Richard Ferguson

Finishing strong


Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 28 May 2013 at 09:49
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

The Sharks may have a four week break from Super Rugby, but the season will continue and the Sharks need to ensure they finish the season strong.

Why, you may ask. Well, if the Sharks want to avoid a filthy scrap at the bottom of the table for the relegation / promotion match, they need to win another game. Many might think that there is no way that the Sharks can finish bottom of the South African conference – for those, I have bad news.

There is a four point bye this weekend that pushes the Sharks to 38 points, with the Kings currently sitting on 24 points, but playing an extra game. The bad news is that there is a very real possibility that the four points will be the last points the Sharks score this season. Hosting the Blues before facing the Bulls at Loftus, two matches that I do not expect the Sharks to win; they then finish the season with a match at home against the Kings.

The Kings don’t exactly have an easy run in themselves, facing the Stormers at Newlands this week, before taking on the Bulls at Loftus after the international break. After that, it is round two against the Stormers, this time in Port Elizabeth, before coming to Durban.

All that has to happen is that the Kings pull off a win over either the Bulls or Stormers, pick up a few bonus points and we are suddenly in a position where the Sharks have to beat them in that last weekend to not finish last. And we all know the Sharks record when it comes to must win games.

I know that talk of the Kings not finishing last in the South African conference is bordering on miracle workings, but considering the Sharks 2012 season and their miraculous road to the final, nothing is beyond doubt.

So, with that in mind, the Sharks need to ensure they beat the Blues in that first game after the international break. Fortunately for the Sharks, they have a host of players back from injury, we hope, and barring any injuries to their Springbok players, will be the closest to a full strength squad they have been all year.

Starting up front, there should be a certain Bismarck du Plessis back in contention. Now we have heard for the last month that his return is imminent, so let’s hope the next five weeks give him ample time to get his fitness right. His inclusion in the front row, along with his skills in the loose, is already equal to an extra man on the field for the Sharks.

The loose trio, although almost back to full complement, will have had an extra few weeks to get their act together, and together with a potential return to the squad for Ryan Kankowski, we should see our best trio getting selected.

It is amongst the backline players that we are likely to see the most change though. Cobus Reinach should be back from injury, while Tim Whitehead is in line to try his luck in the cursed 13 jersey. We are likely to see a completely new midfield combination as the man Frans Steyn will also be back from injury. Outside that, there is also a return for Louis Ludik, who will have three weeks to prove himself ahead of the Springbok selection for the Rugby Championship.

So, with so many to choose from, here is my ideal side to take on the Blues. Following that, I will predict the team that John Plumtree will select for that match.

Richards Sharks v Blues:

15. Louis Ludik
14. Sbura Sithole
13. Tim Whitehead
12. Frans Steyn
11. Lwazi Mvovo
10. Pat Lambie
9. Cobus Reinach
8. Ryan Kankowski
7. Willem Alberts
6. Marcell Coetzee
5. Pieter-Steph du Toit
4. Anton Bresler
3. Jannie du Plessis
2. Bismarck du Plessis
1. Tendai Mtawarira

16. Kyle Cooper
17. Wiehahn Herbst
18. Jandre Marais
19. Jean Deysel
20. Charl McLeod
21. Butch James / Meyer Bosman
22. Piet Lindeque

Plumtree’s Sharks v Blues:

15. Riaan Viljoen
14. Louis Ludik
13. Tim Whitehead
12. Frans Steyn
11. Lwazi Mvovo
10. Pat Lambie
9. Charl McLeod
8. Keegan Daniel
7. Willem Alberts
6. Marcell Coetzee
5. Franco van der Merwe
4. Pieter-Steph du Toit
3. Jannie du Plessis
2. Bismarck du Plessis
1. Tendai Mtawarira

16. Kyle Cooper
17. Wiehahn Herbst
18. Anton Bresler
19. Jean Deysel
20. Tera Mtembu
21. Cobus Reinach
22. Meyer Bosman


26 Comments

  • The Kings will finish bottom of the conference. As sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

  • Comment 1, posted at 28.05.13 10:07:19 by McLovin Reply
    McLovin
     
  • The only games I can see the Kings pulling off (and really low chance at that) are the Stormers in PE and Sharks in Durban. They will get destroyed at Loftus, and even the depleted Stormers will be too good for them at Newlands.

  • Comment 2, posted at 28.05.13 10:27:43 by Bokhoring Reply
    Administrator
    Bokhoring
     
  • @McLovin (Comment 1) : Will be good if the Sharks can significantly soften up the Blues for the coup de grace in Bloem the next weekend (well it worked with the Reds) lol.

    Also don’t see the Kings getting anymore wins I am afraid. They claimed to target the Cheetahs as their best hope for a SA scalp, but they picked badly. Their best shot was the misfiring Sharks in PE, and they fluffed that.

  • Comment 3, posted at 28.05.13 10:38:19 by KingCheetah Reply

    KingCheetah
     
  • My team would be:

    1. Tendai Mtawarira
    2. Bismarck du Plessis
    3. Jannie du Plessis
    4. Anton Bresler
    5. Pieter-Steph du Toit
    6. Marcell Coetzee
    7. Willem Alberts
    8. Ryan Kankowski
    9. Cobus Reinach
    10. Pat Lambie
    11. Lwazi Mvovo
    12. Tim Whitehead
    13. Frans Steyn
    14. Louis Ludik
    15. Riaan Viljoen

    16. Kyle Cooper
    17. Wiehahn Herbst
    18. Franco van der Merwe
    19. Jean Deysel
    20. Charl McLeod
    21. Butch James
    22. Piet Lindeque

  • Comment 4, posted at 28.05.13 10:43:15 by David12246 Reply

    Apollo
     
  • @David12246 (Comment 4) : I would swop Steyn and Whitehead around – still prefer Steyn at 12.

  • Comment 5, posted at 28.05.13 10:47:14 by Bokhoring Reply
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    Bokhoring
     
  • Steyn and Alberts…the most over rated players in SA rugby and yet everyone loves them…No brains there.

    Deysel at 7. Coetzee is not a 6..wont Botes be back?? my #6 any day

  • Comment 6, posted at 28.05.13 11:04:44 by pienaar111 Reply

    pienaar111
     
  • I am going to be optimistic, the sharks will beat the blues and bulls if we have a full strength squad. Our B-team only lost with 2 points and against their own stupidity

  • Comment 7, posted at 28.05.13 11:11:39 by TheLegend Reply
    Competition Winner
    TheLegend
     
  • For the last game to be a relegation battle, the Kings have to either beat both Bulls and Stormers (or Stormers twice) with bonus points both times and then pick up another bonus point in the other match. Or win all 3. That means of the Kings last 4 games they need to win at least 3 of them with bonus points. If that is a realistic event then Sharks can still make the playoffs.

    Besides, if they do manage to beat Stormers twice, surely they will be the ones in the relegation zone and not us.

    I know the Kings have surpassed expectations this year but let’s be realistic here.

  • Comment 8, posted at 28.05.13 11:17:31 by Orelando_G Reply

    Orelando_G
     
  • @Orelando_G (Comment 8) :

    It was very tongue in cheek.

    The point of the article was to select our best 22 against the Blues..

  • Comment 9, posted at 28.05.13 11:31:34 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
     
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 9) : Oh right, sorry. Just got a fright at first but then did the maths and saw we should (emphasise “should”) still be safe.

  • Comment 10, posted at 28.05.13 11:40:51 by Orelando_G Reply

    Orelando_G
     
  • I’d definitely have Botes on the bench at least. 100% heart that guy.

  • Comment 11, posted at 28.05.13 11:56:00 by PTAShark Reply
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    Dragnipur
     
  • Botes is not ready until the Bulls or Kings game..

  • Comment 12, posted at 28.05.13 12:01:23 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
     
  • If the Kings finish anything but last on the SA conference log, I will do a bungee jump in a speedo at Moses Mabhida.

  • Comment 13, posted at 28.05.13 12:05:39 by Morné Reply
    Author
    Morné
     
  • so, Rich, I like your team….

    my changes are Peet Marais in for Jandre (as per my latest article) and to swap the centres around. I thought Steyn looked far better at 13 than he had at 12 and to my mind Tim’s real value is his distribution

  • Comment 14, posted at 28.05.13 12:13:42 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylan
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 14) :

    Fair points..

    Not sure why I went for Jandre instead of Peet, it was simply ‘anybody but Franco’ in my mind.

    As for Tim and Steyn – Does Steyn have the speed for 13? In that case, I might opt for Tim at 12 and Piet and 13, Steyn somewhere else……

  • Comment 15, posted at 28.05.13 12:25:44 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
     
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 15) : Didnt look like Piet has any speed either on the weekend.

  • Comment 16, posted at 28.05.13 12:52:07 by Salmonoid Reply
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    Salmonoid the Subtle
     
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 15) : How about steyn at 10 he used to play there for grey if my memory serves me correct my back line would be: 9) cobus 10) steyn 11) mvovo 12) bosman 13) tim 14) ludick 15) lambie

  • Comment 17, posted at 28.05.13 12:55:57 by sharks4eve2013 Reply

    sharks4eve2013
     
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 16) :
    Agree. He got burned by JJ.

    Would be interesting if the Sharks made the wooden spoon play-offs.

  • Comment 18, posted at 28.05.13 13:09:37 by Big Fish Reply
    Author
    Big Fish
     
  • @sharks4eve2013 (Comment 17) :

    Why move Lambie around AGAIN?

    Lambie at 15 is not half as good as Ludik is at 15, so that is a no go in my mind..

  • Comment 19, posted at 28.05.13 13:12:14 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
     
  • @Morné (Comment 13) : I’ll do it without the speedo. 😈

  • Comment 20, posted at 28.05.13 13:17:32 by McLovin Reply

    McLovin
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 14) : My thinking exactly (see comment 4)! With Steyn, his speed has improved has he has brought his size down and he can still do more.

    @sharks4eve2013 (Comment 17) : Steyn has played 10 for the Boks even. Remember his IRB try of the year against the Italians? That was in the 10 jersey. I don’t think he should be playing there anymore though. He needs to be in the centres where he is encouraged to run more.

  • Comment 21, posted at 28.05.13 13:19:36 by David12246 Reply

    Apollo
     
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 19) : true. hm is thinkink of doing it so it’s the only reason way i was thinking it and i like lambie more at 10 when he is on song ,and i like raain at 15 more than ludick just of his kicking boot and he has been playing well at 15 don’t know what old plum is going to do when all of them are back from injury so many players to pick from. I don’t even know where to start

  • Comment 22, posted at 28.05.13 13:25:54 by sharks4eve2013 Reply

    sharks4eve2013
     
  • @David12246 (Comment 21) : But then i’ll play him at 13 with tim at 12

  • Comment 23, posted at 28.05.13 13:30:28 by sharks4eve2013 Reply

    sharks4eve2013
     
  • Steyn should slim down some more, get a bit more pace, start stepping like he did and he can play 12, 13 or 15 only thing is he must play and get set in that position and not be shifted to where the coach needs him to play for the week!!!!!!!

  • Comment 24, posted at 28.05.13 13:42:16 by JD Reply
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    JD
     
  • @sharks4eve2013 (Comment 23) : That’s what I would do too.

  • Comment 25, posted at 28.05.13 14:08:18 by David12246 Reply

    Apollo
     
  • @Big Fish (Comment 18) : Thats one kind of interesting I dont want to see.

  • Comment 26, posted at 28.05.13 14:11:36 by Salmonoid Reply
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