Closer look at the squad

Written by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (JJR)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 25 Jan 2011 at 20:32
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We all pretty much know how The Sharks squad is gonna look, but let’s have a closer look at the individuals and those bubbling under.

In the front we have 4 Boks and 2 other very talented props. We also have 2 other very explosive hookers. Beast is a man animal in the scrums and in terms of ball carrying. Can be slightly inconsistent at times, but with a bit more rotation he can be a bit more fresh as it is often fatigue that causes him to under perform from time to time. Bismarck Du Plessis is one of the best players in terms of workrate. He carries a lot and makes many tackles; as well as being a solid fetcher too. John Smit is our captain and the best in the world at that. With his new body shape we can expect more of those strong ball carries. Let’s not forget how well the Springbok scrum does when he is at 2. Jannie is our solid tighthead that hardly ever goes backwards in the scrum, plus makes his fair share of tackles. We also have Eugene van Staden who is simply a solid 1 and 3 with the added plus that he is very mobile; very good as an impact prop. Our youngest in the running is Wiehahn Herbst, who is a very solid scrummager and has a very good build to do so consistently, even when fatigue sets in.

At 2 we have “Iron Man” Burden, he is very explosive and one of the strongest guys in the squad. Burden runs like a centre at times and can hit the gaps at pace. Just under Burden we have Kyle Cooper; similar in many ways to Burden, but has a bit more bulk and has great balance and power in the hips to keep him driving in the tackle situation.

Now for the second row. At 5 we have Ali Hargreaves and Ross Skeate. Ali is a lineout ace and a hard worker in all aspects of play. Skeate is also a very good lineout exponent and plays at his best when play gets loose and he can get his long legs stretching. Good runner with the ball and also gets involved as much as possible. At 4 we have Sykes and Mostert. Sykes is a real unsung hero, he does tons of hard work in all aspects of forward play. He is great at clearing out at the breakdown and makes many tackles, he is also a very hard worker in the maul situations. Gerhard Mostert is also another 4 although he can also play 5. “Mossie” is probably the best lock we have in terms of ball carrying, he is also similar to Sykes in that he is also great at clearing out opposition. He has also got great hands in the lineouts. Bubbling under the main 4 we have Anton Bresler. He has got good bulk for a young lock and is a real workhorse in the scrums and breakdowns.

Now to my personal favourite, the back row. We have Keegan Daniel, Jacques Botes, Jean Deysel, Willem Alberts, Ryan Kankowski, (Hopefully) Jacques “Vleis” Engelbrecht and Daniel Ojiambo. Keegan Daniel is a special breed, very quick, agile and strong. He also shows great commitment and aggresion. He is a player that can turn a game around with his explosive runs. Jacques Botes is the workhorse. He makes tons of tackles and is very good at support play which allows him to finish lots of opportunities. Jean Deysel, the only 7 to have mastered “The Bounce” which leaves opponents either sitting on the ground with a huge headache or lying down out cold. At 112kg+ it is surprising how well he does at stealing ball, he times it well and has very good balance and strong arms which allow him to rip ball out of the rucks with ease. Similar to Alberts he makes many big hits. Willem(118kg) is also like Deysel a very very good ball carrier and hits the ball at pace. He has more pace than Deysel and this allows him to make many try saving or  try preventing tackles out wide; he also does a good amount of work at the breakdowns like Sykes does. Alberts is also a solid lineout jumper.  Ryan is our back/forward, he has a great step, pace and handoff. He reminds me of a champion horse in human form the way he runs. He also has good strength in the arms and shoulders. Also a solid lineout jumper at the back. Ojiambo is a special guy, he is similar to Pierre Spies in many aspects. He has very good pace and is very strong, but he probably weighs slightly more due to the extra bulk he has in his upper legs. He will probably end up at around 112kg at his peak. Last recorded weight was 110kg. Daniel is like a Lomu in the backrow. Someone still very young, but could be very important in the future for the Sharks is U/20 Bok Francois Kleinhans. As many know The Sharks don’t quite have an out and out fetcher. Not seen much of Francois, but it  sounds like he could be our answer at 6 given a few more years. Is also a well conditioned youngster.

Now halfback, Charl McLeod, Conrad Hoffman,  Patrick Lambie and Jacques-Louis Potgieter. Charl is perfect for an open running game, he has a crisp, fast pass and is also a very agile and quick 9, often catching forwards unawares around the rucks(Fringes). Conrad Hoffman is quite similar to Charl, a good runner and passer, but probably a better box kicker. Hoffman can be compared with Neil De Kock of Saracens. At Fly Patrick Lambie…need I say more…he is a very good balanced runner, good passer, attacks the gain line, has great tackling technique and a good kicking game. Has not been his best lately kicking for poles, but when it clicks again, which I am sure it will with the help of Braam van Straaten, he should have a 90% success rate within 50m of the poles again. JLP is a really good player to have. He has an excellent all round kicking game, very good pace and strength and tackles well. Because of all these attributes and the fact that he has good weight and conditioning it allows him to cover many roles which are 10,12,13 and 15. His best is at 10, but I think he could also make a very good 13. Youngsters coming through at 9 are Ross Cronje and Cobus Reinach, both quality 9’s. At 10 we have young Fred Zeilinga, has a very good kicking and passing game, but most importantly a good rugby brain.

At centre we have Meyer Bosman, Stef  Terblanche, Adrian Jacobs and Luzuko Vulindlu. Meyer Bosman is a great distributer and is solid taking it up. He is also a very good tackler due to his solid technique. Stef is a good runner and very commited tackler and with his extra 6 or so kg of muscle that he has gained over the off season he can be used more often as a crash ball option hitting it at pace. Adi is a brillaint play maker, attacks the gaps and has great hands. He also has very good acceleration and is also very well conditioned, one of the best attacking centres in South Africa. We then have Luzuko, we have not seen too much of him at 13, but he has very good speed and tackles seriously well. Also is with a shout is Riaan Swanepoel; he is very good at crash ball and makes big hits, also good at competing at the breakdown. Bubbling under them we have some younger guys from the u/20 Boks, Piet Lindeque and Heimar Williams, which we can have a good look at during the U/20 world cup. There is also Dwayne Jenner and Jerome Pretorius that show that they have the makings to make the step up. Also lets not forget about 18 year old Paul Jordaan, has great potential and we can all have a good look at all his attributes when the Sevens tournaments resume on the 4th of Feb.

In the back three we have Lwazi Mvovo, JP Pieterson, Odwa Ndungane and Louis Ludik. Lwazi…we all know his attributes, pace and strength. JP is also a very physical winger and has deceptive speed and a very good step; will be great to see him back to his best this season, he is a huge favourite amongst the fans. Odwa is a real solid wing, does not make mistakes often and plays the basics very well. Solid under high ball and also a very good support runner…always ready for the offload. Louis is a very solid last defender and makes sure he gets them down, also good under high ball and has good pace off the mark. Guys bubbling under are possibly, Trompie Nontshinga, S’bura Sithole and Mark Richrads. We have seen S’bura and Mark do well for U/21 and Sevens. Trompie is a classic finisher and often does so following a strong handoff on the last defender. Will most likely play Sharks XV, but there is still enough quality for him to represent The Sharks in my opinion.

We have the quality to win both tournaments this season, but still early days where preparation physically, mentally and tactically is the main focus at the moment. So good luck Sharks. Sharks forever!!


  • Jeez, reading that I can’t see how we can not win 😉

    Important thing is how will they play together as a team.

  • Comment 1, posted at 25.01.11 20:54:57 by MysticShark Reply
    Competition Winner
  • Good read thanks JJR

  • Comment 2, posted at 25.01.11 21:10:14 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • i have only 2 words


  • Comment 3, posted at 25.01.11 21:28:08 by juba_fan Reply

  • i have only 2 words

    WE BELIEVE !!!

  • Comment 4, posted at 25.01.11 21:29:34 by juba_fan Reply

  • Great read mate: love the detail you went into for each player and position.

    I’m really hoping this is Big Dan’s breakthrough year. He could be a real star.

  • Comment 5, posted at 25.01.11 21:33:55 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • Enjoyed this article JJR. Reading that we sure do have a quality side this year. This time last year we never had a fh, now we have two. Can’t wait, less than 4 weeks to go now.

    Just hope we see the season through with no injuries. Hoping.

  • Comment 6, posted at 25.01.11 21:52:17 by Puma Reply

  • Guys one q is the game shown this sat or next sat..I can’t seem to pick up anything for it…

  • Comment 7, posted at 25.01.11 22:06:23 by shaniboi Reply

  • Two words “WE BELIEVE” 🙂

  • Comment 8, posted at 25.01.11 22:15:00 by Poisy Reply
  • Isn’t it the same side (playing XV) as last year !

    Lack of a genuine openside could be costly in the pace of this competition.

    However will watch Deysel and Daniel with interest, a lot will depend on them to get the Sharks going forward !

    Good read JJR

  • Comment 9, posted at 25.01.11 23:47:18 by Hertford Highlander Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
    Hertford Highlander
  • @ shaniboi (Comment 7), The final match of Tri-Series, Stormers vs Sharks will be televised live on SuperSport next Saturday @ 17:00 kick-off time.

  • Comment 10, posted at 25.01.11 23:58:14 by Charlie Reply

  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 9) : to look at the sharks strength it is better to look at the oppositions. what new players do the other south african teams have that weren’t in the curry cup teams that got beaten by the sharks last year? the cheetahs join up with the griquas so are a little stronger. lions have bought players, but it will take time for their combinations to be settled. stormers and bulls have gained their bok players from last year and that is it. sharks have the best flyhalf depth in the country and a forward pack that matches the bulls. so yes as long as the sharks don’t get too many injuries and they don’t fall asleep like they tend to every now and then, on paper they are by far the best unit in the south african conference.

  • Comment 11, posted at 26.01.11 08:31:05 by try time Reply

  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 9) :

    Slightly different here and there.
    Different in one vital spot Flyhalf.

  • Comment 12, posted at 26.01.11 08:41:26 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Charlie (Comment 10) : The EP Kings game will also be live on TV.

    Not sure if it is against the Lions or Bulls.

  • Comment 13, posted at 26.01.11 08:43:22 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @try time (Comment 11) : Agree with most of what you say except it is the CURRIE Cup. 😉

  • Comment 14, posted at 26.01.11 08:46:14 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • we are black we are white and this year we surely are dynimite.

  • Comment 15, posted at 26.01.11 08:51:41 by juba_fan Reply

  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 14) : i know what you are saying, but the new super rugby format is like having a mini currie cup inside an international tournament. the local derbies have higher importance than the international games. a game between a team in your conference has far more weight than beating the rebels. if you know what i am saying.

  • Comment 16, posted at 26.01.11 08:53:49 by try time Reply

  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 14) : @try time (Comment 16) : actually the more i look at the new format i do like the new permutations the competition adds. although my biggest disagreement with the tournament is top teams in countries with the weakest teams will tend to lead the overall standings giving them a home semi. and teams get advantage over other teams in their conference by missing out on playing the top international teams.

  • Comment 17, posted at 26.01.11 08:58:20 by try time Reply

  • I can’t wait for the S15 to start….I’m carefully optimistic about the Sharks chances this year.

  • Comment 18, posted at 26.01.11 09:19:44 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Comment 18) : i am every year. then they lose to easy teams and kill their chances. how many times in the last decade have the sharks lead the log and blown their chances by losing home games. i am going into this competition with apprehensive optimism.

  • Comment 19, posted at 26.01.11 09:30:35 by try time Reply

  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 14) :
    @try time (Comment 16) :
    Completely missed that on TT. 😆

  • Comment 20, posted at 26.01.11 09:33:39 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 20) : i thought i missed something by the wink ksa left. it is probably so obvious i can’t see it. 😳

  • Comment 21, posted at 26.01.11 09:41:50 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 21) : Its all in the spelling of curry / Currie.

  • Comment 22, posted at 26.01.11 10:02:50 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • This should be called the Champagne Squad…sure a lot of “bubbling inderneath” going on… 😉

    Cannot wait for the season to start!! GO SHarks!

  • Comment 23, posted at 26.01.11 10:11:40 by Ice (KCM) Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 22) : its in durban now, so until october it is known as the curry cup. i would call it the bunny cup if it didn’t sound more like a playboy mansion trophy. 😆 😆 now you guys know what i have for lunch 3 times a week 😆

  • Comment 24, posted at 26.01.11 10:16:11 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 11) : I think as a unit they have grown trememdously…

    We relied on steyn to bring a boot that was shown in the currie cup to be not need needed quiet frankly…

    Flyhalf we are covered quiet well n its south african depth so even better..front row prob the best in the country…even centre I wouldn’t worry bout..like that we have meyer bosman..

  • Comment 25, posted at 26.01.11 10:22:48 by shaniboi Reply

  • @try time (Comment 24) :
    3 time a week, I wish, man I havent had a real in years.

  • Comment 26, posted at 26.01.11 10:28:04 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @shaniboi (Comment 25) : yes the squad is strong. but what gives me the most confidence is that john plumtree and the squad learnt from their mistakes of previous seasons and fixed them. i used to criticise stefan for far too many up and unders yet half way through last years super 14 and through the CURRY cup he and the other players held onto the ball a lot more. John Plumtree also realised the defensive game was taking the strength out of the team and they couldn’t keep the pace up week in, week out. also finally realising the value of a passing scrumhalf in the new game is critical.

  • Comment 27, posted at 26.01.11 10:30:07 by try time Reply

  • @Salmonoid (Comment 26) : make yourself one. very easy. the best one i have ever had i made in a potjie.

  • Comment 28, posted at 26.01.11 10:32:14 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 28) :
    Not a great cook, but post your recipe some time when its slow.

  • Comment 29, posted at 26.01.11 10:46:44 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 29) : will do.

  • Comment 30, posted at 26.01.11 10:53:32 by try time Reply

  • Hey Rob, what criteria did you use to arrange team positions on the Super Rugby Log? I thought it might be based on how you think they will fare, but that does not tie up with the play-off contenders listed at the bottom. Did I miss something?

    Also, should you not update the picture on the login page? New year, new competition, and (in the case of Andries Strauss) new players. I would suggest Pokkel’s avatar (although, in fairness, I would suggest Pokkel’s avatar as a compulsory tattoo for all Sharks fans too).

  • Comment 31, posted at 26.01.11 11:24:42 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • Thanks for this JJR. I hope you can do a similar indepth article on our Academy players at some stage this year. That would be really good.

  • Comment 32, posted at 26.01.11 12:08:47 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @Culling Song (Comment 31) : it’s completely random at this stage, since all the teams are on 0 points. I assure you that once games have been played, the log will update properly!

  • Comment 33, posted at 26.01.11 12:40:24 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Good article JJR.

  • Comment 34, posted at 26.01.11 12:52:15 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle

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