Big step up for Franco

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 9 Apr 2015 at 08:00
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , ,

It’s kind of hard to believe, given that he started the season as reserve for the Vodacom Cup side, but former Baby Bok hooker Franco Marais finds himself making a first start for the Sharks at Super Rugby level against the Lions on Saturday.

As a young player who has never let himself (or his team) down when asked to make the step up, it’s only been a matter of time before bigger things beckoned for the Transvalia Hoërskool old boy, who starts in the middle of a completely new front row for the Sharks. Dale Chadwick and Lourens Adriaanse come in for Beast Mtawarira and Jannie du Plessis respectively, both of the latter rested this week in order to be available for the upcoming Bulls match – and the entire Sharks tour.

Marco Wentzel assumes the leadership, evoking memories of 90s cartoon show “Captain Planet” and he’ll pack down with Mouritz Botha in an unchanged second row. Renaldo Bothma starts at blindside flank in place of suspended Jean Deysel in the fourth change to the pack.

Fred Zeilinga takes over from Pat Lambie at flyhalf, with S’bura Sithole making a welcome return to the run-on side in the final backline change. Sithole starts at right wing, with Odwa Ndungane moving to fullback where he displaces SP Marais.

Willem Alberts and Etienne Oosthuizen are welcome additions to the replacements bench this week and will look to add impetus in the second half. Monde Hadebe also return to the squad, with Kyle Cooper dropping out of the match 23.

Sharks: 15 Odwa Ndungane, 14 S’bura Sithole, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Renaldo Bothma, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Marco Wentzel (captain), 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Subs: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Jack Wilson


  • Good changes! Where the hell is Heimar Williams? Really didn’t like our centers last week.

  • Comment 1, posted at 09.04.15 08:07:04 by Dragnipur Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Dragnipur
  • Good choice in Wentzel as captain. Interesting changes, but understand the reasons. I would like to see Cronje and Wilson get a proper run as well, to see how they go. Pity we can’t have S’bu at 13.. he is sometimes a bit quite for me when he is on the wing. JPP? What happened there? Injury?

  • Comment 2, posted at 09.04.15 08:07:35 by Another Nick Reply
    Another Nick
  • Earth!


    Captain Planet, He’s our hero


  • Comment 3, posted at 09.04.15 08:09:27 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Letgo
  • @Another Nick (Comment 2) : Oh and well done Franco! This guy is going to be massive in the future.

  • Comment 4, posted at 09.04.15 08:09:46 by Another Nick Reply
    Another Nick
  • @Letgo (Comment 3) : :mrgreen: 😆

  • Comment 5, posted at 09.04.15 08:10:08 by Another Nick Reply
    Another Nick
  • @Another Nick (Comment 2) :

    Just before the Crusaders game. No detail so far.

  • Comment 6, posted at 09.04.15 08:10:12 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Letgo
  • @Another Nick (Comment 4) :

    Yeah, I also like the look of him.

  • Comment 7, posted at 09.04.15 08:10:41 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Letgo
  • @Letgo (Comment 6) : Thanks, just thought that by now at least we would have a bit more info? Or is it a secret what keeps him out? @Letgo (Comment 7) : Definitely. Now we just need to get him a proper contract and lock him up with the Sharks for the next 5 years at least!

  • Comment 8, posted at 09.04.15 08:15:52 by Another Nick Reply
    Another Nick
  • Great stuff – no Prima Donna’s – other than a couple on the bench and also not too sure of the captaincy – having said that, I believe this bunch of guys will be able to play with heart – a little excitement has crept back into my spirit for this game – Sharks for a win on my SuperBru!

  • Comment 9, posted at 09.04.15 08:18:55 by Julesgr8ter Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • Surprising move in dropping SP. For me he was one of the only players that actually played well these last 2-3 games. Maybe they are just giving him a rest? Good move in dropping Cooper in my opinion, he seems to have gotten very complacent in his roll as number two hooker. This will hopefully motivate him to play to his potential again. Would have loved S’bura at 13 with Wilson at 14, but not too bad a back line.

  • Comment 10, posted at 09.04.15 08:19:10 by KingRiaan Reply
  • I certainly hope Franco is afforded a proper chance to nail down a starting berth; starting with two new props is not ideal.

    Psyched to see Sithole back in the team, but for the love of all that is sweet and pure, why at 14!?!?

  • Comment 11, posted at 09.04.15 08:21:51 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Culling Song
  • @KingRiaan (Comment 10) : Agree, SP was one of the few backs who actually dug in the last couple of matches. This leads me to believe they are genuinely just resting him, as we need him in top condition for our game next week.

  • Comment 12, posted at 09.04.15 08:23:43 by Another Nick Reply
    Another Nick
  • Interesting changes. I must admit it looks for a Vodacom Cup side than a Sharks side of late but the big names have failed to deliver so if the next in line want a real shot then this is the time to prove it. Would love to see Wilson given some time at 15. Think SP just given a rest having played the most minutes. Our props will come under serious scrutiny…and if they give away penalties we will be in for a long day

  • Comment 13, posted at 09.04.15 08:29:35 by SheldonK Reply
  • @Another Nick (Comment 12) : They did say it’s a rest week for him.

  • Comment 14, posted at 09.04.15 08:29:38 by Dragnipur Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Dragnipur
  • @SheldonK (Comment 13) :
    Agreed. Not sure why Sbura can’t get that 13 jersey and where JP is, but assuming that SP is indeed being rested, this is the best that we can cobble together. Even if it’s a bit short on proven match-winners.

  • Comment 15, posted at 09.04.15 08:36:09 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @KingRiaan (Comment 10) : I think it’s more Cooper’s lineout throwing than his motivation.

  • Comment 16, posted at 09.04.15 08:53:49 by money Reply
  • SP is being rested. He and Mvovo has played 8 games straigt. Mvovo going for his 9th and Odwa has been in since the second game. So all of our outside backs should be given a rest, but I suppose now it will be the bey only for them.

  • Comment 17, posted at 09.04.15 09:01:29 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Letgo
  • Great look to the tea. Very happy Cooper has been dropped as he definitely needs to get back to his old standards. Franco looked very at home when he came on Saturday. Hopefully second half Sithole at 13 and Wilson at 14. As long as we beat the Cows next week ill be happy.

  • Comment 18, posted at 09.04.15 09:03:58 by willemv10 Reply
  • Well this team doesn’t look bad at all. I would have moved Mvovo to 15 and start Wilson on the wing with Odwa and move S’bura to 13, but we can’t have it all I suppose lol.
    Glad to see Franco given a start and also nice to see Alberts and Oosthuizen on the bench. Goodluck Boys!!!

  • Comment 19, posted at 09.04.15 09:14:35 by RedSharkUtd82 Reply
  • It’s a Vodacom side indeed but at least they will play with heart and show some pride.

  • Comment 20, posted at 09.04.15 09:19:20 by GreatSharksays Reply
  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 20) :

    Let’s call it a Currie Cup side, including Reinach, Marcell, Bothma, Kanko and Willem on the bench, who we will not have for Currie Cup… so a little stronger even.

    Those guys would need to be replace by Hoffman/Ungerer/Wright, and the loosies would be Mtembu, Oosthuizen (probably), Daniel du Preeze/Johan Meyer, Kaya Majola.

    Lwazi may also not be available and would then be replaced my Jack Wilson and another to come onto the bench.

  • Comment 21, posted at 09.04.15 09:25:37 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Letgo
  • I don’t know how the people can call a team compiled of about 14 internationals and some age group international players as well as players that have been in the Springbok training groups a Vodacom Cup team?

  • Comment 22, posted at 09.04.15 09:25:55 by KingRiaan Reply
  • @RedSharkUtd82 (Comment 19) :

    Yeah, like that option.

  • Comment 23, posted at 09.04.15 09:26:37 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Letgo
  • Surely we have better cover than Matt Stevens? I dont care if the guy is 21 and gets scrummed in like hell its still better long term prospect than having Matt Stevens in a Sharks jumper.

  • Comment 24, posted at 09.04.15 09:31:36 by Uli Boelie Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Uli Boelie
  • my my . my high school representing . might just consider supporting the sharks this weekend …

  • Comment 25, posted at 09.04.15 09:31:40 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Zibbie
  • @Uli Boelie (Comment 24) : I’m starting to agree. Get Marne Coetzee into the setup now and send Matt back to karaoke.

  • Comment 26, posted at 09.04.15 09:32:36 by robdylan Reply
  • @KingRiaan (Comment 22) :

    It’s not at all, only one or two of these guys would play Vodacom Cup.

    Even calling it a Currie Cup team is pushing it.

    We are missing a number of quality players though

    JPP, Frans, Lambie (SP rested)
    Jean, Mtembu, PSDT, Lewies, Bismarck (Jannie,Beast rested).

    11 out, 3 suspended, 3 rested, 5 injured.

  • Comment 27, posted at 09.04.15 09:33:02 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Letgo
  • Hoffman…really?Still Hoffman?What does the coaching “unit” have against a proper 9?Ungerer and Wright miles better!
    To be completely honest I reckon Lions by 9…please prove me wrong??Congrats Franco,huge future ahead!Would have had S’bu at 13,Lions centres looking more dangerous with every game!
    Would be interesting to see what Lionel does in the 2nd half!
    Good luck Sharks!

  • Comment 28, posted at 09.04.15 09:33:39 by BarendL Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld BarendL
  • @BarendL (Comment 28) :

    nee man Barend ! Sharks met 30

  • Comment 29, posted at 09.04.15 09:38:37 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Zibbie
  • @robdylan (Comment 26) :

    It’s all good and well when these guys add to the team. I think Mouritz and Marco has been good for us (although I think I would prefer having one younger player mixed in with them to learn from them), but we have been carrying Matt for too long, why should we carry a player which we have no loyalties to and will be gone, hopefully, pretty soon.

    At this stage I’d prefer John Smit to pack down at 3 over Matt.

  • Comment 30, posted at 09.04.15 09:39:11 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Letgo
  • @Zibbie (Comment 29) : Ek hoop daai is reg,het letterlik nog NOOIT teen Sharks gekies vir Suberbru nie(al was dit duidelik dat ons sal verloor),maar dink ek kan dalk ‘n 6 jaar tradisie breek vir die ene 😯

  • Comment 31, posted at 09.04.15 09:42:40 by BarendL Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld BarendL
  • @BarendL (Comment 31) :

    haha . i never back the Lions on superbru . but might change it this weekend . Depending on Rob’s predictions

  • Comment 32, posted at 09.04.15 09:46:39 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Zibbie
  • Good on you, Franco! Have a blinder…

  • Comment 33, posted at 09.04.15 09:50:29 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld pastorshark
  • For some reason I’m pretty excited by this team. Maybe it’s the idea that some of the greener players will bring some hunger back into the side. The Lions are without a doubt favourites now (sorry Zibbie) but I’ll be shouting these boys on to break a few hearts at Ellis Park.

  • Comment 34, posted at 09.04.15 09:51:20 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld vanmartin
  • @pastorshark (Comment 33) : Despite my previous comment coming from the bottom of my heart…
    Am I the only one who is concerned with Franco being chucked in the deep end with two “weaker” props on either side of him. These were the guys who were absolutley crunched in the CC semi against the Lions last year…and they haven’t been much better this year. I hope to goodness that they prove me wrong, but it is the area I am most concerned about for Saturday. I hope the scrum gives a strong Performance.

  • Comment 35, posted at 09.04.15 09:52:49 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld pastorshark
  • As for the rest of the side…well, we’ll see. There are a lot of combinations that will have to Show a marked improvement on what we’ve seen from them this season so far, the exception being the loose trio…and perhaps the locks…

  • Comment 36, posted at 09.04.15 09:54:13 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld pastorshark
  • Despite all that: come on, men! Make us proud!!

  • Comment 37, posted at 09.04.15 09:54:40 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld pastorshark
  • @pastorshark (Comment 35) : The question is which setpiece is more important overall nowadays – scrums or lineouts?

  • Comment 38, posted at 09.04.15 09:59:06 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 38) : Fair enough…against the Bulls it was certainly the lineout, what with only three scrums in the game. Against the Stormers, though, it was certainly the scrums. So either way, it remains a concern for me.

  • Comment 39, posted at 09.04.15 10:02:15 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld pastorshark
  • @Zibbie (Comment 32) : I actually had them to beat the Bulls….but thats purely because I make picks with my heart….I never back the Bulls!haha

  • Comment 40, posted at 09.04.15 10:07:00 by BarendL Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld BarendL
  • @BarendL (Comment 40) : In the interests of my Superbru health, I think I will have to back the Bulls against the Reds this Weekend… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 41, posted at 09.04.15 10:08:37 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld pastorshark
  • @pastorshark (Comment 39) : With a weakened scrum the focus should be on getting the ball out quickly out of our scrums, and make sure we don’t concede penalties on theirs (and ours).

    It does make sense to rather rest Beast and Jannie for this game.

    The problem with a hooker throwing poorly in the lineout is that you can’t capitalize on penalties. We do all the hard work to get a turnover penalty, kick it out on their 22, and then just hand back the ball through a skew or overthrow.

  • Comment 42, posted at 09.04.15 10:09:11 by Bokhoring Reply
  • I don’t think the Sharks will win.

  • Comment 43, posted at 09.04.15 10:19:45 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Letgo
  • @robdylan (Comment 26) :
    Wow. That is really a sign of the times.

    @Zibbie (Comment 29) :
    Lions to win by 42: 52-10.

  • Comment 44, posted at 09.04.15 10:20:07 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 42) : Getting the ball out of the scrum quickly should always be the focus. Unless you have a monster scrum and are trying to go for the push over try. But these days with these idiotic refs treating the scrum as a lottery, it would be much better to just set a solid scrum and then channel the ball out to the scrummie as soon as possible. The less time the ball is in the scrum, the less chance there is for penalties against us.

  • Comment 45, posted at 09.04.15 10:22:42 by KingRiaan Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 38) : The thing is that if one scrum is very dominant then the weaker scrum will always be under pressure, even on their own put in, as you say a quick hook and clearance is essential. To me though the real problem comes when the dominant scrum has the put in because these days if they choose to keep the ball in the scrum while advancing they not only gain metres of space but the ref will invariable penalise the retreating scrum.

  • Comment 46, posted at 09.04.15 10:25:02 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Good luck Franco. Really hoped to see Sithole starting at 13. Makes no sense that he’s playing 13 in the Vodacom Cup, but he only gets selected at 14 in Super Rugby.

  • Comment 47, posted at 09.04.15 10:25:13 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Ben
  • Welcome back Etienne, Willem and Lionel.

  • Comment 48, posted at 09.04.15 10:27:30 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Ben
  • @Letgo (Comment 27) : You just put SP and quality in the same sentence? 🙄 😈

  • Comment 49, posted at 09.04.15 10:34:16 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Ben
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 46) : Although allowing a scrum to advance that much usually means your back 5 is not doing much work. Perhaps we should have started Giant to add a bit more scrumming power.

  • Comment 50, posted at 09.04.15 10:35:44 by Bokhoring Reply
  • Good luck Franco … its interesting that weve gone for a rather short front row

  • Comment 51, posted at 09.04.15 10:37:20 by byron Reply
  • @Big Fish (Comment 44) : do you disagree with me?

  • Comment 52, posted at 09.04.15 10:39:28 by robdylan Reply
  • Seriously conflicted by this game, although I’m fully a Sharks supporter, I have grown fonder and fonder over the last few years of the way Lions play their rugby. With last weeks fiasco and the Lions showing true grit, Im feeling a bit uncomfortable with this one.

  • Comment 53, posted at 09.04.15 10:47:09 by stevovo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld stevovo
  • @robdylan (Comment 52) :
    Absolutely not. Just surprised that you identified the garden implement that clearly.

  • Comment 54, posted at 09.04.15 10:47:32 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Ben (Comment 49) : Was about to say that maby SP just looks good because the rest are playing [email protected] 😈 @stevovo (Comment 53) : Exactly my feeling 😐

  • Comment 55, posted at 09.04.15 10:56:59 by Southern_Shark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Southern_Shark
  • Backline looks ok. JPP at wing and sithole at center would have made more sense to me. Or even without JP available maybe move Wilson to wing and Sithole to center.

  • Comment 56, posted at 09.04.15 10:59:05 by coolfusion Reply
  • @Ben (Comment 49) :

    I put his name in as an afterthought, thus the brackets. I was hoping that would exclude him enough that I would not have to add, not quality just rested.

    SP is a long way of being called quality, I’ve been putting him under the potential group for 3 years now… I feel like he’s at his best now and its not near what I thought he could potentially be.

  • Comment 57, posted at 09.04.15 11:07:06 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Letgo
  • @Big Fish (Comment 54) : look, I might act stupid….

  • Comment 58, posted at 09.04.15 11:14:25 by robdylan Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 58) :
    😆 😉

  • Comment 59, posted at 09.04.15 11:17:58 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 59) : actually, I was unduly harsh. Matt is a great singer. X-Factor is more his calling. He’s too good for karaoke.

  • Comment 60, posted at 09.04.15 11:22:05 by robdylan Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 42) : All fair comments…but, true as they may be, they don’t eliminate my concern… 😆

  • Comment 61, posted at 09.04.15 11:45:22 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld pastorshark
  • @Ben (Comment 47) : I agree with you…I would have loved to see him at 13 in this game…

  • Comment 62, posted at 09.04.15 11:47:16 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld pastorshark
  • Not the worst looking team!! I’m glad certain superstars have been dropped. If this front row fires then stick with it!!

    Only glaring weakness is in the centres – Williams should be a shoe in ahead of another slow stamp car player. I’d play Williams/Sithole and put Wilson in the wing!!!!

  • Comment 63, posted at 09.04.15 13:16:51 by pienaar111 Reply
  • Like this team,and am keen to see how the loose trio of Coetzee ,Bothma and Alberts functions later in the game,could be dynamite.

    Just would have like to see one of the younger 9’s given a chance,we have all seen what Hoffman has to offer and its not very impressive. Maybe its his positional kicking .

  • Comment 64, posted at 09.04.15 13:29:33 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld The hound
  • @Letgo (Comment 57) : You bracketed Jannie and Beast as well. Not quality players in your opinion then?

  • Comment 65, posted at 09.04.15 13:54:03 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Ben
  • @The hound (Comment 64) : Hoffman is a snocker,what is really a problem is why the coaches won’t back the two youngsters,for me it shows they don’t know what they doing,have no confidence in themselves,

  • Comment 66, posted at 09.04.15 14:40:48 by benji Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld

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