The completely unofficial Sharksworld tour group prediction (patent pending)

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 23 Apr 2014 at 09:15
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The Cell C Sharks have told us that they’ll announce their preliminary tour squad at noon tomorrow; that’s the group of 27 names that coach Jake White would ideally like to take on tour with him, but could obviously be revised should there be any injuries during Friday night’s game against the Highlanders.

I thought it might be fun – and perhaps even a little instructive – to try to predict the composition of the tour group ahead of time. It’s going to be difficult to get right for two reasons, the first being that there are a lot of players under an injury cloud who will hopefully be fit to tour, but over whose availability there is little certainty at present. The second reason is that with a large squad of players, White and his fellow coaches are going to have to make some tough choices, particularly among the loose forwards and inside backs.

Let’s start with the absolute tour certainties – here are the players that are both fit and assured of selection to the group of 27.

Beast Mtawarira, Dale Chadwick, Bismarck du Plessis, Kyle Cooper, Jannie du Plessis, Lourens Adriaanse, Willem Alberts, Stephan Lewies, Etienne Oosthuizen, Marcell Coetzee, Jean Deysel, Keegan Daniel, Ryan Kankowski, Charl McLeod, Frans Steyn, S’bura Sithole, Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, SP Marais

That’s 19 players, 13 forwards and 6 backs. I’ve included Oosthuizen because he’s one of only two specialist locks currently in the match day squad and as such must surely be down to tour. Likewise, it’s very hard to see Keegan Daniel going from being in the starting lineup one week to missing out on a tour spot the next. That leaves 8 places to fill.

It’s probably easier to fill in the forward “blanks”. Another hooker and another prop will have to go, simply because a late injury will prevent a full complement from being available for match day otherwise. Monde Hadebe is thus a certainty, while Thomas du Toit is probably more likely to get the fifth prop spot than Wiehahn Herbst is. My feeling is that White will want to take one spare utility forward as well. I don’t think Jacques Botes is in the picture, meaning a toss up between Peet Marais and Tera Mtembu for the final spot. I feel White would pick Mtembu if he were fit, but since his hammy is touch and go (and we arguably need locks more than we need loose forwards) the smart money should be on Marais getting the seat.

That leaves us with 5 spots to fill in the backline (and plenty of choices). Cobus Reinach and JP Pietersen will face late fitness tests and will both be included if they make it. Likewise, it’s a pretty safe bet that Fred Zeilinga will get a spot if fit, with his ability to stand in as third scrumhalf in a real crisis making him extra useful. That leaves just two places and a lot of names clamouring for inclusion, with Tim Swiel, Paul Jordaan, Heimar Williams and Jaco van Tonder the contenders.

Given the concerns around both Zeilinga and Steyn, it’s inconceivable that Swiel would not tour, likewise Paul Jordaan is the man who seems a shoe-in for the last spot, meaning the unlucky Williams and van Tonder will probably not be on the plane.

There is so much doubt, though, given the current (and future) injury situation that it would take a brave man indeed to bet against anyone mentioned above getting to spend at least some time with the tour group over the course of the next month.

Here’s my group of 27, then. Let’s see how close I get.

Beast Mtawarira, Dale Chadwick, Thomas du Toit, Bismarck du Plessis, Kyle Cooper, Monde Hadebe, Jannie du Plessis, Lourens Adriaanse, Willem Alberts, Stephan Lewies, Etienne Oosthuizen, Peet Marais, Marcell Coetzee, Jean Deysel, Keegan Daniel, Ryan Kankowski, Charl McLeod, Cobus Reinach, Fred Zeilinga, Tim Swiel, Frans Steyn, Paul Jordaan, S’bura Sithole, Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, JP Pietersen, SP Marais


  • That’s a decent squad. Just hope all the mentioned injured players are fit enough to tour.

  • Comment 1, posted at 23.04.14 09:35:45 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • my heart breaks for Heimar Williams… feel he really deserves a spot. Also, we’re very thin on cover at 12 if he doesn’t go…. but where to squeeze him in?

  • Comment 2, posted at 23.04.14 09:41:11 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 2) : I can only see it happening if we leave out Daniel, du Toit or Peet Marais.

  • Comment 3, posted at 23.04.14 09:43:33 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 3) : can’t leave out Daniel. That would leave us without a full complement of loosies for the match 23 (unless Vic moves back to flank, which looks unlikely given Jake’s selections to date).

    Can’t leave out du Toit (or Herbst or AN Other prop). If you can’t put 4 fit props into your match 23, you risk forfeiting the fixture. What happens if a prop pulls up lame during captain’s practice or the warmup before the game?

    That leaves Marais. Jake hasn’t shown much interest in picking him to date, so would perhaps be strange if he got a look in now. Just seem strange, though, to consider touring with no spare forwards outside the front row.

  • Comment 4, posted at 23.04.14 09:51:29 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 4) : You’re right, didn’t do my math regarding Daniel and du Toit. Doesn’t seem as though the Sharks are trying to recruit a spare lock any longer so Peet Marais will have to be given a look in at some point.

  • Comment 5, posted at 23.04.14 10:10:03 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • How do they get to this magical figure of 27?

    Why not be able to take 30 players across at once and not having to go backwards and forwards once players get injured.

    Seems like such a waste of time limiting the original group..

  • Comment 6, posted at 23.04.14 10:18:44 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 6) : time perhaps, but not money πŸ™‚

  • Comment 7, posted at 23.04.14 10:33:06 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 6) : for what it’s worth, though, I agree with you. 27 is a ridiculously small number for a tour of 4 weeks, especially since the Aussies and New Zealanders get to bring the same number over here for their 2-week mini breaks.

    But those are SANZAR rules.

  • Comment 8, posted at 23.04.14 10:33:53 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Phew talking about a jigsaw puzzle

  • Comment 9, posted at 23.04.14 10:37:39 by DaveB Reply

  • Agree with your predictions Rob, and would also feel for Heimar and Van Tonder, as they have already contributed towards the where the Sharks are sitting.

    I suppose the late calls on whos fit enough or not, will be the ultimate decider.

  • Comment 10, posted at 23.04.14 10:41:20 by stevovo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @robdylan (Comment 4) : so you went for an extra loose forward (Daniel) and I went for the extra scrum half (Ungerer), other than that we picked the same 27. Must say with Cobus and Fred 50/50 injury calls I do think he might go with the extra back, or at least I would. so to take Daniel you need to leave a lock and that could only be Peet.

  • Comment 11, posted at 23.04.14 10:44:46 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • How is Keegan’s coaching credentials?

  • Comment 12, posted at 23.04.14 10:45:50 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 12) : I don’t see him and Jake working together in that capacity πŸ™‚

  • Comment 13, posted at 23.04.14 13:26:44 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • The 27 I would take, so lets hope Jake thinks the same:

    SP Marais, JP, Mvovo, Sithole, Jordaan, Esterhuizen, Williams, Frans, Swiel, McLeod, Reinach

    Beast, Jannie, du Toit, Chadwick, Adriaanse, Bismark, Cooper, Oosthuizen, Marais, Lewies, Coetzee, Daniel, Alberts, Deysel, Kankan, Mtembu

  • Comment 14, posted at 23.04.14 22:15:23 by Saffex Reply


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    Come on, Robster… πŸ˜•

  • Comment 15, posted at 25.04.14 09:03:46 by klempie Reply


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