Not time to hit the panic stations

Written by Warren Smith (war1)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super 14 on 27 Jan 2010 at 09:13
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The recent warm-up game against the Western Force was a disappointing result, although it does need to be seen in the right context as well. While some reports and comments (not on this site) have suggested that the Sharks do not have a strong enough squad to compete in the Super 14 this year and that they are undergoing a “transitional phase”, I believe that there is more than enough potential for this squad to be competitive.

Looking at the depth issue first, I will run through the squad and hopefully put that to rest. I am going to assume that Willem Alberts will end up playing for the Sharks this year, so I will include them in the depth discussion.

Starting with the front row, there are four Springboks in Deon Carstens, Beast Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis and John Smit who are pushed hard by upcoming players such as Craig Burden and the young Wian Herbst. I would say the front row looks good, especially looking at the under 21 players from last year who might make the step up this year.

The second row situation looks just as rosy on paper, Steven Sykes, Gerhard Mostert and Alistair Hargreaves have all been in a Springbok wider training squad at least while Johann Muller has a world cup winners medal to his name as well, add to this last year’s under 21 talents of Jandre Marais and Anton Bresler and the locking stakes actually look good.

Imagine what a looseforward combination of Jean Deysel, Willem Alberts and Ryan Kankowski could accomplish if on form? Add to this the attacking talents of Jacques Botes and Keegan Daniel who could run a side ragged in the last twenty minutes of a game. This is without mentioning the up and coming looseforwards.

Ruan Pienaar could play a lot of his rugby at scrumhalf this year, but if he is preferred at flyhalf, there is ample backup in Charl McLeod, Rory Kockott and Ross Cronje while Pat Lambie may also be considered here.

There are also enough quality players at flyhalf, Monty Dumond seems to be first choice perhaps until Ruan Pienaar returns from injury, if the coaching staff see him at flyhalf. While new recruit Steve Meyer and Guy Cronje add further depth.

Two Springboks in JP Pietersen and Odwa Ndungane seem likely to be the first choice wings, while Lwazi Mvovo should keep both of them on their toes while Luzuko Vulindlu, if he is seen as a wing will add further depth add Chris Jordaan into the mix and I just see depth.

In the centres the underrated Riaan Swanepoel will fight for a place in the starting XV with Springboks Adi Jacobs and Waylon Murray, while Andries Strauss and Jean Stemmet will add further depth to the squad, throw Zuks into the centre mix and the centre depth looks good.

At fullback the evergreen “oom Stef” Terblanche will add solidity at the back and a punishing boot while Louis Ludik, when he recovers from his injury, should add a more attacking dimension if needed, Lambie may also be considered here, and if that is the case, add pinpoint goalkicking into the eqaution.

So, depth does not seem to be the issue at the Sharks but rather a rustiness of both mind and body could be the reason behind last night’s performance. A worrying aspect is the poor breakdown work and that needs to be rectified before the Super 14 proper starts. Although in John Plumtree the Sharks have the perfect coach to sort out the breakdown woes, if only he recognises that problem and applies himself to correct it. I also get the feeling that a team’s commitment at the breakdown is an indication of sharpness and hunger which was perhaps missing from last night’s team, although it is a correctable problem especially in pre-season. If the breakdown work is sorted out then the backs will have a good platform to work off of and we can expect Monty Dumond and co. to flourish with go-forward ball.

So, in conclusion, there is no reason to panic, the squad looks scarily strong on paper and we can only expect the players to improve from here on in.


  • I agree 100%!! These guys havent played rugby in almost 3 months, there is bound to be some sort of rustiness. These games are friendlies, and should be seen as such, with the coaching staff trying out new combinations and tactics. Lets hope the boys will lift their game against the Capies.

  • Comment 1, posted at 27.01.10 09:21:52 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • im sorry, monty is not the answer…ever,stefan is already kicking everything away, and the centres doesnt even scare kittens, otherwise we arent looking to bad,

  • Comment 2, posted at 27.01.10 09:22:47 by willa Reply

  • If its any consolation, the Bulls lost their warm up games last year and we all wrote them off too early!!

  • Comment 3, posted at 27.01.10 09:24:39 by Whindy Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner
  • @Whindy (Comment 3) : true, im not writing them off, but there some problems and if they are not fixed its gonna be a long season

  • Comment 4, posted at 27.01.10 09:26:26 by willa Reply

  • @willa (Comment 2) : monty struggled because the pack struggled, if plum can sort out the breakdown point play, i have a feeling monty will thrive. also i think we have the centres, but just as breakdown play is about hunger, so is defense, to me thats the measure of a team’s state of mind, they need to sort out their heads and get hungry.

  • Comment 5, posted at 27.01.10 09:28:20 by war1 Reply
  • @willa (Comment 4) : if they are fixed? . . . minor tweaks and adjustments are what the preseason is for, look at it this way, rather know about the problems your team does have and fix them than have a false sense of security and think everything is all good and get smacked in the first game which actually counts for points

  • Comment 6, posted at 27.01.10 09:30:39 by war1 Reply
  • Rustiness was a big thing yesterday, but that lineout.Yu yu yu

  • Comment 7, posted at 27.01.10 09:32:08 by provincejoulekkading Reply
  • I not too worried about Friday’s result either. We need these games to sort out what ever problems we have. Come Super 14 time we will have to be on the ball. I just hope that the Sharks get things sorted before we go on the tour from hell. 👿

  • Comment 8, posted at 27.01.10 09:39:36 by Farlington Reply

  • you guys are going to be on the back foot if you continue to play Smit at 3….i really dont mind that much if Smit plays 3 , especially against Stormers,
    but lets hope PDV sees the folly of playing a hooker at 3….its simply insane.

  • Comment 9, posted at 27.01.10 09:44:45 by grant10 Reply

  • @grant10 (Comment 9) : I just read that comment in keo on the headband thread. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 10, posted at 27.01.10 09:47:38 by klempie Reply

  • @grant10 (Comment 9) : For the record, I agree.

  • Comment 11, posted at 27.01.10 09:47:58 by klempie Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 11) : it is now a glaringly obvious mistake….and i am so afraid Smit will go down remembered as the terrible tihthead….he deserves more….

    But…he ust also be man enough to admit his shortcomings….the sharks must not lose Bissy over this debacle….he is an amazing talent….

  • Comment 12, posted at 27.01.10 10:00:17 by grant10 Reply

  • anyway….thats my 2 cents worth….Sharks need to make some fundamental decisions…

    Look forward to Fri nite….hope sharks show vast improvement …for rugbys sake.

  • Comment 13, posted at 27.01.10 10:01:38 by grant10 Reply

  • @grant10 (Comment 12) : My opinion on the matter is this. Barney will obviously retire internationally after the World Cup next year. Snor needs to get his shit together and play Bis off the bench, put Barney back at hooker and as you say, bring BJ back. He’s the best tighthead we’ve got as evidenced on the EOYT. Bis must just suck it up for two seasons because once Barney retires, the starting position will almost definitely default to him. For the good of the cause, I think Bis needs to come off the bench when JS plays for the Sharks and use Bis to start when resting Barney and start all Bok games with Barney with Bis coming off the bench until after the world cup. To me it’s really simple.

  • Comment 14, posted at 27.01.10 10:17:13 by klempie Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 14) : agree completely, but i dont think bis sees it that way

  • Comment 15, posted at 27.01.10 10:18:50 by war1 Reply
  • Tick tock, tick tock, only time will tell 😈

  • Comment 16, posted at 27.01.10 10:20:46 by Charlie Reply

  • @Charlie (Comment 16) : true that

  • Comment 17, posted at 27.01.10 10:21:59 by war1 Reply
  • @war1 (Comment 15) :

    Bis seems like a real arrogant little twerp doesn’t he??

    (I wouldn’t tell him that to his face though) :mrgreen:

  • Comment 18, posted at 27.01.10 10:50:31 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 18) : word to the wise… there are a lot of pretty sore people on this site this morning. Play the gloating card if you like, but I’m not going to step in if someone delivers a PK.

  • Comment 19, posted at 27.01.10 10:57:02 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @wpw (Comment 18) : he needs to be patient and bide his time, humility is needed, learn from one of the best, he will get lots of game time and when smit retires he has the hooker position to himself, it would be stupid to ruin his career now by demanding a starting position

  • Comment 20, posted at 27.01.10 10:57:41 by war1 Reply
  • @klempie (Comment 14) : wish it were that simple….Bissy is in great shape…Smit looking really fat….thats the truth….now the world rates Bissy the no 1 …so its difficult to accept that he has to be the benchman….i understand Bissys frustration…he believes, and probably is, the better hooker?

    For me Smit should have retired from international rugby after the lions tour.

    With all the best intentions i simply cannot see Smit getting through another 2 seasons….certainly never at 3….

    Smit should only be hanging in for the right reasons…i do hope he is getting frank and honest advice.

  • Comment 21, posted at 27.01.10 11:00:36 by grant10 Reply

  • And Jake White agrees with my sentiments by the way…

  • Comment 22, posted at 27.01.10 11:02:22 by grant10 Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 19) :

    Dude I am not gloating at all… Now quota on the other hand… 🙄

  • Comment 23, posted at 27.01.10 11:06:45 by wpw Reply
  • @grant10 (Comment 21) :

    Smit has proved that he is still in good physical shape.

    I don’t think he’s experiment at 3 was such a failure.

    We need him on the field as he IS undoubtedly the best captain the world and without him we struggle which was evident in 2006 and 2008.

  • Comment 24, posted at 27.01.10 11:09:39 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 23) : yeah, but he’s a troll. You, on the other hand, are a respected senior member of this forum…

  • Comment 25, posted at 27.01.10 11:13:35 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @grant10 (Comment 22) :

    Jake also prefers Burger ahead of Brussow. Enough said!! 🙄

  • Comment 26, posted at 27.01.10 11:14:03 by wpw Reply
  • @grant10 (Comment 22) : You and JW buddies ❓ 😈

  • Comment 27, posted at 27.01.10 11:15:19 by Charlie Reply

  • Cant read to much in this warm ups. Obvious its the perfect platform for youngsters to stick up the hand. Stormers had a few but the Sharks look like missing the boat last night. Honestly think the problem area for your lot is the 10/12/13 positions. Maybe friday night will give the answers because the Stormers are strong there.

    The other thing is that players playing much better in green compare to black and white. Thats the coach miistake but looking at our cricket lot you cant blame him.

  • Comment 28, posted at 27.01.10 11:17:42 by PaarlBok Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 25) :

    A compliment from Rob!! 😯

    What do you want?? 😉

  • Comment 29, posted at 27.01.10 11:19:40 by wpw Reply
  • @PaarlBok (Comment 28) :

    The Sharks struggled cos Adi wasn’t playing!! 😈

  • Comment 30, posted at 27.01.10 11:21:21 by wpw Reply
  • Jake White should either roll up his sleeves or shut his mouth.

  • Comment 31, posted at 27.01.10 11:23:14 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @grant10 (Comment 21) : smit is a turbo reverse specialist! Never should play @ 3…plum is playing with fire.

  • Comment 32, posted at 27.01.10 11:24:59 by Megatron Reply

  • @wpw (Comment 30) : Watte ❓ :mrgreen:

  • Comment 33, posted at 27.01.10 11:43:40 by Charlie Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 32) : Petrol or Diesel 😈

  • Comment 34, posted at 27.01.10 11:44:19 by Charlie Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 25) : Am I respected senior member of this forum? 😎

  • Comment 35, posted at 27.01.10 12:05:08 by klempie Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 35) : have you submitted an application form?

  • Comment 36, posted at 27.01.10 12:09:06 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 36) : 😆

  • Comment 37, posted at 27.01.10 12:22:53 by klempie Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 36) : is it by years of participation or the commenting volume (I’m 11!!! 😛 )

  • Comment 38, posted at 27.01.10 22:14:52 by rekinek Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
  • I am not going to make any negative comments, enough has been said about the Sharks/Chiefs game on Saturday, please do not write them off they still have a long way to go and will get better and better with each game. We know our Sharks can do it, we have to have faith in them.

  • Comment 39, posted at 17.02.10 10:13:31 by dawnwallenkamp Reply


Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.