robdylan

Time to walk the walk


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 19 Jan 2012 at 08:00
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I find myself very encouraged to read the quotes coming out of Durban as the Sharks sweat it out during pre-season this year. Let’s just hope that when the chips are down, the Sharks brains trust have the courage of their convictions and are prepared to back up the talk with action.

I’m talking specifically about the issues of player rotation and developing squad depth; in short, there are a lot of young players training with the squad and with John Plumtree and Keegan Daniel both now on the record about how “exciting” it is to have them and how well they’re fitting in, it would be very disappointing were they not to be afforded decent game time during the upcoming campaign.

Running the rule over the squad, there seems to be an almost unprecedented amount of young talent in the mix and not since the early days of Dick Muir’s tenure have we been in a situation where so many recent under 21s look set to take the step up. Pieter-Steph du Toit, who only turned 19 a few months back, is the real baby but is already being mentioned as a special find, while Paul Jordaan, Gouws Prinsloo, Sbura Sithole, Cobus Reinach, Francois Kleinhans and Tera Mthembu all played for the under 21s in their last campaign (with Jordaan still eligible for another two junior campaigns). Add to that the likes of Jandre Marais, Anton Bresler, Marcell Coetzee, Kyle Cooper, Dale Chadwick and Julian Redelinghuys – all recent enough graduates of the Sharks youth program – and you have a squad where a large proportion comprises young, home grown talent.

Let’s temper that fact with the sobering reality, though, that there are, in most cases, many other, far more established, players ahead of these young guns in the pecking order. The unfortunate injury to Conrad Hoffmann moves Reinach a little closer to the starting lineup, but given what else is available to him, there’s absolutely nothing that would force Plumtree to include ANY of the above players in a match 22. This is where the big challenge lies, to my mind; will the coaches have changed their mindsets enough to realise that rotation is a must and that each and every one of these players simply HAS TO be given a decent chance to shine on the Super Rugby stage?

Let’s be honest here – it takes big balls to rest one of JP Pietersen or Odwa Ndungane in a big match to give Sithole a run; likewise, letting Beast sit out so Chadwick can get a proper go at loosehead, or even worse resting Bismarck to allow Cooper a run are moves that WILL weaken the team in the immediate term. Are the coaches going to be brave enough to make those calls and roll with whatever punches come their way as a result? Perhaps more pertinent, will we as fans and armchair critics be prepared to back the young players as they develop, being restrained and constructive in our criticism of the mistakes they are bound to make along the way?

As always, I fear we won’t get as much as we think we’re going to, but I’ll settle for some progress in this department. It’s in midfield, after all, that the Sharks really need an injection of enthusiasm and imagination, while at tight lock we are looking for someone to step up and make a claim for the future. Let’s hope that in these positions, as least, the young guns are given a real opportunity to shine in 2012.



49 Comments

  • so my fear is we see the following 22 named every week:

    1 Beast 2 Bismarck 3 Jannie 4 Hargreaves 5 Skeate 6 Daniel 7 Alberts 8 Kankowski 9 McLeod 10 Lambie 11 Pietersen 12 Bosman 13 Joubert 14 Ndungane 15 Viljoen
    16 Burden 17 Herbst 18 Deysel 19 Botes 20 Michalak 21 Ludik 22 Mvovo

  • Comment 1, posted at 19.01.12 08:04:24 by robdylan Reply
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  • So much talent, so little space and time :sad:

  • Comment 2, posted at 19.01.12 08:11:18 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Comment 2) : the Super Rugby season now runs for about 18 months of each year… there’s definitely time :)

  • Comment 3, posted at 19.01.12 08:15:02 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : I know, just meant the time to shine that was given in the past was very little, hopefully that’ll change this year :smile:

  • Comment 4, posted at 19.01.12 08:18:54 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : 18 months a year :lol: :twisted:

  • Comment 5, posted at 19.01.12 08:21:23 by JarsonX Reply
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  • With most of these players having had quite substantial playing time in the Currie cup, I would like to think that they are in a better place experience-wise to be able to perform at Super rugby level.

  • Comment 6, posted at 19.01.12 08:29:10 by war1 Reply
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  • And with the new and frankly ridiculous Super rugby format, Plum will have to rest his stars every now and then or they will get broken.

  • Comment 7, posted at 19.01.12 08:31:04 by war1 Reply
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  • Ho, ho, ho….. happy new year to all and all that.

  • Comment 8, posted at 19.01.12 08:39:40 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • Methinks that the best chance of seing the youngster being played is if after round 7 or 8 we have only won 1 or 2 games and, by then, be effectivly out of the running for top honours.
    History has shown that a winning team (Sharks and most others)are seldom changed.

  • Comment 9, posted at 19.01.12 08:43:02 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 1) :

    Rob, let me tap into your mind here…

    Do you think Botes will play any sort of role in the year? I see you have him on the bench. I know Plum really rates Marcell, do you think he will jump Botes for the bench spot?

  • Comment 10, posted at 19.01.12 08:51:32 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : :lol:

  • Comment 11, posted at 19.01.12 08:52:06 by Franshark Reply
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  • I’d like to see us doing what England did under Woodward i.t.o. introducing new players. Have 1 youngster start, surrounded by a core of experienced players, and 1 on the bench.

    This will give the newcomers a ‘safe’ environment in which to play. We certainly have to bring them in somehow!

  • Comment 12, posted at 19.01.12 08:57:40 by StevieS Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 8) : same for you… Welcome back to the land of the PC…
    Have a blessed year mate

  • Comment 13, posted at 19.01.12 09:07:19 by Franshark Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 8) : happy new year Salmo… love the retro jersey

  • Comment 14, posted at 19.01.12 09:33:04 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 10) : Marcell did seem to win Plum’s trust VERY quickly, didn’t he? Look, the team I posted in comment 1 was a bit of a sarcastic joke, showing that Plum could field a side without any juniors if he wanted to.

    In reality, I expect Marcell to feature prominently. He will, I think, be the regular number 19 and will probably start at least the first few games at 7 with Vic and Wollie still doubtful.

    I think Bootsie will be used only in rotation with Keegan at 6.

  • Comment 15, posted at 19.01.12 09:35:04 by robdylan Reply
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  • I hope Craig Burden gets more game time this year. He has been a consistently good performer, and in him and Kyle Cooper we have very able substitutes for Bissie.

    On the lighter side of things I hear Craig is bench-pressing a massive 195kg!

  • Comment 16, posted at 19.01.12 09:47:29 by StevieS Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 15) :

    Oh, I didn’t pick up on the sarcasm, must still be early in the season.

    Thanks..

  • Comment 17, posted at 19.01.12 09:48:53 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 17) : we’re all still swarming up :)

  • Comment 18, posted at 19.01.12 09:53:59 by robdylan Reply
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  • heres the issue though…If plum doesnt run some of these youngsters soon , we will land up in a province like situation. A good friend of mine son has just left KZN youth setup after representing KZN a craven week to join the Bulls…his dad tells me the whole process was so badly handled by The Sharks and the Bulls were ever so professional that it was not as hard to do it as he thought. The youngster in question is a promising young Hooker Jaques Taylor. If we dont start running more youth in the system we will see more and more jump ship. WP are a shining example of what you could lose. Plum needs to throw the dice.

  • Comment 19, posted at 19.01.12 09:57:55 by The Duke Reply

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  • @StevieS (Comment 16) : Shit really?

  • Comment 20, posted at 19.01.12 09:59:14 by mbay-shark Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 18) :

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Botes does not play a lot this season.

    Looking forward for this season to kick off now, really excited about our prospects..

    Marcell will be huge this season, I can just feel it.

  • Comment 21, posted at 19.01.12 10:01:21 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @mbay-shark (Comment 20) : Ja, my mate saw it on Keegan’s Twitter account. He’s always been widely regarded as one of the strongest players in the Sharks Squad, even when he was a backline player :mrgreen:

  • Comment 22, posted at 19.01.12 10:05:34 by StevieS Reply
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  • i think this season will be the one where the name on everyones lips will be the Super Sub Burden

  • Comment 23, posted at 19.01.12 10:06:48 by The Duke Reply

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  • @StevieS (Comment 12) : I agree with this sentiment, but will actually go so far as to say that you start with two youngsters surrounded by experience. Give them a few games and then rotate to give other youngsters in a different position game time with a different core of experience. This way you give everyone in the squad game time and keep them sharp without overplaying anyone.

    The alternative is playing the core group into the ground until they breakdown, then having to throw all the youngsters in with no match sharpness.

    But as Rob said, we as fans will have to cut the youngsters some slack if they make some mistakes because it will be for the greater good of the tournament.

  • Comment 24, posted at 19.01.12 10:07:14 by Jakes Reply

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  • @The Duke (Comment 19) : can’t sign everyone, though. The sharks work differently to the Bulls… They handpick a group of 10-15 schoolboys each year and offer them contracts. The Bulls, in contrast, contract about 150 kids each year, 90% of whom will simply disappear

  • Comment 25, posted at 19.01.12 10:21:58 by robdylan Reply
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  • Like I said before the Currie Cup, I am happy to forego immediate results in exchange for the development of youth and evidence of a clear, long-term vision aimed at sustained success.

    I see De Wet Barry has retired. I wonder if he can talk some sense into his erstwhile centre partner’s head and convince him to follow suit? :twisted:

  • Comment 26, posted at 19.01.12 10:27:49 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 25) :

    yeah i grasp that…and i think maybe quality over quantity…but in all honesty if we are handpicking such a select group we should be looking to fast track them then. if you are only selecting 15 then you will find yourself short and will have to go a hunting to get something in…

    i see the names of the youth …but i see very little exposure

  • Comment 27, posted at 19.01.12 10:30:08 by The Duke Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 25) : what type of contracts do they offer ?(Bulls)

  • Comment 28, posted at 19.01.12 10:52:44 by Talent Reply
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  • @The Duke (Comment 19) : It wud be interesting to hear the reasons from Jaques’ dad why he felt the Sharks were bad and the Bulls so good.

    What’s interesting is that we’re sending our no.1 hooker to the Bulls and they’ve sent their best hooker Morné du Plessis down to us. Du Plessis was a lot easier to spot earlier on in his career coz he’s played hooker for many seasons but in Jaques’ case he only made the change from loose forward to hooker in his last year at school. I wonder how much that influenced the recruitment process, coz Jaques went from an above average loosie who wud have struggled to make Craven Week to an outstanding hooker who was certainly a good enough player to represent SA Schools (altho he didn’t)

  • Comment 29, posted at 19.01.12 10:53:38 by beet Reply
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  • Plum want to win Super rugby and be the first ever coach to bring such success to Durban. bloodying youngsters and winning trophies is like walking a tight rope, it requires balance. if done wrong or prematurely, watch the fickle sharks fans either boo the kid or stay away from the “tank”.

  • Comment 30, posted at 19.01.12 11:56:50 by Megatron Reply

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  • Plum had the opportunity to blood some youngsters in the CC last year and never took it. Let’s hope he learns from that and uses this year’s CC to give a few more youngsters a run.
    As for Superrugby, id like to see more rotation on the bench with youngsters – give someone like Jordaan 15 mins off the bench, then target a home game to blood him and play him fully from then on.

  • Comment 31, posted at 19.01.12 12:33:46 by Pat Reply

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  • You guys are far too enthusiastic. The Sharks won’t do well this season. They still have no backline coaches (HRH and Bashford have proven they are shortsighted). Plumtree has proven he has limited ideas and has become predictable. And Steauli is still buying shit. So lets sit back relax and just support an Australian team. They have coaches that know how to get the best out of limited depth.

  • Comment 32, posted at 19.01.12 12:59:45 by waje Reply

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  • Oh and Keegan is a crap Captain when the team is under pressure. Can you really see the Du Plessis brothers listening to him?

  • Comment 33, posted at 19.01.12 13:07:13 by waje Reply

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  • @waje (Comment 32) : @waje (Comment 33) : I was wondering when you would crawl out of the woodwork again?

    How are you?

  • Comment 34, posted at 19.01.12 13:13:04 by Pokkel Reply
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  • I’m not getting excited about the Sharks chances. They have more chance beating the Dolphins. But otherwise great. Working my butt off, but at least I have a job, so no complaints. How are you doing? Have a good Christmas?

  • Comment 35, posted at 19.01.12 13:29:02 by waje Reply

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  • @waje (Comment 35) : Uneventful, stayed at home, ate too much, drank too much beer. I’m hoping to get some holiday time out of season some time soon.

    I believe we have the the right players to get a decent 22 together but like you I’m not convinced that Plumtree and co are the right people to lead them to the play-off’s. He will probably select the so called ‘tried and tested’ instead of the ‘young and exciting’

  • Comment 36, posted at 19.01.12 13:39:17 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @waje (Comment 32) : I hate what you`re saying but it has merit . . . :sad:

  • Comment 37, posted at 19.01.12 13:53:07 by Original Pierre Reply
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  • Good to hear. Yeah I am looking forward to some decent rugby to watch though. I cannot get excited about Aviva. The quality is poor. I blame the poor NH referees for this. I am concerned though with the lack of decent referees in the world. This could kill the game we all love so much. When a RWC can be fixed by Paddy O’Brien, by selecting the referees that will disadvantage particular teams, then the game is no better than the match fixing happening in cricket.

  • Comment 38, posted at 19.01.12 13:59:15 by waje Reply

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  • @Original Pierre (Comment 37) : Sit down, grab a beer, watch the Sharks play, but don’t invest any emotion into the game, as it will only lead to disappointment. This year I am watching rugby, not immersing in it. Too many alarms went off last year for me to get excited this year.

  • Comment 39, posted at 19.01.12 14:02:14 by waje Reply

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  • @waje (Comment 39) : a disillusioned Sharks supporter :lol: a sight for sore eyes…schwweeeeet

  • Comment 40, posted at 19.01.12 14:42:17 by Megatron Reply

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  • @Megatron (Comment 40) : realistic might be a better word! ;-)

  • Comment 41, posted at 19.01.12 14:44:03 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Megatron (Comment 40) : Now now, play nice! :lol:

  • Comment 42, posted at 19.01.12 15:36:20 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 15) : Sarcastic joke or not, if Plum plays Hargreaves in tandem with Skeate I’ll go into conniptions… Ditto for a Botes/Daniel flank combination, or a anyone/Marius Joubert centre pairing :twisted:

  • Comment 43, posted at 19.01.12 15:44:00 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 43) : Its likely to happen :x

  • Comment 44, posted at 19.01.12 16:11:22 by Talent Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 42) : i’m always nice.

  • Comment 45, posted at 19.01.12 16:13:54 by Megatron Reply

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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 9) : me thinks the history also shows much shorter super rugby tournaments though…

  • Comment 46, posted at 19.01.12 18:18:13 by rekinek Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 8) : happy happy :razz:

  • Comment 47, posted at 19.01.12 18:19:07 by rekinek Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 43) : The Kankowski/ Daniel pairing is worse than the Botes/Daniel pairing as Botes is a worker and defends, whereas Daniel/ Kankowski both tend to stand back and wait for the ball, leaving the Sharks weak at the breakdown.

  • Comment 48, posted at 20.01.12 08:06:03 by waje Reply

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  • @waje (Comment 48) : dude – I reckon you need to go buy a glass… then maybe you could fill it halfway.

  • Comment 49, posted at 20.01.12 08:20:36 by robdylan Reply
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