Alistair Hargreaves has been cut from the Sharks tour party in favour of Wilhelm Steenkamp. The group of 25 will leave Durban this afternoon en route to Canterbury and a gruelling five-week tour of the antipodes.
The Sharks, despite fielding a very strong team on paper, were again woeful in defeat to the Cheetahs last night. The team appears rudderless and unmotivated and even though there are a few sparks of individual brilliance and exciting play – such as Ryan Kankowski’s try – these moments are few and far between. A culture of blame-shifting and finger-pointing seems to be taking hold and Hargreaves, in his first Super 14 start, seems to be bearing the brunt this week.
Others have been equally unfortunate. Monty Dumond and Andries Strauss won’t be making the tour either. In this new era of “competition for places”, it would appear that one quiet performance means you’ll be shown the door. If we use this as an accurate basis for selection, then we should be sending the Sharks XV on tour, along with Kankowski and Adrian Jacobs.
Louis Ludik has not been named in the squad, although it looks as though the 26th tour group place is being kept open for him. Andy Goode has been named in the group, along with Riaan Swanepoel (now recovered from injury) and the exciting Pat Lambie.
Here is the tour party:
Front row: John Smit, Bismarck du Plessis, Craig Burden, Jannie du Plessis, Beat Mtawarira, Deon Carstens
Second row: Johann Muller, Steven Sykes, Wilhelm Steenkamp
Loose forwards: Willem Alberts, Keegan Daniel, Jacques Botes, Ryan Kankowski, Jean Deysel
Halfbacks: Rory Kockott, Ruan Pienaar, Andy Goode, Pat Lambie
Centres: Riaan Swanepoel. Adi Jacobs, Waylon Murray
Back 3: Stefan Terblanche, Odwa Ndungane, JP Pietersen, Lwazi Mvovo