It’s time to play virtual selector, fans, now that we know a bit more about what the Sharks Super Rugby squad is going to look like.
With a relatively clean bill of health (bar Bismarck) and the squad pared down somewhat to a strong group of probables, coach John Plumtree will certainly be thinking hard about his selection for the opening Super Rugby game of the 2013 season, against the Cheetahs next month. Getting off to a good start will be crucial and while we know that rotation is going to play a key role in this campaign, Plum will also want to settle on his best combination pretty early on and back them to pick up some vital early-season wins before mixing and matching.
Here’s what we have to pick from…
Props: Beast Mtawarira, Jannie du Plessis, Wiehahn Herbst, Dale Chadwick, Allan Dell
Hookers: Craig Burden, Kyle Cooper, Monde Hadebe
Locks: Franco van der Merwe, Anton Bresler, Jandre Marais, Peet Marais, Pieter-Steph du Toit
Loose forwards: Willem Alberts, Jean Deysel, Jacques Botes, Keegan Daniel, Ryan Kankowski, Tera Mtembu. Marcell Coetzee
Scrumhalves: Charl McLeod, Cobus Reinach
Flyhalves: Pat Lambie, Butch James
Centres: Frans Steyn, Tim Whitehead, Meyer Bosman, Marius Joubert, Paul Jordaan
Wings: JP Pietersen, Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, Sbura Sithole
Fullbacks, Louis Ludik, Riaan Viljoen
Given the above, I think I would pick the following 22 for the opening game. Feel free to disagree, as long as you state why!
15 Ludik, 14 Pietersen, 13 Whitehead, 12 Steyn, 11 Mvovo, 10 Lambie, 9 McLeod, 8 Kankowski, 7 Alberts, 6 Daniel, 5 vd Merwe, 4 Bresler, 3 du Plessis, 2 Cooper, 1 Mtawarira
16 Burden, 17 Dell, 18 du Toit, 19 Coetzee, 20 Reinach, 21 Bosman, 22 Jordaan