Leaders in the pack (but what about the backs?)

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 17 Jan 2012 at 08:17
Tagged with : , , , , ,

John Plumtree yesterday ended much of the speculation that has been doing the rounds when he confirmed Keegan Daniel and Bismarck du Plessis as captain and vice captain respectively for the Sharks Super Rugby campaign. While I feel the Sharks have made the right choices – in fact, the obvious choices – from a squad perspective, I’m a little worried about how this might translate into on-field leadership.

Let’s not beat around the bush – the Sharks are blessed with much depth at forward and while few within the squad can boast much senior captaincy experience, the capacity and propensity to lead runs much deeper than just Daniel and du Plessis. The latter, in fact, might consider himself reasonably fortunate to leapfrog a group of players including Willem Alberts, Jean Deysel, Alistair Hargreaves, Jacques Botes and Ross Skeate, all of whom have more experience in captaining sides than he does.

Not, I must stress, that I feel Bismarck is a poor choice; quite the opposite, in fact. While many of the Sharks could be accused of being a wee bit too laid-back in their approach, there is absolutely no question of Bismarck suffering from a lack of desire and hunger to succeed. Everything he does is done at full pace and with maximum effort and the example he sets to those around him can only server to lift and inspire. Hearing Plumtree talk about the increased emphasis on Bismarck’s tactical contributions to the team is also most encouraging.

The forwards will be fine, in short, provided Daniel and du Plessis manage to come to an arrangement between them that leaves no doubt in the minds of the other players as to the pecking order between them. My concern relates to the backs. With so much of the drive and thrust coming from those up-front, who will be tasked with steering a back division that has, frankly, looked rudderless for the last few seasons? Further exacerbating the issue is the fact that Stefan Terblanche, who despite his many failings never shirked his duties as a leader, is no longer around.

When casting the eye over the backs, the options seem few and far between. Those in the know have identified the lack of a “talker” amongst the backs as an issue ever since the departure of Andries Strauss – with Brad Barritt performing this vital role before him – with the concern that there is no shortage of strong silent types in the ranks. While the likes of Marius Joubert, JP Pietersen, Odwa Ndungane and Riaan Viljoen have all been around the block many times (in Joubert’s case, perhaps too many) I think it’s fair to say that none of them has ever really stood out as an obvious captaincy candidate yet.

The obvious solution, it would seem, is to give Pat Lambie the job and let him get on with it. When he is at flyhalf (or even when he isn’t, assuming he’ll be rotated with Fred Michalak, in which case I feel he should still be picked at centre) he should be clearly designated as backline captain and told to call the shots. Just as it’s vitally important for the forwards to know who to turn to on the field, it’s perhaps even more vital that the backs know who will be running their (oft-overlooked) show and I can think of no better candidate than the young man from Michaelhouse who tends to make our whole team look that much classier every time he takes the field.


  • Yes yes lambi for president…
    Oh ok captain that is ;)

  • Comment 1, posted at 17.01.12 08:40:15 by Franshark Reply
    FransharkTeam captain
  • Fully agree, start grooming Lambie for the Bok captaincy.

  • Comment 2, posted at 17.01.12 08:44:48 by StevieS Reply
    StevieSSuper Rugby player
  • Good call Rob..

    I think Meyer Bosman can perform a similar role, should he be wearing the 12 jumper again this year.

  • Comment 3, posted at 17.01.12 08:55:10 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard FergusonCoach
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 3) : :sad:

  • Comment 4, posted at 17.01.12 08:55:42 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original PierreSuper Rugby player
  • Hi, this is my debut on SW ;-) . Think the idea of leaving Keegan to continue as captain was smart. Sharks should be concentrating on a polished performance instead of adapting to various captains. Just my 2 cents worth :idea:

  • Comment 5, posted at 17.01.12 09:06:55 by uzail Reply

  • @uzail (Comment 5) : Welcome to the site….we look forward to hearing a lot more than 2 cents worth from you in the future!

  • Comment 6, posted at 17.01.12 09:08:20 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
    Assistant coach
  • yes Lambie should be our new president, its so obvious….

  • Comment 7, posted at 17.01.12 09:17:47 by Uli Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    Uli BoelieTeam captain
  • @uzail (Comment 5) :

    Welcome to the site!

    I hope your stay here is a good one..

  • Comment 8, posted at 17.01.12 09:23:37 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard FergusonCoach
  • @uzail (Comment 5) : Welcome!

  • Comment 9, posted at 17.01.12 09:25:12 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    vanmartinAssistant coach
  • There is no else but Lambie at this stage I have to agree.

  • Comment 10, posted at 17.01.12 09:29:57 by JarsonX Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner
    JarsonXAssistant coach
  • Im sure he does already ,he talks alot on defence and organises well.

  • Comment 11, posted at 17.01.12 09:32:57 by Talent Reply
    TalentCurrie Cup player
  • @uzail (Comment 5) : As everyone has already said. Welcome.

    I agree that Daniel is a good Captain and the continuity will be great.

    I also feel that a Captain should be one of the 1st players’ name to go on the team sheet, PROVIDED the team doesn’t have to be adapted too much to make him fit. I hope we can manage that all season.

  • Comment 12, posted at 17.01.12 09:41:30 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • the chiefs co-captains are Liam Messam and Craig Clarke

  • Comment 13, posted at 17.01.12 10:13:55 by BR Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Currie Cup player
  • :twisted: A good leader is only as successfull as the players he leads. They MUST give him the authority over them! The cc semi-final proved to be an accid test which we failed! Watch the first half again. The senior players need to submit themselves to Daniels/Du Plessis and not the other way around. If the captains concentrates on the team’s lack of discipline, he will fail to gather playing momentum. It’s up to the individual to become a team member.

  • Comment 14, posted at 17.01.12 10:39:10 by KILLER SHARK Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    KILLER SHARKTeam captain
  • Looks like the sharks wil be playin a forwards oriented game plan this year . . .hope Lambie or Michalak can somehow get the ball to Mvovo and Pieterson

  • Comment 15, posted at 17.01.12 11:12:00 by Sirgwaz Reply

  • lets hope that when Bismark captains, he controls his emotions with his team mates. I wouldnt like to see a repeat of his reactions like his replacement by John Smit last year. Our leaders must lead by way of example, especially in character on and off the field. I’d hate taking instructions from a hot head.

  • Comment 16, posted at 17.01.12 11:13:25 by uzail Reply

  • @Sirgwaz (Comment 15) :


    Seems this thread is for all the newbies!

  • Comment 17, posted at 17.01.12 11:16:57 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard FergusonCoach
  • @uzail (Comment 16) : My thoughts, as stated previously, as well.

    one of the reasons I disliked Matfield as a Captain so much was because of the way he’d scowl at and behave towards referees. Bismarck has that same scowl and behaviour, except Matfield knew when to walk away. To date Bismarck has not known when to walk away he get’s very verbal very quickly with officials and team mates alike.

    Just think of how many times we have seen his arms flailing and his jaw wagging at team mates, the ref or the TJ after something hasn’t gone his way.

    I have to wonder if the Vice captaincy is a way of appeasing him rather than being because of his actual leadership ability.

  • Comment 18, posted at 17.01.12 11:23:32 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 18) : Imagine a furious Bismark with a 8kg cricket bat :mrgreen:

  • Comment 19, posted at 17.01.12 11:52:55 by uzail Reply

  • @uzail (Comment 19) : And Bryce Lawrence being the ref who has upset him.

    I’d pay to see that. :)

  • Comment 20, posted at 17.01.12 12:18:38 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • Lambie should lead the backs. Bugger his age.

  • Comment 21, posted at 17.01.12 13:45:33 by King Shark Reply
    King SharkVodacom Cup player

Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.