What a pack!

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super 14 on 11 Jan 2010 at 19:02
Tagged with : , , , , ,

Forgive me if I interrupt the doom and gloom for just a second here.  If the Sharks do go on to struggle in this year’s Super 14, it certainly won’t be due to a lack of firepower upfront! I think we at times tend to get so carried away with the introspection that we forget just what an exciting and talented squad we have.The Sharks forwards have always been a factor in this Super 14 – it just seems to be the sort of competition that favours our fatties. Last year we struggled when Jean Deysel got injured and we lost the balance in the loose trio as a result, but the signs are there that Plum and co have learned from this particular mistake, at least. I’m not one to believe for a second that the acquisition of one player can really turn a team around, but let’s not kid ourselves here; getting Willem Alberts to the Tank is simply huge!

In the front row department, we still have four recent Bok props available in Beast Mtawarira, Deon Carstens, John Smit and Jannie du Plessis. Potentially more exciting, though, is the emergence of some young talent to keep the older guard on their toes. Management of the workload of these senior players is going to be key after the demands of 2009. Wiehahn Herbst and Pat Cilliers (hopefully playing more at loosehead) will have crucial roles to play in this year’s squad and I hope to see a fair bit of rotation in the front row. We have lots of good options at prop and it’s an area where attrition can be a big factor. It’s crucial to use our depth to good advantage here.

Hooker is always going to be about the Smit versus Bismarck debate and with Joe Muller rumoured to be carrying a slight niggle into the season, perhaps we might yet get our greatest wish and see the Bok captain leading the Sharks into battle once more. There’s enough that needs to be done this season to ensure that Smit can start every game, either at prop or hooker, without du Plessis losing out unnecessarily. When Smit starts in the number 2 jersey, Bismarck can be on the bench, while we can also have Smit at 3, Bismarck at 2 and Craig Burden coming into the number 16 jersey when the situation demands it.  The former winger adds a hugely dynamic influence when coming on and the Sharks would be foolish not to utilise this factor in 2010.

In the second row, the acquisition of Gerhardt Mostert is a big one, although Albert van den Berg has finally been put out to pasture. Alistair Hargreaves will need to step up and play the role of starting lock on occasion this year and Muller’s gametime is managed far more conservatively. Steven Sykes and Mostert will bear the brunt of the workload, while Mike Rhodes’s 1.97m frame will surely be utilised in the second row on occasion as well.

The talk, though, will invariably be about the loose forward combination and the question on everybody’s minds right now is how Ryan Kankowksi and Willem Alberts can be accommodated in a loose trio that already contains a superb number 7 in Jean Deysel. Moving Deysel across to the open side may well work against some opposition, but his lack of pace may well become a factor in the number 6 jersey. Jacques Botes will need to turn back the clock to rediscover his best form, or else lose the number 6 jersey to one of Keegan Daniel (always a good Super 14 player) or Skholiwe Ndlovu. Rhodes – impressive at 7 at times during the Currie Cup – and last year’s form player from the under 21s Luvo Lusaseni will add additional pressure to the trio of Deysel, Kankowski and Alberts and ensure that everyone is kept on their toes.

Lots of options and many possible combinations, capable of playing a number of different games. We’ve got the bruisers up front to play a very forward-oriented game if required, but also have a breathtaking contingent of gamebreakers, including Beast, Burden, Mostert, Daniel and Kankowski, that can up the tempo when required.

Say what you like, but I think, up front at least, the Sharks are looking very good this season.


  • sorry Reki – I probably just jinxed them 🙂

  • Comment 1, posted at 11.01.10 19:05:09 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • We have the squad this season, especially when some of our injured backs come back, so it will all come down to gameplan and mental preparation

  • Comment 2, posted at 11.01.10 19:58:04 by war1 Reply
  • Maak al die Sharks forwards.

  • Comment 3, posted at 11.01.10 20:37:19 by Baldrick Reply

  • From N24

    SA lack scrum strategy – Balie
    2010-01-11 20:39

    South African rugby needs to urgently move toward a national scrum strategy if it wants to remain a force in the setpieces, scrumming guru Balie Swart believes.

  • Comment 4, posted at 12.01.10 05:03:12 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • totally agree rob, but it was the forwards that carried the sharks last year and it was this hard work that burnt them out. without an intelligent backline your forwards are not going to last a tournament. last year the dumbass “up and under” tactic meant the forwards had to run from one ruck to another while the backline stood and picked their noses. plum is going to have to catch a wake up and get his backline more involved.
    what i do hope is our referees start allowing rucking like in the northern hemisphere. i have watched a little nh rugby and have been impressed at how this has helped free up the ball. not only that, but it also alerts the referees to illegal tactics by defenders. as a ref picks up a scrummie rucking quickly.

  • Comment 5, posted at 12.01.10 07:42:39 by try time Reply

  • my only real concern though is with ruan the obvious choice at 10 with the current problems, we will have to watch selfish rory at it again. lets hope plum is a little more astute this year. sharksworld bloggers picked up problems in the sharks in game one, he only picked them up at the end of the tournament.

  • Comment 6, posted at 12.01.10 07:51:13 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 6) : as long as he gets there in the end 🙂

  • Comment 7, posted at 12.01.10 08:25:31 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • i don’t think there is going to be a problem at 2. we saw how demanding the s14 was on our forwards last year. as long as the players are swopped and rested regularly and still given gametime every game, there shouldn’t be any complaints. last year plum stuck to the same team and you could see 4 good games, 1 bad, 3 good games, 1 bad, 2 good games, 1 bad. (ok it wasn’t exactly like that, but it was close) but you could see that fatigue of our forwards was a big factor.

  • Comment 8, posted at 12.01.10 08:38:24 by try time Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : 🙂 🙂 yeah so he can apologise like last year.

  • Comment 9, posted at 12.01.10 08:55:57 by try time Reply

  • Great scrum, shabby backline. It suits Plum though, he’s always been a forwards-based coach. But i’m a little worried about the backline.
    Expecting any fireworks from Ndungane, Jacobs or Terblanche is a bit much. These guys are rising off into the sunset and I just hope our younger backs can step up and dominate.

  • Comment 10, posted at 12.01.10 09:06:52 by CapeShark Reply
    The Great Couch Shark
  • after seeing how the sharks are charging the same season ticket prices for no test and one less s14 game, i now rate their administration on a par with the lions (now that is an insult of note). so i have decided that as dicks the lions new coach and i have enjoyed their passion as a team, i have decided to split my allegiance this year. so go lions. the sharks have thrown away far too many opportunities over the last decade it is time for someone else to have a go as long as it is not the bulls.

  • Comment 11, posted at 12.01.10 09:28:23 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 11) :

    😯 🙁

  • Comment 12, posted at 12.01.10 09:40:11 by Ice Ka-ching! (Kry jou gat in rat!) Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • TT
    As a Durban chap with all the right connections and an ear to the ground (no pressure here), What is your view on the Reece-Edwards appointment?

  • Comment 13, posted at 12.01.10 09:50:13 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Ice Ka-ching! (Kry jou gat in rat!) (Comment 12) : yeah after the currie cup semi i lost interest in the sharks and sport in general. that is why i have not been here for a while. i couldn’t get excited about teams that have no passion/interest to win trophies (bafana, liverpool, sharks, proteas, dolphins). but as it is a new year i will show a little interest, like i would a predictable soapie.

  • Comment 14, posted at 12.01.10 09:57:47 by try time Reply

  • Them loosies are a very very exciting bunch!

  • Comment 15, posted at 12.01.10 10:00:48 by billy Reply

  • @try time (Comment 14) : yeah, but strangely enough, the Sharks prefer being underdogs, so you might be surprised at how they do this year. Most people are writing them off, their schedule’s horrible and their backs are drab. But as John Smit mentions in his book (henceforth referred to as the Book of John) SA players relish being underdogs and suck at being favourites. Go figure.

  • Comment 16, posted at 12.01.10 10:08:51 by CapeShark Reply
    The Great Couch Shark
  • @try time (Comment 14) :

    Oh dear… you support Liverpool FC.

    I suppose you want Rafa sacked then?? 👿

  • Comment 17, posted at 12.01.10 10:16:16 by wpw Reply
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 13) : i personally think it is a good appointment. he cannot do worse than the current backline coaches. he has coached the wbhs team into a good position, remembering that westville 1st team had a large number of grade 11’s in it last year and still did so well. so he has coaching experience. he also has been away from the sharks long enough to not be bogged down with older players not respecting him. remember frans ludekes s14 record before the bulls. after criticising him in 2008 he proved us wrong. so i have learnt give a guy a chance before shooting him down. plums chances are up now.

  • Comment 18, posted at 12.01.10 10:24:55 by try time Reply

  • @CapeShark (Comment 16) : i hope so. but they have a tough tour this year and they are missing players in key positions. but as you say in 2007 they made the finals from a similar fixture list and the bulls won with 5 overseas games last year, so the longer overseas leg seems to favour sa teams.

  • Comment 19, posted at 12.01.10 10:36:42 by try time Reply

  • @wpw (Comment 17) : they are bankrupt so they cannot afford to get rid of him. i have written them off for the next three years. hopefully their youngsters can ressurect the club when the dust settles.

  • Comment 20, posted at 12.01.10 10:39:46 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 19) : we actually had the 4-match tour in 2007

  • Comment 21, posted at 12.01.10 10:48:57 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • “The Beast” is going to be “deported” back to Zimbabwe 😯 🙄

  • Comment 22, posted at 12.01.10 10:54:40 by Me2 aka Mama Shark Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • @Me2 aka Mama Shark (Comment 22) : Butana Komphela at it again 👿 😀 SA Rugby are going to be charged for “illegally” fielding Mtawarira…. see srticle in Mercury This morning

  • Comment 23, posted at 12.01.10 10:57:46 by Me2 aka Mama Shark Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • @Me2 aka Mama Shark (Comment 23) :

    Saw it as well, but as someone rightfully pointed out its just the usual @@@ looking for attention and causing shit

  • Comment 24, posted at 12.01.10 11:04:56 by Ice Ka-ching! (Kry jou gat in rat!) Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @robdylan (Comment 21) : kak. it was the bulls that won twice with the 5 match tour. damn, that just killed my last thread of hope.

  • Comment 25, posted at 12.01.10 11:15:02 by try time Reply

  • It’s really an exciting forward pack….with one exception and that is no 6. I’m not convinced that Deysel is the solution there and just because Deysel fetched better than Botes doesn’t mean Deysel is a good fetcher…..Botes just had a really crap year last year. Keegan is too small IMO and we have seen the effect that a good fetcher has in a team. I agree with TT that if the players are managed and rotated well that the Sharks pack can be a real force this year.

  • Comment 26, posted at 12.01.10 11:17:06 by Pokkel (Rugby's over, back to fishing) Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Me2 aka Mama Shark (Comment 23) : i’ll bite my tongue for the sake of the site rules. @#%#%&%*$%$%*^^&%^$%&**^(&^)(*$%^#$$%*%$%%%&#@^&^. that about sums up my feeling on the situation.

  • Comment 27, posted at 12.01.10 11:17:58 by try time Reply

  • @Pokkel (Rugby’s over, back to fishing) (Comment 26) : yeah i was going to say the backline should also be rotated well, then realised they do squat anyway except play fetch with stefan. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 28, posted at 12.01.10 11:23:10 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 27) : 😆

  • Comment 29, posted at 12.01.10 11:24:43 by Me2 aka Mama Shark Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • @try time (Comment 28) : and I will also not support the Sharks if they continue with Rory unless Rory make some major changes to his game. 😈

  • Comment 30, posted at 12.01.10 11:26:20 by Pokkel (Rugby's over, back to fishing) Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Rugby’s over, back to fishing) (Comment 26) : Skollie? What you think about him?

  • Comment 31, posted at 12.01.10 11:59:14 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 31) : to be honest I haven’t seen enough of him to really judge.

  • Comment 32, posted at 12.01.10 12:45:32 by Pokkel (Rugby's over, back to fishing) Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @try time (Comment 27) : Why? It’s high time we stand up those who would silence us! We must revolt against this counter-revolutionary behaviour!!

  • Comment 33, posted at 12.01.10 12:50:55 by klempie Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 33) : Soek jy alweer moeilikheid 😉

  • Comment 34, posted at 12.01.10 12:55:35 by Pokkel (Rugby's over, back to fishing) Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @klempie (Comment 33) : you go for it. i’m still on my final strike. and i really don’t want to blow rob’s fuses this early in a new year.

  • Comment 35, posted at 12.01.10 12:58:22 by try time Reply

  • So let’s talk about Rory and Oupa then 🙄

  • Comment 36, posted at 12.01.10 13:02:58 by Pokkel (Rugby's over, back to fishing) Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Rugby’s over, back to fishing) (Comment 34) : @try time (Comment 35) : :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 37, posted at 12.01.10 13:08:48 by klempie Reply

  • @Pokkel (Rugby’s over, back to fishing) (Comment 36) : that will blow my fuses. although i would like to see stefan come off the bench this year to settle things down during the panic minutes at the end. and an attacking full back to start to take risks for those valuable bp’s.

  • Comment 38, posted at 12.01.10 13:15:17 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 38) : BP’s. The shark repellent of rugby.

  • Comment 39, posted at 12.01.10 13:17:57 by klempie Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 39) : if you look over the last decade bonus points are what have cost the sharks success.

  • Comment 40, posted at 12.01.10 13:21:42 by try time Reply

  • Hey TT is that really you? Why are you so calm? I’m scared. You know how the ocean behaves before it unleashes a Tsunami… Just Kiddin…

  • Comment 41, posted at 12.01.10 13:23:19 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @try time (Comment 40) : That’s what I’m saying. 🙄

  • Comment 42, posted at 12.01.10 13:26:14 by klempie Reply

  • @blackshark (Comment 41) : Yeh and just now he wasn’t even saying ST was useless!! Something is up. 😯

  • Comment 43, posted at 12.01.10 13:26:52 by klempie Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 42) : yes i am agreeing, is that still not allowed on this site.

  • Comment 44, posted at 12.01.10 13:29:36 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 44) : It is as long as it’s not over anything political.

  • Comment 45, posted at 12.01.10 13:31:37 by klempie Reply

  • @try time (Comment 38) : What backline would be your prefered for the Sharks this season(ignoring rotations.

    I think

    15 Oupa
    14 Ludick ( Odwa has had his time )
    13 Murray 🙄 Adi 🙄
    12 Swannie
    11 JP
    10 Ruan
    9 Mcleod

  • Comment 46, posted at 12.01.10 13:34:22 by Pokkel (Rugby's over, back to fishing) Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @blackshark (Comment 41) : this year i have taken the stance that the sharks are a bunch of overrated plonkers, and it is their choice to prove me wrong. i can’t get my blood pressure to ridiculous levels over something that is supposed to be entertainment. so instead of looking at rugby as a suspense drama, this year i’ll be viewing it as a comedy. much like my view on governments.

  • Comment 47, posted at 12.01.10 13:36:06 by try time Reply

  • @Pokkel (Rugby’s over, back to fishing) (Comment 46) : mine is similar, 9 charl 10 ruan 11 mvovu then jp after game three (jp needs a little wake up call) 12 swannie 13 murray 14 lambie (kicker) 15 ludik, stefan is old and must be looked after so i’ll bring him on in the second half to calm things down.

  • Comment 48, posted at 12.01.10 13:40:56 by try time Reply

  • @Pokkel (Rugby’s over, back to fishing) (Comment 46) : I know I’m going to regret this, but i want to give Rory one more chance 🙂

  • Comment 49, posted at 12.01.10 13:41:04 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @try time (Comment 47) : much like my view on governments.

    Well snuck in there. 😎

  • Comment 50, posted at 12.01.10 13:41:49 by klempie Reply

  • @try time (Comment 48) : Lambie at 14? That’s an interesting call. But if you want to start with him, why not have him at 13 rather and let Wayway play wing? I see Lambie as much more of a creator than a finisher.

  • Comment 51, posted at 12.01.10 13:43:19 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @try time (Comment 48) : stefan is old and must be looked after

    😯 😯 😯

  • Comment 52, posted at 12.01.10 13:45:38 by klempie Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 49) : I don’t mind giving Rory another chance, but then he must prove himself of the bench….think of this from Mcleod’s perspective. He plays the better rugby, but gets dropped for Rory because he is so talented and he has huge potential….hardly fair on McLeod. I f Rory wants his place back in the team he must EARN it.

  • Comment 53, posted at 12.01.10 13:45:58 by Pokkel (Rugby's over, back to fishing) Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Rugby’s over, back to fishing) (Comment 53) : I suppose for that matter the same should apply to Ruan 🙄

  • Comment 54, posted at 12.01.10 13:47:15 by Pokkel (Rugby's over, back to fishing) Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 51) : that would also work. i just like one wing to have the ability to play fullback. just a little preference of mine. i want to know if my fb is tackled and the ball is turned over, there is a wing that has the ability to look after the back, like odwa used to do.

  • Comment 55, posted at 12.01.10 13:47:27 by try time Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 51) : Has Lambie played centre before??? If so I’d give him a go there because neither Adi or Crabman has really impressed me recently

  • Comment 56, posted at 12.01.10 13:49:03 by Pokkel (Rugby's over, back to fishing) Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Rugby’s over, back to fishing) (Comment 54) : no we don’t have a choice at ten. ok before rob jumps down my throat, monty i would start with as i think he is able, he just isn’t as attacking as ruan. and with swannie and waylon outside an attacking flyhalf is needed or you can kiss the bp’s goodbye this year.

  • Comment 57, posted at 12.01.10 13:56:01 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 57) : I still think Ruan has all the attributes (except confidence) to be a great no 10….he just needs an extended run in the position

  • Comment 58, posted at 12.01.10 14:00:11 by Pokkel (Rugby's over, back to fishing) Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Rugby’s over, back to fishing) (Comment 58) : i agree. if the kicking can be taken away it will go a long way in settling him down. that is why i have lambie in my team as he is an able kicker.

  • Comment 59, posted at 12.01.10 14:15:40 by try time Reply


Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.