Should we really use the Super 14 for building?

Written by Warren Smith (war1)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks, Springboks, Super 14 on 8 Mar 2010 at 16:00
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The current run of bad results has Sharks supporters all nostalgic and yearning for the days when Dick Muir was still in charge of the Sharks and young players were given a chance and the Sharks were winning. Maybe you don’t know what you’ve got ’til you lose it, unless it’s just a case of the grass being greener on the other side which simply translates into not being happy with what you have and thus not seeing faults in the so-called “good old days”.Coming back to the subject of the article as alluded to by the headline. Do we use the Super 14 for building a team? I would have to say not. The reason being that it has not worked in the past and there is a big element of risk with putting youngsters into the so-called deep end of Super 14 rugby. Some would probably argue that Dick Muir put youngsters in his Super 14 squads but I would have to say that he only did once he tested them at Currie Cup level first. Who can forget the game away to the Griquas which the Sharks lost with their B-team which ultimately cost them a semi-final spot? Well, that was a season where Muir tested the depth of the Sharks and blooded new Sharks to the point where he had two different squads. The result? In the short-term the Sharks missed out on a semi-final spot but a 19 year old by the name of Francois Steyn went on the end of year tour that year and the following season the Sharks were within two Frans Steyn and one (OK maybe more than one) Steve Walsh brainfarts from winning the Super 14.

I am a big advocate of giving the young players a chance and developing them for the future, but this needs to be done in the proper channels. Currie cup and Vodacom cup are the correct channels, and I would argue that a player who has not proven himself in Currie Cup situations should not be tested in the Super 14, barring extraordinary circumstances like injury crises.

On another note, I have very recently read that the annual Sharks academy intake has risen to 195 students for this year. Let us not be unrealistic here, it is not possible for ALL of those players to go on to represent the Sharks. That being said, the players need to be backed, especially in Currie Cup situations.

It’s not only players that need to be given a chance to develop at Currie Cup level before being given a role at Super 14 level. In my mind Sean Everitt should be given at least a big role in the upcoming Currie Cup when a few first choice and possibly second choice Springboks will be missing from the Sharks squad. Therefore the 2010 Currie Cup will be the perfect opportunity to develop both the playing and coaching stocks of the Sharks. John Plumtree is taking a break from coaching during the Currie Cup if what I’m led to believe is correct. This would be a good time for Sean Everitt to get a chance to showcase everything he has learnt from all the investment the Sharks have put into his coaching skills. Many of the current Vodacom cup squad’s players would probably have to do duty in the Currie Cup and the development of these players would only strengthen Sharks rugby and bode well for the future when the senior players start to retire because there will be a battle-hardened and proven albeit younger player to take up the baton.


  • I agree in principle but with the S14 basically over for the Sharks why not start now and I’m not saying the whole team but one guy at a time for 30 min or so for the exposure.

  • Comment 1, posted at 08.03.10 16:13:45 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • i think you’re spot on here. But there are nevertheless players who have come through the Vodacom and Currie Cup that are now being overlooked for the Super 14 – and that’s not right.

  • Comment 2, posted at 08.03.10 16:14:40 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • I think we shouldnt rebuild the whole team, a few key players in some key positions wont be a bad thing, lets be honest, we need a lock, 10, 12 and someone on the wing, JPP needs to be pushed, he’s happy to be idling up and down the woolies isles looking for braai vleis. We’ve got younsters in those positions so why dont we see what they got.

  • Comment 3, posted at 08.03.10 16:16:34 by Tintin Reply

  • @Pokkel (Comment 1) : the guys that are on the tour should get game time or be sent home for Vodacom Cup. Simple as that.

  • Comment 4, posted at 08.03.10 16:18:57 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 4) : It makes no sense to pay a player’s airfare to Australiasia, put them up in hotels, cover their day-to-day costs only for the coach to have them carry tacklebags the whole time.
    Money, time and player’s confidence wasted.

  • Comment 5, posted at 08.03.10 16:22:35 by CapeShark Reply
    The Great Couch Shark
  • @robdylan (Comment 2) : yes, i think what i neglected to say is the guys who have performed in the currie cup need to be backed to perform in the super 14

  • Comment 6, posted at 08.03.10 16:28:44 by war1 Reply
  • @CapeShark (Comment 5) : remember when jake white took nokwe for the bok eoyt, the goal of that was to give a raw but promising player time with the team to get used to the structures and improve as a player, i think a similar thing was done with ross cronje in the sharks squad last year, i reckon the same is happening with lambie this year, the coaching staff see it as a special part of a special player’s development

  • Comment 7, posted at 08.03.10 16:31:50 by war1 Reply
  • Two players spring to mind that should be given a go. Lambie and Mvovo. Play them damn it. How will we know what we have if we don’t give them a chance.

    Don’t change the whole team that would never work. Try these two out from the bench.

    Also never want to see Deysel on the bench again. He was great when he came on.

  • Comment 8, posted at 08.03.10 18:59:51 by Puma Reply

  • I won’t even bother 4eading the article before answering.

    The answer is simple.


    You build in the VC and CC.

  • Comment 9, posted at 08.03.10 19:01:44 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Define building, if it means giving the youngsters a shot at the big time after they came through all the channels like Hargreaves…by all means.

    If it means throwing someone into the S14 without blooding them through the VC and CC first……no.

    At the Sharks at the moment, neither are happening, ver-Straeuli just pulls out the cheque book. BTW, the acadamy is also part of his portfolio…no wonder it’s such toothless breeding ground these days.

  • Comment 10, posted at 08.03.10 19:08:03 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • Let me say that I will agree to blooding youngsters at S14 level if a team is 20 points up with 10minutes to go, then you give the guy a run to serve a twofold purpose of resting your frontline and gently easying the lad into the bigtime.

  • Comment 11, posted at 08.03.10 19:24:47 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • i disagree war1, the reds are a prime example of a team that threw its youngsters in the deep end last year and now they are reaping the rewards this year. the problem with sa teams, the sharks partically is they wait for a players retirement notice before they draft him into the team. by that time the players spirit is broken. you mention the griquas game, but the sharks were still in with a shout in the cc, whereas in this years s14 they are out of it. we aren’t calling for wholesale changes we are talking about two players a game, something the team can easily manage.

  • Comment 12, posted at 09.03.10 08:30:15 by try time Reply

  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 11) : i would rather start with the youngster, because you have the opportunity to pull him off if he is battling. bringing youngsters at the end is throwing them in the deep end with weights attached to his feet. the last 20 minutes are the toughest as the experienced players are tired and they rely on the substitutes to relieve pressure. do you see sharks getting 20 points ahead this season.

  • Comment 13, posted at 09.03.10 08:33:16 by try time Reply

  • @war1 (Comment 7) : i see it as a waste of money.

  • Comment 14, posted at 09.03.10 08:34:17 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 12) : ur entitled to disagree, but remember the reds dont have a currie cup competition to blood their young players, my point is it should have already been done, and those who shone in the cc should be given their chance. And anyway, it almost certainly does not matter if all the sharks fans want them to experiment now, plum is WAY too conservative to do that!

  • Comment 15, posted at 09.03.10 08:36:07 by war1 Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 9) : what sharks hopefuls that would be considered haven’t played cc and vc? all the names being thrown about are players that have played in these tournaments.

  • Comment 16, posted at 09.03.10 08:38:17 by try time Reply

  • isn’t it too early writing off the season. there has only been 4 rounds.

  • Comment 17, posted at 09.03.10 08:40:31 by rekinek Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
  • @war1 (Comment 15) : i agree, but your article made it sound that even the cc players from last year shouldn’t be given a shout. also you saying we should rather risk our cc chances this year to blood our youngsters and just plod around a competition we have thrown down the tubes. we have nine games left, whats the point of using it to mend broken players, rather rest those players and build depth. so that when the cc starts and the boks piss off, we can kick opponents backside from game one. and we go into next years super 15 with our tails up and experienced depth in our ranks. or we can do what we have for the last 3 years and wait for a big player to duck overseas and try and polyfill the gap left. it is time for the sharks admin to be proactive rather than reactive. dolf should already be looking at the vc to see if there are any players from other provinces he can scoop.

  • Comment 18, posted at 09.03.10 08:49:48 by try time Reply

  • @rekinek (Comment 17) : to get a semi, you have to win 8 games, with bonus points. sharks have nine left, and we know their bonus point record.

  • Comment 19, posted at 09.03.10 08:50:55 by try time Reply

  • @war1 (Comment 15) : you mentioned in your article that the super 14 to tough to blood youngsters and i mentioned the reds as proof it isn’t. it doesn’t matter if they play another tournie or not, super 14 is a great way to blood youngsters, as long as you do it wisely.

  • Comment 20, posted at 09.03.10 08:54:06 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 19) : they already have three Bps. I think in 2007 42 points was enough to top the log.

  • Comment 21, posted at 09.03.10 08:57:28 by rekinek Reply
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  • ok so the sharks must now win all 9, that puts them at 39 minimum. for this to happen the sharks need to score tries. and we have to hope for an honest ref. to score tries we need to look at some younger players. because i can’t see odwa or jp scoring a try this season on current form. and we can’t hope that for nine games stefan is going to hold onto the ball. to many variables. so yes the sharks have a shout, but i feel some changes will need to be made to succeed, which then backs up my arguement above.

  • Comment 22, posted at 09.03.10 09:03:19 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 22) : sounds like a plan. it is just get to the semis.

  • Comment 23, posted at 09.03.10 09:06:39 by rekinek Reply
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  • @try time (Comment 18) : 100% with you there. As I see it, super 14 2010 is a lost cause for us. Bring those youngsters through now so we can come back in the CC.

  • Comment 24, posted at 09.03.10 09:13:23 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @rekinek (Comment 21) : 42 points is the minimum you have to get to make a playoff, if past results are an indicator. but that will get the sharks a playoff overseas which is a killer. so sharks need tries and odwa jp and stefan aren’t going to get you those, unless something drastic happens this week.

  • Comment 25, posted at 09.03.10 09:13:44 by try time Reply

  • You can have the best feeder and development systems in place, if the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing it is useless.

    What I do not see happening at the Sharks simply from and observation point of view – so I am happy if someone will correct me – is that the different structures, levels, management is simply not on the same page.

    There seems to be no succession plan or structures in place to ensure a succession and development.

    If that is in place the progression is natural for the players. This does not seem to be the case given the selections, lack of depth and simple communication in the senior side and people left at home from tours at the last minute.

    Get something (read someone) to bring everything in the Sharks together – to get everything on the same page.

  • Comment 26, posted at 09.03.10 09:16:10 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 26) : agreed

  • Comment 27, posted at 09.03.10 09:17:51 by war1 Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 26) : agreed. send your complaint to dolfs office for speedy resolve.

  • Comment 28, posted at 09.03.10 09:18:05 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 20) : yes, but my argument is that probably the wisest is to do it in the currie cup and then back the guy in the super 14. read on sharksrugby.co.za that odwa is struggling with a hamstring strain, this is the perfect opportunity to unleash mvovo on the brumbies

  • Comment 29, posted at 09.03.10 09:42:39 by war1 Reply
  • @war1 (Comment 29) : It`s a sad state of affairs when we have to wait for injuries before changes are made . . .

  • Comment 30, posted at 09.03.10 09:48:40 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 30) : odwa played with a lot more hunger on the weekend, he does have some pace, and he showed that against the tahs, jpp just walked around the whole game, if i was coach i would rather take jpp out than odwa

  • Comment 31, posted at 09.03.10 09:51:30 by war1 Reply
  • Plum and Dolf are not exactly forward thinkers or gambling men. You guys need to get a director of Rugby who is interested in a dynamic team, not a team that is good enough to beat everybody, but has not done so thus far. I know, I would not be keen to take chances in that kind of environment. Then as a youngster why would I want to go to the Sharks, every time a chance comes a long due to injury they will not give the guys a go because they have not been blooded yet, so out comes the cheque book, what a crock of shit. What is Andy Goode doing for Sharks rugby, he may be an efficient footballer, but he is not developing any younger player by being there, Good players will make it, you just need to back them, show confidence in them. Bringing in Goode has set your young flyhalf’s back another year. If they can’t hack it, why have you got them on your books??

  • Comment 32, posted at 09.03.10 11:37:36 by Whindy Reply
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