Massive challenge for Sharks as Pietersen goes down too

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 29 Jun 2016 at 09:29
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , ,

News that Joe Pietersen broke his collarbone during the recent World Club 10s tournament in Mauritius has thrown a massive curve ball straight at the head of Sharks coach Gary Gold as he aims to pick a competitive side to take on the Lions at Ellis Park in Super Rugby this weekend.

With Pat Lambie seriously doubtful (although, we believe, not completely ruled out) and Willie le Roux suspended, the Sharks are suddenly looking very thin indeed when it comes to option both in the number 10 jersey and also the last line of defence. Garth April can, of course, cover only one of those positions and it was expected that Pietersen would safeguard the other.

One of the wings – perhaps Odwa Ndungane, given Lwazi Mvovo’s rather unfortunate defensive performance at the same venue a fortnight ago – could, of course, start at 15, with Garth April to pull the strings at 10. The young April had some fine games in that jersey earlier in the year, but must surely be low on confidence after a poor performance for the SA “A” team in Bloemfontein saw him drop out of the national frame altogether.

While a makeshift starting backline could always be fashioned, thoughts would quickly turn to the bench, with the need for a capable flyhalf understudy in the number 21 jersey of paramount importance. Gary Gold will be forced to look at an untried player and will have to make a choice, I’d think, between steady Heimar Williams (a makeshift flyhalf at best with no real boot to speak of) and mercurial Curwin Bosch, who has the tactical nous to succeed but needs to answer questions about defensive readiness at this level. Inny-Christian Radebe is, we believe, still injured, while Tristan Tedder may well be ruing the decision to leave for France this week.

All in all, rather troubling times for the Sharks brains trust.


  • Eish with all of Lambie, LeRoux, Pieterson, Radebe and Tedder all not available i think there is not much choice other than Bosch on the bench as taking only 1 goal kicker is very risky. I expect Odwa to start at 15 with the bench comprising Ungerer, Bosch, Sithole/Williams. Assuming Mjekevu is back with the Kings too

  • Comment 1, posted at 29.06.16 09:38:49 by SheldonK Reply
  • Seems JPP (calf injury) is also doubtful

  • Comment 2, posted at 29.06.16 09:43:18 by Baylion Reply
  • well it seems like we almost have no option but to have Curwin at least on the bench.

    Honestly at this stage, against a team heavily expected to beat us, why not throw some caution to the wind. I think the only way to beat the Lions is with the boot and keeping it as tight as possible. our exits need to be not just accurate but long too.

  • Comment 3, posted at 29.06.16 09:45:24 by gregkaos Reply
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  • @gregkaos (Comment 3) : I would agree. Id say long contestable kicks are key but these days its very risky business contesting kicks so id rather say make sure we kick the ball out and make them play the lineouts etc and grind their way out their half. The Lions will want to play from their half so if we can defend well and turn them over then we can have a real go from half way and in their half.

  • Comment 4, posted at 29.06.16 09:58:42 by SheldonK Reply

  • We wont win with Odwa at the back.

  • Comment 5, posted at 29.06.16 10:01:44 by Uli Boelie Reply
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  • Reports that Willie may be out for 4-6 weeks anyway with a shoulder injury

  • Comment 6, posted at 29.06.16 10:05:09 by Uli Boelie Reply
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  • Peyper is the ref, so we won’t win regardless

  • Comment 7, posted at 29.06.16 10:08:05 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : If a player tackles the ref and he gets injured in the warm up does he get a red card and we have to play with 14?

  • Comment 8, posted at 29.06.16 10:15:28 by SheldonK Reply

  • I need to find a new form of entertainment…

    Athletics, Spartan races (can’t find any broadcasts of this), I’m no cycling fan, F1 has been diluted to absolute boredom, MotoGP (or SBK) had the same winner for the past 20 years – no contest there…

    Any ideas?

  • Comment 9, posted at 29.06.16 10:22:02 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : Has there ever been a case of a team refusing to take the field under a certain ref???

  • Comment 10, posted at 29.06.16 10:22:30 by The hound Reply
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  • @Uli Boelie (Comment 6) : If true then he too has played his last Sharks game…

  • Comment 11, posted at 29.06.16 10:24:51 by SheldonK Reply

  • The only good that can come from all these injuries: the Sharks will be forced to pull together, and play as a team – no relying on individuals to carry lazy performances over the line…every one of the 15 will have to give more than they’ve ever given.

    Hope springs eternal. 😀

  • Comment 12, posted at 29.06.16 10:27:05 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @Uli Boelie (Comment 6) : that may be wide of the mark. He does have an injury, but they have to see how it responds. It’s a tissue injury

  • Comment 13, posted at 29.06.16 10:28:48 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 13) : Ah thanx for that info

  • Comment 14, posted at 29.06.16 10:48:18 by Uli Boelie Reply
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  • Sharks could always go with Heimar at 12 and then Esterhuizen at 15 where i believe he played quite a bit at school….

  • Comment 15, posted at 29.06.16 11:22:03 by SheldonK Reply

  • I hope we kept Mjekevu

  • Comment 16, posted at 29.06.16 11:28:39 by revolverocelot Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 15) :You seriously want to go up against that Lions team with that.Our only hope against the Lions is for Esterhuizen to tackle the shit out of that central backline and make certain that the ball doesn’t get to the wings,he can best do that where he is.

  • Comment 17, posted at 29.06.16 11:33:59 by The hound Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 15) : That would be interesting to see, just a shame Heimar hasn’t played SR this season, coaches not handing out center caps to other people than PJ and AE. We need some depth there especially with PJ leaving.

  • Comment 18, posted at 29.06.16 11:41:43 by Quintin Reply

  • @The hound (Comment 17) : If i were the Lions coach id send dummy runners into our 12/13 and shift the ball behind them and wide thus avoiding our best tacklers. I think they will keep Esterhuizen/Jordaan together and probably play Odwa at 15 which will be fine and probably the best fit.

  • Comment 19, posted at 29.06.16 11:42:41 by SheldonK Reply

  • @The hound (Comment 17) : Man the guy can tackle I hope to see some big hits on Mapoe, if he’s playing, and Rohan JvR is also a big bulky guy, AE and PJ’s got their work cut out for them. But with both of them defending like they did the last few games, I think they can do it, I just hope they are not rusty seeing that most of the Sharks guys haven’t played in 4/5 weeks.

  • Comment 20, posted at 29.06.16 11:45:32 by Quintin Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 19) : This is going to be a helluva game if we can match them upfront which we have a good chance of doing,we are more than competitive everywhere else on the field.We go in as underdogs,lets hope Gold gives Keegan the captaincy ,and who knows if Toilet Peyper ,blows fair we could get the points.

  • Comment 21, posted at 29.06.16 11:50:01 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 21) : Im sure Beast will get the captaincy back but will see. Will be interesting to see the make up of our pack- think we could really give them a hard time up front as the Lions rely on forward dominance for their game plan. penalties and silly turnovers will be key in this game as they will tear an unstructured defense apart. Will be a close game i feel.

  • Comment 22, posted at 29.06.16 11:56:26 by SheldonK Reply

  • @The hound (Comment 21) : @SheldonK (Comment 22) : yes,the dbn game was all about being penalised at the scrums.sharks never had any momentum.

  • Comment 23, posted at 29.06.16 12:18:49 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • @50shadesofshark (Comment 23) : Yeh penalty count against the Sharks that game was very high. Sharks also made a lot of handling errors. Gave Lions all the momentum.

  • Comment 24, posted at 29.06.16 12:24:29 by SheldonK Reply

  • I think our only option really is to play April at flyhalf and Odwa at 15 with Bosch on the bench.

    Should be a good game, even as underdogs!

  • Comment 25, posted at 29.06.16 13:01:19 by stevovo Reply
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  • Acker’s decisions:

    Sylvian Mahuza or Andries Coetzee (back from injury)
    Rohan Janse van Rensburg or Howard Mnisi
    Elton Jantjies or Marnitz Boshoff
    Faf de Klerk nor Ross Cronje
    Ruan Ackermann or Ruan Lerm or Robert Kruger to replace Whiteley
    Andries Ferreira or Lourens Erasmus or Martin Muller at 4

  • Comment 26, posted at 29.06.16 13:10:01 by Baylion Reply

  • @Baylion (Comment 26) : Ackers should go with Combrinck at 15 (will aide his Bok chances) with Mahuza and Skosan on the wing. Van Rensburg and Mapoe is the stronger centre combo. Id play Ross and Boschoff and play Faf and Jantjies off the bench. Id shift Tecklenberg to 8 and play Kriel and Ackermann with Mostert and Erasmus at lock.

  • Comment 27, posted at 29.06.16 13:17:07 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Baylion (Comment 26) : A Coetzee, Janse Van Rensburg, Jantjies, Faf, Lerm, Erasmus

  • Comment 28, posted at 29.06.16 13:48:08 by Vonno13 Reply
  • Don’t forget that Johan Greeff is TMO, and he may not be happy and nursing a grievance from the game against the vile crusaders in round 5; remember he and Gary exchanged words. Someone at Sanzaar seems to not like the Sharks.

  • Comment 29, posted at 29.06.16 15:00:18 by SeanJeff Reply
  • @SheldonK (Comment 27) : both mostert and erasmus leaving the lions for europe,right?

  • Comment 30, posted at 29.06.16 15:38:18 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • @50shadesofshark (Comment 30) : I know Mostert is, didnt know about Erasmus

  • Comment 31, posted at 29.06.16 15:39:27 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 31) : thougt I read something like that,but can’t find anything re: erasmus.

  • Comment 32, posted at 29.06.16 16:11:33 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • Bit harsh on April and Mvovo Rob. The former was in a rubbish team and the latter had 1 bad game after many fine performances at wing and fullback in the past. Don’t let the News24/ Kolbe brigade get you twisted.

  • Comment 33, posted at 29.06.16 16:16:59 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : It’s a bit like watching WWE 😕

  • Comment 34, posted at 29.06.16 16:17:03 by Southern_Shark Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 33) : Have to agree with you on this one, that SA A side was bad, and they should feel bad, can’t blame it on one guy. And yes Mvovo had a bad game against the Irish, especially under the high ball, but we all know he’s better than that. I still remember that try he score against the Brumbies a year or two ago, so much gas through that gap.

  • Comment 35, posted at 29.06.16 17:06:53 by Quintin Reply

  • A tough game has just become a lot harder!!!!

  • Comment 36, posted at 29.06.16 17:14:39 by JD Reply
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  • @Quintin (Comment 35) : I see Steven Haag posted a pic of Rhyno Smith in Sharks kit. is it an old one or has he joined the squad to cover 15?

    Best way for April to stick it to Toetie is to play blinder at 10 vs Elton

  • Comment 37, posted at 29.06.16 23:31:27 by Kabouter Reply

  • #9 – Claassens
    #10 – April
    #11 – Mvovo
    #12 – Esterhuizen
    #13 – Jordaan
    #14 – Pietersen
    #15 – Ndungne

    I think this will be our backline for the Lions , I really don’t like Odwa at #15 the lions players is very fast even their forwards and Odwa not so much anymore

  • Comment 38, posted at 30.06.16 06:26:22 by John Reply

  • @John (Comment 38) : I also think thats what the backline will be. Yes Odwa isnt the quickest but he can kick well and is good under the high ball. And if it comes to a 1v1 he is probably better than anyone else we can play at 15

  • Comment 39, posted at 30.06.16 08:22:35 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Kabouter (Comment 37) : think rhyno smith is a player the sharks should sign.

  • Comment 40, posted at 30.06.16 08:33:20 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • @John (Comment 38) : That is a very good backline,a lot better than what we had for large periods last year.
    People love to have a go at Odwa but really how many times has he let us down and hoe many timeshare he come to the party.
    Much rather have Claassens ,April than Reiarch Zeilenger and much rather Odwa than S.P.

  • Comment 41, posted at 30.06.16 08:42:11 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 41) : Very fair points. Just slightly on/off topic…have you seen Alrin Eksteen play? Thoughts?

  • Comment 42, posted at 30.06.16 09:08:31 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 42) : No the name is new to me

  • Comment 43, posted at 30.06.16 09:10:48 by The hound Reply
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  • @Kabouter (Comment 37) : I hear Rhyno could be in line for a Sharks debut this weekend.

  • Comment 44, posted at 30.06.16 09:15:15 by robdylan Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 43) : Tall chap playing for the Sharks XV at fullback…seems to be good under the high ball and likes to get involved and has a big left boot. Only downfall is he doesnt have express pace…he isnt slow but not express if you know what i mean. In my view he has been the best player in a very poor Sharks XV side

  • Comment 45, posted at 30.06.16 09:21:46 by SheldonK Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 44) : Now that i would be pleased about- need to sign him fulltime.

  • Comment 46, posted at 30.06.16 09:22:20 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Kabouter (Comment 37) : @robdylan (Comment 44) : @50shadesofshark (Comment 40) : Having studied in Potch when he was playing there I watched him closely, easily one of their best players, has bucket loads of calmness when under pressure. I would love to see what he can do at a higher level, especially at the Sharks.

  • Comment 47, posted at 30.06.16 10:17:12 by Quintin Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 42) : I’ve seen him play, he’s got a set of hamstrings on him, does he have a decent boot? He looks like he can develop into a solid player.

  • Comment 48, posted at 30.06.16 10:20:05 by Quintin Reply

  • @Quintin (Comment 47) : Yip. Calm, great boot, accurate goal kicker and enough x factor.

    Bosch then most likely in the u21 setup this year. As RS has played in CC qualifiers for Leopards – would he be elligible for Sharks CC?

  • Comment 49, posted at 30.06.16 10:26:58 by Kabouter Reply

  • @Quintin (Comment 48) : Yeh quite a good and big left boot.

  • Comment 50, posted at 30.06.16 10:29:07 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Kabouter (Comment 49) : I have no idea, but it would be awesome if he can, it just looks like the guy is ready to make a step up to a higher level. And as far as I know, he is not a bad defender either.

    @SheldonK (Comment 50) : That’s good, do you know how old he is?

  • Comment 51, posted at 30.06.16 10:33:37 by Quintin Reply

  • @Quintin (Comment 51) : Still a youngster as far as i know- think still u21.

  • Comment 52, posted at 30.06.16 10:39:56 by SheldonK Reply

  • @The hound (Comment 41) : Look Odwa is solid player and I’ve always liked him, but I was a little shocked to see how easily they passed him while chasing the ball after that kick against the Jaguares. All it takes is a chip over him to turn his back and a little pace then you have an opportunity to score. He might have been caught out of position though, which almost never happens with him.

  • Comment 53, posted at 30.06.16 10:41:11 by Quintin Reply

  • @Quintin (Comment 51) : @SheldonK (Comment 52) : 23 born in 1993.

  • Comment 54, posted at 30.06.16 10:43:11 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • @50shadesofshark (Comment 54) : Cool thanks. So at least he’s not that young anymore, maybe time to give him a spot on the bench if RS can’t play? We are in a shitty situation now with injured/leaving players. We need some backup. And please don’t say Bosch, not yet.

  • Comment 55, posted at 30.06.16 10:46:58 by Quintin Reply

  • I also like Odwa my concern is a Jaco Kriel Breaking the line running full speed at Odwa ( last line of defence ) would you back Odwa to stop him ? and remember Jaco kriel is faster than some Centres in SR and has the power of a prop as we all have seen that is why we wanted him with the Boks

  • Comment 56, posted at 01.07.16 06:53:33 by John Reply

  • @John (Comment 56) : I get your point but to change the question: if Jaco Kriel broke through which sharks fullback would you back to stop him? Not 1 comes to my mind

  • Comment 57, posted at 01.07.16 08:08:29 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 57) : That is very true I think I would only be confident if Lambie was at 15 then and Jaco would break the line but I understand your point and this is a problem because we don’t have a fullback that have really good defence and that is one of a fullbacks main tasks

  • Comment 58, posted at 01.07.16 08:22:57 by John Reply

  • @John (Comment 58) : Yes Lambie is a good defender but is primarily seen as a 10 now and perhaps even a 12. I cant think of 1 good defensive fullback in SA nevermind the Sharks…

  • Comment 59, posted at 01.07.16 08:25:51 by SheldonK Reply

  • @John (Comment 56) : That is why we have Esterhuizen the hardest tackling centre in South Africa,more than a match for Jaco Kriel

  • Comment 60, posted at 01.07.16 08:27:52 by The hound Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 59) : It underlines the problem that we don’t really have proper fullbacks in SA , maybe we should shift Esterhuizen to fullback we do have Heimar a backline of

    9 – Reinach
    10 – Lambie
    11 – Mvovo
    12 – Heimar
    13 – Jordaan ( Or Sithole now that Jordaan is leaving )
    14 – Le Roux ( Odwa if he leaves )
    15 – Esterhuizen

  • Comment 61, posted at 01.07.16 08:44:33 by John Reply

  • @John (Comment 61) : seems like we will be rebuilding the team next year again!!!

  • Comment 62, posted at 01.07.16 08:59:57 by JD Reply
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  • @John (Comment 61) : Look i dont think many if any coaches pick there lineup starting with how good the 15 is at 1v1 tackles…yes its a consideration but dont think they will rejig a team for it. Going forward we do need to best utilise the guys we have so perhaps a backline of 9. Reinach 10. April 11. Mvovo 12.Lambie 13. Esterhuizen 14. Sithole 15. Smith/Bosch looks the most promising.

  • Comment 63, posted at 01.07.16 09:00:51 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 63) : Agree Stormers sure as hell don’t pick Kolbe or Aplon before him for their defensive abilities

  • Comment 64, posted at 01.07.16 09:03:10 by The hound Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 63) : Yes this is true but as you said we need to best utilise the guys we have , I don’t really like Lambie at 12 I would rather have him at 10 Primary or as a 15 but I do get your point we have a lot of players in some positions and others we are bare bone so we have to use what we have

  • Comment 65, posted at 01.07.16 09:35:13 by John Reply

  • @The hound (Comment 64) : this is true , I guess it all depends on what your gameplan is to how you pick your players but still how many times have Aplon and Kolbe been knocked out cold , the backline you guys are thinking off will most obvious one we will see but I like thinking out of the box a bit , even if farfetched sometimes

  • Comment 66, posted at 01.07.16 09:40:07 by John Reply

  • @John (Comment 66) : There is more than 1 way to skin a cat…sometimes SA sides are a bit too predictable with selections.

  • Comment 67, posted at 01.07.16 09:48:33 by SheldonK Reply


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