The Sharks have announced their official 30-man squad for the Currie Cup and to say that the list is a slap in the face for the young talent in the region would be a gross understatement.
True to form, John Plumtree and his men have made all the right noises in pre-season about how exciting youngsters would be given a chance to “put their hand up” and “stake a claim” this Currie Cup, but when it comes to the crunch, it seems all of this was mere lip service. The squad, for the most part, contains all the names we would expect; the tried, tested (and failed) are all still there, while there is nary a youngster in sight.
What makes things even worse is that off the 30 named, no fewer than 10 are currently out injured. This means that, for at least the first few rounds, the Sharks will be forced to pick players who are not part of their official squad. What sort of message does that send to players asked to do duty? “Yeah, I’m sort of picking you because I have to, but you’re not good enough to be named in the squad, really…”
Kyle Cooper and Sabelo Nhlapo are the only two players named in the squad who have not previously represented the Sharks (or another team) in Currie Cup rugby. None of the players who showed promise during the warm-up matches is there; there’s no Mark Richards, Dwayne Jenner, Anton Bresler, Justin Downey or even Mike Rhodes. We do, however, see that Andries Strauss is very much in the mix, which I guess isn’t really surprising at all. The injured Bok trio of Bismarck du Plessis, JP Pietersen and Adi Jacobs have been included, despite earlier reports that as contracted Boks they would not be available for the Currie Cup.
Here is the full squad. Players currently injured are indicated with an asterisk (*).
Stefan Terblanche, Patrick Lambie, Louis Ludik, JP Pietersen*, Lwazi Mvovo, Lionel Mapoe*, Odwa Ndungane*, Adrian Jacobs*, Andries Strauss*, Riaan Swanepeol, Andre Pretorius*, Steve Meyer, Monty Dumond, Rory Kockott, Charl McLeod
Willem Alberts*, Jean Deysel*, Keegan Daniel, Jacques Botes, Gerhard Mostert*, Steven Sykes, Alistair Hargreaves, Ross Skeate, Wiehahn Herbst, Eugene van Staden, Craig Burden, Kyle Cooper, Bismarck du Plessis*, Patric Cilliers, Sabelo Nhlapo