Taking stock

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 26 Jun 2017 at 09:18
Tagged with : , , , , , , , ,

Well, the mid-year test series break is over (can you believe it?) and it’s time to quickly refocus our minds for the penultimate round of Super Rugby.

To say that the break has not been overly kind to the Sharks would probably be fair and coach Rob du Preez will be forced to make some unanticipated adjustments to his previously in-form team ahead of Friday’s match against the Bulls.

Bear in mind, though, that nothing that happens over the next two weeks can stop the Sharks qualifying for the quarter-finals. That is already secure and these games are really just about re-establishing form and continuity and possibly – just possibly – avoiding a trip to New Zealand in a fortnight’s time.

Ruan Botha’s utter brain-fart red card for the A team on Friday is sure to see him banned – I’m hearing something in the order of three weeks, which effectively ends the campaign for one of du Preez’s key men. That’s a big blow and will have a knock-on effect for the Sharks XV as well, who will now have to play their own crunch fixture against the Bulls without either Jean Droste or Hyron Andrews. Apart from that, though, the Sharks forwards are in good shape and mostly match fit too, with every member of the forward division (bar Chiliboy Ralepelle) having enjoyed game time during the break.

Amongst the backs, though, it’s a different story and chief amongst the worries will be the fact that there’s still absolutely zero news about Pat Lambie. Add to that the season-ending injury to Johan Deysel and the continued absence of both Jeremy Ward and Lukhayno Am and the Sharks suddenly look a bit thin, particularly in midfield. Curwin Bosch comes back from the under 20 tournament not having shot the lights out as expected and also nursing a sore shoulder, further adding to the disruption. Rhyno Smith isn’t available either and even dependable Odwa Ndungane is unlikely to feature, having sat out the last couple of games for the Sharks XV due to an unspecified injury problem.

Du Preez would probably want to continue with Lwazi Mvovo and fullback, but unless he’s seen enough of S’bura Sithole in the SuperSport Challenge to decide that he’s ready for Super Rugby again, the chances are Mvovo will need to play wing with Kobus van Wyk joining Andre Esterhuizen in midfield. Garth April and (hopefully) Bosch will need to handle the key decision-making positions between them – that is, unless Lambie has made a recovery and stands ready to take his place in the team. Either way, it’s all starting to feel just a little patchwork at the back and we’re going to need some big performances from one or two men who may well be playing out of position if we’re to have a good end to the season.


  • Lambie, when/if he comes back, may need to consider a move back to 15. For his own safety’s sake he needs to be a bit further from the action

  • Comment 1, posted at 26.06.17 09:22:44 by Die Kriek Reply
  • Such a pity that Botha made that decision in the SA A game. Thought he played really well up to that point. Hopefully it won’t cost the Sharks too dearly.

  • Comment 2, posted at 26.06.17 09:24:02 by boertjie101 Reply
  • @Die Kriek (Comment 1) : Agreed, though I’m not too sure that he’ll be that far away from the action if they start bombing him with the up and unders. He’ll soon have flashes of the CJ Stander scenario all over again

  • Comment 3, posted at 26.06.17 09:26:51 by boertjie101 Reply
  • I just don’t understand the dead silence regarding Lambie’s injury from the Sharks? If he is still suffering from concussion, then at least say so. All that this complete silence is doing, is creating rumours and theories and stories that are really not necessary.

  • Comment 4, posted at 26.06.17 10:05:49 by Another Nick Reply
    Another Nick
  • Don’t be such a negative nancy Rob: 3 weeks for Ruan means he’s available for the semi AND final. 🙂

  • Comment 5, posted at 26.06.17 10:22:05 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 5) : LOL 🙂 Yes, true

  • Comment 6, posted at 26.06.17 10:28:25 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • My backline should Lambie, and the centres not be available…

    10. Bosch (assuming his shoulder comes right otherwise April).
    11. Nkosi
    12. Esterhuizen
    13. Sithole
    14. van Wyk
    15. Mvovo

    Only way I feel we can minimize disruptions, I also feel to move van Wyk from wing would be a disservice to a player who must be knocking on the Bok door and Sithole always looks better at 13 than on the wing.

  • Comment 7, posted at 26.06.17 10:45:33 by Hulk Reply

  • I cannot see Lambie playing again this Super rugby season…perhaps a return in the CC if anything. The backline on Friday could certainly be interesting…guess it depends who is actually fit. I dont think even RDP knows who will play yet

  • Comment 8, posted at 26.06.17 11:06:17 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 8) : Smart money would be for Lambie to only return for CC.

  • Comment 9, posted at 26.06.17 12:35:32 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 9) : Being able to play a full CC season would do wonders for him- he has hardly played any rugby in last few years. I just wonder if this last head knock hasnt got him thinking about life after rugby.

  • Comment 10, posted at 26.06.17 12:51:53 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 10) : I genuinely hope he given it some thought. Nothing is worth your long-term health. Except bacon.

  • Comment 11, posted at 26.06.17 13:54:26 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 11) : Bacon is good for you, stop reading fake news 🙂

  • Comment 12, posted at 26.06.17 14:03:16 by SheldonK Reply

  • @vanmartin (Comment 11) : “Nothing is worth your long-term health. Except bacon.”

    In Vaisnava discussion, when a dude says something particularly insightful, sometimes other people who’re in the room listening will mumble or shout “Sadhu! Sadhu!” which means “wise man” or “sage” – the idea being that when somebody says something so completely on-point that you can’t add anything, it’s natural and fitting to just recognize out loud. Such is the case with above statement.

  • Comment 13, posted at 26.06.17 14:05:38 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • @Hulk (Comment 7) : lets keep disruptions to a minimum yes, losing ward, am and deysel is tough but all teams have to deal with injuries and suspensions, next man up gotta show what his got.

    I dont see us winning the whole thing this year but next year we could be in with a shout.

    let lambie play CC and no november tour, and see his worth next year for the Boks, lets not rush things.

  • Comment 14, posted at 26.06.17 20:31:46 by revolverocelot Reply


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