robdylan

Skeate signing makes sense


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 16 Jun 2010 at 08:35
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The Sharks decision to sign an experienced campaigner like Ross Skeate, despite seeming a little strange on the surface, actually looks to be a pretty shrewd move given the lack of battle-hardened tight forwards in the current Currie Cup squad.

Now anyone who reads my rants regularly will know that I’m generally the first one to cry foul when the powers that be in Durban opt to buy in an established player, rather than giving a young player the chance to shine. It’s certainly not the way that the Bulls do it and, to their credit, they somehow always seem to get the mix of experience and youth right in their team to avoid the “rabbit in the headlights” scenario that comes from having too many greenhorns all on the park at once. That said, pragmatism would probably dictate that it’s just downright silly to completely throw away any emphasis on results while attempting to (re)build a team around youth – with that in mind, it is probably pretty sensible to ensure a core of experienced players remains available to the team while bringing the young guys through.

The Sharks have been handed an unexpected boost by the availability of Beast Mtawarira for the duration of the Currie Cup, but on the other hand, have already lost the services of Bismarck du Plessis to injury, as well as John Smit, Jannie du Plessis and (possibly) Alistair Hargreaves to the Springbok squad. Add to that the departure of Johann Muller and you suddenly end up with a tight five that counts Steven Sykes (25) as the oldest and most battle-hardened forward in the picture. Despite all his experience, Beast is still only 24 himself and without anyone else to add composure and steel to that unit, the likes of Wiehahn Herbst, Craig Burden and Hargreaves (or Anton Bresler) will struggle to assert themselves against the Currie Cup’s finest. Gerard Mostert remains in the mix, of course, but backing the farm on his glass shoulder would appear to be a very risky move indeed. Making matters worse will be a tricky few rounds at the start of the competition where the Sharks will most likely need to make do without the services of both Jean Deysel and Willem Alberts; if we’ve seen one thing, it’s that you need a hell of a strong tight five in order for Keegan Daniel and Jacques Botes to work well in tandem!

The only real doubt I have left is the extent to which Skeate himself is the right man for this particular job. He’s certainly not the sort of player you would fit into the “hard bastard” category, but has been around the block a few times and has hopefully learned a trick or two in France. He is a pretty wiley operator in the lineouts and may well turn out to be a trump card in this area, particular considering that Craig Burden is still fine-tuning this aspect of his game.

My take on this one is to suspend my disbelief, just for a while and to hope that Ross Skeate turns out to be just the tonic the Sharks need to keep the pack ticking over. Now if only we could find a flyhalf and a couple of centres…



17 Comments

  • This is the Sharks smartest signing so far. They need locks. Now what about buying a decent 10, 12 and 13?

  • Comment 1, posted at 16.06.10 08:46:21 by Loosehead Reply
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  • @Loosehead (Comment 1) : that would be nice… you have any in mind?

  • Comment 2, posted at 16.06.10 08:47:56 by robdylan Reply
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  • I’ll bet my last bratwurst that Hargreaves will not be in the Bok squad. Matfield, Bakkies, Bekker, Rossouw, Flippie all ahead of him in the pecking order.

    Barring injuries the Sharks pack for the CC won’t look too bad:

    Beast
    Burden
    Cilliers
    Sykes
    Skeate
    Botes
    Deysel
    Alberts

    Hargreaves
    Herbst
    Cooper
    Kanko

    With injuries:

    Beast
    Burden
    Cilliers
    Sykes
    Skeate
    Daniel
    Botes
    Kanko

    Herbst
    Cooper
    Hargreaves
    Rhodes

  • Comment 3, posted at 16.06.10 08:50:17 by rhineshark Reply
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  • can’t put the face to the name but if its great for sharks its great for me too :mrgreen:

    :mrgreen: Go Sharks Go :mrgreen:
    As long as we get the CC back in Sharks Tank
    :mrgreen:

  • Comment 4, posted at 16.06.10 09:18:22 by chaz (For you Bro) Reply

    ChazTeam captain
     
  • Skeate is a banker in the lineouts and a hard ,aggressive player.
    We were gutted when he left Stormers…..

    Skeate will be a Durban favorite in no time….again, well done Sharks, a very shrewd acquisition.

  • Comment 5, posted at 16.06.10 09:25:30 by grant10 Reply

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  • @rhineshark (Comment 3) : Kanko will be in TN squad, I’m pretty sure. Also, we’re not too sure what the extend of Bekker’s injury/personal problems is right now, so he might still be out for a while. I find it interesting in the extreme that Hargs is back on the bench this week instead of Flip… both players are clearly very much in the reckoning and it just comes down to which style of player Divvo wants on the bench.

  • Comment 6, posted at 16.06.10 09:26:41 by robdylan Reply
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  • @grant10 (Comment 5) : now you see, I struggle to buy that.

    To my mind, Skeate was one of the cornerstones of the Stormers “light five” that we all used to make fun of. To my mind, it was only once you guys started to get some hardwood in the second row (Chris Jack, Adriaan Fondse) that the tights started to look ok. All of a sudden the supposedly soft Brok Harris and Wicus Blaaue started to become serious props.

    That may have had a lot to do with Matt Proudfoot’s coaching, though.

    Anyway, I’m going to suspend my disbelief and hope that Skeato does the business for us. Let’s face it, without Hargo, Mostert and Muller, we’re definitely light in the second row.

  • Comment 7, posted at 16.06.10 09:31:12 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : He did quite well at Toulon, he started the majority of the games last season.

  • Comment 8, posted at 16.06.10 09:39:09 by lostfish Reply
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  • @lostfish (Comment 8) : it’s a good start… but what is the standard of Top 14 like relative to Super rugby? There’s no way of knowing, but a lot of the guys playing in that league wouldn’t cut it in the Southern Hemisphere game any more, that’s for sure.

  • Comment 9, posted at 16.06.10 09:44:14 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 6) : Yes, you’re right about Kanko. :oops: Shit, that makes a big difference to the look of the forwards if Deysel, Alberts and Hargreaves are also out.

  • Comment 10, posted at 16.06.10 09:55:35 by rhineshark Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 9) : It is a different standard mainly because of the weather. When it is dry they do tend to run the ball but sadly not as often as everyone would like.

    At least one positive is that he can be a strength in the scrums and the tight. He might not be a wing / flyhalf lock in the mould of Matfield but he has been solid without being spectacular in the scrums and decent in the lineout. The French pride themselves on their scrums and you have to be a hard player to cut it as a forward in France.

    Like you say there is no way of knowing, but if he takes his form from Toulon then he will be steady without being spectacular and he will give the pack a bit of extra grunt.

  • Comment 11, posted at 16.06.10 09:58:41 by lostfish Reply
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  • @lostfish (Comment 11) : my feeling is that we don’t yet realise how much we’ll lose by not having Muller scrumming at 5. Hargs has much to learn about the tighter aspects of the game, that’s for sure.

    Would you pick Skeate ahead of Hargreaves in the starting team, though? I’m not convinced I would, especially since I’m convinced that Hargs should be the captain…

  • Comment 12, posted at 16.06.10 10:03:49 by robdylan Reply
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  • I SAID VERY MUCH THE SAME ON R-T

    i too am on the fence on this one, but i do think he is obviously far experienced and a better player for it

    this will help the likes of sykes , hargo and mostert etc , i guess that does sway my thinking into its a good signing

    i am however very concerned about the backline , our forwaards always competed in ther super 14 and we lost it at the back

    we need good backs to fill a few holes . something i have not seen yet

    the biggest concerns being a genuine 10 and 12

  • Comment 13, posted at 16.06.10 10:07:28 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 12) : I would go for Hargreaves mainly because I know what he can offer down south and he has proved himself in the S14. I would bench Skeate and bring him on towards the end to prove himself. See how they go and let them fight for it. It is difficult because Hargreaves is the most logical for captain as no one else really stands out.

    But if Hargreaves is off with the Boks then we have no choice but to start with Skeate.

    Muller will be missed for his leadership and what he offered in the tight and the scrums.

    The only other captain material that comes to mind would be Terblanche but the 15 jersey should go to someone who will be playing S15 next year like Lambie if he isn’t snapped up by the senior Boks. I would say put the old man on the wing but Zuk’s and Mvovo are too good to sit on the bench for the old man.

    Just thinking of the team, not one other player stands out to me as leadership material.

  • Comment 14, posted at 16.06.10 10:15:10 by lostfish Reply
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  • PdV was quoted in the Beeld that the he sees Hargs as a 5 and have to get gametime with Matfield to learn the finer details. Sounded as if the reason is for the purpose of succession. While there is still time, let the transfer of knowledge begin. Good of PdV to do that, but he must stick to it.

  • Comment 15, posted at 16.06.10 14:59:05 by JustPlainSHARK Reply

    JustPlainSHARKCurrie Cup player
     
  • what is wrong with deysel? Is he injured?

  • Comment 16, posted at 16.06.10 19:55:26 by Megatron Reply

    MegatronSuper Rugby player
     
  • Yup. Had a wrist problem. Still out for about a month

  • Comment 17, posted at 16.06.10 21:18:06 by robdylan Reply
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