Plum – please don’t Ruan this backline!

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 26 Jul 2010 at 09:19
Tagged with : , , , ,

In the interests of continuity and form, I feel it is critical that John Plumtree and the Sharks coaching staff resist the temptation to include Ruan Pienaar in the Sharks starting team for this weekend’s crunch game against the Cheetahs.

The main reasons for this are simple and really have everything to do with Charl McLeod and the team dynamics, rather than any personal issue against Pienaar (for the record, I don’t have any with him!). Since the dual malaise of bad ball protection and slow service killed the Sharks in the second half of the opening loss to Griquas, much work was done to correct both problems against the Bulls. While the loose forwards (and the pack as a whole) played much better to ensure better ball against the Bulls, it was the inclusion of McLeod at scrumhalf that sorted out the second problem and ensured that the backline were kept on the front foot virtually all game.

If reports are to be believed, even if the forwards reverted to type against the Pumas, McLeod nevertheless battled manfully to salvage what he could and apart from scoring a typically opportunistic try, was one of the few Sharks players to stand out in an otherwise woeful team performance. He is a guy that has played fantastically every time he’s been given the starting jersey, only to be summarily dropped every time one of the “stars” returns. This needs to stop now, to my mind. McLeod has established himself as the first-choice scrumhalf on the back of his performances. If Pienaar wants the jersey, he’ll have to take it by proving that he’s in better nick.

It’s unlikely to happen, though, for two reasons. Firstly, the latest “Bok injection” is likely to be a short-lived one, with Pienaar et al odds-on to be summoned back to the Boks camp after the Lions game next weekend. Furthermore, although the player himself has refused to confirm it, it’s an open secret that Pienaar will be on his way to Ulster at the end of October, meaning that any opportunity to develop further depth in this position must be taken now, with a view to the Super 15 next year. Rory Kockott appears to have fallen out of favour and outside of McLeod, the Sharks look drastically thin when it comes to decent scrumhalves, especially given Ross Cronje’s injury woes. Playing Pienaar is a short-term band-aid that does nothing to address the real issue.

Mtawarira and Kankowski are different, as I feel both players can be brought into the pack to give it a short-term boost against the Cheetahs and Lions. While it will be unfair to drop Keegan Daniel on form, the situation at prop is more clear-cut, with Beast’s immense value hard to overlook. Ryan Kankowski is also a superb player who has shown that he can also do a job at blindside flank if required. While combinations and familiarity are still important amongst the forwards, I feel that you can get away with mixing and matching on a game by game basis up front. Tinkering with your 9-10-12 axis, however, is a no-no, especially if you’ve finally stumbled unto a good combination and need to give it time to settle.

McLeod, Steve Meyer and Pat Lambie are the guys to take the Sharks forward in this Currie Cup and we need to keep that unit together for as many games as possible.


  • whats wrong with ruan replacing steve? steve hasn’t set the team a light eventhough he has been good with distribution. monty was poor on friday according to reports, so offer ruan the 10 jersey. but i agree he mustn’t get the 9 jersey.

  • Comment 1, posted at 26.07.10 09:27:14 by try time Reply
  • I agree with you Rob!

    I wish this info was available on Friday night to put the question to Plum..

    I will be posting a summary of the post match press conference during today.

  • Comment 2, posted at 26.07.10 09:27:39 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • @try time (Comment 1) : Only to take Ruan out in 2 weeks time.. leave Steve in the 10 jumper so that he gets the game time..

    He looked good for the 20 minutes he played on Friday night

  • Comment 3, posted at 26.07.10 09:29:25 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • rob you have a typo and should be at. “it was the inclusion of McLeod and scrumhalf that sorted out”

  • Comment 4, posted at 26.07.10 09:29:31 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 4) : thanks – will fix.

    Jeez, try time. The only way I can think of to disrupt this backline more than playing Ruan at 9 is to put him at 10.

  • Comment 5, posted at 26.07.10 09:33:57 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 3) : i understand what you are saying especially with ruan leaving sa. i would play ruan off the bench as a replacement though. personally i would like to see lambie and steve switched, i think steve would be better as an inside centre and pat has a better boot.

  • Comment 6, posted at 26.07.10 09:34:20 by try time Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : @Richard Ferguson (Comment 3) : i agree with both of you, but ruan must be on the bench ahead of rory and monty. i know we are huge monty supporters here, but he let himself down on friday. and the cheetahs are going to be a lot more difficult than the pumas. as richard said steve was good in the 20 he was on. was this because monty was poor for the other 60? so as i said maybe try pat at ten and steve at 12 against the lions. i wouldn’t change anything against the cheetahs though except beast deysel and alberts.

  • Comment 7, posted at 26.07.10 09:38:57 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 6) : I think in a few years’ time we might see them lining up that way.

  • Comment 8, posted at 26.07.10 09:39:31 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @try time (Comment 6) : Pat was put under enormous pressure at inside centre by the Pumas rush defence, and he subsequently has an average game with no line break to mention.

    If you had to put him at 10, where the pressure is even worse, I think he would have a torrid time.

    But the aim is to get him closer to the ball, and I do understand your point about his boot being better.

  • Comment 9, posted at 26.07.10 09:40:38 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • @try time (Comment 7) : Monty was poor in the time he was on. He didn’t get the backline going and a lot of passes where did try play the line, went behind the players and we were going backwards.

    I wouldn’t try Lambie at 10 this season, except if he completely fails at 12. But let him settle into the inside centre role, and he might flourish.

  • Comment 10, posted at 26.07.10 09:43:09 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • i wonder if monty has a problem with playing second fiddle and this compromises his performances. last year during the s14 when he was asked to fill the gap left by injured flyhalves he was poor at best. then with a huge vacancy at 10 during the cc he came in and played some impressive rugby as the 1st choice 10. now that he is 2nd choice his game has gone to pot again. monty should maybe change his mindset a little to make him play at his best all the time. then maybe he won’t get messed around like he does.

  • Comment 11, posted at 26.07.10 09:45:06 by try time Reply

  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 9) : @Richard Ferguson (Comment 10) : you get a lot more protection and time at ten than 12. that is why i say put pat there. as you said monty wasn’t firing, this could have hampered pat. a rush defence is very effective if the flyhalf is poor.

  • Comment 12, posted at 26.07.10 09:50:49 by try time Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : An excellent article, and I couldnt agree with you more. Id put Pienaar in the match day 22, but only coming on for 15 min at the end… We need to look to the future and utilising a player that is leaving when you have a future bok playing excellent rugby is a waste..

    Leave the backs alone, no need to make massive changes to a line that impressed everyone of the bloggers against the Bulls…

  • Comment 13, posted at 26.07.10 09:51:03 by Mole Reply

  • @ Rob – I was thinking exactly the same thing this morning. I hope it happens!

  • Comment 14, posted at 26.07.10 09:51:35 by Uli Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    Uli Boelie
  • but i am not saying we must move pat this weekend. but it must be tried in the easier games to see what we have available. no point in waiting for someone to get injured then we all panic

  • Comment 15, posted at 26.07.10 09:52:11 by try time Reply

  • Agree 100% Rob! Ruan might add something at flyhalf for us but he`s not a long term solution. Rather stick with what we`ll still have next year!

  • Comment 16, posted at 26.07.10 09:52:31 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • TT, flyhalves have less time to make decisions, hence the need to slowly bring Pat into the crucial position by first acclimatising at 12 first.

    Its still early days, but I liked what I saw of Meyer against the Bulls.

  • Comment 17, posted at 26.07.10 10:47:28 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 17) : This 9,10,12 axis could become a killer if they get a lot of time to play and gel together…

  • Comment 18, posted at 26.07.10 10:53:42 by Mole Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : Any info on when Ross will be fit again? He plays very similar to Mcloed. He might be slightly slower running, but is alot stronger physically to my mind. Hope he gets well soon. Both, i rate are better than kockett when looking at the way we want to play. Kockett has lost his game breaker edge, plus he really struggles to get the ball out quickly. Lets hope he can also come right again; used to be so key to us winning games in the past.

  • Comment 19, posted at 26.07.10 11:11:56 by JJR Reply
  • vrinne… please see our brand spanking new “like this on Facebook” button at the bottom of the article. Please hit it with some love…

  • Comment 20, posted at 26.07.10 11:12:32 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @JJR (Comment 19) : Ross isn’t out for too much longer. Few weeks max.

    Cobus Reinach is also going to be a star, though. Back youth, Sharks… no more buying!

  • Comment 21, posted at 26.07.10 11:14:46 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 21) : Agree, we have signed some good guys that we really needed. Pottie,steve,ludik,alberts, mapoe(outside centre?),etc. With the stock we have available, we don’t need to buy anybody. We have serious depth and talent available currently in our union. Ross,lindeque,bresler, etc. We are in a healthy position right now. Looking forward to the next few years!!!

  • Comment 22, posted at 26.07.10 11:22:51 by JJR Reply
  • @JJR (Comment 22) : Yip, the squad is looking very very healthy!!

    One thing I have to ask is, What is Pretorious doing there? and do we really really need JLP next year? Id like to see Meyer getting as much game time as possible

  • Comment 23, posted at 26.07.10 11:27:12 by Mole Reply

  • @try time (Comment 1) : The impact changing a number 10 is way greater than a 9. Steve has not been a briliant star, but he is very consitant and makes very little mistakes. He also does exactly what we need from our 10; good distribution, makes the takles, runs onto ball and kicks the ball when required. Personally i would not replace Steve and keep him there for as long as possible through this currie cup. I don’t mind ruan at 9 for a game or 2. He will just kick the up and unders and give steve some quick ball…similar to Charl in my mind.

  • Comment 24, posted at 26.07.10 11:27:34 by JJR Reply
  • @JJR (Comment 24) : SA scrummies kick too much. Pass it on…

  • Comment 25, posted at 26.07.10 11:32:38 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Mole (Comment 23) : Good question, i belive it is more a depth signing than anything else. He plays 10 and 12. Steve out or patrick, we will be thin in those positions. Andre is a quality player and we might need him if steve has to maybe sit out(touch wood)in this currie cup. Patrick is still a bit raw to force him to play 10 at the moment. No doubt he can play there very well, but i feel it is a bit early to be putting him in that role. JLP is also a bit better than steve with kicking out of hand, which is important in tight games at super 14 level. To be honest i do like what i have seen from steve thus far. Andre great backup off bench, eg. last 20 minutes using his quick distribution. Jlp is great for adding quality depth to 10 and 12, he doesn’t necesarily have to start if his kicking skills are not required.

  • Comment 26, posted at 26.07.10 11:35:10 by JJR Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 25) : Very true, when we in their half, they still do it. Really stupid to be honest. I don’t mind the up and under when our line is very flat and we are struggling to get over advantage line, but with Deysel and Alberts back we should not have a problem.

  • Comment 27, posted at 26.07.10 11:37:55 by JJR Reply
  • @JJR (Comment 27) : Ohh, lets not forget that the chase needs to be good in order to do so. Boks need to understand this…Habana!!!!

  • Comment 28, posted at 26.07.10 11:42:26 by JJR Reply
  • @Mole (Comment 18) :
    Definitely. I have rated Mcleod since the first time I saw him playing at the Pumas – he ha pace aplenty, but is not so hungry for glory that the backs only get ball when he has no other choice.

    @JJR (Comment 24) :
    Agree on Meyer – been a while since we saw that, and I hope he keeps playing that way.

    @robdylan (Comment 25) :
    Sadly, very true. Lack of creativity and direction.

  • Comment 29, posted at 26.07.10 11:43:44 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 29) : you mean the Valke?

  • Comment 30, posted at 26.07.10 11:48:27 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 30) :
    Is korrek ja. 😳


  • Comment 31, posted at 26.07.10 12:00:20 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 31) : all minnow teams look the same to me. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 32, posted at 26.07.10 12:01:31 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 32) :
    Yep: I confuse the Lions, Stormers and Leopards all the time.

    And of course, the Cheetahs all look like Sharks to me.

  • Comment 33, posted at 26.07.10 12:06:30 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 33) : 10 points, kemosabe 🙂

  • Comment 34, posted at 26.07.10 12:19:01 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Yeah; I have to agree with Kanko and Beast being included into the game, Ruan… Ruan; hell its a difficult call to make, I would not include him in the starting XV but must have to admit the tempation is too strong for him not include him in the match day 22… But McLeod is in great nick and deserves a solid 60 minute run at least…

  • Comment 35, posted at 26.07.10 12:31:45 by DarkDestroyer Reply

  • Ruan can cover 9 and 10 from the bench. That gives us the luxury of an extra loose forward. Start with daniel, alberts and kanko and put both botes and deysel on the bench

  • Comment 36, posted at 26.07.10 12:36:02 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 34) :
    Shot Tonto.

    @DarkDestroyer (Comment 35) :
    Love the avatar.

  • Comment 37, posted at 26.07.10 12:38:22 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @robdylan (Comment 36) : Are we going to play Deysel… bit soon innit?

    @Big Fish (Comment 37) : Heavy breathing destroyer of worlds… 😉

  • Comment 38, posted at 26.07.10 12:45:11 by DarkDestroyer Reply

  • We need to play deysel at some stage… 20 minutes at the end once alberts has destroyed juan Smith

  • Comment 39, posted at 26.07.10 12:48:38 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 39) : Yeah, I like the thought of that, confirm that Deysel was wrist surgery (from trying to smoke Francois Hougaard in the Bulls S14 game?) – so hopefully he is fit and strong… Has he been training with The Sharks this CC season? I’d like for him to get some big form and see Kanko, Deysel and Alberts in the Bok mix…

  • Comment 40, posted at 26.07.10 12:53:22 by DarkDestroyer Reply

  • @JJR (Comment 24) : i never said i didn’t like meyer. i am just concerned that he doesn’t have a great tactical kicking game. it would be ok with ruan at 9. but it is risky having meyer and charl together. it means stefan has to come in during pressure play making us very predictable.

  • Comment 41, posted at 26.07.10 12:56:42 by try time Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 25) : because sa flyhalves are shit… pass it on.

  • Comment 42, posted at 26.07.10 12:58:02 by try time Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 36) : with juan smith on the park i would not start with two running loosies. we all saw how the boks got fwakked on saturday for doing that. i’d go botes deysel and keegan, with ryan and alberts on the bench.

  • Comment 43, posted at 26.07.10 13:00:48 by try time Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 39) : good point, ok swop deysel with alberts in the starting line up.

  • Comment 44, posted at 26.07.10 13:03:40 by try time Reply

  • Against a loose trio of scholtz, smith and johnson, we’ll get killed if we play daniel and botes together. Mark my words. Kanko’s release is quite literally a boon from heaven for us.

  • Comment 45, posted at 26.07.10 13:12:14 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @try time (Comment 41) : U have a good point. Personally i don’t think that aspect alone is worth changing the 10 at the moment. Ruan would help us most in these two weeks coming off the bench and keep givin Steve and Pat some fast ball. Ruan leaving in 2 weeks anyway. Patrick lambie took most of the kicking out of hand duties against the Bulls anyway.

  • Comment 46, posted at 26.07.10 13:19:53 by JJR Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 45) : Agree, Daniel and botes simply can’t be in the same loose trio against a balanced loose trio like the Cheetahs have. A botes, alberts, kanko with a Hopfully fit Deysel coming off the bench would be an awesome group of loosies.

  • Comment 47, posted at 26.07.10 13:22:26 by JJR Reply
  • @JJR (Comment 46) : no i wasn’t thinking of ruan, i was just backing my arguement of swopping steve and pat as pat has a good boot.

  • Comment 48, posted at 26.07.10 13:44:58 by try time Reply

  • Good day everyone been in Italy 4 last 6 weeks, therefore not up to date with what is going on -is Ruan going or not? If he is going he shouldnt even be on the bench, imo we should be putting together the best possible team that is going to take us to S14 – including places on the bench

  • Comment 49, posted at 26.07.10 13:55:53 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • I think rushing Deysel back isnt the best of ideas – even if I do want to see him running over the opposition. I reckon that the way Skeate played in the last 20/30 on Fri he deserves a start. This would bulk up the engine room and offer us another strike runner. Hargreaves has played well, but still think he is better when the game becomes loose.

    Loosies – 6 Daniels, 7/8 Alberts Kanko. Deysel last 20.

  • Comment 50, posted at 26.07.10 14:03:58 by Mole Reply

  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 49) : I feel the same way, there is no good reason to use Ruan in this game. The guys we have available to us now is quite capable of pulling of a win and will have to do so against tougher opposition next year anyway. It’s time to put some faith in them and give them a chance to grow as players and build good combinations.

  • Comment 51, posted at 26.07.10 14:08:30 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 49) : Yip, couldn’t agree more. He has been a good player for us in the past, but if he has chosen to leave, and will be a part of the Bok setup for the home tests, why should we unsettle our backs to accommodate a player that will be leaving? Lets back the players we have, give them a mental boost by keeping them in the matchday 22.

    The last thing we want is a repeat of last year – top of the log only to be let down by the returning Boks who looked completely lost when playing for the Sharks!

  • Comment 52, posted at 26.07.10 14:09:29 by Mole Reply

  • @Mole (Comment 50) : botes has to be 6. keegan doesn’t get through the workload botes does. the showpony must play eigthman so it can either be keegan or ryan, but not both on at the same time.

  • Comment 53, posted at 26.07.10 14:13:31 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 53) : I know, its a difficult one, because Botes hasnt been in the greatest form, and the rate Daniels is scoring tries he cant be left out… Alberts and Kanko IMO are a must to combat the size and strength of the Cheetahs loosies – Smith and Johnson in particular… That being said – maybe Rhodes deserves to retain his position…

    Still think Skeate should start…

  • Comment 54, posted at 26.07.10 14:21:50 by Mole Reply

  • i just wonder whether Rob will have to eat another hat :mrgreen:

  • Comment 55, posted at 26.07.10 14:33:12 by rekinek (Go Klose!) Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
  • @Mole (Comment 54) : many sharks fans under estimate the role botes plays in the team. it is funny that even with his red hat no-one sees much of him. but when you are at the ground you actually see the work rate he goes through. he has definitely been the sharks biggest defender over the last 4 years. he must average around 15 tackles a game. it doesn’t sound a lot, but when there are only 100 tackles a game he is doing more than his fair share. keegan wouldn’t look as good if schalk was his loosie partner. it is all about getting the balance right.

  • Comment 56, posted at 26.07.10 15:05:22 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 56) : Punting Botes again… 😉
    But yes, I agree, he is a MVP for The Sharks and has to be in the mix on Saturday… 6) Botes 7) Kanko / Alberts 8) Kanko / Alberts

    Reserves: Deysel, Daniel…

    This is a prediction and I think Rhodes might not get the nod…

    Ruan must be in the mix (subs) – as he does cover 9 & 10.

  • Comment 57, posted at 26.07.10 16:44:57 by DarkDestroyer Reply

  • Play Ruan off the bench

  • Comment 58, posted at 26.07.10 16:55:16 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Ruan is a fantastic player. Whether he starts or plays off the bench he will add a lot to the mix. Just don’t play him at 10!

  • Comment 59, posted at 27.07.10 09:12:20 by Oubaas2009 Reply

  • I can’t wait to see Deysel back in the mix. Reckon the Boks could do with some of his go forward at the moment.

  • Comment 60, posted at 27.07.10 09:13:51 by Oubaas2009 Reply


Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.