robdylan

Ripening of the Putt vintage


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 16 Mar 2012 at 09:55
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Dear old Kevin Putt certainly doesn’t get credit for much these days; the Kiwi scrumhalf is generally regarded, in the minds of the Sharks fans, to have presided over just about the worst-ever period in our history since the dark days of the pre-1990s.

One thing in particular that Putt didn’t do all that well, according to the consensus, was spot talent, with a slew of players brought into the Sharks that many felt were nowhere near good enough to pull on the hallowed black and white jersey. This “no-name brand” culture came to a head at the start of the 2005 season, when Putt initiated a bit of a clean out and tossed a number of non-performing stalwarts in favour of a fresh new breed. 13 player were signed at the start of that year and the feeling amongst Sharks fans was one of outrage, since hardly any of the players in question could be considered big names.

Most, of course, sank without trace, including the likes of the previously-unknown Jacques Schutte, Braam Immelman, Tshepo Kokoali and Callie Wannenberg, whom few but the most devout of Sharks supporters would have any memory of whatsoever. A few others stuck around a bit longer, having come in with slightly more pedigree, but ultimately there wasn’t a huge amount of value extracted out of Jaco Gouws, Dean Hall, Gcobani Bobo, Danie Saayman or Skipper Badenhorst either. Ruan Pienaar, of course, went on to do great things and delivered his pound of flesh to the Sharks, but sadly moved on a year or two back to reinvent himself in Ireland.

That accounts for 10 of the 13, so who are the last three? Well, it might be surprising for some, but in-amongst all the chaff, our mate Puttie, whether by accident or design, did manage to scout three players who have since gone on to become legends in the black and white and are currently the most experienced in the side. Bismarck du Plessis, Jacques Botes and Odwa Ndungane were the last three players bought by Putt in 2005 and my view is that it was well worth sorting through the other 10 to get these three!

It’s interesting to note, while looking at these sort of things, that imported players (strangely enough) don’t stick around, while home-grown ones, by and large, do. Looking at the crop brought in by Putt’s successor, Dick Muir, we see that only three imports, Jannie du Plessis, Jean Deysel and Charl McLeod, are still with the team four years on, whereas the players forming the mainstay of the team now are the juniors that Muir brought through. JP Pietersen, Keegan Daniel, Beast Mtawarira, Steven Sykes, Ryan Kankowski, Alistair Hargreaves and Craig Burden all came through the Sharks Academy structures under Muir and it is very pleasing to see that work continuing under John Plumtree, with seven other Sharks-developed players now in the senior squad.


28 Comments

  • Awesome read Robbo..

    Very interesting, some of those names do not even sound vaguely familiar..

  • Comment 1, posted at 16.03.12 10:00:18 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • Every now and then even a blind squirel finds a nut 😎

  • Comment 2, posted at 16.03.12 10:02:20 by JarsonX Reply
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  • Interesting read Rob… I remember this period well. when Ruan came on for the injured Craig Davidson who was a legend in his own right, and Oddies starting his tenure with a horrible injury or Bissie been chosen ahead of the then very promising Jody Jeneker

  • Comment 3, posted at 16.03.12 10:07:05 by chucky Reply

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  • Nice arti Rob! Sheesh, I have admitted before that during Putt’s time, I preferred not to watch much rugby.

  • Comment 4, posted at 16.03.12 10:39:26 by Ice Reply
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  • Dean Hall had all the makings of being a Springbok great but injury ravaged him.

  • Comment 5, posted at 16.03.12 10:43:26 by csb Reply

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  • @csb (Comment 5) : he had size and pace, but KAK hands

  • Comment 6, posted at 16.03.12 10:48:32 by robdylan Reply
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  • Im pretty sure Putt just bought everyone who was available. Didn’t Botes start there or thereabouts as well?

  • Comment 7, posted at 16.03.12 10:49:30 by PTAShark Reply
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  • @PTAShark (Comment 7) :

    Did you not read the article?

  • Comment 8, posted at 16.03.12 10:51:13 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 8) : Whoops, saw Bismark and Pienaars name, missed Botes. My bad.

  • Comment 9, posted at 16.03.12 10:53:13 by PTAShark Reply
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  • @PTAShark (Comment 9) :

    Friday syndrome.. 😉

  • Comment 10, posted at 16.03.12 10:54:31 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • I remember this period all too well. My cousin watched Odders playing for Old Boys and said his confidence was so wrecked under Putt he could hardly catch a high ball. Now he’s a legend of the Sharks game and is Mister Reliable.

  • Comment 11, posted at 16.03.12 11:03:05 by StevieS Reply
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  • @StevieS (Comment 11) : ja – Oddie’s first season at the Sharks was a nightmare.

    I’m sad to say that I wrote him off completely after that… it took a very good friend (who unfortunately doesn’t blog any more) to convince me to have another look at Odwa.

  • Comment 12, posted at 16.03.12 11:05:24 by robdylan Reply
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  • Putt got more wrong than right. An excellent servant to the Sharks as a scrummie, but a candidate for worst coach I have ever had the misfortune to clap eyes upon.

  • Comment 13, posted at 16.03.12 11:08:30 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 12) : He’s certainly proven himself over and over again.

    I was so happy he got to go to the World Cup. Always rated him over Akona.

  • Comment 14, posted at 16.03.12 11:09:33 by StevieS Reply
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  • I quite enjoyed this article.

    Thanks Rob! 😉

    So can someone please confirm who in fact signed the legend that was Rodger Smith?? 😯 :mrgreen:

  • Comment 15, posted at 16.03.12 11:32:51 by wpw Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 15) : that would’ve been Putt… or maybe even Straeuli

  • Comment 16, posted at 16.03.12 11:34:06 by robdylan Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 15) : Dont know him 😕

  • Comment 17, posted at 16.03.12 11:52:33 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 16) : I must admit didnt know that Putt brought Bissie to the Sharks. Putt certainly didnt sign the best players but im afraid the coach with the worst signing has to be Dick Muir for bringing in Epi Taone! Just as a question/follow up article…which coach is responsible for the biggest names leaving the tank…was it Strauli? Muir? Plum? Gets interesting if you start thinking of the names.

  • Comment 18, posted at 16.03.12 12:31:14 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 18) : there have been lots of high-profile departures under all of them, I fear.

  • Comment 19, posted at 16.03.12 12:34:21 by robdylan Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 18) :
    @robdylan (Comment 19) :

    This could make for some interesting debate…

    Which player leaving the Sharks do we consider to be the biggest ‘high-profile’ departure?

  • Comment 20, posted at 16.03.12 12:36:49 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 20) :

    Well the biggest was Ollie le Roux..

    But I am talking about quality players.. 😉

  • Comment 21, posted at 16.03.12 12:37:22 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 20) : Well a few recent names jump to mind in Smit,Muller and Frans Steyn. Then also factor in Butch James, Brad Barrit and Percy Montgomery. But take it even further back and altho he never played for Natal…Andrew Mehtens (excuse spelling) must be one the highest profile players to leave Durban.

  • Comment 22, posted at 16.03.12 12:41:55 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @wpw (Comment 15) :
    Why did you have to bring that up? 😥

    I respect anyone good enough to play provincial rugby, but I can remember some awful moments…

  • Comment 23, posted at 16.03.12 12:50:45 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 22) : He left when he was about 9 months old… you can’t really count him in the bunch. Plus he had Kiwi parents.

  • Comment 24, posted at 16.03.12 13:16:04 by lostfish Reply
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  • @lostfish (Comment 24) : Haha i know…was just counting him on a technicality. Clearly he showed no ability at 9months of age…late bloomer!

  • Comment 25, posted at 16.03.12 13:23:10 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @csb (Comment 5) : @robdylan (Comment 6) : Dean Hall, big, strong and fast… with knees made of glass, hands coated in teflon, and the amazing ability to fall over when colliding with anything more imposing than a blade of grass or a mild breeze… second only to Epi Taone in terms of worst Sharks signing ever, and second only to Jorrie Muller in terms of most undeserved Springbok cap (in my ever-so-humble opinion, of course)

  • Comment 26, posted at 16.03.12 14:22:27 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 26) : Jaco Gouws wasn’t much better. He is the destitute version of a number 8.

  • Comment 27, posted at 16.03.12 17:43:06 by lostfish Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 26) :

    Id say thats a tad harsh comparing him too the great Jorrie …

    Injury screwed with his head ..Dean wasn’t that bad.

    I guess it was a bad time for Springbok caps to undeserving players.

  • Comment 28, posted at 16.03.12 19:14:52 by csb Reply

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