In a wide-ranging interview with the Sunday Tribune, Sharks coach Jake White has explained some of his thinking relating to a number of the youngsters in his Super Rugby squad.
White reveals that he considers Anton Bresler’s experience a vital ingredient next to the somewhat greener Pieter-Steph du Toit, hence the decision to back the former’s 33 caps when he picks his starting line-up for Saturday’s season-opener against the Bulls. Bresler has played no rugby at all in six months after a frustrating shoulder injury, but having come through 80 minutes against the Lions on Friday evening looks a sure bet to be named in the number 4 jersey.
White further reveals that young Etienne Oosthuizen is nursing a shoulder injury, but is by no means out of the picture. He says that Bresler’s selection “doesn’t mean I’ve lost faith in Etienne, or his days are numbered. If I feel that Bresler’s combination with Pieter-Steph du Toit is working, I will keep them together for a few weeks. But I could also change that and give Etienne a crack.”
White also tells the Tribune that he sees young Andre Esterhuizen and Tyler Fisher as ideal understudies to Frans Steyn and SP Marais at inside center and fullback respectively. Esterhuizen, who has covered a number of positions across the backline during the early past of his career, will focus on inside center for the Sharks. White explains that “h is big, he is strong, and has great hands at 12. What I don’t want to do is isolate him on the outside where he would be coming up against players like (All Black) Julian Savea and Israel Dagg. He would then be judged against the very best.”
The youngster is currently on a special speed program, though, as the coach admits “we want him a yard quicker over the first 10m.”Tweet