As promised, let’s do our bi-weekly check-in on the Sharks to see how well players are being managed in terms of game time.
As we reported after round 2, a number of key players in the Sharks team suffered debilitating injuries during the course of last year, with overuse being one of the contributing factors. We’re going to do our bit to keep the Sharks honest, if we can, by pointing out which players are getting lots (maybe too much) time on the field – and which aren’t getting enough.
After round 2, we singled out 7 players who up to that point had played 160 minutes each. Of those players, one (JP Pietersen) has already succumbed to injury and missed the game against the Reds (and the one to come against the Waratahs). The other 6 all went through rounds 3 and 4 without being replaced as well, meaning a total of 320 minutes game time for each of Dale Chadwick, Bismarck du Plessis, Marcell Coetzee, Keegan Daniel, Pat Lambie and Lwazi Mvovo. It is now getting to the stage where each of these players is simply going to have to be managed better, if we want to avoid each in turn breaking down.
The prop crisis in the camp is well known and with emergency tight-head cover needed on the tour, a deputy for Chadwick doesn’t seem readily available. The Sharks now have to give Jannie du Plessis a run in the number 1 jersey and give Chadwick a bit of a break, even if it’s just for 20 minutes or so here and there. Bismarck and Daniel were both under an injury cloud last week and while it’s difficult to rest both, given that they are the team leaders, it’s nevertheless crucial that some sort of schedule is agreed that sees each allowed a break at some stage. The return of Jean Deysel in a few weeks should allow for more loose forward rotation, which will benefit both Daniel and Coetzee, but since Bismarck’s deputy, Craig Burden, has enjoyed a scant 9 minutes on the field all season – at prop! – there is no excuse not to give the fiery hooker a rest now and then.
Lambie and Mvovo will probably be ok for a few more weeks, but again, Meyer Bosman and either Louis Ludik or Paul Jordaan could be given the opportunity to run in those positions a little more too.
Riaan Viljoen (272 minutes), Timmy Whitehead (232 minutes) and Steven Sykes (197 minutes) are the other players with the highest game time, although none of those are close to the heights of the 6 already mentioned. Of the players who are not getting enough time on the field, it’s only really Burden who sticks out, with Marius Joubert (14) and Paul Jordaan (27) each having their own reasons for not getting much time on the field.Tweet