White’s best for Lions

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 31 Jan 2014 at 11:14
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Jake White hasn’t revealed all that much regarding his thinking for next Friday’s game against the Lions in Johannesburg, but has dropped some strong hints that he’ll want to give his best available combination a good run, without necessarily discarding the young players on whom he knows he will need to call at some point during the season.

Reading between the lines, it probably means that most of the same players that featured at Allianz Park will get a run, although those few “big guns” that were forced to sit out due to niggles and other commitments will surely also come back into the fold. As the game will not be quite as strictly “official” as the Saracens fixture was, it’s hoped that White will be able to use more than just 23 players and perhaps give some completely new combinations a run in the second half.

The tight five is unlikely to differ from last weekend’s combination, with fit-again Anton Bresler possibly in line for a second-half cameo at best, since White is unlikely to pick him above Etienne Oosthuizen at this stage. Marcell Coetzee and Ryan Kankowski (who arrives back in Durban on Monday) will probably bolster the starting back row and with Willem Alberts, Jean Deysel and Jacques Botes also very much in the picture, it remains to be seen whether White will be able to find room for Keegan Daniel and Tera Mtembu in the squad he takes up to Johannesburg.

One man who we know will not be there is reserve hooker Kyle Cooper, since he’ll be on honeymoon. Monde Hadebe was a late addition to the London tour squad, but didn’t get onto the park, so will enjoy the opportunity of a hit out against the Lions. He’s a player who appears to have bulked up a fair bit during the last year or so, so it will be interesting to see what he can bring to the party.

Pat Lambie and Frans Steyn should both be in action too, with Charl McLeod presumably set to start as well. Reuniting his first-choice attacking axis ahead of the Bulls game will, I’m sure, be a priority for White and the chances that their understudies will get much time on the park against the Lions will probably depend on how quickly those key men gel. Paul Jordaan and Tyler Fisher will probably reprise their roles at 13 and 15 respectively, while it remains to be seen what White’s thinking is at wing, where Lwazi Mvovo’s concussion may keep him out of action. S’bura Sithole is the man one fancies would most likely come into the equation.

Again, much depends on how big the bench is for this clash, but one fancies that Dale Chadwick, Hadebe, Bresler, Lourens Adriaanse, Cobus Reinach and Andre Esterhuizen, at least, can be sure of their places on it. Trying to shoehorn the supporting “cast of thousands” into the few remaining places will be a tough ask indeed.


  • Does anybody know if Esterhuizen can play 13? He reminds me a bit of Yannick Jauzion and I’d love to see him and Steyn combine together in midfield. That would be quite a devastating partnership!!

  • Comment 1, posted at 31.01.14 11:26:57 by ChrisS Reply
  • When will JPP be back?

  • Comment 2, posted at 31.01.14 11:30:35 by KingsArmy Reply

  • @ChrisS (Comment 1) : feedback I’ve heard is that Esterhuizen is considered not quick enough for 13.

  • Comment 3, posted at 31.01.14 11:44:14 by robdylan Reply
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  • So Pat to start, Zeilinga to bench and Swiel/Fisher 15? Chances?

  • Comment 4, posted at 31.01.14 11:44:33 by SheldonK Reply

  • @KingsArmy (Comment 2) : I’m not sure, but it sounds like probably not in time for the Bulls match

  • Comment 5, posted at 31.01.14 11:44:36 by robdylan Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 4) : I really don’t know

  • Comment 6, posted at 31.01.14 11:45:07 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 6) : Thats probably a good thing Rob – you were seeming all too knowledgeable for the start of a year! haha It is quite interesting that most of the SA super rugby sides can really mix and match when it comes to selection- depth is being created, well except at the Cheetahs

  • Comment 7, posted at 31.01.14 11:49:12 by SheldonK Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : That’s a pity. I hope that they rotate him with Steyn then at 12. Steyn must be protected for the Bok cause and I’d love to see Esterhuizen get a fair shot at earning Bok honours. He appears to have the potential to play at a higher level but time will tell.

    Likewise, I hope that we rotate all of our players, especially Alberts and Deysel. Their style of play means that they need more rest than other players. Maybe 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off would work…

  • Comment 8, posted at 31.01.14 11:51:00 by ChrisS Reply
  • @ChrisS (Comment 8) : Esterhuizen is just freshly 20…. I’m happy if he gets a gentle introduction to Super Rugby and then gets the jersey full time in Currie Cup

  • Comment 9, posted at 31.01.14 11:55:07 by robdylan Reply
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  • Bressler has not played rugby in a year. He should play a game or two Vodacom Cup and then play. Peet will probably be given a chance or is he out of contention ?

  • Comment 10, posted at 31.01.14 11:56:54 by Observer Reply

  • @ChrisS (Comment 8) : White seems to be a huge fan of both Deysel and Alberts, so don’t know how he can avoid rotating them. He’s definitely going to pick Kankowski and will, I’m sure, include Tera and Marcell in his thinking too.

  • Comment 11, posted at 31.01.14 11:57:01 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : How about Heimar?

  • Comment 12, posted at 31.01.14 11:57:33 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Observer (Comment 10) : I agree that Anton probably isn’t ready for Super Rugby just yet, but given how late Vodacom starts, it would be a wasted opportunity not to at least give him a run next weekend.

  • Comment 13, posted at 31.01.14 11:58:08 by robdylan Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 12) : again, has never been considered a speed merchant…. don’t read too much into the fact that he ended up at wing over the weekend.

  • Comment 14, posted at 31.01.14 11:58:51 by robdylan Reply
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  • Given the names that have not made the S15. The Vodacom Cup side must be awesome. Any news or info Sir. This might be the first Cup we win this year !

  • Comment 15, posted at 31.01.14 12:04:06 by Observer Reply

  • WTF I have two stars !

  • Comment 16, posted at 31.01.14 12:04:45 by Observer Reply

  • There is so much depth coming through it is crazy, we could even loan players out to the cheetahs if need be

  • Comment 17, posted at 31.01.14 12:13:31 by Dunx Reply

  • @Dunx (Comment 17) : You mean send them home? haha

  • Comment 18, posted at 31.01.14 12:15:19 by SheldonK Reply

  • So many choices. I hope nobody leaves!

  • Comment 19, posted at 31.01.14 12:16:17 by [email protected] Reply

  • So many choices. Exciting!

  • Comment 20, posted at 31.01.14 12:17:34 by [email protected] Reply

  • Looks like we might have 3 Westville boys on the field against the Lions at some point. 🙂

  • Comment 21, posted at 31.01.14 12:21:39 by gregkaos Reply
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  • The European agents are scouting. We are bound to loose most senior players that is totally out the mix. That is life !

  • Comment 22, posted at 31.01.14 12:26:00 by Observer Reply

  • @Observer (Comment 16) : well done

  • Comment 23, posted at 31.01.14 12:34:21 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 14) : It’s just that we may possibly have three quality options at 12 at the moment (heck, four if you count Tim). Would be a shame to have them on the bench while we struggle to find decent depth at 13. I’m not a fan of using JPP there when he one of the best wingers in the world. A little speed may need to be sacrificed.

  • Comment 24, posted at 31.01.14 12:42:15 by vanmartin Reply
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  • Hey Shrien – papa wag vir jou…

  • Comment 25, posted at 31.01.14 12:58:19 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @SheldonK (Comment 7) : In what positions do you see the Cheetahs lacking depth?
    Perceptions are different, I don’t see many depth issues.
    LH: Nyakane, Caylib Oosthuizen, van Dyk
    Hkr: Strauss, Barnes, Liebenberg, Bezuidenhout
    Locks: Lood, Uys, Landman, Ferreira
    Flanks: Brüssow, Cook, Lappies, Prinsloo, vd Walt
    SH Venter, Sarel, Tiaan Meyer
    FH Goosen, Watts, Smit
    Centre: Venter, Sadie, Mnisi, Lindeque
    Wings: Hendricks, Rhule, Benjamin,
    FB: Le Roux, Daniller.

    All theses players bar Hendricks and Mnisi have S15 experience, and Hendricks is a 7’s veteran.

    Sharks have lots of talent, but a few guys are having their 11st S15 season proper. Zeilinga, Esterhuizen, Fisher,and Sithole. Odwa is way too old, so your wing options are limited should Mvovo or JPP go down. Centre combinations untested, with more 12’s than 13’s.
    Also thin at lock if PSDT goes down. Marco Wentzel really??

  • Comment 26, posted at 31.01.14 13:03:20 by KingCheetah Reply

  • @KingCheetah (Comment 26) : Put the sharks options on paper next to the cheetahs options and you see the difference. The Cheetahs problem is quality depth. If they lose a few key players they are in trouble. Front 5 is thin. Goosen hasnt played more than 3 games in a row in years.

  • Comment 27, posted at 31.01.14 13:31:02 by SheldonK Reply

  • @KingCheetah (Comment 26) : Thats like saying the Kings have depth and naming a whole bunch of random club players 😆

    Cheetahs are looking better in this regard than other seasons though…

  • Comment 28, posted at 31.01.14 14:30:50 by Talent Reply
  • Omit Keegan at your own peril. Keegan has to be there, he’s a game changer.

  • Comment 29, posted at 31.01.14 15:07:46 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • Kings 12-19 Lions
    Blue Bulls 24-26 Golden Lions (Vodacom Cup/2nd teams)

    Some work to be done before SR kicks off. Friday’s practice match against the Sharks is going to be tough

  • Comment 30, posted at 02.02.14 07:02:38 by Baylion Reply

  • Only 2 weeks to go!!!!!!!!! GO SHARKS!!!!!!!

  • Comment 31, posted at 02.02.14 20:58:59 by JD Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 24) : There is also the option of Fisher at 13.

  • Comment 32, posted at 02.02.14 22:48:57 by markp Reply

  • Question: this esterhuisen, is it the same esterhuisen that was drop from the Pumas craven week team because of racial slurs??……

  • Comment 33, posted at 03.02.14 09:14:46 by KingsArmy Reply

  • @KingsArmy (Comment 33) : there was an incident, but that’s in the past and as you well know, we do not discuss such matters here.

  • Comment 34, posted at 03.02.14 10:04:48 by robdylan Reply
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  • @markp (Comment 32) : All indications to date seem to point to White considering as a fullback instead.

  • Comment 35, posted at 03.02.14 10:05:22 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Dunx (Comment 17) : Which players could you loan us, that would be better than the ones we already have? Note it would obviously not be any of your 1st 23.

    Cheetahs have a pretty strong team themselves. Don’t be to deluded by big names.

    I am really interested to see you think will improve our team?

  • Comment 36, posted at 03.02.14 10:22:17 by KingCheetah Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 27) : The problem is, and the Sharks supporters should realise this by now, is that rugby is a) not played on paper, and b) the sum of the parts are more effective than the parts themselves.

    Beast vs Coenie – Not much difference bar experience. Both have their strong points.
    Strauss vs Bissie – Again not much to choose. bissie more robust, Strauss more accurate.
    Nyakane vs Jannie – Jannie edges it, but is getting along in years. Nyakane still a pup.
    Uys vs Oosthuizen – Uys has the experience but I won’t make a call yet
    Lood vs Steph du Toit – Both fine prospects
    Cook vs Deysel – Cook is playing well and so is Deysel
    Lappies vs Alberts – Alberts is the ok incumbent all power, Lappies hard grafter and has better hands
    vd Walt vs Kanko – even stebven vd Walt is a very under rated player
    Sarel vs Mc Leod – Both have their strengths
    Goosen vs Lambie – A fit Goosen is dynamite, Lambie more consistent. Goosen fits in well with Cheetahs game plan
    Rhule vs Odd One – Noo contest Odd one is the Terblanche of Sharks rugby
    Venter vs Steyn – Steyn on form, but he hasn’t been for yonks
    Sadie vs Jordaan – Sadie anyday
    Cornak Hendricks vs Mvov – Hendricks a S15 rookie, but he is going to be a handful. at the moment Mvovo
    Willie vs Fisher/van Tonder/Swiel – only one winner here!

    Barnes vs Cooper – I like Cooper, but Barnes is very solid too
    Maks v Dyk vsAdriaanse- Adriaanse
    Oosthuizen vs Chadwick – equally average
    Landman vs Bresler/Marais – Evens
    Prinsloo vs Botes/Mthembu – Evens
    Shaun Venter vs Reinach – Reinach of 2012, but he hasn’t shown that form yet
    Watts vs Zeilanga/Swiel – Sharks boys, but Watts is a wily competitor that plays well in our setup
    Smit/Lindeque/Daniller vs ?? Open season.

    So it comes down to combinations and form on the day. Sharks have the better squad no doubt, but so did they last year, by some margin, and we all know how that ended.

    We don’t have as many stars, but somehow Naka gets the best out of them. Our squad is a tad better than last year. Greater depth in the backline with Hendrick, Mnisi, Lindeque and Francois Venter.

    Jean Cook has slotted in well which gives a loose trio that was good last year a better balance, and with Brüssow due back by the end of our overseas leg it might get even better.

    So we will see how it goes. In summary none of your 2nd stringers are so much better than ours, for us to want them.

  • Comment 37, posted at 03.02.14 10:40:16 by KingCheetah Reply

  • @Talent (Comment 28) : Well aren’t you going to look silly when this list of club players exceed expectations?

  • Comment 38, posted at 03.02.14 10:41:35 by KingCheetah Reply

  • @KingCheetah (Comment 38) : this really is a bit of a pointless exercise, but you seem to be enjoying it, so do carry on 🙂

  • Comment 39, posted at 03.02.14 10:43:48 by robdylan Reply
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  • Isn’t that quite the purpose of your blog Rob? Or would you prefer no posts??

    A bit of healthy banter between opposing supporters is fun no?

  • Comment 40, posted at 03.02.14 11:47:51 by KingCheetah Reply

  • @KingCheetah (Comment 40) : as I said, your enjoyment is my primary concern 🙂

  • Comment 41, posted at 03.02.14 11:51:13 by robdylan Reply
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  • @KingCheetah (Comment 40) : the bit that makes it pointless is that you and Talent (as equally rabid fans on different sides of a very high fence) are unlikely to make much progress towards consensus 🙂

  • Comment 42, posted at 03.02.14 11:52:10 by robdylan Reply
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  • I would love to say something, but I won’t…

  • Comment 43, posted at 03.02.14 12:16:56 by KingsArmy Reply

  • Both my teams have taken some hits……and the season is only starting…..yip! Its going to be a long one.

  • Comment 44, posted at 03.02.14 12:18:59 by KingsArmy Reply


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