Guiding the youngsters through

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 21 Feb 2012 at 10:58
Tagged with : , , , , ,

It is widely expected, given the exodus of a combined 75 000 Super Rugby caps from the Bulls lineup this year, that the men from Pretoria will field a relatively inexperienced side for the opener against the Sharks on Friday. While this is definitely so, we need to be aware of the fact that the Sharks, too, will field a side featuring a lot less experience than is usually the case.

Most of this, of course, is due to injury; the loss of Beast Mtawarira, Willem Alberts and Jean Deysel alone knocks a huge amount of experience, not to mention grunt, out of the Sharks pack, while at the back, the loss of Odwa Ndungane to injury and the likes of Adi Jacobs and Stefan Terblanche to pastures new means that the team will boast a number of newcomers; if not to this level of rugby as a whole, then at least to the Sharks.

With the lineup yet to be confirmed, we can’t speak with certainty; however, we know that Dale Chadwick, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Paul Jordaan and Sbura Sithole would all be making their Super Rugby debut if picked to play on Friday. Furthermore, the likes of Wiehahn Herbst, Anton Bresler, Marcell Coetzee and Tim Whitehead all boast fewer than 10 caps at this level, with Whitehead and Riaan Viljoen also in line to debut for the Sharks. Add to that the possibility of JP Pietersen and Fred Michalak playing out of their accustomed positions and there is, if you want to be cynical about it, the propensity for disaster.

What the Sharks do boast, though, is a core of experienced players; guys who have been there before and must now stand up and show the youngsters (and older newcomers) the way. Chadwick will be fine in the front row with the wiley du Plessis brothers alongside him; there is experience in the second row in the form of Ross Skeate and Steven Sykes, while in Keegan Daniel, Jacques Botes and Ryan Kankowski, the Sharks have a trio of 50-cappers to steer the ship at loose forward.

Pat Lambie was born experienced, with neither Michalak nor Charl McLeod exactly a newcomer to this level of rugby either. It’s only really amongst the centres that there could be a little bit of disorganisation, depending on the combinations chosen. The relative inexperience of Pietersen at centre might make it quite risky to pick a guy like Whitehead alongside him, but that can be mitigated by going with Bosman (or simply trusting JP to do the right things, since he’s hardly a novice to the game!). Similarly, amongst the back three, Riaan Viljoen is the man who’s going to have to stand up and adapt quickly to his new surroundings, since even Lwazi Mvovo is still learning the ropes at this level to an extent. Again, Plumtree has the option to include the experienced Louis Ludik at wing, or take a punt on the brave young Sithole, knowing that there are experienced men around him.

All in all, the Sharks looks to have a pretty good blend of youth and experience in the side this year, to use the old cliché. Plumtree and his men must be careful not to upset the balance, though, by stacking the side too heavily either way.


  • Well said Robbo..

    75000 caps is a lot of caps to lose, but I think you forgot to add in the other 25000 of Daniesaurus Rossouw.

  • Comment 1, posted at 21.02.12 11:01:45 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • Seriously though..

    Bosman is a must to play outside Lambie, just give Lambie a safe pair of hands outside him and someone he is accustomed to playing alongside..

    Bosman will also get the backline moving with strike runners outside him..

  • Comment 2, posted at 21.02.12 11:02:42 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • It would be a proud moment for me personally,if a certain young Sharks back were to be selected to make his Super Rugby debut against my boys,having watched him since he was 16,I always knew he had in him to make it to this level. Hope he doesn’t prove it against the “boys in pink”,but I would love for him to prove his worth this season

  • Comment 3, posted at 21.02.12 11:14:38 by Ludz Reply

  • A point or 4 at Loftus would be a very good thing as I dont think many teams nevermind SA teams will get many points there this year, that is unless the Bulls get a few injuries. And lets be honest as much as the focus is on winning the Super15, for SA teams the main focus is not to finish last in the conference!!

  • Comment 4, posted at 21.02.12 11:15:52 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Ludz (Comment 3) : I’d love him to play too, but I don’t think it’s going to happen this week.

    With so many other changes in the backline, I expect Ludik to get the nod at right wing.

  • Comment 5, posted at 21.02.12 11:21:51 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : the witness today agrees with you Rob they say that Ludik is to replace Odwa on Friday

  • Comment 6, posted at 21.02.12 11:32:50 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 6) : Ludick did very well at wing the few times he played there last year. And remember it was at wing thta he made his first impact at senior level.

  • Comment 7, posted at 21.02.12 11:40:40 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 6) : fools seldom differ, after all!

  • Comment 8, posted at 21.02.12 11:48:02 by robdylan Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 7) : I like Ludik do hope he makes it into the 22

  • Comment 9, posted at 21.02.12 11:49:45 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • @robdylan (Comment 8) : 😆

  • Comment 10, posted at 21.02.12 11:56:14 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette

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