Morné

Their strength, is their weakness


Written by Morné Nortier (Morné)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 27 Jan 2011 at 14:36
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Considering the depth, experience and talent at their disposal, the Sharks are hot favourites for Super 15 glory.

It is hard to argue against the depth the Sharks has at the moment. In just about every position they have a back-up player not just capable of stepping up to the plate, but most of whom have Super rugby experience too.

Where the two other favourite South African franchises have serious questions raised against them in the depth department, especially in the half-backs, the Sharks sit with some of the hottest new talent and players.

But their greatest strength can very easily become their greatest weakness.

I have always found it fascinating how well prepared our NZ and Ozzy cousins are ahead of each Super rugby season. Their squads are announced months ahead from the kick-off which enables them to hit the ground running.

When you listen to South African coaches however, a different picture emerges.

Not a single coach, apart from the Bulls perhaps, have a clear idea who their best 15, or preferred run-on 15 are. Even the Sharks with all their depth in key positions, looks that they will be using warm-up games to still figure this out.

This is extremely risky in my opinion.

If anything, warm-up fixtures such as the Tri-series between the Sharks, Stormers and Lions, should be used to give your fringe, or back-up players as much game time as possible, with at most, short 20 minute stints from your first choice players to get them contact ready whilst testing combinations with fringe players, without much risk of injury or early burn-out.

As an example, key players for the Sharks the likes of John Smit, Bismarck, Beast, Sykes, Alberts, Lambie, Stefan and Mvovo should at most see no more than 30 minutes of rugby in upcoming series, and if any of them carry any niggles whatsoever, they should not even make the trip to Cape Town.

Let Van Staden pack down in the front row with John and Bismarck to see how the combination gels, but only for a couple of minutes. Let Burden feels what it’s like to have the Beast prop up the scrum and see how that combo goes. Let Jacques Louis Potgieter combine with McCleod rather than Lambie being risked.

Have Bosman get used to the structures at the Sharks playing with Adi and Oupa outside him.

Point is, the Sharks are in the enviable position where they can do this and not risk their front-line players. In a competition where rotation and rest to players will be key, and where your back-up and fringe players will have to step into combinations with minimum disruption crucial, the Sharks’ mission should not be to play guys they know capable, but guys that will be asked to step in at a moment’s notice.

This however, would imply Plumtree know who his best 15, or 22 is, so the question is, does he? From what I read, I don’t think so, and this might just be a case of the Sharks biggest strength, also being their biggest weakness.



26 Comments

  • I agree Morne but I hope that Plum is just keeping his cards close to his chest. I cringe at the thought of Alberts, Lambie or Bissie getting injured in these warm up games.

  • Comment 1, posted at 27.01.11 14:40:17 by Pokkel Reply
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  • This would be my first choice 22. I just have a problem finding a starting spot for the captain. I know all the arguments but I don’t want to see Smit at tighthead and the Sharks can’t afford to play with out their premier fetcher in Bismark. So if he has to start it will have to be at the expense of the Beast.

    15. Ludick
    14. JPP
    13. Oupa
    12. Bosman
    11. Mvovo
    10. Lambie
    9. McLeod
    8. Kanko
    7. Alberts ( Deysel will miss the first 3 – 4 weeks)
    6. Daniel
    5. Skeate
    4. Sykes
    3. Jannie
    2. Bismarck
    1. Beast

    16. van Staden
    17. Smit
    18. Hargreaves/ Mostert
    19. Botes
    20. Hoffman
    21. Potgieter
    22. Adi

  • Comment 2, posted at 27.01.11 14:44:45 by Pokkel Reply
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  • Bring Smit and Botes on for Burden and Keegan, that way Botes can take care of possession when Burden leave?

    When Deysel is ready, start him at 7 and Alberts 8, bring Kankow on for Hargreaves in the second half and move Alberts to lock.

    That way we have the big guns on the field for most of the game.

  • Comment 3, posted at 27.01.11 14:57:50 by Original Champion Reply
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  • @Original Champion (Comment 3) :

    ‘Bring Smit and Botes on for Burden and Keegan, that way Botes can take care of possession when Burden leave?’

    Surely it suppose to be Bissie and not Burden you referring to.

  • Comment 4, posted at 27.01.11 15:10:46 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 2) : I wonder if we have a potential combination of a unique kind in the making in order to accommodate a leader on the field. Smit-Adi vs Bissie-Stefan. Meaning if Bissie gets the nod at hooker, which I’m sure 99% of Sharks fans want, then Stefan gets the no.13 jumper due to his leadership skills. Stefan may well be the better 13 in our camp anyway but if he isn’t the form player it will surely have all asking those age old questions about where the line get drawn when it comes to form vs leadership.

  • Comment 5, posted at 27.01.11 15:24:26 by beet Reply
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  • @beet (Comment 5) : It’s not an easy situation. I just hope it’s managed well.

  • Comment 6, posted at 27.01.11 15:27:50 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 2) : I like your team but dont agree with your reasoning for selecting Bismarck. Surely u cannot select a hooker based on his fecthing ability? A hooker must get selected on his throwing and scrummaging first and then running with the ball and defense. In this country we place so much emphasis on an individual doing the fetching when in actual fact it is a team responsibility and thats why the sharks were better than the bulls and WP at keeping ball in hand cos all the players played the “fetching” role.

  • Comment 7, posted at 27.01.11 15:31:52 by SheldonK Reply

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  • i hope it won’t be another 2009. :|

    agree that the embarrassment of richies in the Sharks team was not always a good think.

  • Comment 8, posted at 27.01.11 15:35:27 by rekinek Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 7) : I agree with you on your theory about fetching and agree that it’s up to the team but Bissie workrate is just fantastic and he’s is about on par as far as throwing into the lineout is concerned. He’s probably not as strong at scrum time as Smit.

  • Comment 9, posted at 27.01.11 15:36:12 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 2) : i think that daniel and botes will be rotated quite a bit same with alberts and deysel.

    think botes is the closest we have to fetcher after bismarck.

  • Comment 10, posted at 27.01.11 15:36:46 by rekinek Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 7) : I think bismarck is our best hooker even if you do not take fetching into account. the think is that smit can replace him in scrumming and line throws but not in fetching and here we’re a bit thin.

  • Comment 11, posted at 27.01.11 15:38:49 by rekinek Reply
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  • My team for the Lions game would be as follows:

    15 Ludick
    14 JPP
    13 Stefan
    12 Bosman
    11 Mvovo
    10 Lambie
    09 MCleod
    08 Kanko
    07 Alberts
    06 Daniel ( Deysel still 4 to 5 weeks away with injury )
    05 Hargreaves
    04 Sykes
    03 Jannie
    02 Bismark
    01 Beast

    16 Burden
    17 Smitty
    18 Skeate
    19 Botes
    20 JLPotties
    21 Hoffman
    22 Adi

    unlucky players in the group

    Odwa
    Mostert
    Deysel Injued
    Swannepoel
    Vulindlu
    Van Staden

    My reasoning for Smit off the bench is simple , he is not match fit and he is also comming off a hammie strain and it is still not 100% sure he is over that strain

  • Comment 12, posted at 27.01.11 15:39:20 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 11) : Look dont get me wrong Bismarck is a fantastic player if not the best hooker in the world at the moment. I just think that Smith also brings in good playing values that cannot be underestimated.
    I was quite impressed with Smit at loosehead when he has played there and besides a couple of game on the end of year tour i was disappointed with Beast last year. Personally id like to see Burden get more game time as well as a 10,12,13 axis of Lambie,Bosman and Potgieter. Just an idea… But im very sure plum knows who will start the 1st game barring injuries.

  • Comment 13, posted at 27.01.11 15:44:39 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @sharks_lover (Comment 12) : I thought the idea was to send a second string side in against the lions and leave the first team for the Stormers next saturday?

  • Comment 14, posted at 27.01.11 16:13:41 by Original Champion Reply
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  • Question: I’m not sure if it’s the way things used to work, or if it was just a WP vogue thing, but I seem to recall a time of left centre/right centre combinations as opposed to the more familiar inside/outside configuration. To my mind the difference in inside-and outside centre’s roles are too big for this to work, but has anyone trialled this (and if so, succesfully) with flyhalf/inside centre? I think it could make for an interesting experiment, particularly if the two players were left- and right footed kickers, respectively. Thoughts on this, anyone?

  • Comment 15, posted at 27.01.11 16:27:23 by Culling Song Reply
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  • Jeez. You forget so soon. The Sharks were the 3rd best South African franchise and will be again in 2011.

  • Comment 16, posted at 27.01.11 16:48:19 by Speed7 Reply

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  • @Original Champion (Comment 14) : HI OC , look this is just my thought on a team , in all honesty Plmutree has already say he is looking to test combinations etc’.

    I dont believe the group will consist of only 22 players and they will beable to make changes as they please during the games . i might be wrong.

    Guess we will have to wait ans see , and maybe Rob has some info for us re the format and what is allowed and what not?

  • Comment 17, posted at 27.01.11 16:59:54 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • @sharks_lover (Comment 17) : True, Stormers have a squad of 28 for the match tomorrow night so I don`t know how we`ll keep track of who is on the field ! :shock:

  • Comment 18, posted at 27.01.11 17:09:22 by Original Champion Reply
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  • @Speed7 (Comment 16) : yes and you forget we had majr injury problems at the start of the season , and whipped both the teams that ended above us in the super 14, not so?? or is that a myth??

  • Comment 19, posted at 27.01.11 17:10:13 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • @Original Champion (Comment 18) : exactly i was meaning to tell you i think we will have a team of 28 too

  • Comment 20, posted at 27.01.11 17:11:01 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 13) :
    You raise a good point. I’m willing to place money that before this season is over, people will again be wondering where Smit should start – he is that good a player.

  • Comment 21, posted at 27.01.11 18:44:51 by Big Fish Reply
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  • Whatever takes the focus off the Stormers’ troubles :smile:

  • Comment 22, posted at 27.01.11 20:07:32 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 13) : i didn’t get the impression that you don’t rate Bismarck. I was just concentrating on the fetching role. Can’t really think about other fetcher than Bismarck.

    Also think Beast was bit disappointing for the Sharks in S14 but came nicely in CC and was very impressive at EOTY.

    But him, John and the brothers – too many big names for only three positions and this I think are the crux of Morne’s arti.

  • Comment 23, posted at 28.01.11 07:05:04 by rekinek Reply
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  • @Original Champion (Comment 14) : i guess the guys need a bit of a muscle stretching. I would rather send second string against stormers and let them beat us to get some false self confidence (like in last year CC) :twisted:

  • Comment 24, posted at 28.01.11 07:08:28 by rekinek Reply
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  • @sharks_lover (Comment 19) : we lost to the bulls in S14 :sad:

  • Comment 25, posted at 28.01.11 07:13:20 by rekinek Reply
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  • @Jarson (AddicteD) (Comment 22) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 26, posted at 28.01.11 07:19:08 by rekinek Reply
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