robdylan

Sean’s Currie Cup challenge


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 25 Jul 2013 at 10:24
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Yesterday, we ran the rule over the likely forward options for the Sharks in the upcoming Currie Cup campaign; the conclusion we came to is that new forward coach Brad Macleod-Henderson should be able to field a very competitive front 8 indeed, with decent backup in virtually all positions. Let’s have a look now at the challenge awaiting new backline supremo, Sean Everitt.

It’s somewhat ironic that the Sharks should be stretched for depth at the back, given that the vast majority of Springbok call-ups affecting the side are amongst the pack. The only two contracted Boks that are guaranteed to be away for the duration of the campaign are Pat Lambie and Frans Steyn, although the latter may even be allowed a little Currie Cup game time to prove he’s fully recovered from his injury when he does return in September. Whatever the case, though, it would probably be wise not to bank on too much input from Steyn this season, while Lwazi Mvovo, despite not being a contracted Bok, is another who’s fairly certain to be called up for the Rugby Championship.

Aside from these three, though, injury and player movements have cut a swathe through the Sharks’ backline ranks, with only Cobus Reinach and Louis Ludik remaining available out of the Sharks’ first-choice outfit from Super Rugby. Paul Jordaan won’t play again this year due to his knee injury, while JP Pietersen has left for Japan. Additionally, a number of reserve options, including Meyer Bosman, Riaan Viljoen and Gouws Prinsloo, have moved on and in the case of the former two, it is their utility value that will be so sorely missed.

The silver lining for Everitt should be the belated (and long-awaited) return to the playing field for Tim Whitehead – a classy player who has a knack for making those around him look so much better – after his freak forearm injury somehow managed to keep him out of action for the entire Super Rugby season. They say that every good squad needs a blend of youth and experience to be successful and Everitt will have a number of stalwarts to call on – the likes of Charl McLeod, Butch James, Odwa Ndungane, Marius Joubert, Ludik and Whitehead have all experienced many successful Currie Cup campaigns and will play a vital role in bringing through the young players who will be asked to step up and prove their worth.

There are plenty of options at scrumhalf, of course, with McLeod and Reinach likely to rotate, but consideration also given to the pair of Junior Springbok 9s, Stefan Ungerer and Hanco Venter. The loss of Lambie, Viljoen and Bosman means that James and Fred Zeilinga will be the flyhalves, again with an under 20 player in Rob du Preez as potential backup.

It’s at centre where the options are a little thin on the ground, though; Whitehead is of course comfortable in either position – as is Joubert – while Heimar Williams is the only other out-and-out midfielder in the group. Louis Ludik may be asked to continue the midfield role he played towards the end of the Super Rugby season, but given a shortage of fullback options, that may not be wise either.

Ndungane is the man who will add stability at the back and it will be interesting to see whether Everitt sees him as a wing or a fullback, with many pundits now believing that he’s better suited to the 15 jersey. Jaco van Tonder, S’bura Sithole and Sizo Maseko will also come into the equation as back three options, but even the most ardently faithful Sharks fan would concede that Sharks really do lack backline depth outside of the halfbacks.

Don’t be too surprised to see highly-rated 19-year-old utility back Andre Esterhuizen thrust into the limelight at some stage; the lad has all the physical attributes to succeed at this level and his utility value – he can cover both fullback and either midfield position – should see him come strongly into the reckoning as a bench option. One does get the feeling, though, that the Sharks are going to have to move to pick up one or two other players over the next few weeks to give Everitt a slightly fuller roster from which to select his combinations.



37 Comments

  • Sheet, I’ve been so worried about injuries and people leaving that I haven’t really thought about the backline! Looks a bit grim, but I’m sure Smit has a plan.

  • Comment 1, posted at 25.07.13 10:30:34 by PTAShark Reply
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  • @PTAShark (Comment 1) : I reckon we need 2-3 more players… probably only 2 if between them they can cover flyhalf, centre, wing and fullback.

  • Comment 2, posted at 25.07.13 10:35:28 by robdylan Reply
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  • What about other younger guys that should be coming through, like Tyler Fisher and co?

  • Comment 3, posted at 25.07.13 11:18:34 by stevovo Reply
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  • I might have missed it but any mention on whether Ludik is staying or going to France?

  • Comment 4, posted at 25.07.13 11:34:18 by vanmartin Reply
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  • I like SP Marias as a fullback option. Especially if the Kings don’t make SR next year and especially if Ludik leaves.

  • Comment 5, posted at 25.07.13 11:51:32 by Letgo Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 4) : Ludik is going after Currie Cup, I think.

  • Comment 6, posted at 25.07.13 11:54:42 by robdylan Reply
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  • As for centers and wings, I think we should use the young guys and see what they can do. By mid CC you’d have an idea whether you would need to get some players in from outside the union for SR 2014.

    Remember Steyn, Tim and Jordaan will be our main picks, so if Heimar or another young center can show that they can play at a higher level they could be used as the 4th option.

    Although it would help to maybe get someone other than Joubert as a more experienced back-up, because as it is now if we get 1 or 2 injuries SR 2014, we could be in serious trouble.

  • Comment 7, posted at 25.07.13 11:55:41 by Letgo Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 6) : Then I would look into a guy like SP Marais, 24 and loads of potential and he might not have a team next year.

  • Comment 8, posted at 25.07.13 11:56:58 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 8) : I think that Marais is being lined up for a Bulls move if the Kings don’t re-qualify.

    We’ll most likely get Andries Coetzee if the Lions stay relegated

  • Comment 9, posted at 25.07.13 12:12:27 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 9) : So we’re supporting the Kings then?

    (the snoiL supporters have made that choice rather easy this week) :twisted:

  • Comment 10, posted at 25.07.13 12:32:03 by FireTheLooser Reply

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  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 10) : What I missed guy’s what I missed? Had a kak week, no time for SW so sad!!!

  • Comment 11, posted at 25.07.13 12:42:43 by R Hayward Reply

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  • Rob is there a chance that he could stay? if so Sharks must do everything they can to keep him!!!!!

  • Comment 12, posted at 25.07.13 12:52:10 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 12) : I dunno hey. I would love him to.

  • Comment 13, posted at 25.07.13 13:07:40 by robdylan Reply
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  • i cant believe marius joubert is still hanging around, if Doc Venter is looking to cull a few players like he did at saracens then Joubert should be the first

  • Comment 14, posted at 25.07.13 13:40:41 by RuckingFun Reply

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  • @RuckingFun (Comment 14) : Joubert’s contract is up after Currie Cup… but seriously, given the dearth of options at centre, I think we’ll need him.

  • Comment 15, posted at 25.07.13 14:16:20 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 15) : I’d rather look into a few other options. Even butch at center with one of the young flyhalfs at his inside is a better option.

    To bad we couldn’t get Lindeque to stay. He would have been an option as some cover.

  • Comment 16, posted at 25.07.13 14:21:29 by Letgo Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 9) : If the Bulls want SP we might also go for Jurgen Visser. Wouldn’t the Bulls then be sitting with way too many fullbacks?

    Kirchner, Visser, JP and that young fullback Ulrich Beyers I think, who is still only 22, but seems to have some potential. Although, I think Zane is leaving, so maybe SP is just cover. Too bad we weren’t on this one, he looks like a very promising player.

  • Comment 17, posted at 25.07.13 14:30:43 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 16) : I’m thinking our problem is more at 13 than at 12. I liked the look of Heimar Williams against the Lions – reckon he did well there. Tim is also a very good 12.

    If I had to choose a pair to start with, I’d probably go with Heimar at 12 and Tim at 13, though. Not really sure what I’m basing that on, but it kind of feels like the right thing to do.

    I’m not keen for Butch to play much.

  • Comment 18, posted at 25.07.13 14:32:15 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 17) : Kirchner is gone

  • Comment 19, posted at 25.07.13 14:33:51 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 18) :
    I also like the idea of Heimar getting some game time, he looks like a good inside center and I always like the idea of giving young guys some game time in the CC to see if they can make the step up. This is a good time to do it with Heimar and Tim seems to be equally comfortable inside and outside. I’m thinking if Jordaan is ready, Heimar proofs himself and Steyn shapes up, we’ll look have enough in the midfield next year.

    Nope I wouldn’t want Butch to play much either, but if it’s an option between him and Joubert, I’d go with Butch.

  • Comment 20, posted at 25.07.13 15:18:34 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 20) : neither really does much for me… both have suspect disciplinary records.

    I’d like to see Butch get away with his yellow card antics under Venter…

  • Comment 21, posted at 25.07.13 16:13:20 by robdylan Reply
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  • Rob “I don’t know” and “I hope so” just does not fly, come on Rob use those contacts and help make Ludik stay in Durbs. I know you can.

  • Comment 22, posted at 25.07.13 16:46:30 by JD Reply
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  • Good backline players we should look at:

    George Whitehead, Andries Coetzee(if he isn’t already here?),Visser(looks like a dam good player), Ruan Combrink and Jessie and Daniel Kriel.

    I like the look of Zeilinga, not the biggest guy ,then again neither was Michalak.

  • Comment 23, posted at 25.07.13 17:41:04 by Talent Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 22) : I’ve already tried, mate…

  • Comment 24, posted at 25.07.13 17:59:52 by robdylan Reply
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  • Rob thanx mate, that’s all we can ask of you. Really hope John & co can get Ludik to stay!!!!! he’s the best fullback in SA.

  • Comment 25, posted at 25.07.13 20:28:59 by JD Reply
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  • The obvious choice at 13 is Tyler Fisher, get the young lad involved, play him outside Whitehead

  • Comment 26, posted at 25.07.13 22:09:43 by Saffex Reply

    SaffexCurrie Cup player
     
  • @Saffex (Comment 26) : yes I think that will be a good move to give him a chance at 13. Hell anyone is better than Joubert.

  • Comment 27, posted at 25.07.13 22:58:50 by JD Reply
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  • I’ll do my best! Oh… You meant Sean Everitt… Never mind :lol:

  • Comment 28, posted at 25.07.13 23:37:05 by SeanyJMc Reply

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  • @Saffex (Comment 26) : I think that for those who’ve watched the first two under 21 games of the season, Fisher is not quite so obvious a choice yet.

  • Comment 29, posted at 26.07.13 09:14:13 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 29) : Yes Rob,a bit slow i thought.

  • Comment 30, posted at 26.07.13 09:18:06 by bobby 26 Reply
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  • @bobby 26 (Comment 30) : look, I’m not a big one for ripping players apart on this site, especially youngsters who have plenty of potential… from what I’ve heard, though, Tyler had a particularly poor game against the Lions and will be quite fortunate to retain his spot in the under 21 side next week. That sort of thing doesn’t bode well for an immediate senior call-up.

    Let’s keep some perspective, though. The kid is still just 20.

  • Comment 31, posted at 26.07.13 09:40:56 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 31) : And then people still wonder why we absolutely love Lambie, who showed more maturity at the tender age of twenty than Bakkies did his entire career. :twisted:

  • Comment 32, posted at 26.07.13 09:53:49 by FireTheLooser Reply

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  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 32) : but Lambie is the exception, rather than the norm.

    Sharks have been lambasted in the past for “not backing youth”, but another thing that we’ve often got wrong is to back youth too soon.

  • Comment 33, posted at 26.07.13 09:55:21 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 31) : massive talent and yes i don’t like playing those youngsters to early in the big leagues

  • Comment 34, posted at 26.07.13 09:58:15 by bobby 26 Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 33) : I think suportes want the young guys to be thrown in the deep end way too early, and the coaches (read Plum) was way too cautious in giving the youngsters a chance to grow with the seniors.

    I trust that between Smit and Venter, this integration and transition between junior and senior rugby will be far more seamless.

  • Comment 35, posted at 26.07.13 10:01:46 by FireTheLooser Reply

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  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 35) : agree with you.

    I mean, at the end of the day, it’s not Tyler Fisher’s fault that we don’t have a decent option for 13 at senior level, is it?

  • Comment 36, posted at 26.07.13 10:07:26 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Talent (Comment 23) : I don’t understand why you always carry on about the Kriel twins, the boys were schoolboys in KZN just last year, surely if they had any desire of playing for the Sharks they would’ve stayed.

  • Comment 37, posted at 26.07.13 10:26:27 by Ludz Reply

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