The current run of bad results has Sharks supporters all nostalgic and yearning for the days when Dick Muir was still in charge of the Sharks and young players were given a chance and the Sharks were winning. Maybe you don’t know what you’ve got ’til you lose it, unless it’s just a case of the grass being greener on the other side which simply translates into not being happy with what you have and thus not seeing faults in the so-called “good old days”.Coming back to the subject of the article as alluded to by the headline. Do we use the Super 14 for building a team? I would have to say not. The reason being that it has not worked in the past and there is a big element of risk with putting youngsters into the so-called deep end of Super 14 rugby. Some would probably argue that Dick Muir put youngsters in his Super 14 squads but I would have to say that he only did once he tested them at Currie Cup level first. Who can forget the game away to the Griquas which the Sharks lost with their B-team which ultimately cost them a semi-final spot? Well, that was a season where Muir tested the depth of the Sharks and blooded new Sharks to the point where he had two different squads. The result? In the short-term the Sharks missed out on a semi-final spot but a 19 year old by the name of Francois Steyn went on the end of year tour that year and the following season the Sharks were within two Frans Steyn and one (OK maybe more than one) Steve Walsh brainfarts from winning the Super 14.
I am a big advocate of giving the young players a chance and developing them for the future, but this needs to be done in the proper channels. Currie cup and Vodacom cup are the correct channels, and I would argue that a player who has not proven himself in Currie Cup situations should not be tested in the Super 14, barring extraordinary circumstances like injury crises.
On another note, I have very recently read that the annual Sharks academy intake has risen to 195 students for this year. Let us not be unrealistic here, it is not possible for ALL of those players to go on to represent the Sharks. That being said, the players need to be backed, especially in Currie Cup situations.
It’s not only players that need to be given a chance to develop at Currie Cup level before being given a role at Super 14 level. In my mind Sean Everitt should be given at least a big role in the upcoming Currie Cup when a few first choice and possibly second choice Springboks will be missing from the Sharks squad. Therefore the 2010 Currie Cup will be the perfect opportunity to develop both the playing and coaching stocks of the Sharks. John Plumtree is taking a break from coaching during the Currie Cup if what I’m led to believe is correct. This would be a good time for Sean Everitt to get a chance to showcase everything he has learnt from all the investment the Sharks have put into his coaching skills. Many of the current Vodacom cup squad’s players would probably have to do duty in the Currie Cup and the development of these players would only strengthen Sharks rugby and bode well for the future when the senior players start to retire because there will be a battle-hardened and proven albeit younger player to take up the baton.Tweet