Whitehead back, as Zeilinga steers the ship in Currie Cup warm-up

Written by Maria Delport (Letgo)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 3 Aug 2013 at 10:13
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , ,

The Sharks had their first warm-up match for the Currie Cup under the new coaching staff on Friday Night at GROWTHPOINT Kings Park, as with most warm-up matches it’s difficult to take away too much from what happened on the field on the night.

The Sharks played an open free flowing game against the spirited defence of a combined club side. As always, Keegan Daniel was full of running and on the night looked like he might just be getting that spark back that he seemed to be lacking all season – a good sign if it is indeed so. As predicted, Odwa Ndungane started the night at fullback and looked in pretty good form himself, with Louis Ludik covering that pretty vacant outside centre position for the Sharks. The only other player making an appearance in that position on the night was Marius Joubert and he limped off before the game ended. Rovers center Sergio Torrens filled in for Joubert in the final 20 minutes, assumingly to avoid unnecessary injuries to key players.

Speaking of season ending injuries, it was great to see Tim Whitehead back at his post. Finally it looks like that hand of his has healed. One couldn’t really tell what form he was in yet, with the ball being thrown around and the quality of the opposition, but knowing what he’s capable of it’s sure good to have him back.

Dale Chadwick was also back at his post after his long injury layoff, looking a bit rusty himself. He completed the front row with Cooper and Herbst. The second row saw a new partnership for the Sharks, with Edwin Hewitt and Marco Wentzel starting the game together. Hewitt was given a good 50 or 60 minutes before Peet Marias came on, who made an impact as soon as he did, carrying strongly and getting around the park. I was however impressed with the little I saw of Wentzel on the night, but better yet was seeing the veteran chatting with Marais after the game, giving him a few pointers and just as John Smit hoped, the experienced lock seemed to be stepping into a mentoring role comfortably.

A few more young players got a good run on the night, most of all Fred Zeilinga who seemed to be running the show on the field from start to finish. Zeilinga looked confident and strong in his distribution and ran the ball flat and close to the contact, opening up spaces for his backline. The young flyhalf will certainly have a big season, as there was a clear lack of cover for him, although Robert du Preeze, the promising Junior Bok flyhalf was looking on from the reserves, he never made an appearance onto the field and suspended flyhalf Butch James was nowhere to be seen. Pat Lambie with the rest of his Sprinbok teammates was sitting in the stands looking on.

Brynard Stander was another young player who was used extensively, as was Tera Mtembu and Sean Robinson seems to be favoured as the player who will take over from JP Pieterson in the backline, as he never left the field once he came on in the 20th minute.

The second half of the game saw some changes with Cobus Reinach, Heimar Williams and Jaco van Tonder getting a shot and almost the entire pack changing with Mtembu, Justin Downey/ Francois Kleinhans and Botes combining in the backrow. Ryno Gerber, Danie Minnie, Craig Burden and Hadebe made up the front row. Hadebe looked good when he came on, as did returning hometown boy Justin Downey, who seemed to have picked up a few tricks away from home, making a few steals on the night. Cobus Reinach looked back to his old self and will surely be pushing McLeod for that starting spot, but the player who impressed the most in this half was young Jaco van Tonder, running great lines from fullback, at pace, creating two tries for Lwazi Mvovo, another player who looks in good form.

It must be said that having only one fully fit outside center, who until recently has only ever played fullback for the Sharks is a concern. If the Sharks don’t have a young player they feel they can back in this position, they need to pick up some cover for Ludik, who might be departing at the end of the year, leaving Paul Jordaan (and if not playing at inside center, Tim Whitehead), as the only clear options for this position.

John Smit and Brad Macleod-Henderson, kept a watchful eye on proceedings from the stands, and should be happy with their first warm-up in charge. Everything looks to be in place for the new team to start their Currie Cup season off on a good note…

Fingers crossed, injuries won’t spoil this party!

Sharks (76)
Tries: S’bura Sithole, Charl McLeod (2), Edwin Hewitt, Lwazi Mvovo (3), Craig Burden, Marius Joubert, Jaco van Tonder, Lubabalo Mtembu, Sergio Torrens
Cons: Fred Zeilinga (8)
KZN All Stars (0)


  • WE played a warmup game???? WTF!?!?!? Anyway well done ouens!

  • Comment 1, posted at 03.08.13 10:33:24 by R Hayward Reply
  • Very happy for Fred, I hope he takes his chance.

    I think it would be foolish for Louis Ludik to move at this time – with Zane Kirchner’s limitations finally being exposed by Willie Le Roux (a man with weaknesses himself), the Springbok fullback spot could be up for grabs, but not if he goes to France. Stormers fans think Taute is the future, but he’s nowhere near as consistent – on attack or defence – as our man, Louis.

  • Comment 2, posted at 03.08.13 11:42:21 by MerckZ Reply
  • I think Louis has to stay, he has a open shot at the Bok 15. I am very happy with Smit and Co buying fridge players from other unions like Graaff, makes business sense. The sharks had a way of rather buying 2 or 3 expensive has beens to cover a position there you can afford 6 or 8 youngsters and invest in their skills. In their defense, that is management off course, some players like Joubert was the stars of their Euro Sides and came back to fade to a salary…not the unions fault, but lookalike bad exit clauses on van Zyls side…Zeilinga looks like a player coming into his own. Lets hope he brings his mix to the game. Can’t wait for this currie up season. I think we will make semis but stop their. Next seasons super season we will see the fruits of Venters labor.

  • Comment 3, posted at 03.08.13 12:07:34 by BoerSeun Reply
  • @BoerSeun (Comment 3) : @MerckZ (Comment 2) : how will he paly 15 for the bokke if he can’t play 15 for his union?!?!?!?!?! 👿 Sharks need to wake up and play Ludik at 15!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment 4, posted at 03.08.13 18:49:25 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • Letgo thanx for taking the time and effort to write the piece.A mention of the opposition would have been nice tho 😉

  • Comment 5, posted at 05.08.13 08:09:06 by bobby 26 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
  • @bobby 26 (Comment 5) : Puppy play in this game? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 6, posted at 05.08.13 08:15:33 by Ludz Reply

  • @Ludz (Comment 6) : ja,only got 20 min,can’t do much with that,been a very difficult year so far,things just will not happen for him,but so is life,he needs to show a bit of fight and dig deep.

  • Comment 7, posted at 05.08.13 08:23:16 by bobby 26 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
  • @bobby 26 (Comment 7) : ya, but he’s still got a bit of time on his side, I’m sure it will happen for him

  • Comment 8, posted at 05.08.13 09:04:14 by Ludz Reply


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