The Sharks team announcement this week has lead me to think that there is something wrong within the Sharks camp, whether it be the coach or the management staff back home, but nobody seems to be effectively communicating with each other.
Three weeks ago, there was speculation and rumours as to which of the Sharks XV props would receive the call to join the tour party in Australia. We all know the answer was Nick Schonert, who flew across the Indian Ocean to join up with his mates, only to carry the tackle bags for the duration of the tour and not even get a bench appearance.
Now you might say, yes Richard, but he was there to cover the front row in case something went wrong. I agree, but why not send him over from the start, ahead of a certain Paul Jordaan, who was named in the tour party from the outset, but has not seen any rugby himself, being bracketed into the 22 jersey being the closest he got to game time on this tour.
Now surely somewhere in management a decision could have been made that no matter what happens to the team, win or lose, that Marius Joubert will have the inside lane to the bench spot and that Paul Jordaan could have been left at home to keep himself fit in the Sharks XV team, and potentially get some game time with his Baby Boks team mates as they are all on camp at the moment and will be facing Argentina this weekend.
Maybe the reason for taking him on tour was not to play him at all, but to keep him at the disposal of the Sharks instead of having him go on camp with the Baby Boks, which one can almost understand, but is surely detrimental to the player himself, who has not taken contact on a rugby field in four weeks now.
The next mind boggling addition to the squad was last when Conrad Hoffmann was rushed over the very same ocean, an even longer flight straight into New Zealand, to join up in place of an injured Odwa Ndungane. Firstly, it is far from a like-for-like replacement, with neither Odwa being a scrumhalf nor Hoffmann being a wing? There was a bit of thinking in that Lambie was injured and Michalak was doing duty at flyhalf, but there was sufficient cover within the camp in with both Meyer Bosman and Paul Jordaan willing and able flyhalves, and both McLeod and Michalak able to play nine, in any emergency. Again, a player has been flown over as cover, only to hold tackle bags and get a free holiday. In the case of a player being replaced, why did we then not take advantage of the fact that a player was going home (Ndungane) to cover the all-important hooker position, with Bismarck having already been injured at this stage?
The more I think about this, the more I wonder who exactly is making these decisions, and what their reasoning or logic is. One cannot blame the players for any of this, as they are merely given their tickets and told to hurry on over, only to sit in a foreign country and do very little.
The only emergency tour call up that has made sense to me is the one that happened in this last week, with Kyle Cooper, who should have been on tour in the first place, replacing the injured Bismarck du Plessis. Deep down I hope that Kyle takes the field, otherwise it will be another mammoth amount of money wasted.Tweet