Following on from my earlier article of things to consider from our loss against the Bulls on Friday night, I called for calm from the coaching staff and to not make wholesale changes that will only undo the momentum created in the last 15 odd minutes at Loftus.
There are however, one or two changes I would make to the team, based purely on the performance of the players on the night. This is a nice position to be in for the Sharks, as competition between players will keep the guys on their toes.
Firstly, I think it is imperative that Charl McLeod runs on at Newlands, ahead of the very talented Fred Michalak. McLeod’s passing game looked smoother and more composed and he got the backline moving just that little bit better. Take nothing away from Michalak, he is a special player, but he is a better flyhalf, and will have to make his impact off the bench.
Another solid player, who always seems to be forgotten amongst Sharks fans is Louis Ludik, and unfortunately, he is just not as effective as a wing as he is a fullback. Yes he is solid at the back and is good under the high ball, and his work rate is really good, but a wing needs to be able to pull away from the opposition. I really like Ludik, I am a great fan of his, and I would like to see him and Viljoen rotate at the back, but he is unfortunately not my first choice at wing.
The question is, who do you replace him with? There are a few options, and most of the people on here would be calling for Paul Jordaan to be put on the wing. He has the pace sure, but Jordaan is first and foremost an inside back, with his favoured positions being flyhalf and inside centre. Do we really want a player who is not completely sure of himself on the wing against the like of van Heerden, Aplon and Pietersen this weekend? Yes he has the necessary pace, but pace won’t help him if he is caught out of position.
That leaves us with two other options, the experienced Odwa Ndungane or the inexperienced but very talented Sbura Sithole. Again, we can use the Jordaan argument and say that Sithole is a risk against the experience in the Stormers back three, yet Odwa, even though he is a great player and a true legend for the Sharks, lacks that out and out pace to be able to compete with the Stormers’ wingers.
Personally, after a loss and looking for stability in the back, I would back Odwa to do the business ahead of an unlucky Sithole, who I feel is one Currie Cup season away from being at his best.
Those are the only changes I would make to the side for the clash against the Stormers, with most of the combinations given more time to settle, and giving the forwards another chance to impress.Tweet