What do we really want??

Written by sheldon klingbiel (SheldonK)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Reader Submissions, Sharks on 30 Aug 2011 at 14:55
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As a rugby public we have different views on what we want from the players that represent the teams we support each and every weekend. Some of us have a bit more informed knowledge than others, or so we think.

Everyone wants their teams to win and their players to excel but when this doesn’t happen there are hundreds of opinions of what went wrong and why this or that player shouldn’t be there. So what do we really want from these players each weekend? Let’s look at the forwards for now:

Prop: The fatties of the team, or are they? Everyone wants a prop that can scrum well even these days when scrums are such a lottery and seldom does a dominant scrum lead to a win. Nevertheless we all want to see our scrum go forward so we want props that can hold their own at scrum time. But that’s not it!! What use is a guy that just walks from scrum to scrum but can’t tackle and pass or carry the ball? So yes we want a prop that can scrum, but we would also like the prop to be able to carry the ball and make his tackles on opposition backs.

Hooker: Most believe that the modern day hooker should be an extra loose forward. The traditional skills of a hooker being a good scrummager and able to hit his lineout jumpers seem be less important than a hooker that can create turnovers and carry the ball strongly. Is the importance of set pieces slowly decreasing with time and each new law interpretation?

Lock: The modern day lock should be a skilled lineout jumper but also be able to add his weight/technique to ensure the scrum is locked tight and never goes backwards. The lock needs to clear as many rucks as possible and create a friendly environment in which his team’s “fetcher” can operate. The lock should never be seen in the backline unless it is absolutely necessary for them to carry the ball. The lock should never be seen kicking a rugby ball.

Flank: The flanks job is to stick to the ball. The flank should never miss a tackle and is required to retrieve the ball back when his team gives it to the opposition. The flank should also be a good ball carrier and should never lose his prize possession, the ball, in any circumstances.

8th Man: The 8th man needs to be a combination of lock and flank as well as have the running ability of a centre. The 8th man needs to hit rucks, steal ball on the ground, make tackles, have good handling skills and be able to carry the ball over the advantage line consistently. The 8th man should also not show up in the backline unless absolutely necessary.

Coaches and selectors will obviously have different ideas and criteria for their player’s selection but as a rugby public we would like our players to have all the skills and abilities. At the end of the we as the public pay to watch them so why cant we have what we want??


  • Well written piece Sheldon, thank you for your input!

    As for your opinion regarding locks and hookers, luckily you allow hookers to kick, else that wonderful grubber from John Smit to Matfield in the Tri nations a few years ago would never had happened!

  • Comment 1, posted at 30.08.11 15:10:52 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 1) : Hookers kicking the ball is quite an entertaining sight so if they have the co-ords to do it then by all means ill watch! They may get sworn at in the changeroom afterwards though!

  • Comment 2, posted at 30.08.11 15:19:04 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 2) :

    I love a lock running with the ball, its like watching an ostrich run!!

  • Comment 3, posted at 30.08.11 15:32:48 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • Nice article.

    I do think that you need to differentiate between the blindside and openside though.

    Like how you mention that the locks need to contribute to effectiveness at the ruck though – I fully agree.

  • Comment 4, posted at 30.08.11 16:54:17 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 4) : Thanks man. I didnt want to split blindside/openside just like i didnt split the locks or props for the simple reason that I think they should be seen as one and it doesnt matter who does what or if both players do it as long as the job gets done. I think in SA we a bit too worried about a single player “fetching” or carrying the ball etc.

  • Comment 5, posted at 31.08.11 08:32:30 by SheldonK Reply


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