KSA Shark ©

Naas: Pienaar’s not the fly-half answer

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Sharks, Super 14 on 29 May 2008 at 07:19

Legendary Springbok Naas Botha says the Sharks’ lack of continuity at fly-half along with playing Ruan Pienaar out of position at No 10 may have contributed to their Super 14 demise.

“I don’t think the Sharks ever settled at flyhalf and that was one of the hiccups this season. I know Dick Muir’s hand was forced a bit because of (Frederic) Michalak’s injury and because Frans Steyn never really took total control at fly-half. But I still believe if that position was sorted out earlier, like Butch James did for the Sharks last year, then it would have helped.”

Craig Lewis writes in the Daily News that Botha added that he was extremely puzzled by the selection of Pienaar at fly-half.

“For so many years he has been a scrum-half; why would he suddenly be this brilliant fly-half? Try explain it to me and I’ll accept it. When I was playing I played nearly 30 years at fly-half and suddenly you want to tell me I would have been this great fullback. I’m sorry it doesn’t make sense to me.

“If from the first game he got moulded into the flyhalf position it’s a different ball game, but otherwise you are not going to get away with it and I think the Sharks learnt that.”

And where does Botha think the prodigiously talented Steyn should play?

“I think Steyn needs a little bit more room to manoeuvre at this stage in his career and I would think fullback is the best bet. He should really look at that. If the team is under pressure he can kick the ball 60 to 70 metres.”

Botha said he thought it had still been a “fantastic” Super 14 season for the Sharks though.

“I’m a real supporter of the way Dick (Muir) went through the season by placing emphasis on first winning your games before anything else. That is still the right attitude and your first priority should always be to win.”

Throughout his long and illustrious career, Botha was renowned for his incredible kicking ability as well as his astute tactical understanding of the game.

On Monday he shared some of that knowledge with numerous players from the Sharks Academy and surrounding clubs. He told them it was time to stop making excuses, to get in shape and to fully appreciate the privilege of playing competitive rugby. He then conducted a comprehensive kicking clinic.

At the moment the Sharks are enjoying a well-earned break after an arduous Super 14 campaign, but rest assured that soon-to-be coach John Plumtree is already mulling over what plans he should put in place ahead of the Currie Cup.

As Botha said (with tongue-in-cheek): “The Sharks need to win a trophy. They have had some fantastic tournaments without winning any and, like I saw on Sky news, Avram Grant (former Chelsea manager) has been fired after a number of near-wins were not deemed good enough.”

Meanwhile on the national scene, Springbok coach Peter de Villiers will be doing some pondering on Wednesday as he cuts his training squad from 47 to 30.

Botha said a number of Sharks were likely to come close to Bok squad selection but whether or not they would actually make the starting line-up was another story.

“The thinking of Peter de Villiers may be slightly different from that of Jake White and we must give him an opportunity to prove how he is thinking.”


  • also think steyn is a natural 15, tall, kicks like a mule, only problem is that fullback is one of the positions where experience really makes a difference, look at percy and stefan, old dudes but they have that extra millisecond of time cos they have cool heads, one thing steyn lacks at the moment.

    ai, ruan ruan ruan, as i have told u guys before i think he is the most naturally talented rugby player in the country, i firmly believe this, i just wish we could get it right to utilise him better.

  • Comment 1, posted at 29.05.08 07:40:57 by knersboy Reply
  • Naas making sense… 😉

  • Comment 2, posted at 29.05.08 07:43:05 by Charlie Reply
  • Not Rocket Science eh Naas in hindsight… you should have read the SW comments all season…lol!

  • Comment 3, posted at 29.05.08 08:05:55 by bryce_in_oz Reply
  • Sorry, I only read the first half of the article, but Ruan was flyhalf through most of the u21 world cup to accommodate Delport, so this isn’t a completely new position to him. And, he performed well there.

  • Comment 4, posted at 29.05.08 08:09:08 by molly Reply
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  • Ruan reminds me of Henri Honiball. He will settle there if left in that position.Same for Frans. 😕

  • Comment 5, posted at 29.05.08 10:39:40 by markm Reply

  • @markm (Comment 5) : wish he could tackle like Lem 😉

    Welcome to the site, BTW…

  • Comment 6, posted at 29.05.08 10:43:14 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Rob, U got mail….

  • Comment 7, posted at 29.05.08 10:47:45 by hellbent Reply

  • @hellbent (Comment 7) : ja thanks… busy reading it now. Looks good. Do I get partial writing credit? 😉

  • Comment 8, posted at 29.05.08 10:48:49 by robdylan Reply
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  • On Naas’s thoughts, perhaps Ruan was a natural 10 who was played at 9 to start with?

    I don’t know that he has that tenacity and bulldogish nature (like Conradie, Januarie, Kockott) to be a scrumhalf, nor does he clear the ball out the back of the scrum fast enough.

    I think his range of skills don’t get enough opportunity at 9 that they do at 10.

    Currie Cup would have been a great opportunity to play him at 10 for the entire competition for both the Sharks and Boks long term interests.

  • Comment 9, posted at 29.05.08 10:51:40 by hellbent Reply

  • Rob, no, but I’ll buy you a beer!

  • Comment 10, posted at 29.05.08 10:52:17 by hellbent Reply

  • @hellbent (Comment 9) : instead he’ll get Bok splinters for 3 solid months!

  • Comment 11, posted at 29.05.08 10:53:59 by robdylan Reply
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  • @hellbent (Comment 10) : sweet. You gonna DHL it to me?

  • Comment 12, posted at 29.05.08 10:56:18 by robdylan Reply
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  • Rob, it’s such a stupid ridiculious scenario. Why not let him play in the meantime?

  • Comment 13, posted at 29.05.08 10:59:36 by hellbent Reply

  • @hellbent (Comment 13) : I’m not really sure… still don’t know why we need three scrumhalves anyway

  • Comment 14, posted at 29.05.08 11:14:51 by robdylan Reply
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  • I still think Bad Brad is the Sharks’ long-term solution at 10

  • Comment 15, posted at 29.05.08 11:56:37 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 15) :

    But I thought he was our long term 12 solution? ;)…..ah yes that cloning thing

  • Comment 16, posted at 29.05.08 13:32:08 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive Pass
  • @Dive Pass (Comment 16) : Glad you’ve finally caught on

  • Comment 17, posted at 29.05.08 13:47:36 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Ag please!

    As if Naas knows anything about playing flyhalf. 😆

  • Comment 18, posted at 30.05.08 09:13:19 by wpw (YNWA) Reply

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