KSA Shark ©

Tongan torpedo back in Shark tank

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Sharks, Super 14 on 19 May 2008 at 06:48

Sharks coach Dick Muir is considering the surprise inclusion of Tongan torpedo Epi Taione in the side to face the Waratahs in a Super 14 semifinal in Sydney on Saturday.

Rugby 365 reports that the Sharks reached the play-offs with an emphatic 47-25 victory over the Chiefs in Durban at the weekend, which saw them move from sixth to third on the standings.

Now Muir, who has a penchant for team selection shocks, is considering drafting the Harlequins-bound Tongan utility back into his matchday squad.

Taione, a controversial figure who was banned for six weeks after a reckless headbutt during the Sharks’ dramatic 13-all draw with the Hurricanes on April 5, has already signed a deal to join English Premiership club Quins later this year.

This follows the decision of Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl to tear up his contract last month.

In fact, the powerfully-built, 123kg Taione, who could play either at loose forward or centre, saw only about 25 minutes of Super 14 rugby spread over two games.

He arrived in Durban over a month late – once his commitments to Japanese club Sanyo Wild Knights were completed – and came off the bench in making his Super 14 debut against the Reds in Durban on March 29 – and then got red-carded for that headbutt against the Hurricanes.

He was ruled out for the remainder of the Super 14 league stages – missing matches against the Highlanders, Waratahs, Brumbies, Crusaders, Cheetahs and Chiefs.

Muir is hoping that Taione’s inclusion will give his team a greater physicality at the breakdown in the semifinal, after they were outmuscled during their league encounter with the Waratahs in Sydney last month – a 25-10 win for the ‘Tahs.

While the 29-year-old Taione certainly brings with him a good measure of physicality, his poor disciplinary record could easily make him a target of match officials.

He was released from his Sale Sharks (English Premiership) contract at the end of the 2005/06 season, after receiving an 18-week ban for biting Munster’s Denis Leamy in a Heineken Cup tie.

Taione also made only one Premiership start for Sale, following his move from Newcastle the previous year.

He then joined the Sanyo Wild Knights in Japan, from where he joined the Sharks.

Taione also controversially changed his name to Paddy Power for the duration of the 2007 World Cup in a sponsorship deal agreed with an Irish bookmaker.

* Meanwhile a question mark remains over the fitness of the Sharks’ World Cup-winning utility back Frans Steyn.

Steyn flew out with the team to Sydney on Sunday, but it is not sure if he will recover in time from his rib injury.

Muir named a squad that includes nine backs and 15 forwards.

Veteran Johan Ackermann, who has made two ‘comebacks’ for the Sharks this season, did not travel with the team after appearing in just one match in his latest re-emergence from retirement.

Sharks squad:

Backs: Rory Kockott, Ruan Pienaar, Brad Barritt, Frans Steyn, Waylon Murray, Adrian Jacobs, JP Pietersen Odwa Ndungane, Stefan Terblanche.

Forwards: Bismarck du Plessis, Craig Burden, Tendai Mtawarira, Deon Carstens, BJ Botha, Jannie du Plessis, Johann Muller, Albert van den Berg, Steven Sykes, Jacques Botes, Keegan Daniel, AJ Venter, Jean Deysel, Ryan Kankowski, Epi Taione.



  • Man whoever wrote this article (365 don’t credit anyone) sure as hell either doesn’t like Taione or wants a negaive spin on him coming back. BIG TIME.

  • Comment 1, posted at 19.05.08 07:08:22 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Muir named a squad that includes nine backs and 15 forwards.

    Flip that is a heavy ratio. 😯

    but he hasn’t left any big named back at home.

  • Comment 2, posted at 19.05.08 07:10:19 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Let’s hope Paddy concentrates on playing rugby only now & leaves the biting, headbutting etc for fight club nights.

  • Comment 3, posted at 19.05.08 08:21:02 by racheltjiedebeer Reply
  • HUH???

  • Comment 4, posted at 19.05.08 08:22:39 by PJLD Reply
  • What has he been doing for the past 6 weeks?

    I really thought AJ had a decent game on Sat…so I’m surprised that DM is considering putting EPI in the STARTING 15.

  • Comment 5, posted at 19.05.08 09:55:20 by blackshark N.R.N.S! Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @blackshark N.R.N.S! (Comment 5) :

    I believe he was up north signing his new contract. Hope he has been training with Quins already.

  • Comment 6, posted at 19.05.08 10:05:18 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • I am a bit ambivalent on this one…certainly Epi can perform as we have seen in last years world cup but he does discipline issues and we have a new emerging talent in Deysel, who has helped the Sharks get into the Semis.

    I would personally leave Epi out of the plans and go with Deysel and Venter for blind side flanker…. Unless you want to use Epi as an impact winger in the second half, now that could perhaps work.

  • Comment 7, posted at 19.05.08 10:10:29 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive Pass
  • @Dive Pass (Comment 7) :

    very telling that the author says Epi is a utility back.

    If Steyn is out you only have one extra back in the squad. You can start with Adi and Brad and have Epi on the bench with Murray as cover at the back. still leaves us a little thin.

  • Comment 8, posted at 19.05.08 10:17:18 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 8) :

    We going to end up with a situation like Saturday with Burden playing in the backs.

  • Comment 9, posted at 19.05.08 10:22:17 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive Pass
  • @Dive Pass (Comment 9) :

    rather him than Mentz. 🙄

    Did Mentz get on the park on Sat? If he didn’t it must be demoralizing to see a forward get subbed into the backs rather than using a back who is on the bench.

  • Comment 10, posted at 19.05.08 10:24:20 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 10) : Mentz was never on the bench. Unless he came on wearing an Andries Strauss mask 😉

  • Comment 11, posted at 19.05.08 10:30:19 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Mentz wasn’t on the bench KSA….everyone came off the bench as far as I am aware.

  • Comment 12, posted at 19.05.08 10:31:45 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive Pass
  • the bench was:

    16 Burden
    17 Carstens
    18 vd Berg
    19 Deysel
    20 Daniel
    21 Strauss
    22 Murray

  • Comment 13, posted at 19.05.08 10:35:31 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Okay this is How I had the bench from Superrugby during the game.

    16. Craig Burden
    18. Albert van den Berg / Johan Ackermann
    19. Jean Roy Deysel
    20. Keegan Daniel
    21. Waylon Murray
    22. Henno Mentz

    Obviously they got it wrong and so did i. 😳

  • Comment 14, posted at 19.05.08 10:38:36 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 14) : That’s why I said you were being creative 😉

  • Comment 15, posted at 19.05.08 11:07:51 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Sharks Forever!) (Comment 15) :
    😀 Ah now things become clear 😆

  • Comment 16, posted at 19.05.08 11:13:56 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 16) : I didn’t even see the reserves announced on TV

  • Comment 17, posted at 19.05.08 11:23:19 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator

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