The Eastern Province Mighty Elephants are currently third on the Currie Cup first division log – better than they have done in living memory. Am I the only one who has noticed more than a few familiar names in their squad this year?
Now we all know that the “player loan” thing is a bit of a joke at the moment, with players moving at will between premier and first division sides – the most extreme case involves the Griffons picking whoever fails to make the Cheetahs match 22 in a given week. It seems as though the Sharks are doing more or less the same thing with the Elephants, although trying to get official confirmation out of the Union is impossible, as always.
I know for a fact that Jacques Potgieter, the bearded loose forward who has made the Elephants number 7 jersey his own this year, is playing for them on a loan basis. I see that Vodacom Cup number 8, Warren Whiteley, made the Elephants bench last week and can only assume that he is also there on loan. Big Ruahan van Jaarsveld, who spent the Vodacom Cup season training with the Sharks XV (yet never made the side) is also down in PE at the moment, although that may well be a permanent move.
Among the backs, former Sharks utility back Carl Bezuidenhout seems to have made the Bay his home, while Wesley “Horse” Dunlop, a former Sharks under 21 flyhalf (and brother of current under 21 forward Cameron) seems to have cemented the pivotal role in the Elephants backline – alongside an unknown young inside centre called Barry de Wet, or something like that.
The Sharks connection doesn’t end there, with a veritable slew of other players in the mix who have represented the Sharks at some stage or other. Both wingers, Howard Noble and Rocco Jansen have pulled on the jersey, although the latter only played for us in a warm-up game before being bundled off back to Pretoria. Sangoni Mxoli, who has been languishing in Bulls country for several seasons now, since leaving the Sharks via the Valke, is also down in PE these days and seemingly loving his rugby.
One does wonder, though, how much good this does for the development of the local players in the region…Tweet