A delicate balancing act

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super 14, Vodacom Cup on 28 Apr 2010 at 11:04
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With a number of key players carrying injuries, the Sharks as a union need to manage their playing resources very carefully in the coming week, lest the desire to field a strong team against the Bulls in the Super 14 undermines the Sharks XV’s chances of winning their Vodacom Cup semi-final.

We need to be pragmatic here; while there is still a slim, mathematical chance that the Sharks can make it into the Super 14 semi-finals and then even go on to win the trophy, the reality is that we’ll be playing for pride and pride alone in the main game on Saturday. The Sharks XV, however, have a real chance to bring home some silverware this season should they be able to overcome the Blue Bulls and it is vital that every player who is eligible for Sharks XV selection should be available to Sean Everitt this week.

While it’s unfortunate that Craig Burden ended up being a match short of the requirement to qualify for the semi-finals, players like Waylon Murray and Andries Strauss should very much come into the equation, even if it means taking a chance with a raw youngster in the Super 14 squad. The major issues are at centre, loose forward, scrumhalf and wing, where injuries to Riaan Swanepoel, Willem Alberts, Ruan Pienaar and JP Pietersen may well end up forcing a raid on the Sharks XV player pool, thus disrupting their combinations and destroying their chances of winning.

It’s the scrumhalf situation that is most worrying and should Ruan Pienaar be ruled out of the game, I’d say that we should leave Charl McLeod where he is and rather promote Ross Cronje to the Super 14 bench. McLeod has played every game for the XV and is key to their continuity. Andries Strauss is already with the Sharks squad but if it were up to me, he’d be back with the XV this week (as their captain) with Trompie Pretorius promoted to the Super 14 bench. That would leave the XV with a three quarter combination of Speckman, Strauss, Stemmet and Murray (at wing) which has a very solid feel to it indeed.

Should the worst-case scenario come to pass and Alberts and Ryan Kankowski both be rules out, Mike Rhodes will need to stay with the Super 14 side, but that should pose less of a risk, since the Sharks XV have good depth in the loose forwards and have done a fair bit of rotation this season in any event. Skollie Ndlovu, Justin Downey and Luvo Lusaseni are a pretty useful combination and Lambert Groenwalt, Meyer Swanepoel and the likes provide good cover off the wood.


  • Makes sense, but as long as there is the slightest glimmer of a possibility of making the semis the big Sharks will and must get priority.

  • Comment 1, posted at 28.04.10 11:15:15 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • S14 comes first, if a raid is needed, then raid away.

  • Comment 2, posted at 28.04.10 11:18:14 by Oubaas2009 Reply

  • this article was a test and it proves exactly what I expected it to… I am the only person in the whole world who cares even a little bit about the Vodacom Cup…

  • Comment 3, posted at 28.04.10 11:24:44 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : rob i actually agree with you, while the Sharks XV are two matches away from claiming the vodacom cup, while the super 14 side need a minor miracle to even make the semis

  • Comment 4, posted at 28.04.10 11:29:49 by war1 Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 3) :
    Not true, as you said in your article there is still a slim mathematical chance of the Sharks making the playoffs. Once that chance is a big fat zero then by all means chop and change and experiment to your hearts content but while its there then the team must play for it.

  • Comment 5, posted at 28.04.10 11:33:26 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 5) : BTW I really dont think that there is any chance that we can make the playoffs, none, zip, zero but that is not important if the team believes they can and play as if they can then Im happy. Pulling some of their players now will only send them the message that they are playing for nothing and it will probably reflect in their performance.

  • Comment 6, posted at 28.04.10 11:37:30 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 6) : now that I definitely agree with, although I’m not advocating chopping and changing as such. Seeing as Plum never uses his bench anyway, it seems pointless to put regular vodacom cup starters on it!

  • Comment 7, posted at 28.04.10 11:47:30 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : you have to give people time to respond. sheez you are impatient. 😉 i agree. but i agreed last week when you had a similar article up. i have actually suggested doing it before you let me know the guys had to have played at least 2 games.

  • Comment 8, posted at 28.04.10 11:55:21 by try time Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : plum has had his chance and he has fupped. so let the vc guys get their tails up for the cc. a trophy is better than the cobwebs we currently have in our cabinet.

  • Comment 9, posted at 28.04.10 11:57:10 by try time Reply

  • aren’t the sharks concerned with lack of depth and quality in the backline? and does adolf get a performance bonus considering the shocking signing of quality backs?

  • Comment 10, posted at 28.04.10 12:09:34 by try time Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : I’m with you on this Rob, I reckon the Vodacom Cup is the only chance of a trophy over the next few weeks. Do you really think the suits will look at it this way?

    BTW Rob, I’m really battling to log into Sharksworld with my Blackberry, do you know why? I can’t post a comment from my cell?!

  • Comment 11, posted at 28.04.10 12:16:01 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • Caching and cookies? I also had problems at first

  • Comment 12, posted at 28.04.10 12:19:26 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 12) : I have no idea to be honest. It says I have to log in to post a comment, but when i click to log in, it goes back to the article without logging me in. Do you use Opera Mini?

  • Comment 13, posted at 28.04.10 12:26:15 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • I think to show the VC side that the management actually believe they can win, they should keep the side as is. Have to agree, a trophy of any sort is beter than none!!!

  • Comment 14, posted at 28.04.10 13:05:14 by SharksRTB Reply

  • KEO Akona broke his leg again this morning at training.

  • Comment 15, posted at 28.04.10 13:20:01 by SharksRTB Reply

  • @SharksRTB (Comment 15) : That’s so unlucky hey? Poor oke, 2 broken legs in one season.

  • Comment 16, posted at 28.04.10 13:21:52 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • A Trophy is a Trophy… to be honest I Reeaaaalllyyy doubt we will make the play-offs. In fact I’m willing to make an outrages bet that we won’t. But as far as winning the VC, well we are in the play-offs are we not? So don’t tamper with the VC and let things run it’s course for the “Big Boys”. All I know is that we MUST win atleast one of the games on Saturday.

    The Bulls can’t have it all now can they.

  • Comment 17, posted at 28.04.10 14:28:55 by Farlington Reply

  • any recent injury updates ??

  • Comment 18, posted at 28.04.10 16:32:17 by rekinek Reply
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  • I don’t agree, losing against the Bulls is not an option. Not even when you’re completely out of the competition.

  • Comment 19, posted at 29.04.10 08:37:17 by Letgo Reply
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  • Lets all get behind the Sharks XV… they need our support!!!

  • Comment 20, posted at 29.04.10 09:29:00 by s.h.a.r.k.s Reply

  • @Letgo (Comment 19) : loosing should never be an option really if you are a professional player. you lose to a better team but you definately should not plan to do so.

  • Comment 21, posted at 29.04.10 09:30:47 by rekinek Reply
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