Time to try something different

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 1 Oct 2012 at 16:21
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , ,

The Sharks face a tricky away encounter against Free State in the Currie Cup this weekend and while I’m not often one to make bold predictions ahead of a game, let me err from that strategy this week and put this very clearly: if the Sharks play Riaan Viljoen at flyhalf this weekend, they will lose.

Let’s go back a few steps, back before the start of the Currie Cup season where Viljoen impressed all and sundry (this pundit included) with his flyhalf play. Those who recall the Super Rugby campaign will remember that Viljoen also started brightly in that competition, with a few steady performances at fullback, including a very good game in Canberra where he was close to the best player on the park. The famed Viljoen inconsistency set in soon afterwards, though and it wasn’t long before he had not only conceded the number 15 jersey to the far more reliable Louis Ludik, but was, in fact, not even making the match 22.

Viljoen’s flyhalf stint in the Currie Cup was thus, I feel, something of a lifeline thrown to a player who on super Rugby form was probably not much higher in the pecking order than third-choice at fullback and I emphasise again that he started the competition brightly. However, his propensity to take the ball very flat made his quite susceptible against sides with good line speed on defence and in successive games against Free State and Griquas (who share information freely) this vulnerability was indeed exposed. I think it’s fairly safe to say that Viljoen hasn’t had a good game at flyhalf since.

Friday night’s muddy mess was, to me, the final straw and while I definitely feel for the player, who was asked to step back into the flyhalf jersey at the last minute after training at fullback all week, I think it would be in the best interests of both the Sharks AND Riaan Viljoen if somebody else were given a run in the number 10 jersey for the last two matches of the campaign. After all, form aside, it’s the Cheetahs and Griquas who know that man best and both sides have already shown that they have the right strategy in place to neutralise him.

This Currie Cup is all about developing depth for Super Rugby and while John Plumtree has admitted that Cobus Reinach will now be given as much time as possible as a starting scrumhalf to prepare him for a backup role in Super Rugby next year (try work that one out), we desperately need to do the same at flyhalf. If Viljoen is struggling as a pivot in this Currie Cup, he surely cannot be considered in that position for Super Rugby, hence we need to find the next-best flyhalf we have (after Pat Lambie) and get him into that number 10 jersey for the rest of the Currie Cup season.

My feeling is that it’s Meyer Bosman, but I can’t shake off the nagging feeling in the back of my head that we might be quite pleasantly surprised indeed if we were to ask young Fred Zeilinga to step up a level this weekend.

The Sharks, though, need Louis Ludik at fullback, Viljoen on the bench, and somebody else at flyhalf for this weekend’s game.


  • Well said and can’t agree more with the sentiments. We are doing well to integrate our youngsters in with experience.

  • Comment 1, posted at 01.10.12 16:29:09 by Dunx Reply
  • And now for something completely different . . .

    Elton Jantjes will be here for S15 !

  • Comment 2, posted at 01.10.12 16:38:08 by bigron Reply
  • @bigron (Comment 2) : Are you rehashing rumour of a week ago or is this confirmed news.

  • Comment 3, posted at 01.10.12 16:51:36 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • steyn out for 3 months 😯

  • Comment 4, posted at 01.10.12 17:01:15 by Megatron Reply

  • @bigron (Comment 2) : @Megatron (Comment 4) : Are/Is a Bigron and a Megatron the same thing, if not, which is bigger?

  • Comment 5, posted at 01.10.12 17:07:06 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • Plum should never even have considered Viljoen at either 10 or 15 when Jordaan proved his fitness, no matter what the weather. At best he could have hidden him on the wing, but preferably on the bench to give a quicker youngster an opportunity.

    Our best starting backline is Reinach, Bosman, Speckman/Sithole, Whitehead, Jordaan, Ndungane, Ludik.

  • Comment 6, posted at 01.10.12 17:21:28 by rhineshark Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 5) : nah – it would need to be “Bigtron” 🙂

    But we shouldn’t be unkind to new posters, Salmo… you should know better son 🙂

  • Comment 7, posted at 01.10.12 17:26:00 by robdylan Reply
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  • Said it last week about Viljoen that needs bench time, so agree fully here.

    But I don’t think the lil being on Plum’s left shoulder will have any impact on getting Zeilinga selected.

  • Comment 8, posted at 01.10.12 17:38:30 by JustPlainSHARK Reply

  • Bosman at 10. He will open the defence up.

  • Comment 9, posted at 01.10.12 18:55:51 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • I agree Rob The last place for him is as impact centre off the bench I have not seen THE BIG BOOT ss crew keep refering to!

  • Comment 10, posted at 01.10.12 19:33:25 by KILLER SHARK Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
  • He might just be a suprise in space??!!

  • Comment 11, posted at 01.10.12 19:35:37 by KILLER SHARK Reply
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  • I stil think Jordaan must play wing with 12-Bosman and 13-Tim or 12-Tim and 13-Viljoen.

  • Comment 12, posted at 01.10.12 23:19:12 by JD Reply
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  • I think the best solution would be to shift Viljoen to wing- where he has played well in the past as he then gets to run onto the bal and pop up in broken play. And then shift Jordaan,Whitehead and Bosman 1 position in. I do feel tht Deysel may be a liability against the Cheetahs as they will target him for turnovers when he carries the ball as he hardly runs onto the ball and is very upright.

  • Comment 13, posted at 02.10.12 07:54:21 by SheldonK Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : Never meant to be unkind to anyone. I was more intriqued that 2 posters, one brand new, would have the same meaning nicknames (save for a t) posting so close to each other.
    So bigron, no offence meant.
    As far as Megs goes….ditto.

  • Comment 14, posted at 02.10.12 08:34:43 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • 10. Bosman
    11. Ludik
    12. Whitehead
    13. Jordaan
    14. Ndugane
    15. Viljoen
    That’s my prediction.

  • Comment 15, posted at 02.10.12 08:36:35 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 14) : eh, no worries buddy 🙂

  • Comment 16, posted at 02.10.12 08:43:56 by robdylan Reply
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