Back in 2005 the Sharks made a strange signing for the 2006 season.
They announced the signing of a 35 year-old lock ( a bit of a journeyman some might have said ) from Griquas on a 2 year contract .There were 2 locks at the Sharks that had represented the Baby Boks earlier in the year at the IRB under 19 RWC ( the one was even the captain of the side).Plus there was a 21 year-old Steven Sykes.
And we had Johan Muller and Albert van den Berg with AJ Venter as another lock option.
Now why would The Sharks go and sign an “over-the-hill” player instead of backing the youngsters? What message were they sending to the youngsters? What value could such a “has-been” possibly add to a team that had just finished last in the 2005 Super Rugby season? Wasn’t it time to start fresh with younger keener players?Also, he was “only” 1.96m tall – the two under 19 Boks stood 2.00m and 2.01m respectively. And he was part of the Sharks Super rugby squad of 2004 – so why go and contract him again 2 seasons later?
Time to back the youngsters,right? I guess it is safe to say there would have been a few disgruntled and dumbfounded bloggers on here – some even being vociferous in their criticism and disbelief at the signing.
*But I’m also sure everyone now knows who this 35 year old “has-been” is after representing the Sharks in 3 continuous Super Rugby seasons.This,after being convinced by coach Dick Muir to come out of retirement not once,but twice back in 2008 .Firstly for the first 3 weeks of the 2008 Super 14 season ( after an injury to Steven Sykes ).And then again for the must-win last round-robin game versus the Cheetahs down in Durban (after an injury ruled out Johan Muller ) – at the age of 37 years and 272 days.
Any murmurs in the background to “back the youngsters” ..? He even played for the Boks on the end of year tour in 2006. And in July of 2007 he became the oldest player to represent South Africa in a rugby test (vs Australia ,Sydney).
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