32-year-old centre Rudi Keil has become the latest in a growing list of players to join the Sharks Currie Cup training squad on a trial basis. The former KES boy last played for the Sharks in 2005, before moving to the UK to play for Gloucsester and then Sale.
The commensurate team man, Keil is a popular fellow indeed and his presence is sure to keep spirits in the camp high. His achievements on the field, however, have failed to reach any great heights since representing the South African under 21 team back in 1998 – the same team that featured the likes of John Smit, Victor Matfield, Wayne Julies and Lawrence Sephaka. Keil caught the eye playing for Boland back in 2001 and was brought into the Sharks Super 12 squad the following year. Four frustrating years followed, but the fact that Keil’s tenure coincided with the darkest days of the Putt administration may have had something to do with his lack of progress.
Former Griquas and Montpellier prop Eugene van Staden is also with the side on a trial basis and we’re led to believe that neither Steve Meyer nor Andre Pretorius is currently contracted to the union either, despite being available for Currie Cup selection (well, Pretorius will be if he ever gains fitness). I guess you can’t fault the Union for wanting to cast the net a little wider, since depth increases competition for places and can only make the team stronger. Then again, as great a guy as he is, Keil is certainly no Jaque Fourie and I wonder whether having him there won’t just give John Plumtree the perfect excuse not to blood younger players such as Jean Stemmet, Piet Lindeque and Dwayne Jenner in the troublesome centre position.Tweet