Sharks Super Rugby 2014: The second row

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 17 Jan 2014 at 11:12
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

Let’s continue our informal look at the likely Sharks 2014 Super Rugby squad, moving on to the all-important second row.

We concluded yesterday that the Sharks boasts a front-row about as experienced as you could wish to have, with the first-choice outfit boasting three test half-centurions and a current total of 161 Bok caps between them. The lock situation probably couldn’t be more different, with youth – albeit youth with great potential – being the order of the day.

Jake White, perhaps controversially, has cut the two most experienced locks at his disposal, Edwin Hewitt and Marco Wentzel, from his Super Rugby squad (and presumably from his immediate plans) and looks set to move forward with an incredibly young contingent that boasts new Bok Pieter-Steph du Toit as the clear star. While it’s pretty clear that White will pick du Toit as a starter pretty much whenever given the opportunity, we still need to see whether he, like Bok coach Heyneke Meyer, sees the versatile player as a 5 rather than a 4. Like a number of others in the squad, du Toit is a lock who could quite easily fit either of the typical moulds and one feels that the Sharks coaches will have some work ahead of them in terms of figuring exactly who fits best where.

Assuming du Toit is to be the first-choice line-out man, then young Stephan Lewies, a player who continues to make great strides, looks set to be his understudy. As the tallest lock in the group, the former Eldoraignian is a natural number 5 due to his athleticism and like du Toit is a keen student of line-out play. While it’s undoubtedly risky entrusting such a key facet of the game to two such young players, the Sharks frankly don’t have too many other options and will no doubt reap great rewards in the future at the expense of – perhaps – a little pain now.

Of the other locks, Etienne Oosthuizen is perhaps the one who most naturally fits the number 4 role. At 120kg, the young man looks set to be the pack enforcer to whom White turns; after all, he would hardly have lured Oosthuizen back to SA from the Brumbies if he didn’t rate him highly. Anton Bresler, of course, is a player who brings huge value himself, with surprising athleticism for such a physical player. His ongoing injury problems have undoubtedly caused his star to wane a little, but as a player who bring huge intensity in everything that he does, coupled with his ability to cover both positions, you wouldn’t want to bet against Bresler forcing his way into the first-choice match 23 once he finally returns to the squad in earnest.

That leaves just Peet Marais, a player who came of age in last year’s Currie Cup, but perhaps not quite in the way we expected him too. Having played the bulk of his junior rugby in the number 5 shirt (often with brother Jandre beside him), Peet spend a lot more time in the number 4 jersey last year, with his high work-rate and strong defence turning him into one of the unsung heroes of the Sharks pack. He’s already suffered something of a setback under White, though, in being the unlucky lock to miss out on the Saracens trip, so much will depend on how well he absorbs this early blow and comes back stronger.

All-in-all, the Sharks are certainly not short of exciting young lock options. With a hugely experienced group of players around them, it should be very interesting to see how this young crop of tall timber progresses and hopefully flourishes under White’s tutelage in 2014.


  • there are always players that will be unhappy but hopefully they all buy into the management’s plan and direction for the union.

  • Comment 1, posted at 17.01.14 11:35:07 by Dunx Reply
  • Jake and his coaching staff will certainly develop and utilise the talent at their disposal.

    PSDT – great talent 4,5 or perhaps 7 in future. Probably settle as a 5 during he season. Marco deeply experienced always a good backup.Not as excited as you are about Lewies. Played a few CC games last year. He must step up and prove himself at this level. I cannot see him being able to play against the likes of Mattfield ?

    Bresler – most experienced lock at S15 level in our squad and able to play at 4 or 5, hopefully fully recovers. Peet no S15 experience but talented and similar to Bresler at 4 or 5.

    Etienne and Hewitt the only true 117 kg plus strong aggressive 4 locks. The way Jake likes them! We will wait and see the quality and abilities of Etienne in the next few weeks. Hewitt did well in the S15 last year and will surely get an opportunity at some point.

    In my view no worries about locks !

    Have the Sharks ever won the Vodacom Cup ? We are going to have a very good team!

  • Comment 2, posted at 17.01.14 12:13:32 by Observer Reply
  • @Observer (Comment 2) : never 🙁

  • Comment 3, posted at 17.01.14 12:34:34 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Not sure about ur other locks, but this season its all about psdt!

  • Comment 4, posted at 17.01.14 12:46:24 by KingsArmy Reply

  • I’m sure PSdT will take the line-out reins over the long-term; but don’t forget Ryan Kankowski has great ability organising the line-out and is a terrific option, which will hopefully help take the pressure off PSdT…

  • Comment 5, posted at 17.01.14 13:50:58 by MerckZ Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : we should have, then we lost against the valke Next rugby practice gues who was there as motivational speaker before our big derby?

  • Comment 6, posted at 17.01.14 14:54:55 by BR Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • Sharks have good depth at lock……its refreshing to see that they are all youngsters as well.

    Peet Marais should make it into the match 23, he is a great prospect.

    Its going to be a case of finding the ideal partner for PSDT

  • Comment 7, posted at 17.01.14 15:30:06 by Saffex Reply

  • @BR (Comment 6) : Jake White?

  • Comment 8, posted at 17.01.14 15:40:59 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 8) : no,no talking about just after that final. The falke captain nico luus , al he did was rubbing it in the sharks supporters faces and bragging about the fact that they won the sharks vc team while being underdogs I wanted to kots but it seemed it worked for the other guys and we won the game. Was white part of that vodacom team’s coaching staff?

  • Comment 9, posted at 18.01.14 00:27:15 by BR Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @BR (Comment 9) : I’m confused. You saying you played for the Sharks vodacom team?

  • Comment 10, posted at 18.01.14 01:01:16 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Puppy loving those s15 locks in vc, says you can throw the ball in flippen underhand and they will catch it , LoL

  • Comment 11, posted at 18.01.14 06:29:08 by bobby 26 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
  • @bobby 26 (Comment 11) : every cloud has a silver lining

  • Comment 12, posted at 18.01.14 10:26:05 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @bobby 26 (Comment 11) :really battling to get a clear picture of who all is in that squad at the moment

  • Comment 13, posted at 18.01.14 11:43:33 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 13) : lots of loose forwards and hookers, puppy and 2 of his hooker mates on their way out soon I hear.Backs very few, waiting for S15 to finalize their squad, only about 28 players in vodacom cup training squad at the moment, all should start falling into place this coming week but details very sketchy

  • Comment 14, posted at 18.01.14 22:14:06 by bobby 26 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
  • @bobby 26 (Comment 14) : I really wish more of them would rather go and play for Mitch at UKZN.

  • Comment 15, posted at 18.01.14 22:48:32 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 15) : rob yes, but in the past if a academy player went there all hell broke loose but with the arrival of JS I hope a more mature management style has arrived as well.

  • Comment 16, posted at 19.01.14 06:53:45 by bobby 26 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
  • @bobby 26 (Comment 16) : well they’ve got Koegelenberg and he’s definitely an a academy player

  • Comment 17, posted at 19.01.14 09:31:34 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @bobby 26 (Comment 14) : Forgive my ignorance, but who is Puppy?

  • Comment 18, posted at 19.01.14 11:58:10 by MerckZ Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 17) : well maybe Mitch had a problem at lock and approached the academy,but like i said,in the past the relationship between the UKZN and the academy was strained.If the two could work together that would be great and good for both.I do feel with Mitch and Butch at UKZN and John Smit at Sharks things could be on the mend.

  • Comment 19, posted at 20.01.14 06:39:47 by bobby 26 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : @BR (Comment 6) : Didnt we go through that campaign unbeaten only for SARU to bring in some stupid clause that if a VC team from a Super franchise was playing in the final against a team that was not a Super franchise team then the final would be played at the non Super franchise’s home ground. I think that game took place on a bitterly cold Friday night on some East Rand cabbage patch.

  • Comment 20, posted at 20.01.14 08:37:04 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 20) : yeah, that’s pretty much exactly what happened, except the match was on a Saturday afternoon. I remember because I was at a wedding.

  • Comment 21, posted at 20.01.14 11:03:51 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator

Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.