23 by provincejoulekkading Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 7) : Louis a classic…

    Any WP media should be shunned and you should be allowed to smack them with no consequence :twisted:

  • Comment 9, posted at 30.07.09 10:34:45 by Worcestershire Sauce Reply
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  • I truly hope that Ruan get a regular run at Flyhalf for the Sharks and Boks sake. Rather have Hernandez move between 12 & 15.

  • Comment 10, posted at 30.07.09 10:34:52 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @provincejoulekkading (Comment 8) : :lol:

  • Comment 11, posted at 30.07.09 10:35:10 by Worcestershire Sauce Reply
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  • @provincejoulekkading (Comment 8) : yellow card! :)

  • Comment 12, posted at 30.07.09 10:42:05 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 7) : Louis is KING!!The ultimate character, straight out og Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

  • Comment 13, posted at 30.07.09 10:42:50 by provincejoulekkading Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 12) : Next up, my Citing. :razz:

  • Comment 14, posted at 30.07.09 10:44:41 by provincejoulekkading Reply
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  • @provincejoulekkading (Comment 14) : Don’t worry. It’s bound to postponed 3 times and then you’ll be found ‘not guilty’ :grin:

  • Comment 15, posted at 30.07.09 10:48:22 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @provincejoulekkading (Comment 13) : I read the book in a couple of hours- brilliant- much better than the movie.

  • Comment 16, posted at 30.07.09 10:49:37 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @provincejoulekkading (Comment 14) : Sure to be delayed because of a ballet and tiddlywinks tourney at Kings Park :D

  • Comment 17, posted at 30.07.09 10:53:19 by Worcestershire Sauce Reply
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  • yeah, i agree with rob about pienaar staying our number one flyhalf, and jmh would do well at 10, 12, or 15. As for ludik, he has a badly broken leg when i last heard, so if he signs it will only be for the super 14.

  • Comment 18, posted at 30.07.09 10:55:23 by war1 Reply
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    war1Super Rugby player
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 4) : @Big Fish (Comment 6) :

    Changed my mind – Steyn for “He-Man….Master of the Universe”… :)

  • Comment 19, posted at 30.07.09 13:30:41 by Just a Fan Reply

    Just a FanCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Just a Fan (Comment 19) : just a warning… if you are looking for Frans Steyn adulation, my articles would not be a good place to start

  • Comment 20, posted at 30.07.09 13:58:17 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 20) : i do think jmh is a better utility back option

  • Comment 21, posted at 30.07.09 14:02:20 by war1 Reply
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  • @war1 (Comment 21) : for one, he can actually play flyhalf

  • Comment 22, posted at 30.07.09 14:03:06 by war1 Reply
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  • @war1 (Comment 22) : zigacktly! :smile:

  • Comment 23, posted at 30.07.09 14:14:07 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 20) : @war1 (Comment 21) : You guys are dilusional – the boy is a legend in the making. These NH guys always seem “wizardry” when playing amongst mediocre players – but they never stand out here, where “wizardry” is the norm.

  • Comment 24, posted at 30.07.09 17:08:33 by Just a Fan Reply

    Just a FanCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Just a Fan (Comment 24) : sorry man – when it comes to Frans Steyn, ekke ek laaik hom f*kol :)

  • Comment 25, posted at 30.07.09 17:22:08 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Just a Fan (Comment 24) :
    Has all the talent to be a legend, but is not one.

    Andre Snyman should have been a legend, same with Bobby Skinstad and Pieter Muller – but they weren’t really, for various reasons.

  • Comment 26, posted at 30.07.09 17:49:37 by Big Fish Reply
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    Big FishAssistant coach
     
  • The point of the matter is, 1 or 2 quality signings and you will forget you had depth problems :mrgreen: im also not only a regular reader but a regular poster as well

  • Comment 27, posted at 30.07.09 17:53:25 by JarsonX (Insomniac) Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Insomniac) (Comment 27) : that you are :)

  • Comment 28, posted at 30.07.09 17:55:51 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 28) : thanx for the mention though, i thought u will take the credit as always :wink: even without Ludik, things are starting to look beter again.

  • Comment 29, posted at 30.07.09 17:58:10 by JarsonX (Insomniac) Reply
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  • Berick Barnes has also signed with the Waratahs

  • Comment 30, posted at 30.07.09 17:59:04 by JarsonX (Insomniac) Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Insomniac) (Comment 29) : i’m such a credit whore :-) just so you know, though, I’ve heard the Ludick rumours myself as well!

  • Comment 31, posted at 30.07.09 18:27:44 by robdylan Reply
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  • Purely speculative yes but not far from the mark.

    Pienaar is versatile.
    The Sharks will put their own interest first and will use him where they have the need.
    Therefore the chances of Pienaar playing S14 in some position other than 10 is pretty good.

    No, I do not write for Beeld. Do not read it either. :smile:

  • Comment 32, posted at 30.07.09 21:05:36 by fyndraai Reply
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  • @fyndraai (Comment 32) : i just don’t see him being used at scrumhalf. Rory, ruan, jp, el mago, adi, odwa and stef or maybe ludick. Hell of a backline

  • Comment 33, posted at 30.07.09 22:52:09 by robdylan Reply
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  • Still no PC for me :evil: so a quick off Kette’s PC.

    Steyn was a defencive nightmare last week.

    First, HIS missed tackle is what gave the Kiwi’s the try.

    Second, I had visions of the match where AP replaced Butch James and we lost the match a few years back. Ruan may not have had his kicking boots on but He would still have utplayed Steyn even with an injured ankle.

    Steyn is another good example that shows that the the step from S14 to Test level is very big.

  • Comment 34, posted at 31.07.09 07:06:13 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 34) : I am all for Ruan, but guys we cannot really not see the kicking problem. What’s wrong with the man? He kicked well last CC and EYT and this year bit disastrous.

  • Comment 35, posted at 31.07.09 12:58:16 by rekinek Reply
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