Unfortunately I cannot write this with the elation of a winning supporter but must again admit that we were beaten by the better (or maybe smarter) team on the day and were once again outplayed in a final. Congratulations to the ultimate winners! WP you deserve this trophy and it must be so much sweeter having waited for it for 11 years. We hope that you’ll have to wait 11 more for another trophy. (-;
Having topped the log the Sharks and their players were the most consistent performers and that reflects in our numbers with the Sharks taking 7 spots in our final team. Griquas completely missed out on the play-offs, but is the next best team with 3 spots. The Lions and the Cheetahs each took 2 spots and surprisingly, the new Currie Cup Champions only took 1 spot, which just goes to show it counts for shit to play good during the season if you’re not going to pull in through at the final hurdle.
Here’s the team put together based on our team of the week selections and individual selections throughout the season.
15. Louis Ludik
By far the outstanding fullback of this Currie Cup, with only Willie le Roux and Andries Coetzee providing any contest, Ludik and his supporters might feel a little hard done by his exclusion from the Springbok EOYT squad, but he’ll do well to continue his committed performances in Super Rugby 2013, instead of dwelling on why this season’s form wasn’t enough.
14. Odwa Ndungane
His injury just before the play-offs when he was in such good form might have had an influence on the final’s result, but if we’re honest Odwa would not have been able to make a difference to the line-outs. Hopefully injuries will stay away for him and he’ll put pressure on our younger wings with the type of form he showed in his last few games.
13. Paul Jordaan
There is certainly something there. He has pace to burn and smart on defence. And when playing inside a good inside centre that can get over the advantage line and put him into some space he’ll be valuable for the Sharks in 2013. He has room to grow, but he’s still only 20 years old, so that’s to be expected.
12. Meyer Bosman
He was moved to Flyhalf as soon as Tim Whitehead made his return from injury and then dropped to the bench without a second thought with Lambie’s return, but Meyer Bosman was certainly a consistent pillar in the Sharks backline and even though he might not be one of those guys who has sublime performances that supporters and coaches alike gush about, he never let his team down once and was acknowledged regularly in our team of the week for that.
11. Raymond Rhule
A young man with a bright future that seems to be well on its way already with his inclusion in the Springbok EOYT squad, Rhule is fast and nimble and if he does get caught is strong in the tackle, his selection is somewhat debatable, as he’s not has not even played Super Rugby yet, but no one can deny his talent and potential and as long as the Bok coaches help him grow and gain experience I can’t complain.
10. Elton Jantjies
When Elton was dropped from the Springbok Rugby Championship team he came back and showed the Bok selectors what they were missing. He even did enough to get his first Springbok cap from the bench against the All Blacks. Both he and Patrick Lambie has been the form flyhalves in South Africa for the past 2 to 3 years, whether they will ever take the field on the EOYT is another question.
9. Cobus Reinach
He forged his place into the Sharks starting line-up with a few excellent, mature performances and kept the experienced Charl McLeod on the bench. He is an outstanding talent, but when the finals came it seems the pressure of the occasion might have gotten to him just a bit. It wasn’t his best game, but one can only hope that he will be given the chance to grow in Super Rugby 2013.
8. Keegan Daniel
Captain Keegan Daniel, he’s such an interesting captain and player. He’s still relatively young and has already captained his team to 3 finals. Does the fact that all those finals were failures count against him as captain? If it does then surely getting to three finals should count for him?
I’ve personally grown to admire him as a captain and a player and although he might not fit into the Springbok coach’s plans, I feel if the coach was willing to adapt his plans and use Keegan more specifically to his skills he would great in and against any team.
7. Jean Deysel
He had a quiet season back from a long injury, but he should be pleased with his progress and more importantly the fact that he made it through an entire season without a single injury scare. Hopefully next season he will gain some confidence and form and push hard for a starting spot in the Sharks Super Rugby team. If he can regain his ground skills and playing more to the ball, more like an opensider he may just be invaluable to the Sharks’ cause.
6. Marnus Schoeman
He’s still very raw in what he does and still needs to perfect his skills in the ruck, but after Heinrich Brüssow and to a lesser extent Deon Stegmann (who is less effective, because of his penalty rate), he looks to be one of the few effective ball stealers in South Africa. The lack of importance we put on players who effectively play to the ball in this country is baffling. Of the many excellent flankers there’s only a handful that understands the role of an openside flanker.
5. Martin Muller
The most impressive part of Martin Muller’s play is his ability to control his team’s line-outs and disrupt that of the opposition. His general play is good or on par, but his ascendancy in this set piece is worth gold and if he can continue in this vein of form, he should be picked up by a big union lacking in this area sooner rather than later!
4. Ligtoring Landman
He was a very strong performer throughout this Currie Cup with strong ball carries and abrasive defence he kept his team on the front foot and in with a chance of gaining the upper hand in every game. It will be interesting to see if he is drafted into the Cheetahs Super Rugby side and whether he can continue this good form for them.
3. Marcel van der Merwe
He’s a young loosehead playing tighthead and put in strong performances in both positions. He is still very young for this position, but looks to be a strong scrummager and willing to carry to ball, with a high work rate. He’s definitely one to keep an eye on next year.
2. Scarra Ntubeni
He took his chances with all the injuries in WP’s back row and the move of their captain and starting hooker to cover these injuries and looked to be a certain starter with the predicted move of Deon Fourie to Toulon, but Fourie has since confirmed that he will stay with province and young Ntubeni will have to be satisfied with a bench spot.
1. JC Janse van Rensburg
After an impressive 2011 season he was asked to take over the captaincy for his struggling team in this year’s Currie Cup. JC is a strong scrummager and has been the outstanding player in his position this season. The only thing that counts against him when it comes to being noticed for higher honours is that he is one of those consistent performers that don’t necessarily stand out with flamboyant runs or hairstyles.