Richard Ferguson

Super Rugby preview – Sharks


Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 23 Feb 2012 at 08:00
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , ,

Our final preview takes a look at the Sharks team for the 2012 Super Rugby season. The Sharks finished sixth last year, conceding to the Crusaders in a play-off match in New Zealand, but will hope to go one better and make it into the semi-finals.

Both centurions in the team have left, with both John Smit and Stefan Terblanche plying their trade in Europe, but this has opened the door for exciting things to happen, as Bismarck du Plessis, regarded as one of the best hookers in the world, finally gets to show his worth in the middle of that front row.

Pre-season injuries to key members in the front row, as well as the departure of Eugene van Staden has left the Sharks low on front row stock, with the coach still of the opinion that a loan player must be found. The younger front row forwards will have to step up in the early part of the season.

The rest of the pack looks solid, with a variety of locks to choose from after the Sharks brought back Steven Sykes from Ireland, with Ross Skeate, Anton Bresler and Al Hargreaves making up the second row options, with young Pieter-Steph du Toit hoping to make an impression somewhere along the line. As for the loose forwards, Keegan Daniel being captain secures his spot in the run on team, and the other two positions will have to be decided between an array of players. Willem Alberts and Ryan Kankowski are the Boks to choose from, then throw in Jean Deysel, Jacques Botes and Marcell Coetzee and it is quite a headache of a selection, should all the players be fit ofcourse.

Another injury to Conrad Hoffmann has ruled him out for most part of the season, leaving the Sharks a little short in the scrumhalf department, with Charl McLeod and young Cobus Reinach specialist nine’s, with French international Fred Michalak able to do duty in the position. Pat Lambie has been earmarked to play pivot for the campaign, but again, the backup to the young play maker looks a little shaky, with Michalak able to step in, but only makeshift flyhalves behind these two.

Recruiting Tim Whitehead and the move of JP Pietersen to thirteen has filled up the centre stocks for the Sharks, with Meyer Bosman, Marius Joubert and Paul Jordaan to add to the depth. Outside backs are also plentiful, with Mvovo, Ndungane and Sithole the wings and new recruit Riaan Viljoen and Louis Ludik fighting it out for the fullback jersey.

Players to watch this year are definitely Marcell Coetzee and Tim Whitehead, as both players will be getting some decent game time and will prove their worth. Bismarck du Plessis in his first season as first and only choice hooker will also want to impress, especially with an eye on the Springbok jersey.

All in all, the Sharks seem to have the players and the necessary experience to do well this year, but it will come down to closing out tight games, making the most of playing against weaker teams (read bonus points) and a little bit of luck on the injury front to make it to the top of not only the South African conference, but booking that home semi final spot.



6 Comments

  • I have a good fealing this year. Had one in ’07, and excluding that unmentionable moment, it was the perfect season

  • Comment 1, posted at 23.02.12 08:09:20 by Die Kriek Reply
    Currie Cup player
     
  • Players to watch out for must include JP at 13 – he could either be a fizzling failure at 13, or, more likely, a potent attacking force in a possie we have had carthorses in for some years.

  • Comment 2, posted at 23.02.12 08:55:08 by Big Fish Reply
    Administrator
    Big FishTeam captain
     
  • Watch out for Craig Burden to make a huge impact this year! He’ll finally get regular game time.

  • Comment 3, posted at 23.02.12 08:59:06 by StevieS Reply
    Author
    StevieSUnder 21 player
     
  • The players to watch in the Sharks team are without doubt Bismarck du Plessis, Willem Alberts and Pat Lambie. If we’re going to win we’ll have to find other stars on the park like a regular tryscorer (hopefully Mvovo) but these 3 are the go-to men for world class play.

  • Comment 4, posted at 23.02.12 09:12:41 by beet Reply

    beetCurrie Cup player
     
  • @beet (Comment 4) : Willem Alberts? Why watch the sidelines when there is an amazing game on the field?

  • Comment 5, posted at 23.02.12 09:14:32 by Die Kriek Reply

    Currie Cup player
     
  • Marais is also a solid lock option, and IMO is higher in the pecking order than Al Hargreaves; whom I hope ups his ante and shows us what he is worth, would be a shame to have him as a nearly man.

    Jean Deysel is also a capped Bok, capped before Alberts but unfortunate run of injuries prevented more time on the park. I think he is feeling the pressure of having stiff competition for a jersey he is used to owning (when fit).

    I think any player in our squad has the ability to do good things, and all will be hungry to impress, as its becoming a real fight for places in what should be an honour to play for the Black and White. The Sharks are realistic contenders this year, and all will be hoping they will show what they are capable of doing… Winning the competition…

  • Comment 6, posted at 23.02.12 10:22:49 by DarkDestroyer Reply

    DarkDestroyerVodacom Cup player
     

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