So Keohane’s latest bit of Shark-bashing is getting a fair bit of airtime here. For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, he extrapolates from the lack of “home grown” talent in the Sharks squad to the run of poor results. Might he be onto something?
The concept “home grown” can mean any one of a number of things. People move around as they grow up and to my mind, having been born in Durban and spent your whole life there shouldn’t be an absolute necessity to be considered a “home grown” player. In the analysis that follows, we’ll look at where a player completed his secondary schooling, played age group rugby and then made his first-class debut. Let’s run the rule over the current Sharks tour party, first of all.
The first group of players are those who made their first-class debut for another team. They have played senior rugby elsewhere before moving to the Sharks. In this category, we have Jannie du Plessis, Wilhelm Steenkamp (loan), Jacques Botes, Jean Deysel, Willem Alberts, Rory Kockott, Andy Goode, Adi Jacobs, Odwa Ndungane and Stefan Terblanche. That’s ten out of 26, or 38% of the tour party.
The next category are guys who have only played senior rugby for the Sharks, but made their age-group debut elsewhere. Here we have Riaan Swanepoel (Griquas under 20), Ruan Pienaar and Bismarck du Plessis (both Free State under 20).
Of the players that have only ever played representative rugby in Sharks colours, there are two further groups. Those who attended high school elsewhere (Deon Carstens, John Smit, Beast Mtawarira, Johann Muller, Steven Sykes, Keegan Daniel, Ryan Kankowski, JP Pietersen, Lwazi Mvovo) and those who were schooled in KZN (Craig Burden, Alistair Hargreaves, Waylon Murray and Patrick Lambie).
Looking at that by the numbers, we have 10/26 (38%) who have played senior rugby elsewhere, moving up to 13/26 or exactly half who have played any representative rugby for another team. Of the 50% that remain, only 4 players (15%) have been in Natal all the way through from school level. Is that really an important statistic? I don’t really think so. If anything, looking at the fact that 50% of the players have never played for any other team, moving up to 62% who have never played senior rugby for another team, saying that the Sharks have a “mercenary culture” is to my mind misleading.
We can do the analysis for other teams (I will, if I can find time and add this to the comments section) but I feel that Keo is barking up the wrong tree when it comes to this one.Tweet