G West

Looking for the right preseason magic

Written by Gerhard van der Westhuizen (G West)

Posted in :Original Content, Reader Submissions, Sharks, Super Rugby on 28 Jan 2013 at 11:27
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Soon we will see the Sharks take on the Leopards and the Pumas in pre-season friendlies. Now it’s probably reasonably safe to assume that John Plumtree will play his second string players against the men from Potch, and the big boys against the Pumas. For obvious reasons I am really looking forward to the Pumas match as I will be there to witness and report on what went on in the game.

As a man from Nelspruit I actually do like the Pumas; they are full of heart and courage. They always seem to play at 100% and even thou their execution is not always the best, they do give it their all. They also have a really good coach in Jimmy Stonehouse, a man whom I have met on numerous occasions. He is one of those coaches that really inspires the players in his squad. That makes this so called “friendly” not as flowery as it sounds, the Pumas will not hold back and for me that is a really good thing. One of the best ways to prepare for any season is to play a side that has acres of passion for the game, and we all know the Pumas can be a physical in their style of play.

When I was still playing the game the most gruelling part of pre-season was to get tackle fit again, and there is no better way than to play a game or two before your first match. Not only does it get rid of some rustiness, it also gives your body a good lesson in physical punishment. Of course injuries before you start your season are a concern, but to be fair they are always a concern as even in normal training players get injured.

The magic of these pre-season games is that you get a chance to tweak certain areas of your squad, whether it be tactics, game plan, player combinations and sometimes even moving a player to a new position. It also gives you a chance to see how your young players have reacted to all their off season training, and that is what I am looking forward to. We have all seen the older guys play hundreds of times, but these new lads always bring something new to cheer about, something special. It’s human nature to look forward to new things, it’s in our nature to look for something different, something new to talk about or shout about.

We all know that these friendly games mean nothing on the score board, and can sometimes be really boring to watch, but maybe we should all look at the smaller details in these games, those little magic moments that stand out and make us cheer, even if it’s just in our heads or our hearts.


  • How about trialling Odwa at fullback? I feel he could add value there. Thoughts?

  • Comment 1, posted at 28.01.13 12:12:26 by StevieS Reply
  • You an old Nelspruiter? Small world indeed. You are correct, the Pumas have beefed up their squad quite a bit with some imports, and were unlucky to lose to the Kings in the First Division Final last year, after two draws.

    The Pumas Squad for 2013 is:
    LH’s: Corné Fourie (187/118/24)Ex Bulls, Ivann Espag (190/120/25) Ex Griquas, Stefan Kotzé (188/116/22) Ex Cheetahs.
    TH’s: De-Jay Terblanché (186/121/27), Drew van Coller (187/116/26).
    HKR: Jacques Momberg (180/105/22), Frank Herne (178/101/23) Ex Cheetahs/Kings.
    LOCKS: Rudi Mathee (196/108/27),Boela Serfontein (195/112/24), Marius Coetzer (199/113/29),
    Flank: Uzair Cassiem (189/98/23), Nqubeko Zulu (194/112/26), Jaco Bouwer (185/100/21), Corné Steenkamp (182/98/31), RW Kember (187/105/30), Renaldo Bothma (189/103/23), JP Mostert (193/106/25), Doppies le Roux (191/114/28), Yaya Hartzenberg (194/110/24) Ex WP.
    SH: Faf de Klerk (169/66/21), Renier van Rooyen (172/74/23).
    FH: Coenie van Wyk (184/85/25), JC Roos (183/94/22), Tiaan Marx (186/88/27), Carl Bezuidenhout (190/95/27),
    CENTRE: Dewald Pretorius (187/111/26), Stefan Watermeyer (185/96/25) ex Bulls, JW Jonker (180/91/26) Injured, Jerome Pretorius (181/90/25), Wilmaure Louw (183/88/26) Ex Griquas, JW Bell (175/73/23).
    WINGS: Wilhelm Loock (180/90/26), Deon Scholtz (179/85/28), Danwel Demas (189/95/31), Ashwin Scott (184/81/28).
    FB: Marx, Roos and van wyk usually play either flyhalf or FB.

    I will make a point of going to, some nice home matches for me this year lol. Boks vs. Italy and Scotland too.

  • Comment 2, posted at 28.01.13 12:13:26 by KingCheetah Reply

  • @KingCheetah (Comment 2) : Heya, i’m still living in Nelspruit 😉 . And thanks for the Puma squad list! Also the Boks v Italy game is now in Durban and Boks v Scotland is here in Nelspruit (Samoa will play Italy here).

  • Comment 3, posted at 28.01.13 12:17:17 by G West Reply
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    G West
  • @StevieS (Comment 1) : That is actually not a bad idea at all. His pace is not what it used to be the past two seasons, he has very steady hands and all the experience we need at 15. My only concern would be his kicking game?

  • Comment 4, posted at 28.01.13 12:20:05 by G West Reply
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    G West
  • @KingCheetah (Comment 2) : What happened to Tian Meyer?

  • Comment 5, posted at 28.01.13 12:47:11 by Baylion Reply

  • @G West (Comment 4) : No concern there, Odwa can kick well. He’d add something different at fullback and that would allow Mvovo, Sithole and JPP to specialise on the wing.

  • Comment 6, posted at 28.01.13 12:51:48 by ChrisS Reply
  • @Baylion (Comment 5) : Heard he was injured.

  • Comment 7, posted at 28.01.13 12:52:32 by ChrisS Reply
  • @G West (Comment 4) : I think his kicking is ok. I also think he’d do well on the counter-attack, natural eye for the gap and not afraid to run.

  • Comment 8, posted at 28.01.13 12:54:05 by StevieS Reply
  • @StevieS (Comment 8) : @G West (Comment 4) : And he’s tall and safe under the high ball.

  • Comment 9, posted at 28.01.13 12:55:40 by ChrisS Reply
  • @ChrisS (Comment 6) : Odders would have to be on the bench though, there aint no one replacing Ludik at fb 😉

  • Comment 10, posted at 28.01.13 12:55:57 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 10) : Agreed, but having such a long season ahead we can always manage the players properly and give Odders a few starts in order to rest Ludik. the nice thing is that there will be options.

  • Comment 11, posted at 28.01.13 13:12:51 by G West Reply
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  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 10) : Ludik would always be first choice but Odwa and Viljoen can spell him and give us options. 🙂

  • Comment 12, posted at 28.01.13 13:42:59 by ChrisS Reply
  • @G West (Comment 11) : @ChrisS (Comment 12) : Spot on with Odders converted to specialist fullback backup/rotation.

  • Comment 13, posted at 28.01.13 14:12:54 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 10) : Gotta agree – Ludik is the best in SA at the moment.

  • Comment 14, posted at 28.01.13 14:22:58 by King Shark Reply
    King Shark
  • @G West (Comment 3) :

    im also a nelspruiter….but far away from home at the mo.

  • Comment 15, posted at 28.01.13 16:18:21 by The Duke Reply

    The Duke
  • @KingCheetah (Comment 2) :
    its a good excuse for me to get back to Nellies…as im living in scotland but from nelspruit. ..i have inside information…i could be an asset

  • Comment 16, posted at 28.01.13 16:21:25 by The Duke Reply

    The Duke
  • @The Duke (Comment 16) : Lol welcome home then, and lets hook up for a beer. it will be a pleasure.

  • Comment 17, posted at 28.01.13 21:54:42 by KingCheetah Reply

  • Plumtree on Sharks website regarding Carlos:

    “I’d like him here a little longer – he’s not here for the whole tournament –he has family back in Joburg.

    But he will help us through the course of the season, he’ll see how we go and he’ll come down periodically. He will be good for not only our flyhalves but also our backs, he’ll also be working on our kicking game.

    But really, he’s just touched the surface of what I want from him.”

  • Comment 18, posted at 29.01.13 09:38:41 by FireTheLooser Reply


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