robdylan

Can you ever have too many loose forwards?


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 9 Jun 2015 at 12:27
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In the light of recent news regarding the signing of Philip van der Walt, the old question of acquisition versus youth development has again raised its head. Having just (somewhat) put the debate to bed after the Jacques Potgieter signing, it didn’t take long for the topic to flare up once more.

The backdrop to this tale sees a Sharks squad that has had to bid farewell to a number of experienced loose forward options over the last two seasons; Willem Alberts’ departure has been confirmed today and he joins the likes of Jacques Botes and Keegan Daniel in moving away from roles that they’ve held at the Sharks for some time. In an ideal world, we would have a complete list of who’s staying, who’s going and who is coming in all revealed at once, so we’d be able to discern the plan in its entirety. Reality dictates that we are instead forced to piece together the big picture bit by bit.

The point, though, is that it’s quite possible that Alberts isn’t the only loose forward whose departure will be confirmed once the 2015 Super Rugby season has run its course. Even if the likes of Marcell Coetzee and Ryan Kankowski do stick around (which we hope they will) we only need look at this season to remind ourselves just how attrition can affect a team, with the back row an area particularly hard hit. Remember the Kyle Cooper as flank debacle that played out on tour? That came about as the result of having Alberts, Renaldo Bothma, Tera Mtembu and Kankowski all injured at the same time, while Jean Deysel was suspended. While losing five top loose forwards all at once seems a nightmare situation, it is one that can all too easily happen and faced with a situation like that, I’m sure we can all agree that more depth is a good thing.

Of course, the inevitable discussion (made by those who enjoy taking pot shots) centres around the contracting of players like Bothma, Potgieter and van der Walt when the Sharks have a pair of bright young things in Jean-Luc du Preez and brother Daniel waiting to take the step up. I’m very much in two minds about the situation this causes, since I would hate for the development of these stars to be stifled in any way due to the decision to contract experienced players on a short term basis.

Potgieter, in this context, appears a stopgap, but one brought in to fill a very real need given Alberts’ departure. While he will obviously play a vital role when a player of his ilk is required at blindside flank, one must not forget that it’s his ability to cover 4-lock (like Alberts) that makes Potgieter such a valuable signing. His age counts against him, but in van der Walt and Bothma (who can hopefully be convinced to stay on post 2016) the Sharks have a pair of loose forwards in the right sort of age range who can add much needed depth and “ballast” to the squad. While we certainly don’t want to hold the twins back, neither do we want to create a situation where all of our hopes rest squarely on those young shoulders; after all, experience has shown that putting too heavy a workload on too young a body seldom delivers good long-term rewards.

I’m pretty confident that, during the upcoming Currie Cup season, the Sharks will be able to find enough opportunities to blood Daniel du Preez and his brother, while still getting good use out of Philip van der Walt. The loss of Tera Mtembu to yet another knee injury makes it all the more likely that all three players will need to play at some stage. Let’s let the twins get a good Currie Cup campaign under their belt before we start touting them as immediate must-picks at Super Rugby level.

Hell, if they’re as good as we think they are (and I genuinely believe they are) then there will be very little doubt about which players will get game time during next year’s Super Rugby season. Cream tends to rise to the top, after all, but young players also need to accept that there will always be competition for places and the best way to get picked is to prove yourself better than your opponents on the training field.


59 Comments

  • What i am interested in is what is happening at prop and our centres

  • Comment 1, posted at 09.06.15 12:34:03 by Dunx Reply
    Dunx
     
  • Nicely said, Currie Cup needs to be used to test out our youngsters and also a system of how we want to play

  • Comment 2, posted at 09.06.15 12:36:50 by Tintin Reply
    Tintin
     
  • @Dunx (Comment 1) : Number 4 lock is also a concern

  • Comment 3, posted at 09.06.15 12:37:44 by Tintin Reply
    Tintin
     
  • @Dunx (Comment 1) : Centres we have Esterhuizen, Heimar, S’bu, Jordaan.. Should be ok I think? Did I miss someone? Prop is definitely a problem though.

  • Comment 4, posted at 09.06.15 12:41:21 by Another Nick Reply
    Another Nick
     
  • @Tintin (Comment 2) : jokes for days, testing our youngsters

  • Comment 5, posted at 09.06.15 12:43:41 by windgatV1.1 Reply
     
  • This is probably where coaches need to start looking at utility forwards a guy who can cover flank eighth man and lock almost equally well. Yes the kyle Cooper experiment failed but what if you could make it a strategy to grow dual role hookers that wat you can have depth without over committing your reserve count. I could see a Craig burden being a hooker and excellent fetcher flank at the same time but this has to be trained into them from the start of their tenure.

  • Comment 6, posted at 09.06.15 12:44:08 by coolfusion Reply
    coolfusion
     
  • Would also be great if a hooker can cover prop but those will be hard to find.

  • Comment 7, posted at 09.06.15 13:16:04 by coolfusion Reply
    coolfusion
     
  • If you look at the last two super rugby years, we’ve been leading the pack in injuries. So let’s get some good cover across the board!

  • Comment 8, posted at 09.06.15 13:23:36 by Dragnipur Reply
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  • Well at least we don’t have to worry about scrummie for the next year. Michael Claasens leaving for SA in the next week to join sharks.

  • Comment 9, posted at 09.06.15 13:27:17 by coolfusion Reply

    coolfusion
     
  • I dont think we will see much of Bothma or Kanko in the near future – just reading between the lines.

  • Comment 10, posted at 09.06.15 13:33:57 by byron Reply

    byron
     
  • @byron (Comment 10) : Bothma is a loss he will become great. As for Kanko, we haven’t seen much of him anyways, better he free up the spot.

  • Comment 11, posted at 09.06.15 13:36:40 by coolfusion Reply

    coolfusion
     
  • Well written Rob. Competition is healthy. Ye sit requires the coach to pick the guy producing at practices etc but if good youngsters feel that they should be playing now that they are of age they can think again…but same goes for guys that have played at that level in the past…reputation counts very little on a rugby field. Our CC front row does raise some concern though as i do not believe we have strength in depth in that position…emphasis on strength in depth.

  • Comment 12, posted at 09.06.15 14:02:32 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonK
     
  • I just want to win SR… 😥 😥 😥

  • Comment 13, posted at 09.06.15 14:09:22 by SharksRTB Reply

    SharksRTB
     
  • @SharksRTB (Comment 13) : I’m afraid SR is nothing more than a “once good idea” come next year.

  • Comment 14, posted at 09.06.15 14:28:26 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @byron (Comment 10) : Bothma is definitely back with us for Super Rugby next season

  • Comment 15, posted at 09.06.15 14:32:40 by robdylan Reply
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  • @byron (Comment 10) : How many more times does it have to be said that Bothma has a two year SR contract with us?

  • Comment 16, posted at 09.06.15 14:41:23 by GreatSharksays Reply

     
  • How do we build continuity when one guy is here for SR but not cc and vice versa? Do we expect to ever bond as a unit with this kind of plan?

  • Comment 17, posted at 09.06.15 15:12:40 by coolfusion Reply

    coolfusion
     
  • @coolfusion (Comment 17) : RWC year. Guess it was better than nothing.

  • Comment 18, posted at 09.06.15 15:37:16 by GreatSharksays Reply

     
  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 18) : Ja but we should at least try negotiate the non bok SR players for the CC as well. Else every season will feel like rebuild in the past we had same cc players available for SR and vice versa. Don’t know if this new loan player setup will work for us.

  • Comment 19, posted at 09.06.15 15:51:33 by coolfusion Reply

    coolfusion
     
  • Is there any definitive news on PSDT and Marcell Coetsees contract extensions as yet?

  • Comment 20, posted at 09.06.15 16:07:03 by grant10 Reply

     
  • Anybody know if Sandile Kubeka is ready to step up as a centre in the Currie Cup? Always thought he looked pretty good at junior and u21 level, hoping he’ll progress to senior level with the Sharks.

  • Comment 21, posted at 09.06.15 16:28:04 by NielRoss Reply

    NielRoss
     
  • @NielRoss (Comment 21) : they seem to be looking to him as a 10…. if Inny Radebe plays seniors at any stage, I think Sandile will start at 10 for u21s

  • Comment 22, posted at 09.06.15 16:33:31 by robdylan Reply
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  • @grant10 (Comment 20) : no, not yet from our side. You think you’ve got them?

  • Comment 23, posted at 09.06.15 16:59:54 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 23) : I have to admit those 2 , along with Lambie, would be the Sharks I would love to see in Stormers colours……the other was my all time favourite Bismarck. No, i genuinely have no idea…..Stormers have a real need for a proper opensider and Marcell has become a good one….There is talk of Toulon sniffing around Etsebeth too, and whispers of Kolisi possibly heading off….so I am sure Smal will be looking. Right now we all keen to know more about our future coach as well….interesting times all round. I would try lure Deon Fourie back if I was Gert….

  • Comment 24, posted at 09.06.15 17:12:29 by grant10 Reply

     
  • Ek stem…good article…

  • Comment 25, posted at 09.06.15 20:19:44 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Dunx (Comment 1) : Especially at prop…

  • Comment 26, posted at 09.06.15 20:20:08 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Tintin (Comment 3) : I also reckn we need another lock!

  • Comment 27, posted at 09.06.15 20:20:53 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @coolfusion (Comment 9) : Reinach, Ungerer, Claasens…scrumhalf: Check…

  • Comment 28, posted at 09.06.15 20:22:35 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 27) : how about this guy?

    http://www.sarugby.net/playerprofile.aspx?id=37696&category=&leagueid=0

  • Comment 29, posted at 09.06.15 21:44:03 by robdylan Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 27) : @robdylan (Comment 29) : Is Giant going back to the Pumas for the Currie Cup?

  • Comment 30, posted at 10.06.15 02:30:20 by Ben Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 23) : Some interesting news….Plumtree favorite for Stormers Head Coach role, talk of Mitchell also, ewen Mc Kenzie also in the running, as is Dawie Theron. Johan Goosen apparently on way to join WP/ Stormers too

  • Comment 31, posted at 10.06.15 06:44:34 by grant10 Reply

     
  • @robdylan (Comment 23) : Johan Van Graan also a candidate as Head Coach

  • Comment 32, posted at 10.06.15 06:46:55 by grant10 Reply

     
  • @grant10 (Comment 32) : Heard van graan might get an offer at bulls to step into ludeke shoes if fl gets his promotion.

  • Comment 33, posted at 10.06.15 08:03:52 by coolfusion Reply

    coolfusion
     
  • @coolfusion (Comment 33) : I really hope Van Graan does not come to the Stormers….I am not sure it would be a right fit for the Union…..For me Mitchell and or Plumtree , also personally do not want Ewen Mc Kenzie.

  • Comment 34, posted at 10.06.15 08:18:01 by grant10 Reply

     
  • @grant10 (Comment 31) : Does PDivvies name ever come up as a possible Stormers coach?

  • Comment 35, posted at 10.06.15 09:14:46 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • One thing is for sure, I will need more than one bowl of popcorn if Plumtree gets the job.

  • Comment 36, posted at 10.06.15 09:30:35 by Uli Boelie Reply
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  • @grant10 (Comment 34) : Why would Plum leave the Canes?

  • Comment 37, posted at 10.06.15 09:30:57 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 37) :
    Maybe to be a Head Coach again?

  • Comment 38, posted at 10.06.15 09:33:38 by Uli Boelie Reply
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  • aaaah, silly season 🙂

  • Comment 39, posted at 10.06.15 09:36:07 by robdylan Reply
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  • Where you are on the log is a reflection of the calibre of your coaching staff. How are we meant to compete with other top unions with our current coaching situation?

  • Comment 40, posted at 10.06.15 09:44:28 by GreatSharksays Reply

     
  • @robdylan (Comment 39) : Also heard speculation on the radio that Meyer’s contract will not be extended with the Boks and that he may be heading back to the Bulls. Yup, it’s silly season.

  • Comment 41, posted at 10.06.15 09:46:00 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 37) : @robdylan (Comment 39) :

    Yup

    http://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/Super15/Plumtree-linked-to-Stormers-job-20150610

  • Comment 42, posted at 10.06.15 09:48:05 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 37) : Maybe to be close to me, or to convert me to be a Stormers supporter. 😈 Still wont happen

  • Comment 43, posted at 10.06.15 09:55:49 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 42) : sigh. If only this site were called ROOMERZWURLD I’d have a field day putting up all this crap 🙂

  • Comment 44, posted at 10.06.15 09:58:06 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 44) : You’d have a lot more hits too 😉

  • Comment 45, posted at 10.06.15 10:01:44 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 45) : my server is groaning as it is 🙂

  • Comment 46, posted at 10.06.15 10:05:57 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 44) : I’d kickstart that 😀

  • Comment 47, posted at 10.06.15 10:11:33 by Seth101 Reply
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    Nostraseth
     
  • @Seth101 (Comment 47) : yoh – and my integrity?

  • Comment 48, posted at 10.06.15 10:14:11 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 48) : Screw integrity, think of all those click bate headlines you could write 😈

  • Comment 49, posted at 10.06.15 10:16:03 by Seth101 Reply
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    Nostraseth
     
  • @Seth101 (Comment 49) : LOL. There’s a little Mark Keohane lurking inside every one of us.

    Ugh. I need a shower

  • Comment 50, posted at 10.06.15 10:19:57 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 50) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 51, posted at 10.06.15 10:21:54 by Seth101 Reply
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    Nostraseth
     
  • I heard a rumour that sharksworld will be changing it’s name to rumourzwurld any comment rob?

  • Comment 52, posted at 10.06.15 10:42:41 by coolfusion Reply

    coolfusion
     
  • @coolfusion (Comment 52) : no comment 🙂

  • Comment 53, posted at 10.06.15 11:41:27 by robdylan Reply
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  • So Marcell and Pieter – Steph are on the Stormers shopping list…

  • Comment 54, posted at 11.06.15 06:36:14 by Rvw Reply

    Rvw
     
  • @Rvw (Comment 54) : Oh yes…damn, I hope that doesn’t happen…ugh, now I need a shower!£

  • Comment 55, posted at 11.06.15 06:38:34 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 30) : I do believe so…

  • Comment 56, posted at 11.06.15 06:41:56 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 29) : Interesting…is he on his way?

  • Comment 57, posted at 11.06.15 06:43:25 by pastorshark Reply
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  • I was a bit sad when Plum was sent packing because of the long history he was with Natal going back to his playing days. I hope he never coaches another South African side. But that’s just me. I’m happy about the success he has achieved since leaving us and wish him well for whatever he does…

  • Comment 58, posted at 11.06.15 06:46:48 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 58) : I think he would be hasty to leave canes now. He achieved a lot in his first year second year is refinement third is building legacy. Kind of where Jake could have been if he stayed. We need to focus on getting and keeping a good coaching setup so we can rebuild legacy again.

  • Comment 59, posted at 11.06.15 07:52:22 by coolfusion Reply

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