Time for tough choices as Sharks eye title

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 8 Oct 2012 at 14:13
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s not often one is given a shot at redemption, but for the Sharks, it’s starting to look like they could assuage the disappointment of losing the Super Rugby final this year by at least, hopefully, winning the Currie Cup.

There’s a hell of a lot that needs to happen between now at the 27th of October, though and while the Sharks have done well to surge to the top of the charts despite giving up quite so many players to the Bok cause, any hint of complacency between now and then can – and surely will – see them finish the year empty handed, just as they did in 2009 and again last year. Coach John Plumtree knows only too well that returning Boks, at this stage of the season, can be a double-edged sword though and that their wholesale inclusion into a settled team can often do more harm than good.

Counter that, though, by asking which local side can realistically fancy their chances, at Kings Park, against a Sharks team of similar composition to the one that beat both the Reds and the Stormers in away games in Super Rugby this year. The temptation for Plumtree to return his side to full strength (or as near as you can get to that without Bismarck du Plessis and Frans Steyn) must be huge and for the Sharks to risk anything in any of these next three games by not playing the best players available seems like folly indeed.

This weekend’s clash against Griquas, though, should see a more measured approach, if for no other reason than to minimise the disruption and also assess the state of tiredness of those Boks who have carried a heavy work load. I wouldn’t anticipate that the likes of Beast Mtawarira, Jannie du Plessis or Willem Alberts would be rushed straight back into action in a game where the Sharks, realistically, only need to secure a win to ensure top spot on the final log.

That’s not to say that Plumtree won’t face some tricky selection decisions; Craig Burden coming in for the injured Pieter Dixon is about the only straightforward one and even then, you’d be able to make a case for retaining the in-form Kyle Cooper as starting hooker ahead of the rusty Burden, who’s not played in nearly a month. One would fancy that Pat Lambie must surely come in at flyhalf – and stay there for the rest of time, amen – but even that isn’t so straight forward. What do you do with Meyer Bosman, the side’s leading points scorer, if you’re going to pick Lambie (who hasn’t kicked a ball in anger since he came out of puberty six weeks back) in his position? A move back to inside centre for Bosman could work, but which of Tim Whitehead or Paul Jordaan must make way (and why?). Let’s not even get started on the topic of dropping leading try-scorer Odwa Ndungane, or Bok phenom JP Pietersen, to make room for Lwazi Mvovo. Even the simplest of decision, it seems, is a mind-field already… imagine how much worse it will be trying to include the likes of Willem Alberts or Marcell Coetzee into an already-packed loose forward contingent.

Whatever he does now, though, Plumtree will know that the ball is properly in his own court, but failing to get the balance completely right over the next three weeks now could quite easily gift the advantage back to the chasing pack. Who’d want to be in his shoes?


  • Marcell amd Willem need rest. Both have had long seasons. Pat needs game time as does Craig

  • Comment 1, posted at 08.10.12 14:25:48 by ChrisS Reply
  • Disagree on Marcell, he has been on the Bok bench for awhile. I’d see Deysel reverting to impact player role and Marcell starting.
    Lambie, Mvovo and Burden on the bench, to come on at 40-50mins.
    Alberts, Jannie and Beast = not considered this week.
    One caveat; Lambie will under no circumstances come on for Ludik, Ndungane can cover fullback!

  • Comment 2, posted at 08.10.12 14:36:48 by neilster Reply

  • this would be my team. given a few need rest, I dont think Marcel is one of them.

    01 Beast
    02 Burden
    03 Wors
    04 Jandre/Sykes( unless there are issues with him leaving)???
    05 Bresler
    06 Marcel
    07 Alberts
    08 Captain Dynamite Keegan
    09 Reinach
    10 Lambie
    11 Odwa Was so good last weekend to leave out, great form of late
    12 Whitehead
    13 Jordaan
    14 JPP
    15 Ludick

    16 Cooper
    17 Doc ( only use if needed )
    18 PSDT
    19 Deysel/Botes
    20 Mcleod
    21 Bosman
    22 Mvovo

  • Comment 3, posted at 08.10.12 14:45:44 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • Same shit different year! πŸ™„

    Let’s hope that whatever Plum decided are the right choices.

  • Comment 4, posted at 08.10.12 14:52:44 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • swop odwa and JPP around

  • Comment 5, posted at 08.10.12 14:56:13 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • I would play Lambie at flyhalf this week, Burden, Coetzee and Mvovo of the bench and give the rest of the guys a rest.

  • Comment 6, posted at 08.10.12 15:13:59 by Mutley Reply
  • @sharks_lover (Comment 3) :
    Cant drop our only ball player on the ground – Botes. (my opinion)

    1. Beast/Chadwick (based on fatigue so either one)
    2. Burden
    3. Wors
    4. Marais
    5. Bresler
    6. Botes
    7. Marcell (been rested enough recently)
    8. KEEGAN
    9. REINACH (please leave Charl on the bench)
    10. Lambie/Bosman (not sure based on Pat’s game time)
    11. Odwa
    12. Whitehead
    13. Jordaan
    14. JP
    15. LUDIK (should start for Boks in my view)

    16. Cooper
    17. Jannie dup
    18. Alberts
    19. Deysel (2 big units on tired defences in last 10min)
    20. McLeod
    21. Bosman/Lambie
    22. Mvovo

  • Comment 7, posted at 08.10.12 15:16:02 by pienaar111 Reply

  • @sharks_lover (Comment 3) :

    6 Botes
    7 Marcell

    12 Bosman
    13 Whitehead

    18 Alberts
    19 Deysel

    21 Joraan

  • Comment 8, posted at 08.10.12 15:18:25 by Letgo Reply
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  • @pienaar111 (Comment 7) : The only change I would consider is Bosman for Whitehead.

    He’s been central to our game since game 1. Jordaan and Tim has been in and out. Make them the back up centres.

  • Comment 9, posted at 08.10.12 15:20:24 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @pienaar111 (Comment 7) : Not a bad selection, i think Lambie is good enough and hungry enough to slot right in.

    The worst thing for him right now is for his provincial coach not to show faith in him after the poor treatment from the national coach, other then that i could live with that team

  • Comment 10, posted at 08.10.12 15:20:31 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • I know we all like Timmie, but I think, if you looked at the way Bosman is playing at the moment, I don’t really think you can pick Tim for 12. They will need him in a game, especially in the semis and the final. He ruled the backline in every game. You must pick what is best for rugby and not the person and his age.

  • Comment 11, posted at 08.10.12 15:22:26 by springbok Reply

  • @sharks_lover (Comment 10) : @Letgo (Comment 9) :
    I dont mind either suggestions/comments their gents. Lambie probably would slot right in…
    As long as Whitehead stays in starting 15. I rate that guy to a younger Conrad Smith πŸ™‚

  • Comment 12, posted at 08.10.12 15:23:19 by pienaar111 Reply

  • @sharks_lover (Comment 10) : In an ideal world yes, but he hasn’t played flyhalf since the beginning of the Super15, should he really start? I think he is mature and level-headed enough to know that Plum backs him to take back his position, but he must do it from the bench for this game.
    Also the Whitehead / Jordaan combo for me is our most dangerous centre combo at the moment ( yes, including Frans Steyn who at the moment won’t feed Jordaan like Whitehead can and does), so why delay the inevitable? Allow them to re-establish that understanding in time for the play-offs.

  • Comment 13, posted at 08.10.12 15:31:59 by neilster Reply

  • @pienaar111 (Comment 7) : think that is a better team and lambie to start if he’s not that great take him off, we should beat kwas even if lambie is struggling.

  • Comment 14, posted at 08.10.12 15:32:32 by MJ Reply

  • For me i think this is our best backline, People must just watch the loss of the Boks on the weekend and see the effect of not having Steyn at 12, his defence is 2nd bar none

    15 Ludick
    14 JPP
    13 jordaan
    12 Steyn
    11 Mvovo
    10 Lambie
    09 Reinach

    20 Mcleod
    21 Bosman as he also covers 10
    22 Odwa

    Tim and Frans can sometimes rotate, it is a long season. same with Viljoen and a few others, also not counting in Jantjes or Taute as it is still unclear as to where they are going.

  • Comment 15, posted at 08.10.12 15:41:19 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • Pat and Burden must play Friday to get gametime before the semis. Pat at 10 Bosman shift to 12 and Tim to 13. Cooper and Jordaan can bench along with Mvovo and Coetzee.

  • Comment 16, posted at 08.10.12 16:21:59 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • well I’m glad to see we all agree πŸ™„

  • Comment 17, posted at 08.10.12 16:28:13 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 17) : :mrgreen: πŸ˜†

  • Comment 18, posted at 08.10.12 16:55:35 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @sharks_lover (Comment 18) : hi mate… how’s things at the foot of the flat mountain?

  • Comment 19, posted at 08.10.12 17:02:37 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • We are playing Kwas at the Tank. Not saying it’s an easy game, but it’s the best we can ask for if we want to take a risk or 3, and we will need to take a few risks this weekend.

    So here’s what I would do with the Boks.
    Beast & Jannie: bench one, rest the other, next week they rotate, and then see how it goes
    Burden: RISK 1 – He has to start this one, he needs the game time BAD! And Cooper will be ready and able to slot in if things go pearshaped
    Marcell, Alberts: Marcell to start for Deysel, Alberts rested (impact rest of the games?)
    Pat: RISK 2 – Same as Burden, we just can not afford to keep him off the field one second more, if we want Super Pat for the final, we have to risk Rusty Pat in this one.
    Mvovo: Bench, he hasn’t played much either, but Odwa and JPP are just too good to drop
    I feel like I’m missing someone, but on to other news
    For this game, playing Pat at 10, I will put McLeod at 9 (listen before you throw the stones). Pat knows Charl, Charl knows Pat. How many games has Pat & Reinach started together?
    Bosman at 12, Timmy at 13. So Bosman can come into the 10 channel if Pat is showing some rustiness. And I feel Tim fits better with Bosman than Paul

  • Comment 20, posted at 08.10.12 17:06:15 by Die Kriek Reply

  • @Die Kriek (Comment 20) : Funny that I think Tim disappears at 13, not having out and out pace and/or physicality to shine. Whereas at 12, he has vision in bucket-loads. I’m a former prop though…:)

  • Comment 21, posted at 08.10.12 17:08:58 by neilster Reply

  • @neilster (Comment 21) : I’m a former lock, so I feel you!

  • Comment 22, posted at 08.10.12 17:10:35 by Die Kriek Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 19) : Hiyas bro, good and ur side??

  • Comment 23, posted at 08.10.12 17:16:40 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @sharks_lover (Comment 23) : great thanks… hoping the Sharks give me a lekker birthday present this weekend πŸ™‚

  • Comment 24, posted at 08.10.12 17:21:00 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • While winning the Currie Cup won’r redeem them, it will go a little way for atoning for that shocking performance in the final of the S15.

  • Comment 25, posted at 08.10.12 19:08:03 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • @lostfish (Comment 25) : jeez, you’re a hard taskmaster…

    You can’t conceded there were maybe just a few mitigating circumstances?

  • Comment 26, posted at 08.10.12 19:20:13 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Lambie at flyhalf and I’ll be happy no matter who else Plum plays! Please, I need to see my second favourite player play in his position again.. Its been waaay to long!

  • Comment 27, posted at 08.10.12 20:08:48 by The Sharks Sharkie Reply
    The Sharks Sharkie
  • @The Sharks Sharkie (Comment 27) :
    I agree with you 99% —– 1% missing, because Lambie is my top and (most) favourite player … πŸ™‚ We are not the only ones who need to see Lambie at flyhalf – South Africa and Heyneke Meyer need to see Lambie at flyhalf …

  • Comment 28, posted at 09.10.12 03:09:22 by swan Reply

  • @The Sharks Sharkie (Comment 27) : Bosman have been our best performing back during the CC, Viljoen however . . .
    Bring Lambie in at 15 but only give him 30 minutes. He`s not used to 80 minutes anymore.

    Mvovo could be a defensive weak link if you think back to what happened when he came on for the bokke. I`d be carefull of him if you take into account the form of Rocco Jansen at the moment.
    Odwa managed to contain ” the fastest player in the CC ” last weekend, he`s solid leave him in the side.

    Don`t even think about swopping Marcel for Botes. Then we`re stuck without a fetcher again. We cannot afford that against Schoeman who is now one of the best fetchers in the country.

    Eyes on the prize guys, we need to win this one at all cost then we can worry about finishing off in style.

  • Comment 29, posted at 09.10.12 07:42:39 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 29) : I will never agree with Lambie at 15… rather bench him.

  • Comment 30, posted at 09.10.12 09:14:18 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Letgo (Comment 30) : Agreed! Lambie lacks just a yard or two of pure pace to be an attacking fullback in the same league as Dagg, Muliaina or O’Connor.
    He’s the complete flyhalf though and has ice for blood…he doesn’t feel the pressure or let it affect his play.

  • Comment 31, posted at 09.10.12 09:31:37 by ChrisS Reply
  • Play Coetzee, Burden and Lambie (at 10 – I think Ludik is a better 15). Burden and Lambie need game time before the semis and hopefully final. Put Jordaan and Botes on the bench. Include Alberts and Mvovo on the bench. Tell Beast and Jannie to go to the beach and do absolutely nothing for a week.

  • Comment 32, posted at 09.10.12 09:51:48 by MikeSebMatt Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 26) : maybe a few but it still hurt.

  • Comment 33, posted at 09.10.12 10:00:38 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • @MikeSebMatt (Comment 32) : Rather put Marcell on the bench and keep the loosies as is. If you want to start Marcell, then swap for Deysel who has been disappointing the last couple of games. Alberts to take a complete break.

  • Comment 34, posted at 09.10.12 10:01:14 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 34) : Makes sense. I liked the idea of Alberts as a supersub lock/flank in case things were going pear shaped against Griquas. I wouldn’t use him if we didn’t need to. I think Marcel should get game time.

  • Comment 35, posted at 09.10.12 10:14:06 by MikeSebMatt Reply

  • @Original Pierre (Comment 29) : The problems regarding the Lambie situation stem from you exact reasoning as to why Lambie should play at 15. “Bosman is our form player he must be at 10 Lambie must play 15” sounds very similar to “Michalak is on form, he plays at 10, Lambie at 15” or “Morne is our best goal kicker, he plays at 10, Lambie benchs for 15” or “Goosen/Jantjies are young talented 10s, Lambie is as well but play him at 15″… You get my point.

    Its time we accept Lambie is a 10 and play him there. If Plum thinks Bosman is the better option at 10, fair enough, then bench Lambie but for the 10 position. Make him a 10 and nothing but a 10, don’t move him around for the simple excuse that well another player is at 10 now.

    And only giving him 30 minutes? Worst idea ever, Lambie doesn’t need more game deprivation at the Sharks now too!!

  • Comment 36, posted at 09.10.12 15:34:27 by The Sharks Sharkie Reply
    The Sharks Sharkie
  • @swan (Comment 28) : Sorry buddy but I’m a lock and therefore Etzebeth is my hero and favourite player but Lambie is definitely up there πŸ™‚

  • Comment 37, posted at 09.10.12 15:36:11 by The Sharks Sharkie Reply
    The Sharks Sharkie

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