Plumtree to use Boks – where possible

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 11 Oct 2011 at 06:34
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John Plumtree has confirmed that he will look to use his returning Springboks to bolster the Sharks squad for the last three weeks of the ABSA Currie Cup, but also wants to minimise disruption to the squad in the process. Despite never quite hitting their straps in the tournament so far, the Durbanites nevertheless find themselves in second place on the log with the final round looming.

The goal is, off-course, that oh-so lucrative home semi-final and while the Sharks are pretty much assured of facing the Cheetahs in the knock-outs next weekend, it’s this weekend’s round of games that will determine where that match takes place. Should Free State record a bonus point win against Griquas in Bleomfontein, then the Sharks will have to emulate that feat against the in-form Lions in Durban in order to hang on to second place and Plumtree will want to make best use of his returning superstars to make sure of that scenario.

The problem is the nightmare travel schedule which will see his Boks arriving back in Durban in dribs and drabs over the next few days, with some of them unlikely to be available at all before Thursday’s practice at the earliest. That may well be a little too late for them to sensibly be included to face the Lions. Plumtree’s selection challenge this week will be huge, given that he’s going to have to make some very late calls indeed on a number of players, including the injured duo of Craig Burden and Ryan Kankowski, who should both also return to the selection frame this week. No information regarding Adrian Jacobs’ state of fitness has yet come to light either, after he was forced from the field last weekend with a hamstring injury.

Plumtree has identified the lineouts as an area of concern, but told Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick that “we do have a young hooker learning his trade and we have not got too many tall players in the current pack. That will change in the weeks ahead.” Whether that latter statement refers to the imminent return of Bok hookers Bismarck du Plessis and maybe even John Smit, or to the return of Alistair Hargreaves from his unexplained absence remains to be seen. One thing that, unfortunately, won’t be fixed by the return of the Boks though, is the shortage of decent options at scrumhalf and centre and the Sharks will need to rely on the incumbents and hope they come through.

While it is probably not a real issue for this week’s game, Plumtree’s toughest selection dilemma in the weeks ahead will no doubt revolve around how best to use the diverse talents of Pat Lambie and Fred Michalak, both superb, versatile players, but also both far more suited to the flyhalf position than any other.


  • Play Lambie and Michalak, with them switching between 10 and 12 throughout the game.

  • Comment 1, posted at 11.10.11 06:56:09 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • I’m repeating my self from yesterday but would love to give it a go with Lambi @ 10 and Mich @ 9..

  • Comment 2, posted at 11.10.11 07:23:40 by Franshark Reply
  • Play everybody. Beast, Bismarck, Jannie, Alberts, Lambie, Ndungane… I’d even have Smit on the bench if he’s still available, he deserves it.

  • Comment 3, posted at 11.10.11 07:24:10 by hendrikp Reply

  • @Franshark (Comment 2) :

    Michalak is no scrumhalf… but it might take a game there to convince you.

  • Comment 4, posted at 11.10.11 07:36:37 by hendrikp Reply

  • @hendrikp (Comment 4) : He has quite few caps at scrumhalf for the French. How can you say he is not a scrumhalf?

  • Comment 5, posted at 11.10.11 07:39:25 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 5) :

    Because I’ve seen him play there, and he’s no good playing 9.

  • Comment 6, posted at 11.10.11 07:46:25 by hendrikp Reply

  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 5) :

    I wouldn’t be scared to go with just a starting scrumhalf and let him fill in there if need be (so no scrumhalf on the bench)… he’s capable enough.

    But his strengths don’t fit in with the role of scrumhalf. His decision making is piss poor & seems way too casual. Prefer someone snappy who specializes at 9.

  • Comment 7, posted at 11.10.11 07:47:56 by hendrikp Reply

  • How about mixing things up, and instead of the left/right centre combo, utilise Pat and Freddie as a left/right rather than flyhalf/inside centre combination. After all, don’t the New Zeelanders refer to it as first- and second 5/8’s? (Could someone please explain where that term comes from, while we’re at it?)

  • Comment 8, posted at 11.10.11 08:11:07 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • Cronje had one bad game at scrumhalf, he’s not my fav player in the world, but I really do think he’s a pretty talented player and should not be written of just yet.

  • Comment 9, posted at 11.10.11 08:14:19 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Culling Song (Comment 8) :

    They sure do… not sure why they call it that.

    But they don’t play left-and-right, and I don’t see a sensible reason to confuse players by trying to do that. The roles of a flyhalf and inside-centre are different, and you can’t expect a player to change his mindset after every ruck.

    The idea is that your 2nd five-eighth acts as first-receiver when your flyhalf is not available to do that.

  • Comment 10, posted at 11.10.11 08:15:53 by hendrikp Reply

  • The problem with Alistair is as follows:

    “Alistair Hargreaves has a stress fracture in his back and won’t be considered until he’s fit.”

    This is from the Sharks website.

  • Comment 11, posted at 11.10.11 09:20:35 by dawj Reply

  • Play Jannie, Beast, Bizzie, Alberts @ 7, Lambie @ 10.

    Keep playing the youngsters Prinsloo and Sithole. Dont fall into the trap of playing old has beens like Stef and Ndungane.

  • Comment 12, posted at 11.10.11 09:35:03 by John Galt Reply

    John Galt
  • Lambie at 15. I had my doubts after that Namibia game, but 2 excellent performances the past 2 games at fullback makes me think they should continue with him at the back.

  • Comment 13, posted at 11.10.11 09:41:25 by hendrikp Reply

  • Lambie adds the most value at 10 imo

  • Comment 14, posted at 11.10.11 09:53:20 by Talent Reply
  • @Talent (Comment 14) : Agree, flyhalf is where he should be.

  • Comment 15, posted at 11.10.11 10:00:45 by JarsonX Reply
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  • The big name players all need to be on the field (and im talking backline here). I think Hoffman did well at 9 last Sat and Michalak was ok at 10. Bosman has been very good of late at 12- but looks his best when his 13 runs off him. I also think Lambie should stay at 15, he can slot in at 10 every so often much the same was James O’Connor does.

  • Comment 16, posted at 11.10.11 10:21:58 by SheldonK Reply

  • Odwa Ndungane is with the group that leave Aus in a few hours time for their 30hr trip to SA.

  • Comment 17, posted at 11.10.11 10:31:55 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 17) : Who else is in that group, and do you know who has already arrived?

  • Comment 18, posted at 11.10.11 10:57:24 by Greg Reply

  • How is Bosman’s injury? Will he be able to play this weekend?

  • Comment 19, posted at 11.10.11 12:10:07 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Culling Song (Comment 8) : It is actually quite simple really. They call the scrumhalf the halfback, and the centre (they only have one), and wings are referred to as the 3/4 backs (between halfback and fullback). Then they refer to the two players that play between the halfback and the 3/4s as the 5/8s, since 5/8 falls neatly between 1/2 and 3/4.

  • Comment 20, posted at 11.10.11 15:05:12 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing Bear
  • Lambie at 10.

    I think he can play anywhere 1 -15, 😉 but he’s best at 10 and should stay there to develop into the best ever!

  • Comment 21, posted at 11.10.11 15:56:11 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @hendrikp (Comment 10) : @Culling Song (Comment 8) : The scrum half is a 1/2. The fb is a 1. The players in between them must therfor collectively be the 3/4. (The original center and wingers) when the opportunity for a flyhalf was realised, they made him the 5/8 between the 1/2 and 3/4 players. The addition of an extra player in the backs (the inside center) led to him being called the 5/8.

  • Comment 22, posted at 11.10.11 16:21:17 by Ice Ice Bokkie Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Ice Ice Bokkie (Comment 22) : thetefor 1st and 2nd 5/8

  • Comment 23, posted at 11.10.11 16:38:27 by Ice Ice Bokkie Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 21) : AMEN!!!! Someone get that chick a Bells!

  • Comment 24, posted at 11.10.11 16:59:59 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Letgo (Comment 21) : eish i just commented sth just like that without reading this thread and agree

    @robdylan (Comment 24) : give her a BELLS to can i also have a Bells

  • Comment 25, posted at 11.10.11 17:19:14 by chaz Reply


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