robdylan

Looking at the changes


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 9 Apr 2015 at 10:34
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It’s been a while since we had much to talk about in terms of selection, with Gary Gold by and large keeping things as steady as he’s been able to, taking injury, suspension and rest into account.

This week, for the first time, it looks as though changes have been made for other reasons too – in other words, for perhaps the first time this season there’s a clear whiff of players being “dropped”, even though I’m sure that term will never be mentioned by the coaches. Let’s have a look at who’s in and who’s out and give our verdict.

Changing both starting props this week was perhaps a bit of a left field move, although the “rest” requirement certainly does add a bit of clarity to the thinking. Jannie du Plessis has played very well so far this season, while Beast Mtawarira has blown hot and cold. It’s hard to really argue that either has been dropped this week, but the coaches seem to have made a bit of a statement with this week’s selection by leaving out these two senior players. Their replacements now need to step up or step out. Dale Chadwick has put in some fine performances in the past at loosehead, but also some rather mediocre ones and if ever there was a time for him to show that he has a future (or IS the future) it’s this week. A dominant scrumming display against a highly-rated opponent in Julian Redelinghuys is the minimum requirement here; that applies even more so to Lourens Adriaanse, who has yet to really prove that it was worth jettisoning a handful of young home-grown tightheads in order to contract him. Lourens had a fantastic season with the Cheetahs in 2013 and it’s now time for him to rediscover that form. Jannie simply cannot play every game and we’ve seen that Matt Stevens struggles at this level. Time for Lourens to grab the baton, in other words.

At hooker, my heart bleeds for Kyle Cooper. I’ve always been a big fan of the player and consider him better than even the great Bismarck du Plessis in some areas; ball-carrying in particular. That doesn’t mean we can or should gloss over the mistakes he’s made since being given the starting role two weeks ago. I’m not even talking about the fumble in the 22 last week (I’ll give him credit for even being there) but rather set piece failings that saw tight heads conceded for seemingly failing to hook and some rather ordinary lineout throwing. The Sharks need their lineout to function in order for their game to work and Kyle, I’m afraid, simply hasn’t taken the opportunity in this regard. I’m incredibly pleased for Franco Marais, on the other hand and I’m sure he’s going to do well. There’s always a bit of nervousness when a new man starts for the first time, but when it comes to this kid, I’m really not worried.

The loose trio picks itself without Deysel there and the combination of Marcell Coetzee and Renaldo Bothma has worked well so far this season – they’re similar players in many ways but the effect of that pressure defence around the fringes is going to be important this week.

At flyhalf, Fred Zeilinga is the right man for the job and will have fond memories of a man-of-the-match performance at Ellis Park in his first Currie Cup campaign. Fred needs to get into the game early and shake off any rust he may be carrying, because his game management is what will be key for the Sharks. I have no doubt that he’ll step up and deliver a commanding performance; one that puts his name firmly back in the headlines.

SP Marais is apparently being rested this week. That makes sense, because for him to be dropped while the rest of the ordinary backline plays on would be highly unfair. We’ve been critical of SP in the past, but he’s raised his game over the last few weeks. Odwa at fullback is interesting; I’ve long felt that this may be his best position but I also wonder whether it might be a little late in the day to be making the switch. More concerning is that both S’bura Sithole and Lwazi Mvovo tend to suffer from low work rate on on the wing (a strength of Odwa’s) while Waylon Murray is simply not shaping at outside centre. We’ll need to see what happens out there, but I cannot quite fathom why Sithole wasn’t rather picked at 13, with the rest of the line left as is.



31 Comments

  • Waylon needs to focus on straightening the line – he takes away all the space from the wings on attack.

    The bigger question for me is what sort of game plan we will follow. Best would probably be to keep things simple. However that does not mean just kicking every ball straight back to the Lions.

  • Comment 1, posted at 09.04.15 10:41:20 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • I may have mentioned this before but I’d also love to understand the reasoning behind selecting Sbu on the wing. Hoping both Fred and Odders have blinders.

  • Comment 2, posted at 09.04.15 10:42:34 by vanmartin Reply
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  • I don’t mind losing knowing the boys threw the ball around more and stopped this aimless kicking but if that happens again on Saturday you have to question where the boys heads at.

    Good team and possible currie cup team. Hoping there is enough GEES to get us a win.

  • Comment 3, posted at 09.04.15 10:42:48 by Shane Hansen Reply

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  • @vanmartin (Comment 2) : maybe bringing him back without putting too much pressure on him,
    You know SA wings don’t get much action.

  • Comment 4, posted at 09.04.15 10:44:02 by Shane Hansen Reply

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  • @vanmartin (Comment 2) : I’ve asked Sean Everitt for comment. Let’s see what he says.

  • Comment 5, posted at 09.04.15 10:44:52 by robdylan Reply
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  • Is Heimar Williams injured? Murray adds nothing in my book, hasn’t since Barrett left him for greener pastures. To think we also let Tim Whitehead go. .

  • Comment 6, posted at 09.04.15 10:46:19 by The Quirk Reply
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  • I would love to see Heimar and Sithole in the midfield, and Mvovo and Odwa on the wings. At fullback I would love to see Willie le Roux! ;) :mrgreen:

  • Comment 7, posted at 09.04.15 10:47:43 by Ben Reply
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  • @The Quirk (Comment 6) : Heimar is playing Vodacom

  • Comment 8, posted at 09.04.15 10:49:36 by robdylan Reply
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  • Spot on with the article Rob – all I can add is that I agree with all that you said.

  • Comment 9, posted at 09.04.15 10:51:12 by Big Fish Reply
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  • Our two centers didn’t show anything last week on attack or defense. Easily my biggest worry this week is those two.

  • Comment 10, posted at 09.04.15 10:51:42 by Dragnipur Reply
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  • @Shane Hansen (Comment 4) : Could be but with the utmost respect to Sbu, he’s not been that great on the wing so there’s risk involved in picking him there too. Sbu surely has more to offer than Murray at 13 even coming in cold?

    @robdylan (Comment 5) : Hope he gets back to you in that. I think a lot of us would be very interested in the answer.

    @The Quirk (Comment 6) : I’m still sad that he was let go. He seemed to struggle with injuries but jeez he was a smart player.

  • Comment 11, posted at 09.04.15 10:53:20 by vanmartin Reply
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  • “tight heads conceded for seemingly failing to hook” – At some point I thought we were trying the Lions tactic of pushing over the ball.

    Do you think it was a case of Kyle unable to hook because of the pressure from the opposition, or perhaps the Sharks also trying this way of scrumming?

  • Comment 12, posted at 09.04.15 10:53:28 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 2) : 100% that…

  • Comment 13, posted at 09.04.15 11:53:44 by pastorshark Reply
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  • I see Pat Howard is playing VC for Province, I wonder if he doesnt want to return home and play a bit of Super Rugby.

  • Comment 14, posted at 09.04.15 11:54:26 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Shane Hansen (Comment 4) : But give the Boy a Chance, surely…

  • Comment 15, posted at 09.04.15 11:54:38 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Yep, Whitehead is missed, Jordaan also.

  • Comment 16, posted at 09.04.15 11:55:47 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 14) : :lol: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 17, posted at 09.04.15 11:56:09 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 15) : I saw you were reminiscing yesterday. How would you like a centre pairing of Sarel Erwee and Ronnie Haarhof?

  • Comment 18, posted at 09.04.15 11:57:06 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • Ah, the good old days!! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 19, posted at 09.04.15 12:00:16 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 19) : Yep, when we had no choice but to be creative with ball in hand because our scrum was not really going to be bulldozing anybody.

  • Comment 20, posted at 09.04.15 12:03:17 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • I think all our problems will be solved if the guys has something to play for collectively. It just looks like they have no will to play and win, just pitching for the match and hoping to score a win, no intensity, fix that, and we will be punishing all the doubters soon.

  • Comment 21, posted at 09.04.15 12:04:44 by Quintin Reply

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  • I still feel they should give Chadwick some time to train up on Tighthead or at the least get Thomas to sharpen up again on that position since he started out as a TH. I like Adriaanse but if he is to be the Jannie replacement we need to make the decision and stick to it. This whole fall back to Matt Stevens is messing with the player and to be honest Matt Steven on his best day has not been adequate not at this level. Leave Stevens at Vodacom cup to pass down experience and commit to Adraanse BUT also start building another young guy else we end up in the same boat when Jannie packs his bags for overseas. If we looked after Redelinghhuys this would be less of an issue. Secondly is no-one at the Sharks managemnt seeing the impending issue at wing and centre and doing something about it? JP needs to play his position so that real centers can step up into 13 Murray needs to play off the bench if at all. Wilson needs game time else why did they acquire him?

  • Comment 22, posted at 09.04.15 12:17:56 by coolfusion Reply

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  • @vanmartin (Comment 11) : He wouldn’t be coming in cold would he? I mean at least warmer than Murray. He has been playing 13 at VC level whilst Murray has had much less game time. So Sithole would probably be a safer bet.

  • Comment 23, posted at 09.04.15 12:21:17 by coolfusion Reply

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  • @coolfusion (Comment 23) : Good point!

  • Comment 24, posted at 09.04.15 12:28:14 by vanmartin Reply
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  • I thought Esterhuizen defended pretty well last week.

  • Comment 25, posted at 09.04.15 12:55:40 by Southern_Shark Reply
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  • @Southern_Shark (Comment 25) : Our whole team actually defended pretty well last week.

  • Comment 26, posted at 09.04.15 13:03:25 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 26) : I’m sorry, what?

    We conceded 8 tries.

    This must be some jape or jest that I’m not clever enough to understand.

  • Comment 27, posted at 09.04.15 13:05:45 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 27) : ooops forgot to finish the sentence off, here goes……against Nemani Ndolo. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 28, posted at 09.04.15 13:10:21 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @coolfusion (Comment 22) : I have to agree with you on the Wilson issue. Its difficult to judge him on his abilities cos we really havent seen him play but the few minutes he’s had on the field he’s always looked hungry and full of energy and looking for work, something the sharks really need at the moment. And as you rightly point out we paid for the guy so why arent we using him especially when other obvious failures we have purchased just cant seem to stay out of the team….

  • Comment 29, posted at 09.04.15 14:31:44 by SharkED Reply

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  • Positives boys, positives. :razz:

  • Comment 30, posted at 09.04.15 15:31:28 by Southern_Shark Reply
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  • @SharkED (Comment 29) : Yeah, I would have preferred Sburra at 13 and Wilson in with Waylon on the bench…but, hey, let’s see what happens on Saturday…

  • Comment 31, posted at 09.04.15 23:50:15 by pastorshark Reply
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