Treu the tonic for struggling S’bura?

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sevens, Sharks, Super Rugby, Vodacom Cup on 11 Apr 2013 at 09:35
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

Spare a thought, if you will, for Sharks winger Sibusiso “S’bura” Sithole, whose Super Rugby debut lasted all of 50 minutes before being dropped from the match 22 even faster than he was unexpectedly elevated into it.

Let’s not beat around the bush; with the likes of Raymond Rhule, Sergeal Peterson and various others making a big statement in Super Rugby at a young age, Sithole’s failure to kick on with the Sharks, after excelling for South Africa at age-group and sevens level, is a concern. It’s true that a glut of quality Bok wingers ahead of him in the Sharks pecking order have made it hard to get a berth, but even the most one-eyed of Sithole supporters (if not the outright conspiracy theorists) will admit that, talented and full of potential though he may be, the former Queens head boy has battled to deliver the goods for the Sharks where it really matters – between the four white lines.

Simply put, the likes of Rhule and Peterson have grabbed their chances with both hands and with the Sharks now experiencing an unexpected injury crisis at wing, the time should be perfect for S’bura to make the sort of statement that makes it impossible for the Sharks to drop him; instead, he’ll be heading back to the Vodacom Cup ranks while another youngster in Sean Robinson will have his own chance to impress.

There was a lot of talk on Twitter yesterday about perceived “poor treatment” of the player by the Sharks union and coaches and it’s certainly not hard to argue that, looking at this from Sithole’s perspective, the decision to drop is a harsh one indeed. On the other hand, though, Super Rugby is an unrelentingly tough competition and I’m quite sure the coaches feel that Sithole had his chance last week, didn’t take it and that they simply can’t afford to invest further in his development, at this level, at this time. It’s a tough old game, after all and the fans demand results. So do the suits.

The unanswered question, though, is this: why isn’t Sithole shaping at the moment? What is it that’s gone wrong with his game and why aren’t the Sharks doing anything to help him fix it? We know Sithole has the pedigree, we know he has the talent. His background and school career suggests that intelligence, attitude and work ethic are certainly not in short supply either and having spoken to him myself, I know that he’s a warm, open, highly motivated and driven young man.

I’m jumping to conclusions here, because I really don’t know the answer, but I wonder whether something, perhaps, simply isn’t gelling between this player in particular, and the methods, techniques, patterns, management styles and so on that the Sharks are employing. Sithole has always had “future Springbok” written all over him and I feel I need to join the clamour of voices insisting that the Sharks DO SOMETHING, rather than leaving S’bura to languish in the Vodacom Cup where, let’s face it, his game isn’t really developing.

Calls will continue to be made for the Sharks to acquiesce to a request that has hitherto been denied and release Sithole to Paul Treu and the SA Sevens team and I find myself now quite openly backing that position. A good spell with the Blitzbokke could be just what this player needs to get his confidence back up after a frustrating 18 months and my feeling is it would be in the best interests of all parties concerned for S’bura to see out the rest of the Super Rugby season with Treu, before hopefully returning to the Sharks to play a starring role in the Currie Cup.


  • I don’t think i have ever seen Sithole take a high ball up in the air and make a clearance kick…i think that is the main concern for me. In Superugby teams are always looking to test the other with high bombs, and especially when we play the Stormers and Bulls twice. A wing in Superugby basically needs to be a fullback with pace. Sithole has all the physical attributes, strength and speed, but i havn’t seen enough of those fullback skills required for superugby and test rugby. He is definitely a danger man with ball in hand; but being a wing is more than that these days.

    I agree Rob; he should go play some Sevens and help us win that Sevens world cup in June! Sithole was also really good for the Sharks in the premier league sevens last year. He basically did everything, he provided the go forward and then ended up outwide finishing the chances off…he was immense.

  • Comment 1, posted at 11.04.13 09:54:42 by JJR Reply
  • I would ensure that he gets on to the field two more times before releasing him – just in case we sit with injuries in the playoffs.

  • Comment 2, posted at 11.04.13 10:08:09 by King Shark Reply
    King Shark
  • Firstly let me state that I have no inside knowledge of the Sharks coaching setup – so my opinion may be way off base.

    But looking at the evidence in matches, I get the impression that not much is done to improve players’ skills at the Sharks. It seems to be up to the players themselves. Of course players need to put in the work, but that only really works with decent skills coaching.

    Another player that is in serious need of assistance is Jordaan as he cannot seem to pass properly, or link up with support once he has made a break.

  • Comment 3, posted at 11.04.13 10:09:26 by Bokhoring Reply
  • Agree Rob. No doubt he hasn’t blossomed at the Sharks, and given his obvious talent, we need to understand why. I think Sevens could be good for his confidence and his ball skills.

  • Comment 4, posted at 11.04.13 10:32:05 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 3) : C’mon now, Jordaan can pass, he played 10 for Sharks u/21 …he’s just rushing things a bit sometimes. If The Sharks don’t improve players’ skills how is it that Lwazi Mvovo has become a lot better under the high ball (Takes it in the air) and now has a great clearance kick on him?

  • Comment 5, posted at 11.04.13 10:35:27 by JJR Reply
  • @JJR (Comment 5) : voeltjie het gefluit dat Lwazi ook so bietjie sukkel met Tollie se angeewerk…

  • Comment 6, posted at 11.04.13 10:38:30 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @JJR (Comment 5) :
    Come on, whats good for the goose and all that. You cant call out flaws in one player cos you haven’t witnessed him do something and then choose to ignore the clearly demonstrated flaws in the other.

    Jordaan has lots of talent, but he needs to work on his defence and distribution.

    Luckily, both he and Sbura have youth on their side.

  • Comment 7, posted at 11.04.13 10:43:14 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • He’ll do good at the sevens, I say send him. Damn good player just needs some confidence.

  • Comment 8, posted at 11.04.13 10:47:44 by PTAShark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @JJR (Comment 5) : Passing from 10 is altogether different than from 13. A 10 has a bit more time (unless you attack the line first), whereas at 13 you usually end up with multiple defenders in your face.

    I reckon a lot of the back line players can go learn from Keegan – that guy has a knack for putting other players away while under pressure. If I am not mistaken Jordaan scored a great try from a KD pass in the Reds play off game last year.

  • Comment 9, posted at 11.04.13 11:50:34 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 6) : Ek stem saam met Lwazi, dit is ‘n probleem. needs to improve in that regard or else we could see him become more of an impact player or a winger.

    @Big Fish (Comment 7) : I agree that his linking up play has been pretty poor so far this season…i believe he can do a great job working off others; he just needs to show it now. I think his defence in general has actually been great, last week he only missed one, when he was bounced. Jordaan did have Fruen covered when the try was scored…the problem there was odwa not trusting Jordaan and leaving the wing unmarked, imo. Except for last weeks game, i feel paul’s defence has been the strongest part of his game. In most games he often covers 3 players because he gives them the outside and then uses his pace to shift onto the next attacker when the ball is passed.

    But he clearly needs to up his game…i believe he can do a whole lot better. I would like to see him run a lot more angles/lines off 12.

  • Comment 10, posted at 11.04.13 11:56:14 by JJR Reply
  • Feel sorry for Sbura, he’s just not moving forward at this point, really dissappointed he won’t be there this week

  • Comment 11, posted at 11.04.13 12:28:10 by Ludz Reply

  • I am actually pretty disgusted that Sithole was dropped after 50 mins. Give him at least one full start. So that he has a week to train as a starter, not just suddenly thrown into a mix he hasn’t been part of in two years. How would you feel stuck behind an old man who is half as fast and half as strong as you, and can hardly get the basics right himself, fact of the matter is Odwa has expired, amazing Sharks player, will always be remembered, but has no longer got what it takes.

  • Comment 12, posted at 12.04.13 08:38:05 by Seth101 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Author
  • @Seth101 (Comment 12) : agree, it was really harsh to drop him like that without giving him another chance to redeem himself

  • Comment 13, posted at 12.04.13 12:34:32 by Ludz Reply


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