We all pretty much know how The Sharks squad is gonna look, but let’s have a closer look at the individuals and those bubbling under.
In the front we have 4 Boks and 2 other very talented props. We also have 2 other very explosive hookers. Beast is a man animal in the scrums and in terms of ball carrying. Can be slightly inconsistent at times, but with a bit more rotation he can be a bit more fresh as it is often fatigue that causes him to under perform from time to time. Bismarck Du Plessis is one of the best players in terms of workrate. He carries a lot and makes many tackles; as well as being a solid fetcher too. John Smit is our captain and the best in the world at that. With his new body shape we can expect more of those strong ball carries. Let’s not forget how well the Springbok scrum does when he is at 2. Jannie is our solid tighthead that hardly ever goes backwards in the scrum, plus makes his fair share of tackles. We also have Eugene van Staden who is simply a solid 1 and 3 with the added plus that he is very mobile; very good as an impact prop. Our youngest in the running is Wiehahn Herbst, who is a very solid scrummager and has a very good build to do so consistently, even when fatigue sets in.
At 2 we have “Iron Man” Burden, he is very explosive and one of the strongest guys in the squad. Burden runs like a centre at times and can hit the gaps at pace. Just under Burden we have Kyle Cooper; similar in many ways to Burden, but has a bit more bulk and has great balance and power in the hips to keep him driving in the tackle situation.
Now for the second row. At 5 we have Ali Hargreaves and Ross Skeate. Ali is a lineout ace and a hard worker in all aspects of play. Skeate is also a very good lineout exponent and plays at his best when play gets loose and he can get his long legs stretching. Good runner with the ball and also gets involved as much as possible. At 4 we have Sykes and Mostert. Sykes is a real unsung hero, he does tons of hard work in all aspects of forward play. He is great at clearing out at the breakdown and makes many tackles, he is also a very hard worker in the maul situations. Gerhard Mostert is also another 4 although he can also play 5. “Mossie” is probably the best lock we have in terms of ball carrying, he is also similar to Sykes in that he is also great at clearing out opposition. He has also got great hands in the lineouts. Bubbling under the main 4 we have Anton Bresler. He has got good bulk for a young lock and is a real workhorse in the scrums and breakdowns.
Now to my personal favourite, the back row. We have Keegan Daniel, Jacques Botes, Jean Deysel, Willem Alberts, Ryan Kankowski, (Hopefully) Jacques “Vleis” Engelbrecht and Daniel Ojiambo. Keegan Daniel is a special breed, very quick, agile and strong. He also shows great commitment and aggresion. He is a player that can turn a game around with his explosive runs. Jacques Botes is the workhorse. He makes tons of tackles and is very good at support play which allows him to finish lots of opportunities. Jean Deysel, the only 7 to have mastered “The Bounce” which leaves opponents either sitting on the ground with a huge headache or lying down out cold. At 112kg+ it is surprising how well he does at stealing ball, he times it well and has very good balance and strong arms which allow him to rip ball out of the rucks with ease. Similar to Alberts he makes many big hits. Willem(118kg) is also like Deysel a very very good ball carrier and hits the ball at pace. He has more pace than Deysel and this allows him to make many try saving or try preventing tackles out wide; he also does a good amount of work at the breakdowns like Sykes does. Alberts is also a solid lineout jumper. Ryan is our back/forward, he has a great step, pace and handoff. He reminds me of a champion horse in human form the way he runs. He also has good strength in the arms and shoulders. Also a solid lineout jumper at the back. Ojiambo is a special guy, he is similar to Pierre Spies in many aspects. He has very good pace and is very strong, but he probably weighs slightly more due to the extra bulk he has in his upper legs. He will probably end up at around 112kg at his peak. Last recorded weight was 110kg. Daniel is like a Lomu in the backrow. Someone still very young, but could be very important in the future for the Sharks is U/20 Bok Francois Kleinhans. As many know The Sharks don’t quite have an out and out fetcher. Not seen much of Francois, but it sounds like he could be our answer at 6 given a few more years. Is also a well conditioned youngster.
Now halfback, Charl McLeod, Conrad Hoffman, Patrick Lambie and Jacques-Louis Potgieter. Charl is perfect for an open running game, he has a crisp, fast pass and is also a very agile and quick 9, often catching forwards unawares around the rucks(Fringes). Conrad Hoffman is quite similar to Charl, a good runner and passer, but probably a better box kicker. Hoffman can be compared with Neil De Kock of Saracens. At Fly Patrick Lambie…need I say more…he is a very good balanced runner, good passer, attacks the gain line, has great tackling technique and a good kicking game. Has not been his best lately kicking for poles, but when it clicks again, which I am sure it will with the help of Braam van Straaten, he should have a 90% success rate within 50m of the poles again. JLP is a really good player to have. He has an excellent all round kicking game, very good pace and strength and tackles well. Because of all these attributes and the fact that he has good weight and conditioning it allows him to cover many roles which are 10,12,13 and 15. His best is at 10, but I think he could also make a very good 13. Youngsters coming through at 9 are Ross Cronje and Cobus Reinach, both quality 9′s. At 10 we have young Fred Zeilinga, has a very good kicking and passing game, but most importantly a good rugby brain.
At centre we have Meyer Bosman, Stef Terblanche, Adrian Jacobs and Luzuko Vulindlu. Meyer Bosman is a great distributer and is solid taking it up. He is also a very good tackler due to his solid technique. Stef is a good runner and very commited tackler and with his extra 6 or so kg of muscle that he has gained over the off season he can be used more often as a crash ball option hitting it at pace. Adi is a brillaint play maker, attacks the gaps and has great hands. He also has very good acceleration and is also very well conditioned, one of the best attacking centres in South Africa. We then have Luzuko, we have not seen too much of him at 13, but he has very good speed and tackles seriously well. Also is with a shout is Riaan Swanepoel; he is very good at crash ball and makes big hits, also good at competing at the breakdown. Bubbling under them we have some younger guys from the u/20 Boks, Piet Lindeque and Heimar Williams, which we can have a good look at during the U/20 world cup. There is also Dwayne Jenner and Jerome Pretorius that show that they have the makings to make the step up. Also lets not forget about 18 year old Paul Jordaan, has great potential and we can all have a good look at all his attributes when the Sevens tournaments resume on the 4th of Feb.
In the back three we have Lwazi Mvovo, JP Pieterson, Odwa Ndungane and Louis Ludik. Lwazi…we all know his attributes, pace and strength. JP is also a very physical winger and has deceptive speed and a very good step; will be great to see him back to his best this season, he is a huge favourite amongst the fans. Odwa is a real solid wing, does not make mistakes often and plays the basics very well. Solid under high ball and also a very good support runner…always ready for the offload. Louis is a very solid last defender and makes sure he gets them down, also good under high ball and has good pace off the mark. Guys bubbling under are possibly, Trompie Nontshinga, S’bura Sithole and Mark Richrads. We have seen S’bura and Mark do well for U/21 and Sevens. Trompie is a classic finisher and often does so following a strong handoff on the last defender. Will most likely play Sharks XV, but there is still enough quality for him to represent The Sharks in my opinion.
We have the quality to win both tournaments this season, but still early days where preparation physically, mentally and tactically is the main focus at the moment. So good luck Sharks. Sharks forever!!Tweet