Where will the focus be in the Currie Cup?

Written by Warren Smith (war1)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 27 May 2010 at 16:41
Tagged with : , ,

John Plumtree has to make a decision on the way forward for his team in this season’s Currie Cup? Does he focus on next season’s Super 15 by blooding youngsters or will he focus on trying to win trophies and stick with his conservative selections? Is there perhaps a middle ground?

With so many stars in the making in the Sharks setup not getting opportunities and this has in the past led them to move on to greener pastures, Plum has a balancing act on his hands to keep his stars happy while giving the young guys a chance. Dick Muir basically gave up the 2005 and 2006 Currie Cup seasons in order to rebuild a team and that gamble paid off in a few ways, a good (almost great) 2007 Super 14 season and a nucleus of Springboks in the Sharks squad. So, while Plum is not in exactly the same rebuilding situation as what Muir was, he will have to tweak his team at least a little to bring in a bit of freshness and also replace the players who are going to be on Bok duty.

Looking at the talent available, the Sharks should be title challengers and if I was Plum, I would tend to go with the third option in my opening paragraph. With the Boks almost definitely not playing in the Currie Cup, let’s have a look at the players who are in the Sharks Currie Cup mix:

Props: Beast Mtawarira, Wiehahn Herbst, Pat Cilliers, Sabs Nhlapo

It looks like we will have the Beast for the Currie Cup due to his national eligibility issues which will be a big boost to the Sharks front row. Herbst should continue his rise to prominence and make the tighthead jersey his own in the Currie Cup with the more than capable backups in Pat Cilliers and Sabs Nhlapo who should both be given chances as well.

Hookers: Craig Burden, Kyle Cooper, Hannes Snyman

Ironically the hooker berth seems like it will be one of the positions where the most development will take place. Craig Burden looks set to be the first choice hooker and drive the Sharks forward with his intense and robust play. Kyle Cooper and Hannes Snyman, who both played Vodacom Cup this year, are his backups and the two young players should get some game time as well. There is a chance that Bismarck du Plessis may need some Currie Cup game time when he recovers from his injury, so he may be available for a few games as well.

Locks: Steven Sykes, Alistair Hargreaves, Gerhard Mostert, Anton Bresler, Jandre Marais

The first choice lock pairing should be the one which did battle in many Super 14 games this year when Johann Muller was injured. Sykes will play the enforcer role while Hargreaves will play the more “loose” role while his leadership will also be very important in the campaign. Gerhard Mostert should recover from his shoulder injury some time in the Currie Cup and will then be in the mix as well. The excellent Sharks XV lock pairing of Bresler and Jandre Marais should also come into the reckoning. Mike Rhodes is also an option at lock.

Loose-forwards: Jaqcues Botes, Jean Deysel, Willem Alberts, Keegan Daniel, Justin Downey, Michael Rhodes, Luvuyo Lusaseni, Skholiwe Ndlovu

As is the general case with South African franchises, the looseforward problem is not one of depth but rather of who to leave out. The first choice trio will probably the Botes, Deysel, Alberts combo which did duty in the absence of Ryan Kankowski. Keegan Daniel will also no doubt get some game time. The back up players include Justin Downey who can cover all 3 loosie positions as well as the bruiser Rhodes. Lusaseni and Ndlovu are also there and thereabouts.

Scrumhalves: Rory Kockott, Charl McLeod, Ross Cronje

With Ruan Pienaar likely to be involved with the Boks, Rory Kockott will probably take the first choice scrumhalf berth with Charl McLeod as his backup. Ross Cronje is the young player pushing for a place in the team.

Flyhalves: Monty Dumond, Guy Cronje, Jaqcues Venter

The flyhalf situation is not as bad some people will try to lead you to believe. Monty Dumond did a great job in last year’s Currie Cup while Guy Cronje will probably recover in time to play a part in the Currie Cup. Jacques Venter had a few games in the Vodacom Cup and should be the backup. Pat Lambie also looks like he might have a few games at pivot as well.

Centres: Riaan Swanepoel, Jean Stemmet, Jerome Pretorius, Andries Strauss

In the centres we have the solid Swannie and probably Jean Stemmet as the first choice combination. Trompie Pretorius is a good back up centre who did very well for the Sharks XV and Mr. Reliable, Andries Strauss should also be in the mix. Adi Jacobs is probably in the same situation as Bissie in that he might need some game time before going off to the Bok squad and he may therefore have a role to play in the Currie Cup.

Wings: Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, Mark Richards, Chris Jordaan, Luzuko Vulindlu

The recent form of Lwazi Mvovo has probably secured him the first choice wing spot with the experienced Odwa Ndungane. The players who have performed well for the Sharks XV and should be in the mix are Chris Jordaan, Zuks Vulindlu and the very promising Mark Richards.

Fullbacks: Patrick Lambie, Stefan Terblanche, Louis Ludik

It’s the tale of the young and the old in the fullbacks. First choice will probably go to one of Pat Lambie or Stef Terblanche, although the latter hinted in a recent(ish) interview that he is not expecting to start every game. While Louis Ludik seems to have recovered from his knee injury and comes into the reckoning for the fullback berth, although a utility back role with him covering fullback, wing and centre.

We will probably add the names of flyhalf Andre Pretorius and wing Lionel Mapoe to this list, but these players Sharks future’s are subject to medical tests and contract disputes respectively needing to be resolved.

The player depth within the union DOES look good and there is a scope for having an established first choice while also giving younger players time to develop. Here’s hoping that Plum manages his playing resources in a way that will secure a long-term success with the Sharks as well as competing for the trophy.

If the team spirit shown in the last 8 matches of the Super 14 can be sustained, this group of players does have the ability to do very well and challenge for the title.


  • check the Ulster website. They have confirmed the signing of Ruan Pienaar. Another sad day for Shark and saffa rugby.

  • Comment 1, posted at 27.05.10 16:53:32 by grant10 Reply
    Super Rugby player
  • I beg to differ on the flyhalf situation, Monty Dumond may excel at Currie Cup but a Super player he is not. I don’t agree with messing around with Lambie and I’m not holding my breath with that club player Venter. With Pienaar rumoured to leave, and injury prone Pretorious, I’m afraid we’re in exactly the same flyhalf quandary as always.

  • Comment 2, posted at 27.05.10 16:55:05 by CapeShark Reply
    The Great Couch SharkSuper Rugby player
  • @CapeShark (Comment 2) : This article is about the Currie Cup

  • Comment 3, posted at 27.05.10 16:56:31 by war1 Reply
    war1Super Rugby player
  • @grant10 (Comment 1) : read that, what doesnt make sense is that they are confirming his signing while at the same time still negotiating his release from the Sharks

  • Comment 4, posted at 27.05.10 16:58:04 by war1 Reply
    war1Super Rugby player
  • Centres are nowhere, dude. So if we can just try and fix the rather obvious talent void at flyhalf and centre then I agree with you we are building towards the Super series.

  • Comment 5, posted at 27.05.10 16:58:17 by CapeShark Reply
    The Great Couch SharkSuper Rugby player
  • @war1 (Comment 3) : Yeah but we can’t build towards a decent Super series using the Currie Cup as a building exercise if the players are not up to Super standard, that’s my point.

  • Comment 6, posted at 27.05.10 16:59:45 by CapeShark Reply
    The Great Couch SharkSuper Rugby player
  • @CapeShark (Comment 5) : Stemmet and Pretorius are promising players, Swannie is still a good player, needs to find his form again, I still think we have a good enough squad

  • Comment 7, posted at 27.05.10 17:00:16 by war1 Reply
    war1Super Rugby player
  • @war1 (Comment 4) : sharks should do a swap deal for bj

  • Comment 8, posted at 27.05.10 17:01:59 by grant10 Reply

    Super Rugby player
  • @CapeShark (Comment 2) :

    Can I Copy and paste your post as my own?

    I agree 100%.

  • Comment 9, posted at 27.05.10 17:04:40 by KSA Stormer © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • I’ll add though that with AP being the CC flyhalf we are doing NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! to plan for the S15.

    If he does well Mitchell will take him straight back to the force leaving us exactly where we are now.

  • Comment 10, posted at 27.05.10 17:06:07 by KSA Stormer © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • @war1 (Comment 4) :

    That it is, but CapeShark answers the question as to where thhe focus will be. If we play Pretorius or Dumond it will NOT be on the S15.

  • Comment 11, posted at 27.05.10 17:07:50 by KSA Stormer © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • :|

  • Comment 12, posted at 27.05.10 17:11:26 by war1 Reply
    war1Super Rugby player
  • my gut-feel is that Guy Cronje will emerge as a real contender at 10 in the Currie Cup.

    We also need to sign someone like Walter Venter from the Lions

  • Comment 13, posted at 27.05.10 17:16:56 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
  • @robdylan (Comment 13) :

    I just hope they play Cronje ahead of AP and give him ENOUGH time to prove or disprove that he can play there.

  • Comment 14, posted at 27.05.10 17:47:14 by KSA Stormer © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • Rob @ 13
    I spoke to walter last week and he doesn’t sound to happy with lions, it didn’t sound like he knew why he was left out of the squad for the cheetahs game

  • Comment 15, posted at 27.05.10 17:55:16 by willa Reply

    willaVodacom Cup player
  • Excellent article War1….an intertesting insight !

    Winning any competition surely has to be the object of any competition !

  • Comment 16, posted at 27.05.10 18:04:39 by Hertford Highlander Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
    Hertford HighlanderSuper Rugby player
  • I want to see guy cronje at flyhalf i played against him in high school he is pure class!! i also wanna see ross at outside centre and i hope they leave pat lambie at fullback,these 3 youngsters will make us proud they just need a shot! they played together in high school and craven week! the more local players we have the better

  • Comment 17, posted at 27.05.10 19:26:13 by Poisy Reply
    PoisyTeam captain
  • @Poisy (Comment 17) :

    and the less players get shifted around (read lambie) the better.

    Leave Lambie at Fullback.

  • Comment 18, posted at 27.05.10 20:04:42 by KSA Stormer © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • @KSA Stormer © (Comment 18) : Don’t you think Lambie would make a great FH ;-) :mrgreen: :lol:

  • Comment 19, posted at 27.05.10 20:12:16 by FireTheLooser Reply

    FireTheLooserAssistant coach
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 19) :

    Don’t you DARE get me started! :lol: :lol:

  • Comment 20, posted at 27.05.10 20:17:06 by KSA Stormer © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • the flyhalf situation is simple monty dumond is not going to win u a currie cup and super 15 he,ll be out of his depth .if guy cronje is good put him in ,his been in the system long enough if guy cronje can,t handle the pressure now then saying he has to be developed is pointless ,if a flyhalf can,t handle the round robin currie cup then how good can his mental capability be having said that if he doesn,t play well off the mark give him a while to adjust and give him the support ,don,t kno why this is rocket science

  • Comment 21, posted at 27.05.10 23:19:08 by zvision10 Reply

    zvision10Under 21 player
  • Currie Cup 2010 Final Log Standings:

  • Comment 22, posted at 28.05.10 06:48:43 by JarsonX Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner
    JarsonXAssistant coach
  • You think Kankow would be with the Bokke this year?
    PdV have so much talent at his disposal, I wouldn`t be surprised if Kankow spends more time with us than we bargained for . .

    Surely Duane Vermeulen performed better? He deserves a bok call up, which would help us for the Currie Cup.

  • Comment 23, posted at 29.05.10 11:07:47 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original PierreSuper Rugby player
  • Firstly, it is pointless to think that a team will achieve anything in the game of rugby without an inform flyhalf…

    Secondly, the only time the Sharks ever managed a CC winning season in recent history was when we had some French influence in the team… Olivier Roumat, Thierry Lacroix and fearless Freddie… not that he was all that wow…

    The point being – the Shark are supposed to be a world class outfit and should be fielding a flyhalf that is of that calibre. Why contract old and clearly injured or even heavily inexperienced players into the fold? If they insist on doing so, why not look at David Skrela?

    Something happened in the Sharks camp during the off season – something bad and unsettling that resulted in all the boys wanting to move… I can’t help but wonder what that was….

  • Comment 24, posted at 01.06.10 11:33:47 by SandTiger Reply

    SandTigerUnder 19 player
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 23) :

    I think you may be spot on.

    If Kanko does not perform this wkend against Wales he might just not be involved in the match 22 for the more NB tests.

    And Deysel against Francois Louw!! :???:

  • Comment 25, posted at 01.06.10 12:02:02 by wpw Reply
    wpwAssistant coach
  • The Sharks backs are highly unimpressive when compared to the Bulls and Stormers… I think the pc word is inexperienced – and here I’d like to exclude Patrick “Wolf” Lambie, Stefan “the new Rolls” Terblanche and Louis “I’m so glad you’re fine” Ludik…. sigh…. fear is the enemy… fear is the enemy….

  • Comment 26, posted at 01.06.10 12:52:33 by SandTiger Reply

    SandTigerUnder 19 player

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