Sharks Super Rugby 2014: The loose forwards

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 20 Jan 2014 at 11:50
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , , ,

There can be few areas where the Sharks are quite as blessed – and some might even say overstocked – than the back row. Let’s have a look at how this crucial contingent might pan out for Jake White in Super Rugby 2014.

White has already wielded the axe to an extent, with some very good players, who have shown their worth at Currie Cup level, understood to be out of the Super Rugby reckoning at present. Justin Downey and Fracnois Kleinhans – along with a host of younger players – have already been released to the Vodacom Cup squad, while Brynard Stander, as we know, has opted to seek his fortune in Perth. When looking at what’s left, though, White must feel a little bit like he’s playing roulette over at Casino Midas, but with one big difference; so long as he bets on black, he’s sure to come up a winner every time.

Don’t expect the new coach to stray too far from the go-to men in the back row on whom former coach John Plumtree built his foundation. The likes of Willem Alberts and Marcell Coetzee are likely to remain first-choice options at flank, but in naming Jean Deysel as a vice captain, White had made it clear that the burly Virginia strongman is likely to play a crucial role too, although possibly in rotation with Alberts in the notoriously injury-prone blindside position. White’s penchant for big men in the number 6 shirt (and, in fact, every other shirt) should see Coetzee installed as a fixture on the open side.

Where White is likely to change the script, though, is at the back of the scrum. Ryan Kankowski looks set to again become the undisputed first pick at number 8, while it sounds as though Tera Mtembu‘s prodigious skills are to be recognised under this new administration as well. With the young Dalian alternating with Kankowski in the number 8 jersey, the only real question now revolves around two Plumtree stalwarts, Keegan Daniel and Jacques Botes. The latter, who we understand may transition into an off-field role in the not-too-distant future, will always prove a dependable option at 6 and will likely be the man to deputise for Coetzee.

For former captain Daniel, though, things are less clear-cut and it’s possible that his game-breaking abilities and versatility may see him used in the sort of super-sub role that made him famous as a young man. While it’s perhaps too early to read too much into White’s thinking, it does remain unlikely, however, that Daniel would be assured of a starting position in a full-strength Sharks line-up.


  • Very interesting indeed! Can’t wait!

  • Comment 1, posted at 20.01.14 11:58:13 by [email protected] Reply
  • what daniel lacks in physicality he more than makes up for with skill when he is on form. i hope jake doesn’t discard him

  • Comment 2, posted at 20.01.14 12:09:34 by Poisy Reply
  • Still think Daniel should be the starting 6.
    Coetzee for his massive heart, is still so limited in his skill set that having Alberts and him starting will be to the detriment of the Sharks as a whole.

  • Comment 3, posted at 20.01.14 12:12:19 by John Galt Reply

    John Galt
  • He’ll probably play Marcell at 8, just not sure how well he controls the ball at the back of the scrum? That’s one thing Mallet nailed Keegan on and White probably identified that as a problem area. We might see Deysel at 6 going forward. Not worried about Keegan cause I know he’s a fighter and the guys playing ahead of him will have to play their socks off to keep him out of the starting 15. I also see his role being that of a super sub and boy is he going to set the field alight. Not too sure about Kanko as he did come back underdone from his Japan stint. Hope he learnt his lesson though. Those of you that remember me being livid with Plum for dropping him, I was livid at the fact that Plum was making him am escape goat when alot of the guys were not playing well.

  • Comment 4, posted at 20.01.14 12:16:25 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • Out of all our options I don`t see lot of fetchers there.

    With no Kleinhans, only Botes really qualify . . .

    I know, I know, Jake thought a fetcher is someone who gets the beer, but he changed his mind with George Smith at the Brumbies last year didn`t he?

    Starting Marcel, Deysel and Kanko might be great for our running from rucks, but who`s gonna make sure they have any possession to run with?

  • Comment 5, posted at 20.01.14 12:23:16 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • Then again, Keegan could stay at 8 with Deysel covering 6 and 7. Don’t see how Marcel and Alberts could be kept out, unless the plan is to rotate the loose forwards depending on the opposition.

  • Comment 6, posted at 20.01.14 12:25:18 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • With Bissie in the team you don’t really need an out and out fetcher as he is our main ball thief

  • Comment 7, posted at 20.01.14 12:36:21 by KingRiaan Reply

  • @KingRiaan (Comment 7) : That`s true to a certain extend.

    Remember how Bossie turned out to be a great part time fetcher for us as well?
    Steyn has the bulk for something like that as well, but does he have the speed to get to the breakdown? :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 8, posted at 20.01.14 12:46:40 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 8) : Haha well at least he can easily clear the hobbits ut of a ruck and give Bissie time to steal the ball 😛

  • Comment 9, posted at 20.01.14 12:50:02 by KingRiaan Reply

  • All good and well speculating about who will play.

    My take – all those mentioned will have a go in the back row this season because of inevitable injuries.

  • Comment 10, posted at 20.01.14 13:22:41 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 10) : that’s kind of the point 🙂

  • Comment 11, posted at 20.01.14 13:26:54 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • The reason JW doesnt like an out and out fetcher is that a lot of those guys are walking penalties and JW doesnt like giving anything to the opposition cheaply. The loose trio combo will be interesting as there are lots of combinations and i think it will be determined depending on the opposition and the game the Sharks want to play that game etc.

  • Comment 12, posted at 20.01.14 13:48:04 by SheldonK Reply

  • Who wants to steal a ball on the ground when you can just stay on your feet, drive over the ball with our BIG forwards and get the same result.

  • Comment 13, posted at 20.01.14 14:02:35 by Bite me Reply

    Bite me
  • I’m not too unhappy with Keegan fulfilling the role of super-sub. He is one of those players who you can count on to come off the substitute’s bench in the 2nd half and make a huge impact. He did this a number of times last year with devastating effect.

    I’m really confident with this team and can’t wait for superrugby to finally start.

    But, to be honest, I remember thinking last year we also had an awesome squad that was capable of winning the competition. A few well placed injuries turned that dream to [email protected], let’s hope we don’t see a repeat.

  • Comment 14, posted at 20.01.14 14:22:41 by jonnow Reply

  • @Bite me (Comment 13) : That wud mean us copying the new zealanders. and why wud we want to copy them…they not THAT successful..haha

  • Comment 15, posted at 20.01.14 14:33:27 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Bite me (Comment 13) : Cause by the time that tactic is effective the defensive lines have had time to sort themselves out and there won`t be gaps for Jordaan, Mvovo et al to exploit?

  • Comment 16, posted at 20.01.14 16:03:23 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @SheldonK (Comment 12) : Funnily enough that is not how the Brumbies played, they went hard at the breakdown as White had worked out, statistically, that the teams that gave away the most breakdown penalties ended up winning the competition i.e. if you are going hard at the breakdown you will win some and lose some…
    There was an interesting article about it, on reading it i was struck how we played with the exact opposite mindset to that last year. Remember how our defense just fanned out continuously when we were all screaming for the counter-ruck, how frustrating was that 🙂

  • Comment 17, posted at 20.01.14 17:33:54 by neilster Reply

  • @neilster (Comment 17) : There is a fine balance to that. Attacking teams want the opposition to commit as many to the breakdown as possible in order for there to be space out wide. But yes there is def a case for those already committed to a ruck to challenge for the ball a lot harder than the Sharks have done in the past. Having said that we also dont want to be giving away a lot of penalties- the Sharks are probably one of the most penalised sides at the breakdown and scrum. The other point to consider is where about u give away penalties- anything in your own half is just silly as you then put unneccessary pressure on yourself.

  • Comment 18, posted at 21.01.14 08:45:24 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Original Pierre (Comment 16) : Debatable, rucking over a ball takes out more defenders especially around the fringes of the rucks. Referees are just too inconsistant when it comes to hands in the ruck and supporting your body weight. Best is likely to have the knowledge to know when to do what.

  • Comment 19, posted at 21.01.14 09:41:09 by Bite me Reply

    Bite me
  • As a Bull supporter the shark players that worry me have always been Alberts, Coetzee and Bismark……this year I’ll probably add Psdt. Not so much keegan and kanko, but kanko behind a very strong pack…..who knows!

  • Comment 20, posted at 21.01.14 12:13:27 by KingsArmy Reply

  • @KingsArmy (Comment 20) : that’s actually quite funny, because Keegan has ripped the Bulls a new one more times than I can count. He’s like their kryptonite, that oke, because they have no idea how to handle him.

  • Comment 21, posted at 21.01.14 12:15:57 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 21) : he isn’t just brawn and brute force. The Bulls come unstuck when it comes to a skilled thinking player 😆

  • Comment 22, posted at 21.01.14 12:50:21 by lostfish Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Competition Winner
  • @lostfish (Comment 22) : and the reaction of a self-confessed Bulls fan is the funniest part… they’re not even bright enough to figure out who to be most afraid of

  • Comment 23, posted at 21.01.14 13:08:35 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 23) : That would be funny if u had any trophies to back it up Rob.

  • Comment 24, posted at 21.01.14 13:31:58 by KingsArmy Reply

  • @lostfish (Comment 22) : I can think of three times they haven’t come unstuck….

  • Comment 25, posted at 21.01.14 13:36:36 by KingsArmy Reply


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