Plum’s five (or so) big questions

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 8 Feb 2013 at 12:22
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , , ,

Let’s play virtual coach here for a bit and try to work out what sort of things John Plumtree and his coaching team are likely to be looking to get out of tonight’s warm-up match against the Leopards.

Plumtree, of course, already has a very good idea of what his starting line up will look like for the season opener against the Cheetahs. Based on what we think, tonight’s team is pretty much a mixture of his second-choice pack and his first choice backline, with one or two exceptions in a few positions. Unfortunately, the Leopards team as named is unlikely to provide all that much in terms of opposition, but nevertheless, the Sharks coaches should be able to take a few things from this encounter. Let’s see if we can come up with five…

1)Steyn as captain. Plumtree is clearly looking for an established starter to take up the vice-captaincy reigns whilst Bismarck is injured. By delivering a commanding performance and showing that he can keep the team in check and focused on their task, Frans Steyn could underline that he is the man for this job.
2)Timmy Whitehead as a starter. Whitehead would probably have been most people’s pick for the 12 shirt before Steyn returned. While the precocious (and much faster) Paul Jordaan has a lot of support, Plumtree will be watching Whitehead closely to see if he can combine well enough with Steyn to make a claim for the 13 jersey. Outside centre is an area where the Sharks are still struggling for genuine depth and should the former Stormers man show enough to compensate for his lack of deadly strike running ability (relative to Jordaan that is), the coaches will sleep a lot easier.
3)Allan Dell as a senior player. The young man is being given a golden opportunity to establish himself as the de facto backup at loosehead prop. Dell has a fantastic attitude, work ethic and ball skills, but can he hold his own as a starting option at scrum time, despite his size? This is what Plumtree will want to see tonight.
4)Do we have a lineout? It’s probably not surprising that Plumtree has opted to let both of his “athletic” locks, Franco van der Merwe and Steph du Toit, start, together with Kyle Cooper. In short, this is a completely different combo to the one that played in the Currie Cup final and one feels that whichever of these locks stakes the stronger claim in terms of lineout dominance will probably find themselves partnering Anton Bresler against the Cheetahs. Cooper also has a golden opportunity to push for a start ahead of Craig Burden, if he can get his basics right on the night.
5)Life in the old dogs? Plumtree knows who his first-choice loose forwards are, more or less and the fact that none of Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee or Ryan Kankowski is playing tonight speaks volumes. Together with captain Keegan Daniel, there’s precious little room left in the squad for any loose forward options, meaning that all three of Jacques Botes, Jean Deysel and Tera Mtembu will need to play out of their socks to prove that they belong anywhere other than the Vodacom Cup squad this season. Harsh, perhaps, but not far from the truth.

There’s a sixth question, of course – one that is unlikely to be answered due to the weakness of the opposition. How effective can this second string pack be at dominating the opposition? Would Plumtree be able to go into a match proper without the likes of Beast, the du Plessis’s, Bresler, Alberts or Coetzee and still remain confident that his backs will get the ball they need?

Let’s hope that the coaches get at least some of what they need out of tonight’s game. Oh – and no injuries, PLEASE!


  • supersport dodging my questions about why the sharks warm up games are not being televised yet everybody els’s is

  • Comment 1, posted at 08.02.13 13:45:53 by Poisy Reply
  • @Poisy (Comment 1) : supersport are a dodgy lot at the best of times 🙂

  • Comment 2, posted at 08.02.13 13:46:47 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Guess everyone is in more of a boxing mood than a rugby mood today.

    Who’s going to the match?

  • Comment 3, posted at 08.02.13 14:00:20 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 2) : you would think with all the money they charge us every month they would have the decency to reply or explain themselves

  • Comment 4, posted at 08.02.13 14:00:22 by Poisy Reply
  • @Poisy (Comment 4) : decency in business? Come on mate, you’re a lawyer now… too big to believe in fairytales 🙂

  • Comment 5, posted at 08.02.13 14:02:48 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : lmfao guess im still wet behind the ears 🙄

  • Comment 6, posted at 08.02.13 14:08:21 by Poisy Reply
  • Multichoice doesnt care about anything, they do as they please as long as they get their payments.

  • Comment 7, posted at 08.02.13 14:13:21 by SteelShark Reply
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  • @Poisy (Comment 6) : I gave you some points as a graduation present

  • Comment 8, posted at 08.02.13 14:14:32 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Poisy (Comment 1) : Not the 1st time the sharks have missed out, start of the 2011 season, none of the sharks warm up games where shown. The only Sharks warm up games I can remember being shown was that Neotell warm up cup thing.

  • Comment 9, posted at 08.02.13 14:22:03 by Seth101 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Author
  • Who are the other guys playing as warm up games? Are they SR sides or VC sides.

    Maybe it’s because our opposition teams are VC or 1st Div CC sides, but I don’t know who the other sides are playing.

  • Comment 10, posted at 08.02.13 14:42:31 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Seth101 (Comment 9) : Well, just this week I sent them a mail because their poll on the site “who will win the SA conference”, only had 4 options available, guess who were left out

  • Comment 11, posted at 08.02.13 14:44:45 by Die Kriek Reply

  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 10) : Streamers playing Cavaliers tomorrow

  • Comment 12, posted at 08.02.13 14:45:32 by Die Kriek Reply

  • @Die Kriek (Comment 11) : That’s pathetic really, finalist not even an option? Watch this Behind the kings we are the 2nd least featured team.

  • Comment 13, posted at 08.02.13 14:47:22 by Seth101 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Author
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 10) : Lions vs Kings and Stormers vs Cavaliers. Hardly much bigger then our game.

  • Comment 14, posted at 08.02.13 14:49:11 by Seth101 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : Okai myself and 14 other member of my posse are going to the match woohoo!!!!

  • Comment 15, posted at 08.02.13 15:13:43 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • @robdylan (Comment 8) : awesome thanx man 😎

  • Comment 16, posted at 08.02.13 16:06:48 by Poisy Reply
  • hi guys…will the game be on supersport tonight?

  • Comment 17, posted at 08.02.13 16:11:08 by robinrochelle Reply

  • @robinrochelle (Comment 17) : Sadly no.

  • Comment 18, posted at 08.02.13 16:15:03 by Seth101 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Author
  • oh well then i’ll be watching the Kings tomorrow!!GO Kings!:)

  • Comment 19, posted at 08.02.13 16:16:23 by robinrochelle Reply

  • Good luck to Allan Dell. Proud of you boy

  • Comment 20, posted at 08.02.13 18:24:19 by Ludz Reply

  • @Ludz (Comment 20) : Mr. man-crush himself :mrgreen:

  • Comment 21, posted at 08.02.13 18:29:42 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 21) : hahahahahahaha

  • Comment 22, posted at 08.02.13 18:41:38 by Ludz Reply

  • Maybe it plays in our favour to not have our games televised. Nothing for our 1st opponents to see or prepare against before we take them on on the field.

  • Comment 23, posted at 08.02.13 18:45:33 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 23) : I also prefer the low key pre-season games, we seem to perform better during those seasons.

    The neotel pre-season had the worst effect on our boys’ confidence…2010 was miserable 😥

  • Comment 24, posted at 08.02.13 19:25:31 by FireTheLooser Reply


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