Richard Ferguson

How much is too much?


Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 9 Feb 2012 at 13:49
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From what I have read here on Sharksworld, and from watching the trials last Friday evening, it is clear that the Sharks have an abundance of talent within the second row, with up to six players in competition for what can at most be only four spots in the Super Squad.

The candidates in question, as most of you will know, are Anton Bresler, Al Hargreaves, Jandre Marais, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Steven Sykes and Ross Skeate. That’s quite a bit of quality depth in one department, and the Sharks are fortunate to have this.

The question on my lips, and some may not like this, a specific blonde on this site might hate what I have to say, but I am battling to understand the thinking behind getting Steven Sykes back.

The Sykes deal was not something that was coming from months ago, it was seemingly a deal that was concluded in a space of three or so weeks, so we cannot put it down to not being able to back out of the deal.

Do not think for one minute that I am saying that this was a mistake, I think Sykes is a fantastic player, and we really could have used him during last year, when we had one on form lock in Skeate, and the rest were seemingly kak. I just think the purchase was not thought through.

What puzzles me is how the Sharks management was caught somewhat off guard again, as the people who buy players were certainly not watching the training, where they would have seen the likes of Anton Bresler, Jandre Marais and Pieter-Steph du Toit stepping up in more ways than one.

I am a big fan of quality players fighting it out for the opportunity to wear a jersey, internal competition amongst players is great for morale and form etc, but the fact that two, and maybe even three of these names will be relegated to play Vodacom Cup rugby is a bit sad.

For du Toit, this is not much of a problem, as he is still young and will link up with his U21 team mate Peet Marais, and the two will make a strong second row combination that will play most of the U21 Currie Cup together, but for whoever else falls away, it is Vodacom Cup, and not much else.

I recall an article written by Rob a few weeks ago, saying that Vodacom Cup is the last resort, or something along those lines, and this is the last type of rugby a player wants to play, bar playing for the Kings of course. (Now that was a joke…) The motivation to continue to push themselves, especially to play in the lowly Vodacom Cup, will be these players’ biggest challenge.

I hear you asking for a solution, and I cannot give you one. The sad reality is that Marais and Bresler are most likely going to play Vodacom Cup this year, and will have to try oust a senior player with good showings from limited game time in the Currie Cup later this year. I say limited game time, as I really cannot see too many of the Sharks locks being selected for Springbok duty.



67 Comments

  • I think Sykes and Skeate are our best hopes for Bok call ups this year. Skeate can provide back-up to Bekker (when they were a lock combo at the Stormers I always rated Skeate more highly) and Sykes, if he is still in form, can push for a starting spot as the Bok 4.

  • Comment 1, posted at 09.02.12 13:58:51 by ChrisS Reply
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    ChrisSSuper Rugby player
     
  • Sad but true.

    There are also a lot of ill informed people out there that claim that the Sharks are still weak at lock!

    I just hope player get selected of form and not on reputation.

  • Comment 2, posted at 09.02.12 13:59:29 by Pokkel Reply
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  • I think our locks with a realistic hope of Bok selection are:

    1. Skeate, has matured into a competent, no-nonsense player who is great winning lineout ball, oppositions and our own.

    2. Sykes, the Boks need an enforcer type lock.

    As an outside candidate I think Jandre Marais ticked the right boxes and surprised a lot of people with his play in last year’s Currie Cup, so who knows, a good Super XV could see him as a bolter.

  • Comment 3, posted at 09.02.12 14:00:54 by StevieS Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 2) : I agree. Every team, from Boks to your local club, should be selected on merit and not reputation. Sadly this happens less often than I’d like.

  • Comment 4, posted at 09.02.12 14:02:29 by StevieS Reply
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  • Surely the Bok locks will be:

    Flip van der Merwe
    Andries Bekker
    Rynardt Elstadt
    Juandre Kruger
    Maybe even Gerhard Mostert?

  • Comment 5, posted at 09.02.12 14:05:24 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 5) : Flip lost form and I don’t think he’ll get a call-up unless he lifts his game a lot.

    Top 6 locks are:

    enforcers – Mostert, Sykes and Elstadt
    lineout lock – Bekker, Skeate, Kruger

  • Comment 6, posted at 09.02.12 14:07:57 by ChrisS Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 5) : Please not Flip :cry:

    Put Skeate in as backup for Bekker, Elstadt and Kruger (yes as an enforcer no. 4) as the enforcers. Kruger is very mobile, but also solid!

  • Comment 7, posted at 09.02.12 14:09:29 by StevieS Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 5) :

    Shit, I forgot about Bakkies..

  • Comment 8, posted at 09.02.12 14:11:07 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @ChrisS (Comment 6) :
    @StevieS (Comment 7) :

    You guys have to remember that Heyneke has been working with Flip and Juandre, so are already in his sights, surely..

    Other than that, you hvae Bakkies and Bekker, and that the four locks in a squad, sewn up..

  • Comment 9, posted at 09.02.12 14:12:15 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 8) : Depends on how he performs for Toulon and how his injuries hold up.

  • Comment 10, posted at 09.02.12 14:12:28 by ChrisS Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 5) :

    Yessir, it will almost surely come from those 4.

    Can’t see any Sharks locks making the Boks, sorry guys :mrgreen:

  • Comment 11, posted at 09.02.12 14:16:19 by hendrikp Reply

    hendrikpCurrie Cup player
     
  • @hendrikp (Comment 11) :

    It’s the truth..

    I’m not saying the Sharks will struggle in that department, I just cannot see them wearing the Green And Gold this year, other than a maybe cap on the End of Year Tour..

  • Comment 12, posted at 09.02.12 14:19:00 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 12) :

    Well if you look at the individual candidates.

    Steven Sykes – He probably won’t ever be a Springbok. Sad but true that he’s a good player, but not a great player. Consistent, but probably lacks that extra athleticism to play at the very top.

    Alistair Hargreaves – Blew his chance.

    Ross Skeate – Unlikely considering the other candidates.

    Anton Bresler – Won’t see enough game-time? And then you have to wonder where he’d fit in, even if he did get plenty of game-time.

    Jandre Marais – Got it in him to play consistently at this level? I like the look of him personally, but again unlikely to see nearly enough game-time to even stake a claim.

    Maybe Pieter Steph du Toit will be the next Sharks-Springbok lock in a couple of years? If he’s really under 100kg’s though, he’ll need to pack on some muscle, and quickly.

  • Comment 13, posted at 09.02.12 14:24:33 by hendrikp Reply

    hendrikpCurrie Cup player
     
  • @hendrikp (Comment 13) :

    Solid summary there.. Cannot disagree..

  • Comment 14, posted at 09.02.12 14:26:16 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • Here`s a thought. Lets trade a former bok . . . Al Hargreaves . . . for a future bok . . . Hollenbach or Taute??

    I`ve said this before in an article.
    The NZ sides makes sure they have at least one highly competative side in this competition. Our SA sides try to spread the wealth to thin that`s why we are forever on the backfoot.

    And to top it all we want to introduce an extra team into the competition?

  • Comment 15, posted at 09.02.12 14:35:53 by Original Pierre Reply
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  • Uhmmmm Rich…may I speak to you in private…please… :lol:

  • Comment 16, posted at 09.02.12 14:35:54 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner IceAssistant coach
     
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 15) :

    Hollenbach a future Springbok :lol: :lol: Funniest thing I’ve heard all day. Sorry Pierre :mrgreen:

  • Comment 17, posted at 09.02.12 14:37:14 by hendrikp Reply

    hendrikpCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 15) :

    The Lions can keep both Hollenbach and Taute..

    Taute is the only one witha realistic chance of ever wearing the Green and Gold anyway.. And we don’t need any more fullbacks..

  • Comment 18, posted at 09.02.12 14:37:37 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 16) :

    What did I say wrong Ice??? :roll:

  • Comment 19, posted at 09.02.12 14:38:12 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 18) : Who said anything about fullback? We need two quality centers for the super 15, they need quality locks it`s a win / win situation.

  • Comment 20, posted at 09.02.12 14:38:58 by Original Pierre Reply
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  • @Original Pierre (Comment 20) :

    Why do you want to make Taute into a centre?

    If anything, he is one of the better talents for fullback around at the moment..

    And honestly, I don’t think he is defensively strong enough to be a centre anyway..

  • Comment 21, posted at 09.02.12 14:40:35 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Original Pierre (Comment 20) :

    If Hoskins is to be believed, Franco vd Merwe is a future Springbok.

    And then Wikus actually does a good job considering his age.

    Really though Wikus should be wearing 7 & Michael Rhodes should be wearing the 4 jersey.

  • Comment 22, posted at 09.02.12 14:42:01 by hendrikp Reply

    hendrikpCurrie Cup player
     
  • @hendrikp (Comment 22) :

    I think Rhodes was doing a good job on the side of the scrum, why do you think he should play at 4? Just because of his height?

  • Comment 23, posted at 09.02.12 14:44:03 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 21) : Taute will be a better 13 than anything we`ve got available at the moment absolutely no doubt about it.
    Of course Hollenbach would be first prize . . . :mrgreen:

  • Comment 24, posted at 09.02.12 14:44:09 by Original Pierre Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 19) : don’t play dumb with me!!

  • Comment 25, posted at 09.02.12 14:45:41 by Ice Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 23) :

    Pretty much carrying out that role for them at the moment. He’s aggressive, powerful… Tall yes. A good ball-carrier. He’d make the ideal 4, unless they are backing a younger guy to come through and take up that spot very soon.

    I really think their best combination is having Whiteley on the side of the scrum actually, with Rhodes at 4.

  • Comment 26, posted at 09.02.12 14:46:29 by hendrikp Reply

    hendrikpCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 24) :

    We as in the Sharks, or We as in the Lions?

    I’d rather back Whitehead or even Jordaan as a 13..

  • Comment 27, posted at 09.02.12 14:47:29 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @hendrikp (Comment 26) :

    He is a hard grafting type of player, perhaps the role will suit him..

    I am a big fan of Whiteley, expecting him to have a big season!

  • Comment 28, posted at 09.02.12 14:48:35 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 25) :

    Maak die Sharks almal Bokke?

  • Comment 29, posted at 09.02.12 14:48:55 by hendrikp Reply

    hendrikpCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Ice (Comment 25) :

    :mrgreen:

  • Comment 30, posted at 09.02.12 14:48:58 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 5) : Yes, those 5 and add on Stef Du toit and Etzebeth, then you have the locks that will compete for places in the next World Cup squad.

  • Comment 31, posted at 09.02.12 14:50:01 by JJR Reply
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  • @JJR (Comment 31) :

    Think we’ll see a lot of different names by then also!

    I mean Ruan Venter comes with a BIG reputation.

  • Comment 32, posted at 09.02.12 14:52:29 by hendrikp Reply

    hendrikpCurrie Cup player
     
  • @JJR (Comment 31) :

    I dare not even think of the Tri Nations squad, and you want to plan ahead to the next world Cup?! Brave man…

    I do agree with names like Etzebeth and du Toit, but they will have to have amazing Super Rugby campaigns to in the next two years..

  • Comment 33, posted at 09.02.12 14:58:40 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • Sykes and Skeate for Bok callups? You gotta be joking…they are not international class.

    Getting Sykes back was a decent move, he’s very experienced at Super rugby level and the tournament is gruelling with significant potential for injuries and if you want to go all the way, need to have cover/quality in every position.

  • Comment 34, posted at 09.02.12 15:00:10 by Villie Reply
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  • @hendrikp (Comment 22) : Has the potential to be a Bok star. Good head on him too!!

  • Comment 35, posted at 09.02.12 15:05:31 by Villie Reply
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  • @Villie (Comment 35) :

    This Michael Rhodes you’re speaking of?

    I hope you’re not talking about Franco vd Merwe!

  • Comment 36, posted at 09.02.12 15:07:03 by hendrikp Reply

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  • @hendrikp (Comment 32) : Ja, probably a couple of youngsters like Venter and maybe Jacques Du Plessis could have an outside shot…It is just about them getting at least 2 superugby seasons under the belt before the 2015 season.

  • Comment 37, posted at 09.02.12 15:13:02 by JJR Reply
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  • Where to with all this talent? I also agree the Sharks probably wont see a Bok Lock in the next year or two, and the possibility for later depends on whether Piet-S stays at lock or becomes a loosie

  • Comment 38, posted at 09.02.12 15:29:21 by Die Kriek Reply

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  • Many young men wanting to be top flight players. We have too many players … Not enough positions – Currie Cup should feature no Boks, experience and exposure vital… The Boks distort the Currie Cup. Save burnout, play less, rotate more – develop experienced depth… Win trophies…

  • Comment 39, posted at 09.02.12 15:53:50 by DarkDestroyer Reply

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  • @DarkDestroyer (Comment 39) :

    Maybe set a limit on the amount of games they can play? Makes more sense then just banning players from a tournament most of them have dreams of winning, and unrealistic considering the unions pay them big money.

    Central contracting could spread the talent, and with the growth of the Varsity Cup, I hope we can one day get a draft system into place, similar to how they do it in the States.

  • Comment 40, posted at 09.02.12 16:14:10 by hendrikp Reply

    hendrikpCurrie Cup player
     
  • @hendrikp (Comment 40) : exactly my thinking… The big picture… The involvement of senior players messes up the momentum and platform laid down by the younger players. This can all be tackled with a better system…

  • Comment 41, posted at 09.02.12 16:28:47 by DarkDestroyer Reply

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  • Lions sign another multimillion rand sponsorship deal – good for you mr de Klerk.

  • Comment 42, posted at 09.02.12 16:49:58 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @JJR (Comment 31) : Have we seen Stef Du Toit play against other quality players to conclude that he is a Bok in the making? We gave a couple of our youngsters a chance lasy year and they were not able to offer us what a Syskes did. My point is that lock is a very difficult position and unless you are a born savage, a youngster will find it difficult and may need a couple of years to find his feet. Let’s give the guys opportunities but not throw them into the deep end, the cost is too high.
    4. Sykes
    5. Skeate
    Back-up locks
    4. Juande
    5. Bressler
    And yes, I believe that Sykes and Skeate can push for Bok places. Very impressed with Skeate, was a bit soft when he first joined us but is now one of our go to guys. He needs to watch Bressler though especially if Plum keeps him at 5. I believe that’s his best position. We need to be leaders and not followers. Why can’t we play 2 enforcer type of locks at 5 especially if Keegan and Kanko start? Have both locks share all the load..jumping, tackling, carrying etc…Pity about Beast as this pack of ours has the ability to not be bullied..

  • Comment 43, posted at 09.02.12 18:55:27 by GreatSharksays Reply

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  • a few injuries in and the guys will get a chance. The Super 15 is pretty demanding so I’m sure injuries and or fatigue will take they toll on the players so someone playing VC rugby one weekend may just himself in the Sharks Super 15 squad the next. If the guys don’t crack it at the Sharks then I’m sure will have opportunities at other provinces. The same could happen for other franchises with too much depth in specific positions.

  • Comment 44, posted at 09.02.12 21:48:53 by slammerboy Reply
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  • @hendrikp (Comment 32) : Will du Toit even make the U20 JWC squad? I mean he will have to compete with the likes of Jacques du Plessis, Ruan Venter, Ruan Botha, Paul Willemse and Ettienne Ooshuizen. If there’s a chance he’ll be playing at flank then his versatility may or may not count against him.

  • Comment 45, posted at 09.02.12 21:54:11 by slammerboy Reply
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  • @slammerboy (Comment 45) :

    Surely du Toit is a must?!

  • Comment 46, posted at 09.02.12 21:57:35 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 46) : I’d like to think so personally but you just never know with Dawie. I get the feeling he’s after big bulky locks so the 3 Lions (Last Years U19s) may be selected. Venter played in last years tournament so could get the nod because of experience. Cant really comment on du Plessis but I’ve heard he has the goods. Because of his versatility du Toit may be included as he’ll be a good bench option. Looks like a very strong area for us this year

  • Comment 47, posted at 09.02.12 22:01:44 by slammerboy Reply
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  • @slammerboy (Comment 47) :

    I hope for his part he gets the nod!

  • Comment 48, posted at 09.02.12 22:04:00 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • I also am not sold on the Sykes purchase.

    Haven’t ever felt he was more than a journeyman, and I’m sure we could use the money on his contract for a talented youngster instead. Could have kept Adongo, for one.

  • Comment 49, posted at 09.02.12 22:06:28 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 49) :

    Agree!

  • Comment 50, posted at 09.02.12 22:08:57 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • While I’m not convinced of Steven Sykes’ Bok credentials, I nonetheless like the idea of having him in the squad. He has the necessary grunt, aggro and experience to be a valuable Super Rugby asset.

    Personally I would rotate Sykes and Marais in the 4 jersey, with Skeate and Bresler duking it out at 5. While I have not seen anything of young Du Toit, by all accounts he is an awesome talent. However, he has time on his side, and as long as there is clear communication from the coaches to him regarding his career path, I see no harm in some more Vodacom Cup before letting him play a more meaningful role in the Currie Cup.

    As for Alistair Hargreaves, though he has the credentials, and has produced the goods on occassion, based on what I saw last year he is so far off the pace at present that it’s as if he’s trying to compete in Formula 1 using rollerskates. If it were up to me, he’d be the guy I demote until such time as he delivers on his undeniable potential.

  • Comment 51, posted at 10.02.12 07:43:54 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 51) :

    I like the look of Marais, and I really hope he gets time in the 4 jersey in SuperRugby..

    As for Hargreaves, he really does need to step up, I agree. Maybe a few Vodacom Cup games will give him his confidence back!

  • Comment 52, posted at 10.02.12 07:46:04 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 52) : Although Bresler and Marais’s stats are supposedly almost identical, Marais to me looks the part of an out and out no. 4 lock, with Bresler possibly being more of a Johann Muller style hybrid. No reason why they should compete for the same spot, I reckon they could make a great partnership, given some time.

  • Comment 53, posted at 10.02.12 07:53:40 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 53) :

    Beet mentioned the samne thing to me when we were at the trials last week, regarding their supposed stats.

    But if they stand next to each other, you can see the difference in bulk on Marais’ side. He is a big fellow!

  • Comment 54, posted at 10.02.12 07:55:19 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 53) : actually, Jandre is a good 4 kgs heavier than Bresler

  • Comment 55, posted at 10.02.12 07:55:52 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 51) : Could not have said it better – exactly my thinking!

  • Comment 56, posted at 10.02.12 07:56:38 by Ice Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 55) : Well, that just supports my line of reasoning even further.

  • Comment 57, posted at 10.02.12 08:10:11 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 56) : Given your statement, and your love of Dexter, I’m forced to say that great minds think alike!

  • Comment 58, posted at 10.02.12 08:10:53 by Culling Song Reply
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  • :twisted: I love these viewpoints. Let me ad: You do not get a place in a senior pro side for being loyal. If you are a rookie, you need to show that you are consistently far better than the current player. That is how he got the jumper. If this does not inspire you to play better then you are bound to relax once you secured a position and play the below par rugby we see from the players we contract from other provinces and countries. Should Sykes fit this mould he will be easier to drop because there are quality players waiting to step in and give their all.
    In this series you can not have enough depth. Injuries and fatigue will plague and rotation will be critical to stay in the run. Then there are a herd of Springbok needed to play England, Tri-nations as well as the end of the year tour. If this is not enough, the CC and Vodacom cup is sure to work those tendons. We will soon see the value of having depth at Prop.
    Patience from the youngsters is required. Promotion is done at lower levels not in Super rugby- This is where you step in and perform or you will be forgotten soon, and a rugby fan is a cruel friend. :twisted:

  • Comment 59, posted at 10.02.12 08:24:30 by KILLER SHARK Reply
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  • @KILLER SHARK (Comment 59) : and you forgot to add “SHOW ME THE MONEY”, Jerry :)

  • Comment 60, posted at 10.02.12 08:30:10 by robdylan Reply
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  • :twisted: Do we need the Springboks in the CC team? YES!! Why? WE WANT TO WIN THE CC!! That simple! :twisted:

  • Comment 61, posted at 10.02.12 08:31:07 by KILLER SHARK Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 51) :
    “he is so far off the pace at present that it’s as if he’s trying to compete in Formula 1 using rollerskates.”
    :lol: :twisted:

    @Culling Song (Comment 58) :
    And I’m forced to graciously concede that fools seldom differ. :wink:

  • Comment 62, posted at 10.02.12 08:33:05 by Big Fish Reply
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  • :twisted: Thanks Jerry. Yes. This is a career. They are playing for a salary or bust. Very few of these guys will be SS commentators or coaches. :twisted:

  • Comment 63, posted at 10.02.12 08:33:29 by KILLER SHARK Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 62) :

    You sure you want to meet this freak? :twisted: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 64, posted at 10.02.12 08:41:41 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 62) : LOL

    Have to say, if I agreed with u on this matter, we’d both be wrong! :grin:

  • Comment 65, posted at 10.02.12 08:42:18 by Ice Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 64) : “You sure you want to meet this freak?” I take serious offense at that; it should be: you sure you want to meet *the* freak? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 66, posted at 10.02.12 09:04:37 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 66) :

    Once again photo attached of us just in case BF wants to change his mind. I don’t want him to be ‘surprised’ when he meets us. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 67, posted at 10.02.12 09:33:45 by Pokkel Reply
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