Pondering squad composition

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super 14 on 15 Apr 2008 at 10:09

Let’s start by getting this off my chest. It’s utter bullshit to have to go through a five-week tour in the Super 14 with a squad of only 26 players. That’s only 4 guys outside of your matchday 22 and if anyone gets injured, it’s virtually impossible to get a replacement out in time to be of any use for the following game.

Looking at the predicament the Sharks are facing now, with two key forwards potentially out for Saturday’s game, we can clearly see the impact of this. The Sharks opted to go with a 15-11 split in their squad, with 4 props, 3 hookers, 3 locks, 4 loose forwards and one utility (AJ Venter) making up the 15 forwards. Assuming a 5-2 split on the bench, which the Sharks seem to favour these days, you then need 13 forwards in your matchday 22. Losing two guys on the eve of a match means than every single fit forward in your tour party needs to be in the 22.

Problem we have here is that we then end up with two hookers on the bench. Traditional wisdom dictates that a tour squad MUST have 3 hookers, which is a little bit of fiction that I really don’t understand. Should both Muller and Daniel be ruled out, regardless of who else we pick, we end up with only Jean Deysel to cover the entire second and back row. Our only options outside that are to pick Craig Burden as a loose forward replacement, or use a 4-3 split. Even the latter makes little sense, as it is most unusual to have two props, one hooker and one “utlilty” forward as your four forward replacements.

For a side that prides itself on the quality of forward play and the spectacular depth we boast in terms of impact options, this situation is frankly a nightmare. Furthermore, it’s just plain stupid that it has come about at all.

Should SARU really give a toss about the progress of SA teams on tour, they would have pushed for a 30-man tour group for tours of 4 weeks or longer, particularly given the logistics of trying to call up a replacement at short notice. In a tour group containing 16 forwards, assuming we had only brought two hookers along, we would have had Blignaut or Hargreaves available to come in as a locking option and could perhaps have brought the impressive young Justin Downey along to experience his first taste of super rugby.

Right now, we’re going to have to cobble together a makeshift team and just hope for the best.


  • Rob,

    Don’t worry, there’s always Fransie Steyn… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 1, posted at 15.04.08 10:13:06 by Charlie Reply
  • Part of the problem here is Burden. They just can’t seem to get over this idea that he isn’t good enough to start at hooker

  • Comment 2, posted at 15.04.08 10:13:24 by robdylan (LTOFT) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Charlie, I hope to goodness he’s a better loose forward than he is a flyhalf.

  • Comment 3, posted at 15.04.08 10:13:46 by robdylan (LTOFT) Reply
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  • Rob

    the split on the bench has ansd will for always be a bone of contention, freak accidents will happen as its a contact sport, but need less to say even with a “makeshift” team the people dick can utilise will and should be man enough to stand up to the brumbies,

    in years to come the rugby game will change as will the squads that gets selected to do duty,

    graig burden should in any case ply his trade as a nr 6.

  • Comment 4, posted at 15.04.08 10:17:41 by barend Reply

  • Kojak’s on the blog… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 5, posted at 15.04.08 10:18:37 by Charlie Reply


    Telling it like it is: “It is time, surely, for some immediate and drastic action from the B….s who have now become a disgrace to (the country’s) most well-stocked rugby region with their clueless and lethargic play in this Super 14. The members of the franchise’s board should be meeting this week and their reaction to the most gormless back-to-back performances this champion side has produced in the competition’s history should be conclusive. Someone has to go, and that someone should be coach ……. Possibly even captain ……… as well. It is that bad. That awful. The B…s resemble nothing now, if not a rudderless bunch of under-achievers who are simply going through the motions in a Super 14 season destined for ignominy. I’m convinced the only way to arrest this decline is to take the most drastic step imaginable. Yes, it will take a major move outside the comfort zone for the normally conservative B….s administration which is heard from all too infrequently. And yes, it might be unprecedented for a coach to be removed mid-campaign, especially one who is as engaging and, at his best, as capable as ……. But, surely, there is now no other alternative. Blind Freddy could tell you …… has lost the ear of his team.”

    Some unfair South African writer on the Bulls? No, New Zealand journalist Marc Hinton on the Blues.

  • Comment 6, posted at 15.04.08 10:21:55 by barend Reply

  • he he he

  • Comment 7, posted at 15.04.08 10:23:37 by robdylan (LTOFT) Reply
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  • Don’t worry. Mike Greenway reports this morning that Johan Muller and Keegan Daniel are ready to play. Bloody marvelous if u ask me cos Johann’s been inspirational this year. Also Kockett will start ahead of Pienaar. 🙂 Now if only Steyn would be benched then Dick would finally see the light!!!!

  • Comment 8, posted at 15.04.08 10:49:30 by CapeShark Reply
    The Great Couch Shark
  • really, CapeShark?

  • Comment 9, posted at 15.04.08 11:03:11 by robdylan (LTOFT) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • where did you see that report? I can’t find it…

  • Comment 10, posted at 15.04.08 11:10:58 by robdylan (LTOFT) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator

    more specifically:

  • Comment 11, posted at 15.04.08 11:18:07 by CapeShark Reply
    The Great Couch Shark
  • Thanks CS

    A thread is up with the good news.

  • Comment 12, posted at 15.04.08 11:23:56 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • I thought Mike was your contact rob… ❓ 😆

    Looks like there’s not much between the Bulls and the Blues…

  • Comment 13, posted at 15.04.08 11:31:58 by blackshark (JAWS) Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • Mike and I are getting closer 😉

  • Comment 14, posted at 15.04.08 11:34:24 by robdylan (LTOFT) Reply
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