bergshark

“Let’s back the youngsters” :The story of a 35 year-old lock


Written by pietie pieterse (bergshark)

Posted in :Original Content, Reader Submissions, Sharks, Super Rugby on 31 Jan 2012 at 13:42
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

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).

*Ps: just have a look at my avatar if you having trouble



42 Comments

  • Die brandweerman….Johan Ackermann! :cool:

  • Comment 1, posted at 31.01.12 14:10:33 by Pokkel Reply
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  • Johan Ackerman, the Lions backline coach

  • Comment 2, posted at 31.01.12 14:12:18 by Mutley Reply

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  • I agree but you must be careful and satisfy the interests of the long term investments rather than do shoddy short term deals. Can you imagine if Bismarck threw in the towel with the John Smit endeavour, where would we be now?

    I can understand an international coach bringing players out of retirement in the interests of the World Cup –short term, but at provincial level we have 2 competitions a year to compete for.

    Sometimes age is irrelevant, most of the time it’s not. In the interest of the franchise we should be looking at our youth structures.

  • Comment 3, posted at 31.01.12 14:13:23 by Talent Reply
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  • @Mutley (Comment 2) : backline? :shock:

  • Comment 4, posted at 31.01.12 14:13:34 by Pokkel Reply
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  • Who were the 2 u19 locks?

  • Comment 5, posted at 31.01.12 14:15:27 by ChrisS Reply
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  • Johany Boony Ackerman !

  • Comment 6, posted at 31.01.12 14:18:42 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 4) :

    haha . no wonder we perform so well :twisted:

  • Comment 7, posted at 31.01.12 14:26:57 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @ChrisS (Comment 5) : Al Hargs and Joe Snyman

  • Comment 8, posted at 31.01.12 14:29:21 by robdylan Reply
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  • I am all for backing talented youngsters; but it is also not fair to throw them in the deep end which is Superugby, espcially in the Tight forwards.

    Want a loosehead Prop on Loan please…we have many talented youngsters coming through a 1; but at this stage most are simply just that, too young. A prop on Loan for 4 months isn’t gonna kill anyone :smile:

  • Comment 9, posted at 31.01.12 14:30:39 by JJR Reply
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  • @JJR (Comment 9) : I agree with you

  • Comment 10, posted at 31.01.12 14:36:36 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 8) : I trust the Sharks management to make the Right dicisions these days…Not signing J.Engelbrecht and Coetzee came through…allowing J.Snyman to go also a good dicision…can’t even make the cut at the lions…and we have about 3 very promising young Locks coming through at The Sharks…they have done a good job recently.

    Bosman and Joubert dicisions still need to be tested; but i really believe they will be a very Solid defensive pairing in the middle for The Sharks. Bosman just needs to use his great skip pass to skip Joubert on attack :lol: Kidding, i am sure he is a lot more energetic and explosive after the amazingly awesome pre-season training The Sharks do. Mark Steele…watta Legend!

    Wonder who will come into the squad to fill the gap joubert leaves when his contract is up? …hopefully we shall learn shortly ;) U take a lot of crap from us Rob :)

  • Comment 11, posted at 31.01.12 14:36:56 by JJR Reply
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  • Ackies is a legend :razz:

  • Comment 12, posted at 31.01.12 14:37:29 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @JJR (Comment 11) : Mark Steele was even on the bench for the Sharks against Griquas :lol:

  • Comment 13, posted at 31.01.12 14:46:18 by StevieS Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 8) : Thanks Rob> Where has Joe Snyman disappeared to? He jumped Hargreaves in the Sharks pecking order at one stage along with Wouter Moore. Haven’t heard much of either of them for ages!

  • Comment 14, posted at 31.01.12 14:46:42 by ChrisS Reply
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  • @ChrisS (Comment 14) : He played for the Lions in the CC last year. Not sure where he is this year. Will try and find out. Wouter Moore is playing for Italian club Reggio. He was playing well for the Sharks until his injury against the Bulls thanks to JP Nel’s late tackle

  • Comment 15, posted at 31.01.12 14:55:47 by slammerboy Reply

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  • Sorry BS, but I get annoyed with arguments like this; both in sport and business.

    Just because something worked once does not mean that we should manage by exception. For every Ackermann there are scores of Jouberts and others.

    The simple weight of evidence suggests that if backing an ageing player over a developing one was a strategy for success, than the average age of professional rugby players would be higher.

    In any event, one could argue that its not every older player who has had the “benefit” of steroids and a 2-year hiatus to preserve the body.

  • Comment 16, posted at 31.01.12 15:02:35 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @ChrisS (Comment 14) :

    Joe Snyman is with the Kings along with David Bulbring, both got released from the Lions last year.

  • Comment 17, posted at 31.01.12 15:02:53 by Pat Reply

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  • @slammerboy (Comment 15) : That was a huge hit. I remeber it. It put Wouter in hospital with a ruptured spleen or something.

  • Comment 18, posted at 31.01.12 15:03:06 by StevieS Reply
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  • @slammerboy (Comment 15) : Thanks!

  • Comment 19, posted at 31.01.12 15:08:26 by ChrisS Reply
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  • @ChrisS (Comment 14) :

    was at the Lions for 2 seasons now he is at the Queens

  • Comment 20, posted at 31.01.12 15:15:26 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 20) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 21, posted at 31.01.12 15:20:23 by JarsonX Reply
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  • I remember my first live game, CC 2006 at Loftus. Arrived 10 minutes late, walked in with the big screens still showing Johann Ackerman knocking a Bull’s whole Eskom account out of him, resulting in a red card. We were behind 15 – 10 if I remember correctly, played with 14 for the next 70 minutes, and won 37-28.

  • Comment 22, posted at 31.01.12 15:20:53 by Die Kriek Reply

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  • @Big Fish (Comment 16) : you had to come and spoil this sharks bromance with logic…GrootVis se moer man :lol:

  • Comment 23, posted at 31.01.12 16:08:37 by Megatron Reply

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  • @JJR (Comment 11) : you realise how much shit you caused with your little rant on Twitter last week?

  • Comment 24, posted at 31.01.12 17:25:03 by robdylan Reply
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  • Regarding the prop situation or the possible signing. The latter…how can that cause troubles? Anyone who follows The Sharks closely would have known that the guy originally hadf a trial that “they” said would be 2 weeks long. He has added another month to that…people can make up their own minds. This happens all the time in Football :lol:

  • Comment 25, posted at 31.01.12 18:58:47 by JJR Reply
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  • @JJR (Comment 25) : no – I mean the Beast situation

  • Comment 26, posted at 31.01.12 19:46:47 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 26) : Oh…why? My worries had merit, i think…you can’t survive Superugby with only 4 props and only one of them a loosehead. One injury and rotation can’t happen and ur screwed come knockout time.

    Was there problems because i said Beast was Injured without proper confirmation, yet? Steve Haag is involved in the media and The Sharks, so i thought he would be a person to believe…especially when he posts it on his facebook page.

  • Comment 27, posted at 31.01.12 19:55:01 by JJR Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 26) : I remember voicing my concerns as well. Hopefully you didn’t get any crap from the Sharks powers that be.

  • Comment 28, posted at 31.01.12 20:02:33 by slammerboy Reply

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  • @slammerboy (Comment 28) : What happened to freedom of speech…no Jokes…if not offensive or attacking to an individual or group why is speaking ur mind a problem? My rant over :lol:

  • Comment 29, posted at 31.01.12 20:05:26 by JJR Reply
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  • @JJR (Comment 27) : you took sonething that he said in private on facebook and blurted it all over twitter; worse, you mentioned his name.

  • Comment 30, posted at 31.01.12 20:35:58 by robdylan Reply
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  • Good stuff Bergshark.

    You might not be able to see this on your phone but you now have a little author icon above your Johan Ackermann image.

    BTW you know the Jaco Engels punch on our former captain + lock JoLo is still fresh in many die-hard supporters minds, well you might remember a very tense Bok trial/training match many years ago during which a certain Blue Bull lock floored a different Sharks player who would go on to become a lock/captain. Yes it was Ackers on Andrews that day. I couldn’t handle Ackermann for years after that, was so happy when he was banned and I was even one of the serious doubters that was very outraged when the Sharks contracted the veteran seemingly out of desperation. But as your article pointed out, he turned out to be an inspirational player for the Sharks, even one of the players of the S12 season, earning redemption many times over for that punch (at least in my books :smile: )

  • Comment 31, posted at 31.01.12 21:55:38 by beet Reply

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  • Breaking news Plum looks to JP for Centre – “its a bold move but Sharks coach John Plumtree is looking to big Springbok wing JP Pietersen to help solve his midfield problems.” … “At 1.90m and 102kg, he has akk the attributes of an outside three-quarters – “we have changed a couple of philosophies of our midfield play but the proof of the pudding will be in how we play”. “He’s got a lot of experience and he’s a big presence in the middle of the field. Defensively he’s very big and strong and ijn terms of attck he’s outstanding – JP will need a transition in his thinking and to improve his work rate …” Care of the witness which goes on about Jordaan and the other centres from the article it sounds like if experiment works out our centres will be Bosman Pietersen, Whitehead and Jordaan and Joubert on warning, wings Mvovs, Odwa, Sithole, and Ludik, Viljoen at FB . Wonder if Plum reads SW?

  • Comment 32, posted at 01.02.12 06:34:24 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

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  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 32) :
    Some lips were burning with this for a while.

    I like the willingness to take a chance. JP is an enormous talent IMO, and any thing that brings him closer to the action is good.

    I always thought that he would extend his career by moving back to 15 later, but this could have the same effect.

  • Comment 33, posted at 01.02.12 07:13:12 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Comment 2
    I meant forward, but everybody knows that

  • Comment 34, posted at 01.02.12 07:16:49 by Mutley Reply

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  • But how great was this man, he sure didnt let us down. He was the original enforcer and dam was he strong. Hendrik Roodt reminds me a bit of him he just needs some more coaching to improve.

  • Comment 35, posted at 01.02.12 07:40:53 by Dunx Reply

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  • Big Fish agreed, and what I like is when he sais “we have changed a couple of philosophies of our midfield play” which just shows the coaching are willing to admit what isn’t working and try to fix it. JP I absolutely love as a player, he has talent by the bucket full, defensively he is huge (two of his most memorable takles were try saving and world cup and Lions test saving efforts)and even when quiet never let’s the side down. The only thing that worries me a little in this article is Odwa his lack of pace was a bit telling last year, however his workrate and sheer reliability you can’t leave out of the XV or 22

  • Comment 36, posted at 01.02.12 08:00:51 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

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  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 36) : to my mind, Odwa has always looked very decent at fullback and I suspect that’s where they see his future.

  • Comment 37, posted at 01.02.12 08:05:13 by robdylan Reply
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  • @beet (Comment 31) : thanks beet.

  • Comment 38, posted at 01.02.12 08:06:40 by bergshark Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 37) : totally agree. When he played there last year or was it in 2010? He looked really good there, real comfortable in the position.

  • Comment 39, posted at 01.02.12 08:17:23 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

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  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 39) : don’t recall seeing him there last year…

  • Comment 40, posted at 01.02.12 08:22:59 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 30) : How was i supposed to know news of that Nature was meant to be kept secret? And on Twitter i didn’t mention beast’s name until @sharksworld asked me “what i was on about”…all i did ask originally was if Eugene was still at The Sharks…i can’t be sorry for something if i wasn’t even aware at the time that it was wrong.

  • Comment 41, posted at 01.02.12 09:21:12 by JJR Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 37) : Agree 100%; i rate him even better than Louis at 15.

  • Comment 42, posted at 01.02.12 09:22:48 by JJR Reply
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