Richard Ferguson

For Club or Country?

Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Lions, Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 28 May 2012 at 12:15
Tagged with : , , , ,

The Sharks come off a fantastic win over the Stormers and their focus will immediately shift to their trip up country to face the Lions in Johannesburg this coming weekend. Opinion will be divided as to which tactic will be followed in terms of selecting a team to take on the struggling Lions.

The Lions come back from their four week tour to face the Sharks, who have now won four matches on the trot and have quite a bit of momentum going for them, with a team playing with confidence we have not yet seen this season. The Lions are on an 11 match winless streak, and will be trying their utmost best to upset the apple cart this weekend, as they chase the Blues to not finish bottom of the overall table.

Focusing on the Sharks though, there will be calls for the coach to do two things this week, either select the strongest team available to take on the Lions, or to rotate certain players in a match that is bound to be a bit easier than what they have been facing over the last few weeks.

While I am always in favour of rotation, believing that the Sharks have the depth to be able to rest and rotate players throughout the season to prevent player breakdown and unnecessary injuries and fatigue, this weekend is a unique situation. The Sharks squad will break into two groups after this weekend, with the Boks doing duty against England while the others remain in Durban to follow whatever program coach John Plumtree wants them on. Whether the remaining players will get a break as well, remains to be seen, but I am sure the players will get to relax a bit while working on specific skills, knowing that full on contact can be averted for the time being.

This clear loss in momentum for the Sharks, with the team being broken down like it will, means that the Sharks could easily field some new combinations against the Lions, knowing that the momentum gained over the last few weekends will disappear anyway. What this will do is to give certain fringe players some game time, and give other players a much needed break before they play three weeks of tough International rugby against England. This, I am sure, is something that Heyneke Meyer himself would really appreciate, especially knowing that the complete opposite will ring true at the Bulls and Stormers, as the two teams tackle each other one week before joining forces.

The question is, does Plumtree want to do Meyer a favour, or does he want to play his full team and not risk anything, hopefully dominating the Lions and taking at least 4 points away from Johannesburg, going into the break (and bye week after the International break) with 5 wins on the trot?

Playing the strongest team this weekend though, and hopefully winning the game, could put at risk certain players, and injuries are the last thing that Plumtree would want going into the business end of the season. The Sharks are currently in a rather fortunate position in terms of injuries, with a near full strength squad at Plumtree’s disposal come team announcement day.

My personal opinion – I would like to see the Sharks make minimal changes to their line-up this weekend, knowing that we are already disrupting our centre combination, and playing a full strength team for at least the first half. Should the game be in the bag, and I say this touching as much wood as I can, Plumtree should then look at giving certain individuals, such as Bismarck, Sykes, Daniel and hopefully McLeod, the second half off and giving the fringe players in Burden etc. some game time.

I would not mind the following team for Saturday:

1. Beast Mtawarira
2. Bismarck du Plessis
3. Jannie du Plessis
4. Steven Sykes
5. Anton Bresler
6. Marcell Coetzee
7. Willem Alberts
8. Keegan Daniel
9. Charl McLeod
10. Fred Michalak
11. Lwazi Mvovo
12. Meyer Bosman
13. Tim Whitehead
14. JP Pietersen
15. Pat Lambie

16. Craig Burden
17. Wiehahn Herbst
18. Jean Deysel
19. Jacques Botes
20. Ryan Kankowski
21. Odwa Ndungane
22. Louis Ludik


  • I agree. Keep momentum, win with a bonus and then rotate.

  • Comment 1, posted at 28.05.12 12:53:02 by KILLER SHARK Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
  • Hey Rich, I see you’re working under the assumption that we will lose Jordaan to the U20 squad. Should that be the case, I largely agree with above squad, although I’d put Marcell on the bench and start with Jacques Botes, now that Big Vic seems to have found some form.

  • Comment 2, posted at 28.05.12 12:58:27 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • @Culling Song (Comment 2) :

    Hey CS

    Yeah, this was written before I saw/reported Gavin Rich’s story about Jordaan potential availability. In that case, I would play Tim at 12, drop Meyer to the bench ahead of Odwa..

  • Comment 3, posted at 28.05.12 13:00:43 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • Why would you play a wing as a center if you’ve got a centre. Tim played 13 centre at school. Odwa is playing FB or wing. The centres could be a great combination

  • Comment 4, posted at 28.05.12 13:40:57 by springbok Reply

  • @springbok (Comment 4) :

    Where is a wing playing as a centre?

  • Comment 5, posted at 28.05.12 13:44:07 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • I agree on minimal changes because 5 points is the target here!!
    But I do feel some players need game time – Kankowski, Botes, Burden, Bosman, Ludik. and I do feel that your team named above should start so as to assert dominance, then let these boys run for 40min. All players in the 22 need to be on form for play-offs…

  • Comment 6, posted at 28.05.12 15:09:11 by pienaar111 Reply


Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.