Finding a solution close to home

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 12 Dec 2011 at 11:55
Tagged with : ,

With the off-season presenting very little in the way of news – and even less to really talk about – let’s turn our minds back to that thorniest of issues: who will wear 13 for the Sharks in Super Rugby next year.

With most other positions in the side well-covered (in some cases, far too well covered) it is as always the troublesome outside centre berth that looks set to cause maximum head-scratching amongst the coaches. Time Whitehead and (perhaps) Wandile Mjekevu could both provide options, although a distinct lack of experience (more so in Wandi’s case) must surely count against both players. On the other side of the equation, we have Marius Joubert, who many would consider to have rather too much experience, if you follow my thinking.

So what about trying something different? Not really being much in the mood for a build up, I’m just going to blurt this one out! Let’s play JP Pietersen at outside centre.

Why? Well, he has the best hands, highest work rate, best defensive technique and best line-breaking ability amongst our outside backs and so often looks a little short of opportunities to exploit these gifts stuck out on the wing, especially when the current crop of centres are struggling to get him decent ball. Moving JP to centre could free up a wing spot, making it a little easier to figure out how to shoehorn Odwa Ndungane, Lwazi Mvovo, Louis Ludik, Sbura Sithole, Riaan Viljone and maybe even Pat Lambie into the three outside back positions. Given the likelihood that the Boks will need to find a replacement for Jaque Fourie as well, a move to 13 may even do Pietersen’s Bok aspirations no harm either.

What do you think, guys? A stroke of genius, or just the bored ramblings of a crazy man?


  • I see no reason why that won’t work.

    Other than the lack of a brainstrust at the Sharks.

  • Comment 1, posted at 12.12.11 12:06:23 by KSA Shark Β© Reply
    KSA Shark Β©
  • Could hurt his Bok chances?

    It could work but I don’t necessarily like it.

    I don’t think they’ll keep Mjekevu on from what I’ve seen of him. He’s decent, but not a home-run hitter you ideally want at outside centre.

    I’d like to see Paul Jordaan given the 13 jersey. Reckon the Sharks need someone who knows how to break the line, and will give him time to adjust to the defensive systems at that level before moving into the 12 jersey, which is much more demanding on the defensive side.

    Otherwise Tim Whitehead could do a job… or Marius Joubert only needs a couple of good games to turn that form around (wishful thinking maybe?)

  • Comment 2, posted at 12.12.11 12:13:56 by hendrikp Reply
  • I like the idea plenty. A 2nd centre needs to break the line. Simple. He can do that, him or ironically Kanko or Keegan.

  • Comment 3, posted at 12.12.11 12:14:25 by billy Reply
  • I think this is a silly idea.

  • Comment 4, posted at 12.12.11 12:18:30 by war1 Reply
  • Our biggest problem is a brain at number 12!

    Im looking for someone strong on defence, creative enough to read the ideal opportunity to break the line and someone physically imposing. im looking for a mix of Trevor Halsteads brawn, Pat Lambies vision and Andries strauss defence in 2010.

    Our closest candidate, excluding Lambie, would be Whitehead. I wouldnt trust Bosman again. He single handedly made sure oom stef retired in shame.

    15 – Viljoen (big boot and straigth running)
    14 – JP
    13 – (a youngster that is hungry) think Butch in 2001
    12 – Whitehead
    11 – Mvovo
    10 – Lambie

  • Comment 5, posted at 12.12.11 12:21:59 by chucky Reply

  • Something also tempts (for the meantime) move Burden to 13, explosive, aggresive and great on the burst. He will be taking one for the team.

    Should start most games there and move to forwards as the game wheres on.
    This will alow for a more variable bench and cooper to cover 2

  • Comment 6, posted at 12.12.11 12:24:56 by chucky Reply

  • I’m still trying to make up my mind if our midfield was lacking on defence or attack..? I think both 😐
    Imho centres should be tacklers ( danie gerber was a great attacking 13 but he’d have to do a lot of work on his D if he was playing today).- I’d like 2 pieter mullers next to each other if I could πŸ˜€
    Mjekevu at 13 could very well be an attacking master stroke ( judging on his sr2010 albeit on the wing),but defensively I don’t know if he’ll be better than either mj or stef t was in that position this year.
    As for jpp at13 : depends on if the player is willing.

  • Comment 7, posted at 12.12.11 12:25:08 by bergshark Reply

  • @chucky (Comment 5) :

    I’d like to see Whitehead play a few games first before discarding Bosman…

    It’s a heck of a tough position to be in thanks to them not really experimenting with what they had during the Currie Cup.

  • Comment 8, posted at 12.12.11 12:27:39 by hendrikp Reply

  • @bergshark (Comment 7) :

    Good point about centres being great defenders.

    IMO the best teams are the ones that can keep the opposition scores down, not the ones who score plenty of points.

    If I had to give a rating value to offense & defense, I’d probably go:
    Offense/Attack – 40%
    Defense – 60%

    A balance is needed yes, but we don’t put enough emphasis on being brilliant defensively.

  • Comment 9, posted at 12.12.11 12:30:03 by hendrikp Reply

  • I think it’s worth the experiment. If anything, he’ll return to wing a better player.

    I’ve heard a while back that the Sharks will test him in this position so it might not be a far-fetched prediction.

    Personally I’d stick with Whitehead first up, followed by Viljoen, second bash and Jordaan, third choice. However this will have much to do with Jordaan’s progress reports over the next few months. He has the potential to leapfrog to first place at some point during the season. Hopefully the Sharks have a plan in mind for young Paul, which sees him getting picked first in the Vodacom Cup team in the possie that the Sharks want him to play in. It’s pointless using him as a VC flyhalf if we’re looking to use him as a centre in SR later on.

    Personally, the Mjekewu deal is a no-brainer to me. If we can afford him, sign him and don’t necessarily think short-term either. Rather plan to produce a player who’ll step up in a year or 2’s time.

    With regards to Ludik. I don’t favour the idea of him in midfield. With the added room at FB, he’s struggled to spark anything. At 13, with less room, it will be that much harder to challenge the D-line. He’s safe as houses at the back but we need more of an attacking option back there. Viljoen/Lambie/Prinsloo are better options. I’m not certain that Ludik has a future in Dbn beyond the end of his current contract.

    Just my opinions. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 10, posted at 12.12.11 12:34:35 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @beet: the two things ludik has going for him at 13 imho is D and strong running.not the fastest though in that position – not even in the sharks squad πŸ˜€
    @beet: agree on signing mjekevu asap.not sure about 13 option mentioned by sharks coaches.not yet,though.but he has shown himself a finisher out on the wing ( sr2010).

  • Comment 11, posted at 12.12.11 12:41:54 by bergshark Reply

  • @chucky (Comment 6) : Burden, Daniel and Kankowski are far more effective at getting across the gainline than our midfielders. Botes is our leading tryscorer. Our best finisher, Mvovo sits on the sideline most of the time. In terms of producing tryscoring oppo’s, there is a lot more that the Sharks can do.

  • Comment 12, posted at 12.12.11 12:42:47 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @bergshark (Comment 7) : Your number 12 should be an extention of your flyhalf, he should be a straigth runner and should at the least make all tackles in his channels if not knocking the attackers back.

  • Comment 13, posted at 12.12.11 12:43:34 by chucky Reply

  • @bergshark (Comment 11) : I think this is what makes SW great, we can share constructive opinions here.

    With regards to defence, it’s been the cornerstone of 2 very successful Stormers campaigns, so can’t be undermined in favour of improving attack. The Stormers have however had the line players to turn chances into points. We need this.

    I still can’t imagine Ludik as the solution to a midfield problem :mrgreen:

  • Comment 14, posted at 12.12.11 12:46:13 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • The thing is, some consider JP as the best number 14 in the world. Why change that? Its like moving Lambie to 12, when SOME consider him the best flyhalf in the country at the moment.

  • Comment 15, posted at 12.12.11 12:49:59 by Mocho Reply

  • @hendrikp (Comment 9) : It’s a pity our systems aren’t advanced enough to give us a rating system. Something similar to the QB rating in NFL or a strike rate in cricket. Something that incorporates all aspects of a player’s requirements on the field that could give a better idea of his value or at least a comparative measurement.

    But I totally agree. Balance is vital. Defence is as important in winning games as attacking play is.

  • Comment 16, posted at 12.12.11 12:50:35 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @Mocho: valid point.. It will all depend on jpp’s willingness to move there or not.

  • Comment 17, posted at 12.12.11 12:55:58 by bergshark Reply

  • @chucky (Comment 6) : Burden cant be moved back to the backs, that would just be wrong.

  • Comment 18, posted at 12.12.11 12:59:10 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • I would absolutely love to see Kanko at 13. He is so dangerous when he has space.

    JPP, Oddie or Burden could also be great at 13.

  • Comment 19, posted at 12.12.11 13:11:11 by King Shark Reply
    King Shark
  • @Clayton(PJLD) (Comment 18) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 20, posted at 12.12.11 13:11:36 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • Move mvovo to on his defence.he’s got pace and is a strong runner,with jpp on his outside it’s a dangerous attacking combo,but he needs to up his defence big time

  • Comment 21, posted at 12.12.11 13:12:42 by juba_fan Reply

  • @juba_fan (Comment 21) :

    Mvovo no skill.

    He’d make a good high school running back (American Football).

    A centre, heck no.

  • Comment 22, posted at 12.12.11 13:17:55 by hendrikp Reply

  • Which is why the sharks need a skills coach 😐

  • Comment 23, posted at 12.12.11 13:28:47 by bergshark Reply

  • @Mocho (Comment 15) : If we still have Fred next year, by all means, move Lambie to 12 and start Whitehead next to him at 13.

    If not . . . I`m afraid we`ll stick with the tried and failed.

  • Comment 24, posted at 12.12.11 13:35:49 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • Rob,

    Your reasons are solid BUT i don’t want him to turn into the next Gavin Johnson πŸ™

    The best competition to try out this type of move is the CC. In Superrugby, JP will have to adapt pretty quickly which is possibly putting unwanted presure on the guy.

  • Comment 25, posted at 12.12.11 13:36:12 by dawj Reply

  • My thinking is that 13 feeds of 10 or 12 breaking the line. We need to look at the team profile concerning attack and then look to get a 13 to feed the wings and fullback. One player is not the salution. Lambie at 10 is the start of the salutions.

  • Comment 26, posted at 12.12.11 13:57:18 by BoerSeun Reply

  • Burden, Kanko and Daniel arent going to move anywhere near the backline. I cant see JPP playing 13 as he is a world class wing. My preference would be Ludick or JLP at 13 but in all probability it will be either Joubert of if Lambie is at 12 then Bosman will play 13. Whitehead if any of those 2 are injured.

  • Comment 27, posted at 12.12.11 14:57:54 by SheldonK Reply

  • SheldonK: yes, Jlp another option the sharks couldve had a look at during the cc ..

  • Comment 28, posted at 12.12.11 15:02:15 by bergshark Reply

  • @bergshark (Comment 28) : Yeh. Not too sure what happened during the CC…i would have loved to see how the team that played the 1st game would have done for the rest of the comp.

  • Comment 29, posted at 12.12.11 15:09:55 by SheldonK Reply

  • Didn’t that team get klapped at kimberley? πŸ˜€

  • Comment 30, posted at 12.12.11 15:13:42 by bergshark Reply

  • @bergshark (Comment 30) : It wasnt the 1st game but in 1 game yes…and then Plum got scared and changed the whole team. It would have shown what kind of character those players had if they had been given the chance to play the next games. But nothing we can do now.

  • Comment 31, posted at 12.12.11 15:20:03 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK: I know you meant the first game vs bulls in durban πŸ˜€

  • Comment 32, posted at 12.12.11 15:30:10 by bergshark Reply

  • Agree with you- still wrote after the game I’d like to see that same team play the kwasse in durban and earn a shot at redemption.

  • Comment 33, posted at 12.12.11 15:31:52 by bergshark Reply

  • @bergshark (Comment 33) : Yeh 100%. I wonder how many warm up games the Sharks have before S15 and how much Plum will experiment in those games? I mean surely there is no point playing the tried and tested combos in those games? Well except maybe the one just before the comp starts.

  • Comment 34, posted at 12.12.11 15:34:58 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK: chat later,some chores to do.cheers!

  • Comment 35, posted at 12.12.11 15:35:42 by bergshark Reply

  • @hendrikp (Comment 2) : Tim Whitehead is the answer! I for one can’t wait to have a brainy skillful number 13.

  • Comment 36, posted at 12.12.11 17:20:30 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • I’ve been saying this for years. Think of great centres like nonu and Umaga that started on the wing for New Zealand. They were great wings who were allowed to develope a passing game before moving inside. Let’s hope JP can develope those same skills.

  • Comment 37, posted at 12.12.11 17:23:40 by soutie Reply

  • Whithead @ 13 and I would stick with Bos @ 12 ,Viljoen @15 ,JPP and Ods on the wings and lambie @ 10 .

  • Comment 38, posted at 12.12.11 19:40:49 by Talent Reply
  • Im not sure why people want mvovo or Ludik @ 13 ,doesnt fit. Jpp may work but he cant pass well with both hands so I think the experiment would fail.

  • Comment 39, posted at 12.12.11 19:43:32 by Talent Reply
  • and then for people to mention our loosies as midfielders ,gosh.

  • Comment 40, posted at 12.12.11 19:45:09 by Talent Reply
  • Whithead will be one of the better buys the sharks will have made in recent times in time to come!

  • Comment 41, posted at 12.12.11 19:50:50 by Talent Reply
  • would love to see this backline
    9) freddie

  • Comment 42, posted at 12.12.11 22:30:43 by BR Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @BR (Comment 42) : now that is what I call a blend between youth and experience

  • Comment 43, posted at 12.12.11 22:33:20 by BR Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @BR (Comment 42) : I quite like that πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 44, posted at 13.12.11 07:01:30 by Franshark Reply
  • @BR (Comment 42) : I like that backline except id shift Whithead to 13 with Bosman at 12-he has had his critics this year but he also showed his value in a lot of games.

  • Comment 45, posted at 13.12.11 07:44:59 by SheldonK Reply

  • JP at 13? Could work for all the reasons you mentioned… 12? I’ve been hoping that JLP gets an extended run in CC or VC at 12 to see if he can force his way into the main side there since he’s not going to do it at 10, although he’ll have to man up and learn to tackle big guys a bit better.

  • Comment 46, posted at 13.12.11 08:19:11 by The Quirk Reply
    The Quirk
  • @The Quirk (Comment 46) : I think the whole Sharks side need to man up on defense next year as they missed a lot of tackles in 2011!! Anyone got the stats on who missed the most tackles in the Sharks squad???

  • Comment 47, posted at 13.12.11 08:29:15 by SheldonK Reply

  • This is why we are the laughing stock of SA rugby when it comes to player management – and rightfully so.

    “Lets take the best defensive wing in the game and play him out of position. Then we can slap some journeyman on the wing but hey, centre will be sorted! No way this brilliant scheme will fail!”

    Has JP played one single professional game at 13?

  • Comment 48, posted at 13.12.11 09:36:36 by Dryden Reply

  • @Dryden (Comment 48) : Province have come under fire for their player management in the last few months as well. Up to this season the Lions weren’t so hot at player management either.

    Sometimes these positional switches work out for the better.

    What did you think of Jared Payne at 13 for the Blues this season?

  • Comment 49, posted at 13.12.11 10:14:19 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @hendrikp (Comment 9) : Bosman is uber kak defensively and no great shakes at attack either which means as a centre he is as rubbish as it gets!

  • Comment 50, posted at 13.12.11 10:58:43 by Megatron Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 50) : U judging him on a couple bad games, if that were the case every player is shite! Yes he didnt have an outstanding year but he did have good games as well as those bad games.

  • Comment 51, posted at 13.12.11 11:13:19 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 51) : Urm could you give one example? πŸ™„

  • Comment 52, posted at 13.12.11 11:20:50 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @SheldonK (Comment 51) : a “couple” = 2

    meyer bosman was sshit for the sharks the WHOLE super rugby season. i don’t know which games you were watching πŸ˜†

  • Comment 53, posted at 13.12.11 11:34:39 by Megatron Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 53) : @Original Pierre (Comment 52) : Bosman did a lot right. yes he missed a tackle or two…but name me a Sharks player that didnt miss a tackle?? He got through half gaps on a number of occasions but couldnt offload as there was nobody there so he got blamed for dying with the ball. With the number of forwards standing in the Sharks backline its no wonder they all didnt produce. Im not saying he had a great S15, all im saying is he isnt a rubbish player…and there many guys the Sharks should get rid of before him!

  • Comment 54, posted at 13.12.11 11:43:09 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 54) : I disagree 100%.

    If we used Adi at inside centre he would`ve missed the same number of tackles but he would`ve completed more passes resulting in try scoring opportunities.
    Now he`s gone and we`re stuck with a vodacom cup quality player for a super rugby tournament.

  • Comment 55, posted at 13.12.11 11:53:01 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 55) : U cant say that cos u have no idea how he would have fared, he could have been worse or better. Bosman’s passing from both hands is a lot better than Adi’s. Jacobs offloads well in the half gap..but again if nobody is there then he will also die with the ball. But hey we can diagree, thats life. Everyone has favourites, im not saying Bosman is one of mine but he is very far from rubbish.

  • Comment 56, posted at 13.12.11 12:37:16 by SheldonK Reply

  • Its Jouba position, finish en klaar.

  • Comment 57, posted at 13.12.11 12:39:04 by PaarlBok Reply

  • It just shows how desperate the Sharks are if we have to seriously consider moving a wing into the number 13 jersey… πŸ™

  • Comment 58, posted at 13.12.11 15:27:21 by The Sharks Sharkie Reply
    The Sharks Sharkie
  • @SheldonK (Comment 54) : yeah right, clearly you’re a bosman fan. the guy is rubbish man, everyone on this site finally woke up to it after putting blinkers @ the beginning of the season. most were even lamenting letting dries strauss go and were calling for paul jordaan to be given a shot.

    meyer is kak.

  • Comment 59, posted at 13.12.11 15:47:45 by Megatron Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 54): Daar is duisende wat soos SheldonK voel oor Bosman. Hy het baie meer kwaliteite as wat julle wil erken. Een swakker seisoen en hy word gestenig. Daar was heelwat goeie wedstryde, maar sommige wil dit nie raaksien nie. Dis somtyds net lekker om te kritiseer. Daar is baie swakker spelers as hy

  • Comment 60, posted at 13.12.11 16:19:53 by springbok Reply

  • @springbok (Comment 60) : ndiyavuma nam ukuba umeyer ayinguye yedwa odlala incanca yakhe, bakhona abanye abadlali abamncedisayo. kodwa ke besisathetha ngesasibhanxa singu-bosman. zimbalwa izinto azenzileyo ezincomekayo, futhi lomntu sasixelelwe ukuba nguye uzakubasa i-backline yoShaka. ungumoya man u-Bosman.

  • Comment 61, posted at 13.12.11 16:32:26 by Megatron Reply

  • Well I hope meyer bosman steps up in 2012.

  • Comment 62, posted at 19.12.11 10:30:39 by bergshark Reply


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