Taking stock

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super 14 on 30 Mar 2010 at 00:01
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After the elation of two wins in New Zealand has subsided somewhat, it’s time to take a good look at the Sharks’ prospects for the Reds game this weekend – as well as the remainder of the season.

We already know that we need to add Adi Jacobs’ name to the list of long-term casualties – a list that already includes fullback Louis Ludik and locks Gerhard Mostert and Johann Muller – while Deon Carstens and Keegan Daniel should be out for shorter periods. It’s not a terrible injury list, all-in-all and apart from exposing the side’s lack of depth at centre, John Plumtree will probably feel that he’s got off relatively lightly after seven weeks.

With John Smit operating at loosehead, the Sharks scrum looks as dominant as you’d expect a unit containing that many Bok front-rankers to be. While some doubts might linger over the du Plessis brothers’ discipline, one has to say that both have cleaned up their respective acts substantially over the last few weeks and having players of the calibre of Beast Mtawarira and Craig Burden in reserve is a decent luxury to have. That’s not even considering the promising young Wiehahn Herbst or even Carstens, who will probably be back soon.

Alistair Hargreaves had a pretty useful game against the Hurricanes, particularly in the lineouts and the doubts about his suitability for this level of the game are steadily being erased, at least in my book. A plethora of talented loose forwards, most of whom are now in form (it took Jacques Botes a while to get there, but he was superb last week) completes the picture and it would take a brave man to bet against the Sharks forwards going from strength to strength in this competition and establishing themselves as one of the most dominant units as the season draws to a close.

As always, it’s at the back that things get more complicated. The two clearly in-form players, Ruan Pienaar and Pat Lambie, are both, ironically, far too versatile and while scrumhalf and fullback respectively appear to be the best suited positions for the pair, that does leave a huge problem at flyhalf, a spot that either could potentially fill. To say that Andy Goode has been underwhelming thus far would probably be fair and outside of him, only Monty Dumond remains a credible option. We still have no confirmation as to whether Goode will even be allowed to play (work permit issues) making the temptation to either Pienaar or Lambie at fullback far more pressing.

I’m on record as stating that I feel Lambie should be tried at flyhalf and I stick by that, although I can clearly see the benefits of allowing him to settle at fullback as well. More pressing is the need to find an outside centre to replace Jacobs – one that will result in a somewhat more dynamic partnership than Riaan Swanepoel and Waylon Murray can currently offer. The Sharks may well have to think out of the box here – either bringing in a youngster, or possibly moving Odwa Ndungane (or even Stefan Terblanche) into the vacant number 13 jersey. Whatever backline permutations comes up, one travesty that simply has to be rectified in the coming weeks is the continued exclusion of Lwazi Mvovo from the match 22.

It’s not looking too bad, all-in-all and there’s no reason to fear that the Sharks shouldn’t be able to build on the last two weeks and finish in the top half of the draw. Finding a backline combination that works and that can take us forward to 2011 and beyond is a clear pre-requisite, though and those decisions need to be taken in the next few days.


  • Stick with what is working.
    Play Dumond at 10.

    You do not need a super talented player at 10. You just need somebody who is comfortable there. If it is needed kick, else shuffle the ball to the next guy.
    Let Pienaar run the show from 9.

  • Comment 1, posted at 30.03.10 04:05:48 by fyndraai Reply
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  • @fyndraai (Comment 1) :

    Looking at it that way then Dumond will do. And I mean “do”, I do not mean as a long term answer, I don’t believe he has the goods to be our 1st choice flyhalf.

    I understand that there is a shortage of flyhalves but to me a S14 flyhalf should be good enough to knock on Bok selection doors and to me Dumond just is not good enough for that, so use the guy as the stop gap and back up when needed but if he becomes our first choice without uping his game then we will always be there or there abouts but never at the top.

  • Comment 2, posted at 30.03.10 06:01:06 by KSA Shark Β© Reply

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  • Seems that Goode will indeed play out the super 14.

    Interesting comment Ruan made when asked about the prospect of him having to move back to 10…..he reckoned he had not been asked but believed that Lambie would do a great job at 10….

  • Comment 3, posted at 30.03.10 07:40:18 by grant10 Reply

  • Straueli said no comment…..but that a press conference would be held today to clarify Goodes position.

  • Comment 4, posted at 30.03.10 07:41:20 by grant10 Reply

  • I think we should used monty at 10, whether goode gets his work permit or not, and one of stemmet or vulindlu at 13

  • Comment 5, posted at 30.03.10 07:47:05 by war1 Reply
  • Agree 100% on Alister Hargreaves, I have felt for quite some time, that he should be getting more game time. How we left him out of the initial squad is beyond me.

  • Comment 6, posted at 30.03.10 07:52:28 by Bump Reply

  • @Bump (Comment 6) : I’m just worried about Hargreaves’s defence…he tends to slip a LOT of tackles

  • Comment 7, posted at 30.03.10 07:59:58 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @grant10 (Comment 4) : Howzit Grant….time to get a picture with that name I think. Smitty did well against an AB front row at loosehead this past weekend. I think he has found his spot.

  • Comment 8, posted at 30.03.10 08:13:09 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 8) : hi Pokkel
    I reckon i get a pictute will be like unveiling Osama Bin Ladens whereabouts to the CIA!!!!!! LOL

    Yes,Smit has looked far more comfortable at loosehead, as i believed he would. The turnaround in the sharks performance stems from the fact that the scrum stability has resulted in ‘confidence ‘players like ruan and kanko coming into there own. Look at Botes performance….scavenging and making a lot of front foor tackles….this game is a lot easier if your team not in turbo reverse. Leave that front row or rest smit occassionally for beast…..far better.

  • Comment 9, posted at 30.03.10 08:17:48 by grant10 Reply

  • @grant10 (Comment 9) : and Jannie needs to be mentioned as well. He has been looking very strong…well thats one Sharks problem sorted…now for no 10-12.. gotta go have meeting…chat later

  • Comment 10, posted at 30.03.10 08:20:16 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 10) : on the 10….12

    Short term leave goode [ if he stays ] and swanepoel.

    Long term get butch and JDV…

  • Comment 11, posted at 30.03.10 08:22:45 by grant10 Reply

  • and if goode goes, play lambie there… the sound of it Ruan not exactly excited at the prospect of being moved again.

  • Comment 12, posted at 30.03.10 08:24:06 by grant10 Reply

  • If Goode is available play him, if not then Monty. If things go pear shaped shift Ruan up with Kocket taking 9. Ruan seems fine moving to 10 after having started at 9. If the Sharks get well ahead in a game then bring Lambie to 10, Stefan to 15.

  • Comment 13, posted at 30.03.10 08:43:56 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • Yeah guys just getting back to the article I must admit I feel a lot better. By that I don`t mean we`re a real threat to the front runners yet but at least we`re sort of in the mix again.

    If our scrum goes from strength to strength as I believe it would with the current combination, we`ll at least get some ” front foot ball” which makes it easier for the guys in the back already.

    As much as Pienaar disappointed me last year I`ll admit he looks to be in form again. I`d leave him at scrumhalf for now definately, if we can.

    The fact that we`ll now revert back to a Swanepoel / Murry combination is a worry for me.
    I read somewhere here JP`s name came up as a possible outside centre option. Might be exciting to have him a little bit more involved, but I said that when FS moved Mapoe in as well and it wasn`t a success for them.

    So with all my experience in supporting the Sharks over the years I`ll do the team announcement for this weekend. Save you the trouble of waiting till Friday again :

    Lambie, Stefan, Murray, Swanepoel, JP, Pienaar, Rory, Kankow, Deysel, Hargreaves, Sykes, Botes, Jannie, Bismark and John.

    Not perfect by a long shot but we should be very competative back home. . .

  • Comment 14, posted at 30.03.10 08:50:52 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • Again, as one of the leading rugby franchises in the world, we shouldn’t even be in a position that we have to play our best srumhalf or best fullback out of position.

    I rather liked Letgo’s suggestion of playing Stefan at 13 (if only for his leadership in the backline) in order to open a gap for Mvovo on the wing.

    To be fair to Hargreaves he was hardly the only player to fall off tackles against the Hurricanes. Even Botes, who had one of the best defensive games I’ve seen him play, got handed off once or twice.

    My ideal team against the Reds would be:

    15. Lambie
    14. Mvovo
    13. Terblanche
    12. Swanepoel
    11. Pietersen
    10. Dumond
    9. Pienaar
    8. Kankowski
    7. Alberts
    6. Botes
    5. Hargreaves
    4. Sykes
    3. Du Plessis
    2. Du Plessis
    1. Smit

    16. Burden
    17. Mtawarira
    18. Deysel
    19. Steenkamp
    20. Stemmet
    21. Murray
    22. Kokkot

  • Comment 15, posted at 30.03.10 08:56:45 by rhineshark Reply
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  • @Original Pierre (Comment 14) :
    That team looks likely but will give Plum headaches in another department.

  • Comment 16, posted at 30.03.10 08:57:30 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @grant10 (Comment 9) : we know what you look like grant! πŸ˜†

  • Comment 17, posted at 30.03.10 08:57:53 by Megatron Reply

  • @rhineshark (Comment 15) : Yeah, I like that team, but what are the chances??? 😐

  • Comment 18, posted at 30.03.10 09:01:34 by Letgo Reply
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  • @rhineshark (Comment 15) : I mean doesn’t that look way better than waylon 13, Stefan 14?

  • Comment 19, posted at 30.03.10 09:03:54 by Letgo Reply
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  • Keep the team as is, just instead of Goode we’ll have Monty….No real difference in the two, Monty might even be very slightly better than Goode.

  • Comment 20, posted at 30.03.10 09:18:38 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @rhineshark (Comment 15) : For what it worth the Reds play of Higgenbotham he is one big bloke and it may be necessary to start with Deysel and see if he can put Higgenbotham on his butt. Cooper can unlock the Sharks defense so I would go with more defensive centre combination say Stauss and Murray that way they can be stopped before they run riot

  • Comment 21, posted at 30.03.10 09:30:43 by Fattmann Reply
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  • @Fattmann (Comment 21) : we can also hope cooper has one of his “great” games…

  • Comment 22, posted at 30.03.10 09:48:48 by lostfish Reply
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  • Talking about outside centers, how many real good outside centers has the Sharks and SA had over the past few years?

  • Comment 23, posted at 30.03.10 09:53:28 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Fattmann (Comment 21) : I see your point on Deysel, but it would be difficult to leave out Botes on last weeks performance, especially regarding the way he defended.

    Genia, Cooper and Ioane are going to be our biggest problem on Saturday, so I would rather want the quicker Botes covering Cooper’s inside channel so the rest can shift the Reds wide.

    Then I would use Alberts and Kanko to run at the Reds 10/12 combo from just about every single lineout until we’ve got that channel focussed on by outside defenders and forcing the Reds scrummie, left wing and a flanker to haul arse and get in behind Cooper/Ioane.

    This will create opportunities at 13/14, especially with Lambie coming into the line, and options from the back of the short lineouts. We’ve done this successfully before, where Burden ran a diagonal line into the gap between the defending 10 and lineout players.

  • Comment 24, posted at 30.03.10 10:03:42 by rhineshark Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 23) : I remember Andre Snyman as one of our Springbok centers.

  • Comment 25, posted at 30.03.10 10:04:17 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 23) : Jeremy Thomson was useful enough, but he had Dick Muir on his inside.

  • Comment 26, posted at 30.03.10 10:14:31 by rhineshark Reply
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  • @rhineshark (Comment 26) : Yes but what about after that, the past 10 years? Have we had any decent 13? Adi is the only one that actually comes to mind, and he didn’t start out that great.

  • Comment 27, posted at 30.03.10 10:16:41 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 27) : And what about the Springboks, we all know 10 is not our best suit, but I can also only think of a couple of decent 13 over the years. Jacque Fourie is probably the first one in a while…please don’t say Marius Jobert.

  • Comment 28, posted at 30.03.10 10:18:29 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 28) : Marius Joubert πŸ˜† He is actually playing much better rugby now.

  • Comment 29, posted at 30.03.10 10:44:26 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 29) : I never experienced that.

  • Comment 30, posted at 30.03.10 10:46:10 by Letgo Reply
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  • Match Officials – Week 8 for the saffa sides.

    Sharks: Ref – Chris Pollocks (NZ) Assistants – Vinny Munro (NZ) Marc Van Zyl (SA) TMO – Johann Meuwesen (SA)

    Cheetahs: Ref – Bryce Lawrence (NZ)

    Stormers: Ref – S. Dickinson (OZ) Assistants – Ian Smith (OZ) Julian Pritchard – (OZ) TMO – Ben Skeen (NZ)

    Bulls: Ref – Craig Jourbert (SA) Assistants – J. White (NZ) M. Stanish (NZ) TMO – Ben Skeen (NZ)

    Here is the ref for the Saders/Canes – J. Kaplan (SA)

    Seems Shark having bad luck trying to get a Saffa ref πŸ™„

  • Comment 31, posted at 30.03.10 10:47:18 by Puma Reply

  • @Puma (Comment 31) : Pollock isn’t bad, though…

  • Comment 32, posted at 30.03.10 10:55:02 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 30) : I agree we don’t have a lot of talent at 13 though.

  • Comment 33, posted at 30.03.10 10:56:01 by Pokkel Reply
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  • I believe the bulls have had SA refs 4 or 5 out of the seven times.

  • Comment 34, posted at 30.03.10 10:56:15 by Letgo Reply
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  • Team should be left the same as last week. Need some consistency. Though would like Deysel to start this week. Pity about Adi we will lose something in attack without Adi BUT we do need really good defence for this week against the Reds.

    Read someone here say move Stafan to 13. Not a bad option that and bring in Mvovo. Like Rob says, it is a travesty Mvovo has not had a game or even come from the bench.

    Though still think we need to be consistent now with our selections.

    Leave Lambie at FB, don’t mess with this youngster let him settle into one position get some gametime there. He is doing superb at the moment and can only get better.

  • Comment 35, posted at 30.03.10 10:56:43 by Puma Reply

  • @Pokkel (Comment 33) : How come? And why aren’t we giving more attention to this problem?

  • Comment 36, posted at 30.03.10 10:57:19 by Letgo Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 32) : Well it is sort of a Neutral ref πŸ˜› At least we don’t have a Aussie ref. 😎

  • Comment 37, posted at 30.03.10 10:57:38 by Puma Reply

  • Why not play Lambie at Flyahlf with Ruan at scrumhalf and Monty at inside center?

    Whilst i don’t want the game to turn into a kicking festival, it will certainly help Lambie settle into the flyhalf position. Just my opinion.

  • Comment 38, posted at 30.03.10 10:58:12 by dawj Reply

  • @Letgo (Comment 36) : Murray is not a great defender. Big guy, but falls of tackles and finds himself out of position to much. If it is defense you’re looking for we need to go a different route.

  • Comment 39, posted at 30.03.10 10:59:21 by Letgo Reply
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  • @rhineshark (Comment 24) : nice post, all of it is all so great until will genia gets his hands on the ball and snipes unexpectedly around the fringes disrupting the whole shark defensive unit…

  • Comment 40, posted at 30.03.10 11:00:53 by Megatron Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 32) : Think maybe Stormers get the short straw this week with refs. Not good to have to play a team from OZ and have all match officials from the same country.. At least they don’t have Paul Marks πŸ™‚ See the Blues coach Pat Lam is complaining about Marks from their game against the Tahs on Saturday. Marks even as a assistant should be dropped. Just not good enough at this level.

  • Comment 41, posted at 30.03.10 11:01:58 by Puma Reply

  • @Puma (Comment 35) : @Letgo (Comment 39) : I didn’t want to comment on my own post.

  • Comment 42, posted at 30.03.10 11:04:19 by Letgo Reply
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  • @dawj (Comment 38) : Not for this game, leave him at FB we must have some consistency. Read that the last time Lambie played FH was at u15. If that is true that is a long time back. This is not the time to shove him in at FH. Maybe try him there in the CC. For now I would keep him at FB.

    My bet is that Ruan will start at FH this week. Otherwise Plum may bring back Monty to start and move Ruan there later. Like Fires says here Monty not as bad as Goode might be actually a little better though nothing great.

  • Comment 43, posted at 30.03.10 11:06:52 by Puma Reply

  • @Letgo (Comment 39) : We going to have to be sharp with our defence this week. If not Murray then like someone mentioned above play Stefan there. Not a bad idea. Get Mvovo on the wing.

    Then we playing with consistency here. Most successful teams are those that are consistently playing the same players week in week out. We have not been doing that.

  • Comment 44, posted at 30.03.10 11:15:49 by Puma Reply

  • Just reading on RT. WE may still have Goode for the rest of the tourney. Seems his contract will be extended. Now will they have his work permit sorted? See the same news on News24. Looks like we will know today sometime.

  • Comment 45, posted at 30.03.10 11:19:07 by Puma Reply

  • @Puma (Comment 44) : I agree about consistency just not murray, I like Stefan at 13.

  • Comment 46, posted at 30.03.10 11:22:58 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 46) : Letgo, It may work with Stefan there.

    Did you see my post 45? See we may still have Goode for the rest of the tourney.

  • Comment 47, posted at 30.03.10 11:26:01 by Puma Reply

  • @Puma (Comment 47) : That’s good, the thing that I like about good in that position is that he is good at just spreading the ball and good at just kicking when he needs to. Nothing extravagant, just good at the basic things… πŸ™‚ see what I did there, but I still mean it. He’s solid and experience and a good link and steady option.

  • Comment 48, posted at 30.03.10 11:35:53 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 48) : Hope you right ❓ Not too sure about him really. Though by now he has played a few games with the team, so for that reason alone, it makes sense to have him for the rest of the season.

    Hope he enjoys the vibe at the Tank and some good weather in Durbs 😎

    Cheers Letgo, out of here now.

  • Comment 49, posted at 30.03.10 11:51:11 by Puma Reply

  • @Puma (Comment 49) : Bey now.

  • Comment 50, posted at 30.03.10 11:54:41 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Megatron (Comment 40) : You’re right and that’s why I mentioned Genia first. On defense that will have to be Pienaar and Kankowski’s jobs.

    Obviously we can’t forget about Hines and the others, but if we don’t watch Genia, Cooper and Ioane like hawks we’re stuffed.

    It will be a helluva lot harder to achieve that if we allow the game to become unstructured, so we’ll have to control the set pieces, slow the game down and play in Reds territory to beat them.

  • Comment 51, posted at 30.03.10 12:45:11 by rhineshark Reply
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  • @rhineshark (Comment 51) : Don’t worry, the Sharks has good defense, and when they don’t there is good cover defense.

    The defense in this competition has been absolutely shocking, to be frank. It’s produced some extravagant games, but I have to be honest, I don’t enjoy a try as much, when the main cause of that try was bad defensive lines and on top of that horrible tackles.

    The Reds is a good attacking team, but they have looked even better on attack because of some of the average defending that has been produced this season.

  • Comment 52, posted at 31.03.10 08:25:23 by Letgo Reply
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