What’s the plan with Ross Cronje?

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super 14 on 26 Mar 2009 at 13:39
Tagged with : , , ,

I’m starting to get more than just a little confused about the strategy when it comes to the Sharks bench in this year’s Super 14. The latest surprise is to see Ross Cronjé dropped from the Super 14 squad entirely after spending the last month touring with the team and sitting firmly on the bench for the entire 320 minutes.

Two questions are foremost in my mind at this point and both are equally baffling. Firstly, what exactly did Cronjé do during the pre-season that was impressive enough to warrant a spot in the 22 anyway, given that Charl McLeod should by rights have been next in the scrumhalf pecking order – and also has far more experience and maturity? Secondly, given that he has played a grand total of 15 minutes of rugby, despite being in the Sharks 22 every week for the last six rounds, what exactly is it that the youngster has done wrong that he had now been demoted? Hardly seems fair to be dropped when you’ve never even got onto the park in the first place, now does it?

I suspect that I already know the answer to both of these questions and the reasoning is pretty convoluted. Given that, when Ruan Pienaar was at flyhalf, the Sharks essentially had both their first and second choice scrumhalves in the starting XV, adding a raw youngster on the bench was probably a pretty safe bet, given that he was pretty unlikely to ever get onto the pitch. Cronjé has now had first-hand experience of being on tour with the Sharks and is presumably far better integrated into the team set-up and culture than he would otherwise have been. From that perspective, taking him on tour was no more wasteful than the way that Skipper Badenhorst, Joe Snyman and Justin Downey were lugged halfway round the world only to play no rugby whatsoever in the process. Pienaar’s injury now makes it far more important to have an experienced scrumhalf on the bench and given Charl McLeod’s good Vodacom Cup form to date, it probably does make sense to bring him in.

For Cronjé, Downey and the rest, as tough as it is to go from the Sharks bench one week to the Vodacom Cup the next, I guess the prospect of finally getting some time out in the middle must be an attractive one. I guess there’s never going to be an easy answer when you have 26 players going on a month-long tour. I would argue that the coach really has a responsibility to at least ensure half an hour of game time for eveyone in the party… I mean, it’s only 4 extra guys (3 if you consider that Waylon Murray still isn’t fit) and if you have a guy that you don’t consider good enough to play half an hour of Super 14 rugby without weakening the team, why the hell is he in the tour group anyway?

To take a leaf from Bryce’s book here, I feel Plumtree really does have a fair bit to learn about 22-man, 85-minute rugby. The days of the 15-man game are long gone and you need to pick a bench that actually adds something coming on against tired legs – it’s not just there in case you need to do an injury-enforced reshuffle. We’ve seen in the last weeks just how good and hungry Riaan Swanepoel and Zuks Vulindlu are for rugby. Might we not have a few more bonus points to our name had we actually introduced off the bench in our earlier games? Could Justin Downey not perhaps have contributed something to our quest for a fourth try last weekend?

I guess we’ll never know.


  • 16 or 26 players going on a month long tour.

  • Comment 1, posted at 26.03.09 13:54:49 by try time Reply
  • Yes Bryce has an excellent point – and it might just come back to bite them in the ass.

  • Comment 2, posted at 26.03.09 14:00:48 by Morné Reply
  • and with bryce as ref the sharks weren’t going to get a 4th try.

  • Comment 3, posted at 26.03.09 14:01:23 by try time Reply
  • which bryce you guys talking about.

  • Comment 4, posted at 26.03.09 14:02:12 by try time Reply
  • I also don’t get the 15 man rugby strategy…

    We were able to dominate the final rounds of the CC because our bench was used effectively and was always way superior than that of whoever we faced.

  • Comment 5, posted at 26.03.09 14:02:21 by blackshark Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @try time (Comment 4) : Bryce-in-Oz maybe?

  • Comment 6, posted at 26.03.09 14:04:07 by blackshark Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @try time (Comment 1) : it’s a typo. For goodness sake, work with me :mrgreen:

  • Comment 7, posted at 26.03.09 14:04:36 by robdylan Reply
  • @try time (Comment 4) :

    Blogger, bryce_in_aus! 🙂

  • Comment 8, posted at 26.03.09 14:06:39 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 8) : bryce-an-ass 🙂

  • Comment 9, posted at 26.03.09 14:11:45 by robdylan Reply
  • And what does it matter who sits on the bench ❓ the way plum is going the back reserves do not get to play anyway. 🙄

  • Comment 10, posted at 26.03.09 14:12:58 by rekinek Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 9) :

    He he he… enter Bryce… NOW!!!!

  • Comment 11, posted at 26.03.09 14:14:36 by blackshark Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @rekinek (Comment 10) :

    I hope that’s going to change soon…starting this weekend…

  • Comment 12, posted at 26.03.09 14:16:57 by blackshark Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!
  • thinking about the ross/skipper/justin/etc saga mybe its just they havnt played in a while and have splinters in their bums and need the game time nothing more nothing less

  • Comment 13, posted at 26.03.09 14:19:48 by Fattmann Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : ah but now that you have fixed it my comment looks odd, so it came back to bite me.

  • Comment 14, posted at 26.03.09 14:20:06 by try time Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 9) :

    Oh, THAT Bryce!!! 😈

  • Comment 15, posted at 26.03.09 14:21:13 by wpw Reply
  • I need help cooking a fillet steak

  • Comment 16, posted at 26.03.09 14:22:44 by Claytie Reply
  • let’s hope that the tactics was to go through the tour unbeaten (which almost happened) and once at home give new guys some gametime. 😐

    I think that they needed scrummie on the bench so that ruan wouldn’t need to shift there – maybe this year he only wants to play flyhalf 😆

  • Comment 17, posted at 26.03.09 14:23:02 by rekinek Reply
  • Well it ain’t Bryce Lawrence…

    Good write up… feel my pain this season… lol!

    Robbo… how come there is no choice option for the Canes in LMS?

  • Comment 18, posted at 26.03.09 14:23:17 by bryce_in_oz Reply
  • @Claytie (Comment 16) : 😯

    Yummy!! 😳

  • Comment 19, posted at 26.03.09 14:25:45 by wpw Reply
  • maybe the first prize for good U-19 CC performance was a month trip to aus & kiwiland :mrgreen:

  • Comment 20, posted at 26.03.09 14:26:06 by rekinek Reply
  • @Claytie (Comment 16) : no good at cooking… will help you eat it though :mrgreen:

  • Comment 21, posted at 26.03.09 14:26:32 by Rahul Reply
  • @Claytie (Comment 16) :

    How big and in a pan, griddle or bbq?

  • Comment 22, posted at 26.03.09 14:26:33 by bryce_in_oz Reply
  • @bryce_in_oz (Comment 18) : have u chosen them before ❓ 😆

  • Comment 23, posted at 26.03.09 14:27:07 by rekinek Reply
  • @Claytie (Comment 16) : cook as quickly as possible :mrgreen:

  • Comment 24, posted at 26.03.09 14:28:08 by rekinek Reply
  • @bryce_in_oz (Comment 18) : you picked them in round 4 🙂

  • Comment 25, posted at 26.03.09 14:28:20 by Rahul Reply
  • @bryce_in_oz (Comment 22) : Griddle bout 800grams.

    Just decided thats for supper, but haven’t tried it before.

  • Comment 26, posted at 26.03.09 14:28:45 by Claytie Reply
  • @rekinek (Comment 23) : @Rahul (Comment 25) :

    Got ya…

    @Claytie (Comment 26) :

    How many punters Claytie?

  • Comment 27, posted at 26.03.09 14:30:31 by bryce_in_oz Reply
  • @Rahul (Comment 25) : was it when they played cheetahs 😆

  • Comment 28, posted at 26.03.09 14:30:41 by rekinek Reply
  • @bryce_in_oz (Comment 18) :
    Have you chosen them before? 😛
    @Claytie (Comment 16) :
    Braai the motherf%^&er…

  • Comment 29, posted at 26.03.09 14:31:15 by blackshark Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @rekinek (Comment 28) : 😆

  • Comment 30, posted at 26.03.09 14:31:34 by Rahul Reply
  • @bryce_in_oz (Comment 27) : 2 😛

  • Comment 31, posted at 26.03.09 14:33:11 by Claytie Reply
  • @Claytie (Comment 26) :

    So what kinda help do you need? A recipe? 🙂

  • Comment 32, posted at 26.03.09 14:33:27 by blackshark Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!
  • the good news for those who will survive this weekend on LMS – is …. no more cheetahs bye until the end of competition :mrgreen:

  • Comment 33, posted at 26.03.09 14:34:17 by rekinek Reply
  • @rekinek (Comment 33) : So far 6 different teams picked! but none of the six are playing each other… 😯

  • Comment 34, posted at 26.03.09 14:35:41 by Rahul Reply
  • @Claytie (Comment 26) :

    Less is more.


    Do not season before the time unless you want to garnish it with some pepper (freshly ground only).

    Rub the STEAK with olive oil about 1/2 hour before the time with the pepper and possibly corriander (koljander).

    Corriander can by fried quickly (20 seconds) and then grounded to give extra flavour.

    Use a non stick griddle pan.

    Do not put oil in the pan, you are frying the steak not the pan.

    You can put a little in if you are worried but not too much.

    Heat the pan to quite hot but not smoking hot (actual smoke coming from the pan).

    Put steak in, press for 5 seconds to get griddle lines, turn (preferable only once) doing the same thing.

    Rare: 2 to 3 minutes
    Medium: 4 to 5 minutes
    Well Done: 6 to 8 minutes (not recommended).

    Those are total times not per side.

    Salt to taste afterwards or let the guy salt his own steak.

    Serve with sauce of choice on the side (not on the steak)!

  • Comment 35, posted at 26.03.09 14:37:48 by Morné Reply
  • Times also vary based on thickness of steak, great cuts are about 3 cm thick. If thicker increase times slightly.

  • Comment 36, posted at 26.03.09 14:39:16 by Morné Reply
  • “Do not put oil in the pan, you are frying the steak not the pan.”

    Ha Ha Ha! Tried that with an egg once

  • Comment 37, posted at 26.03.09 14:39:50 by Rahul Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 35) : Shot ❗ So the same rules that apply to normal steaks (rump,sirloin etc) apply to the fillet then.

    Wasn’t sure , the thickness thing threw me out.

  • Comment 38, posted at 26.03.09 14:43:08 by Claytie Reply
  • @Claytie (Comment 31) :

    do you need a recipe??? try

    and just use the search engine on that site… 😎

  • Comment 39, posted at 26.03.09 14:43:13 by wpw Reply
  • @Rahul (Comment 34) : interesting – looks like we have clear favourites.
    no much belief in stormers

  • Comment 40, posted at 26.03.09 14:44:25 by rekinek Reply
  • @rekinek (Comment 40) : I wonder if wpw has picked the stormers yet?

  • Comment 41, posted at 26.03.09 14:51:10 by Rahul Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 39) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 42, posted at 26.03.09 14:52:19 by Rahul Reply
  • @Claytie (Comment 31) :

    -cut in half… two even pieces
    -leave out of fridge liberally coated in oil (preferably olive) and let it come to room temperature
    -pre heat oven to 220 degrees (about 20 mins)
    -ensure the griddle is searing hot (no oil)
    -salt and pepper both sides liberally just before you put the steaks on ensuring they’re still oiled nicely
    – put cut side down for 1.5mins, then turn sideways 90 degrees for another 2mins (this will give you nice square griddle marks)
    – turn over and repeat…
    – put into pre heated oven for another 8mins

    (that’s med/rare with a nice charred outside… add another minute the griddle and 2 in oven for med/well… don’t even bother eating fillet if you want it well done)

    Now most importantly take them out and let them rest for 8mins in a plate loosely covered with foil (on top of stove usually best)… resting steak is a big step most leave out…

    Serve on your roasted veg/spuds or whatever… and pour the resting juices over… simple…

    I warm butter, add finely chopped spring onions/garlic/ wine vinegar/worcestershire sauce and mix then back in the fridge… then scoop some out in a decent sized ball and place on steak whilst its resting just before serving…

  • Comment 43, posted at 26.03.09 14:55:59 by bryce_in_oz Reply
  • @Claytie (Comment 38) :

    Yeah, just get an expert to cut the fillet for you, a fillet depends very much on the type of cut, or just google on hot to cut it and the importance of the grain of the steak when cutting.

    Always great to try it yourself

  • Comment 44, posted at 26.03.09 14:56:12 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 44) :

    Forgot that

    Now most importantly take them out and let them rest for 8mins in a plate loosely covered with foil (on top of stove usually best)… resting steak is a big step most leave out…


  • Comment 45, posted at 26.03.09 14:57:54 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 35) :

    Spot on with not marinading or seasoning too soon… just don’t forget to rest your boef though…

  • Comment 46, posted at 26.03.09 15:00:49 by bryce_in_oz Reply
  • @bryce_in_oz (Comment 43) : Now I’m sommer lus for a steak myself! 😕

  • Comment 47, posted at 26.03.09 15:01:00 by Rahul Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 45) :

    Too quick for me eh…

  • Comment 48, posted at 26.03.09 15:01:32 by bryce_in_oz Reply
  • @Rahul (Comment 47) :

    Me too… but it’s 12am… LOL!

    Like the freshly ground coriander Morne… gives that slight biltong flavour…

  • Comment 49, posted at 26.03.09 15:03:12 by bryce_in_oz Reply
  • Night all!

  • Comment 50, posted at 26.03.09 15:03:36 by bryce_in_oz Reply
  • @bryce_in_oz (Comment 48) :

    Meat lovers unite!

    Of and enjoy with a full bodied red.

  • Comment 51, posted at 26.03.09 15:03:40 by Morné Reply
  • @Rahul (Comment 47) :

    We’re not going to see wpw in here for a while…

    Thanks a lot claytie… 😆

  • Comment 52, posted at 26.03.09 15:04:15 by blackshark Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @bryce_in_oz (Comment 43) :

    Oops.. the turns were all 1.5min then 90degree 1.5min… turn over repeat…

    Have a good one..

  • Comment 53, posted at 26.03.09 15:05:07 by bryce_in_oz Reply
  • ok – now i’m hungry 😕

    and still few hours before any sort of food

  • Comment 54, posted at 26.03.09 15:05:56 by rekinek Reply
  • @Claytie (Comment 16) :

    Heat a ‘dikbodem” pan….quite hot! Seal the meat (put a little lemon juice and braai spice on) turn around and do sam other side. Then take out of pan – turn heat down.

    Pour Fresh cream slowly in the same pan, stirring until boil. Grind peppercorns in and cook for about 2-3 minutes….Bon Appetit!! 😉

    Or…marinade the filler in Worchestire Sauce and spice with a aromat..for about 2 hours or so…braai on the coals…no need for extra braai salt…(remember ‘rare” is best) sound simple – but really delicious!!

  • Comment 55, posted at 26.03.09 15:06:26 by Prof. Ice Reply
  • @bryce_in_oz (Comment 49) :


    Also great on lamb ribs if you rub it in with salt, pepper and a bit of olive oil and left standing for about 1/2 hour before you put it on the braai.

    Squeeze some lemon juice on (not too much) while you braai.

  • Comment 56, posted at 26.03.09 15:09:41 by Morné Reply
  • @rekinek (Comment 54) :

    Me too… 😥
    I hope the friends who have invited me for dinner will be serving steak… 😈

  • Comment 57, posted at 26.03.09 15:10:06 by blackshark Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @bryce_in_oz (Comment 46) :

    See my comment 55 re marinade…I hate marinated meat…grilled, blue rare with course salt for me…but THIS really is stunning – especially with fillet..

  • Comment 58, posted at 26.03.09 15:11:21 by Prof. Ice Reply
  • @Prof. Ice (Comment 55) :

    Oh and do put a touch of oil in the pan – just to create a bit of juice to make your VERY delicious peppery sauce..

    This recipe worked well with chicken fillet too…

  • Comment 59, posted at 26.03.09 15:17:54 by Prof. Ice Reply
  • @bryce_in_oz (Comment 50) : Cheers and shot!

    Morras, you too meneer!

  • Comment 60, posted at 26.03.09 15:26:27 by Claytie Reply
  • @Prof. Ice (Comment 59) : En Tannie Ys

  • Comment 61, posted at 26.03.09 15:27:25 by Claytie Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 51) : Of which I have plenty(not out of a damned box)

  • Comment 62, posted at 26.03.09 15:28:54 by Claytie Reply
  • @Claytie (Comment 61) :

    Don’t forget the butternut, beetroot and rocket salad and baked potato….its a meal in literally 15 minutes! 😉

  • Comment 63, posted at 26.03.09 15:29:54 by Prof. Ice Reply
  • @Claytie (Comment 62) :

    Hey!! Whats wrong with Chatteau de carton?? 😆

  • Comment 64, posted at 26.03.09 15:34:04 by Prof. Ice Reply
  • what you guys need to take into account is the sharks games have a all been close, and any slip ups would have lost us the games. maybe plum is more concerned about keeping defensive combos than risk too much by messing the combos up. i would maybe look at starting the game with the benchers as we aren’t getting many points in the first half and then bring on the big guns to close off the game.

  • Comment 65, posted at 26.03.09 15:36:29 by try time Reply
  • @blackshark (Comment 57) : i will have to cook sth myself 😕
    and it ain’t gonna be steak 😕

  • Comment 66, posted at 26.03.09 15:40:46 by rekinek Reply
  • @try time (Comment 65) : sorry, never realised the conversation changed to cooking. ice must be having a laugh. you guys are worse than women 😆 😆 :mrgreen:

  • Comment 67, posted at 26.03.09 15:46:14 by try time Reply
  • @try time (Comment 67) : :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 68, posted at 26.03.09 15:52:13 by Rahul Reply
  • @Prof. Ice (Comment 64) : I mos got a vaste connecsion wit the goot stuff, i ll save the sak for anurra time!

  • Comment 69, posted at 26.03.09 15:53:37 by Claytie Reply
  • Rob, maybe Plums idea is to give him exposure to the big time, in a limited format, a lot of these youngsters go along, just to get a feel of how things happen, and now he has sat there and experienced what it is actually all about, he will get the necessary game time down in the sharks 15 and be reintroduced at a later stage. That’s the only reasoning I can come up with. It is not a bad call because he will not be overawed, when his chance does come.

  • Comment 70, posted at 26.03.09 15:55:08 by Whindy Reply
  • @try time (Comment 67) : 😆

  • Comment 71, posted at 26.03.09 15:55:26 by rekinek Reply
  • @try time (Comment 67) :

    :mrgreen: i am in my element!! I reckon the Bulls reading this is having a laugh!! 😆

    this is what i love about this site!! 😉

    @Claytie (Comment 69) : ..

    Oh, ja!! lucky Fish! 😆 (MaybeBoobiesbay?) 😆

  • Comment 72, posted at 26.03.09 15:57:48 by Prof. Ice Reply
  • @Whindy (Comment 70) : that makes bit of sense. still i wonder whether thay are told that they will not be coming on and are prepared for it. because such sitting on the bench without coming on must be disappointing.

  • Comment 73, posted at 26.03.09 15:59:01 by rekinek Reply
  • Whats the best way to get those peskie red wine stains out of a shirt?

  • Comment 74, posted at 26.03.09 16:10:29 by Rahul Reply
  • @Rahul (Comment 74) : Lots of salt if applied immediately.

  • Comment 75, posted at 26.03.09 16:16:02 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @Rahul (Comment 74) : ok this is becoming housewives’ advice site :mrgreen:

    sunlight soap (Magic!) – and do not iron before stains are gone :mrgreen:

  • Comment 76, posted at 26.03.09 16:17:33 by rekinek Reply
  • @Pokkel (Comment 75) : some say white wine

  • Comment 77, posted at 26.03.09 16:18:08 by rekinek Reply
  • @Pokkel (Comment 75) :
    @rekinek (Comment 76) :
    Hook line and sinker :mrgreen:

  • Comment 78, posted at 26.03.09 16:20:46 by Rahul Reply
  • @Rahul (Comment 74) :

    Just drink whatever is left then you don’t give a shit.

    Plus you won’t be wearing the shirt for that long anycase after you finish the rest of the wine!

  • Comment 79, posted at 26.03.09 16:25:45 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 79) : 😆 throw the shirt away and briefly scold yourself for wasting alcohol :mrgreen:

  • Comment 80, posted at 26.03.09 16:34:04 by Rahul Reply
  • Hey KSA, Wish the real Mrs Bosch a happy Birthday from me! Wasn’t near a computer yesterday 🙁

  • Comment 81, posted at 26.03.09 16:40:21 by Rahul Reply
  • @Rahul (Comment 80) : 🙂 Like that

  • Comment 82, posted at 26.03.09 17:14:03 by robdylan Reply
  • @Rahul (Comment 81) :

    Will do. Thanks she has seen the post.

  • Comment 83, posted at 26.03.09 20:12:14 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Hey All.

    A few of you have hounded me for a Superbru F1 pool. I have set it up.

    Pool name

    Pool code

    agedtips? Are they kidding me? Are they also on my case about turing 40 soon? 😉

  • Comment 84, posted at 26.03.09 20:14:25 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Yoh KSA SHARK. So you’ll be backing Ferrari again this year??? Ja right! I will be supporting every team other than those cheats!!

  • Comment 85, posted at 26.03.09 20:21:44 by wpw Reply
  • While on the SB Subject.

    Whindy has earned his first ever Superbru honours for winning the Sharksworld – 6 Nations pool.

    He is about to earn his second Superbru honours just one week later for winning the Sharksworld Varsity Cup. He has an unassailable lead with only the final match to come.


  • Comment 86, posted at 26.03.09 20:24:10 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @wpw (Comment 85) :

    😆 Liverpool doesn’t have an F1 team bru. 😆 😉

  • Comment 87, posted at 26.03.09 20:25:02 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @Rahul (Comment 74) :

    I AM A TRUE CLEEN GREEN SUPPORTER ON THIS ONE – that stuff works like MAGIC!! 😆

  • Comment 88, posted at 27.03.09 07:38:28 by Prof. Ice Reply
  • @Rahul (Comment 81) : thanks rahul – been a bit hectic here lately …. focus has been on the oldest bosch …. her birthday next week but its her party weekend so my cleebrations have taken a backseat – the things we do for love 🙄 😆

  • Comment 89, posted at 27.03.09 17:50:32 by KSA Sharkette Reply
    KSA Sharkette
  • @KSA Shark (Comment 80)Thanks, pity about the super 14 I have not been too consistent there.

  • Comment 90, posted at 29.03.09 08:34:34 by Whindy Reply

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