50 and out?

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 14 Jul 2017 at 09:30
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This article is two things in one – it’s a post of congratulations, but also a desperate plea. Starting with the former, a big well done to the incredible Stephan Lewies on the upcoming milestone of 50 Super Rugby caps for the Sharks.

Lewies is a damn good bloke – let’s start off with that – and to me, his story is a real underdog’s triumph. Educated at unfashionable (rugby-wise) Eldoraigne Hoër in Centurion, big Stephan never got so much as a look-in with the Blue Bulls growing up and had to fight hard as a junior, overcoming the joint obstacles of his unknown pedigree and some nasty injuries as he made his way through the Sharks Academy. One thing people would always tell you about Lewies, though, was that he was a fighter and when Brendan Venter noticed him and catapulted him into senior rugby as an under 21 player in 2013, that spirit served him well.

Lewies played an important role in helping to secure the Currie Cup trophy that year and even went on to earn a Springbok cap the year after. His 50th Super Rugby cap is testament to that same fighting spirit, though, especially after a horror knee injury in 2015 that took him out of action for virtually the entire year. Heroes rise quickly in this modern, fast-paced era, but I’m certainly very pleased to have such a true warrior in black and white as a leader in our pack.

There’s an alarming trend, though and part of me is nothing short of downright fearful when we see a player hit that magical milestone. It’s almost as though the 50-cap number is an earnings accelerator of some sort when it comes to the foreign market. Casting an eye over the Sharks squad, the only 100-cappers left are nearing the end of their careers, while those players with 50 or more caps for the Sharks are all leaving. Lourens Adriaanse (60), Etienne Oosthuizen (51) and Cobus Reinach (57) will all leave within a matter of weeks leaving Lewies as the only “club pro” left in the ranks when the Sharks kick off next year’s competition. That’s a massive worry and a big reason for the team’s inability to “kick on” from year to year.

Stephan is himself, I believe, heading to Japan instead of playing Currie Cup – a move I don’t agree with, but then again I wasn’t consulted – but will, at least, return for Super Rugby next year, if my information is correct. For the Sharks, it is vitally important that the likes of this man, along with others in Ruan Botha, Thomas du Toit, Franco Marais, Andre Esterhuizen and Tera Mtembu, stick with the team and build a solid core of 50-cap veterans to maintain the team ethos and culture into the future. Without this “seasoned middle”, the Sharks are doomed.

Please, men – stick with us.


  • If Lewies is off to Japan, Oosthuizen is leaving permanently. Who are we left with in terms of locks for the CC? I feel its an area where we could struggle. Perhaps this is the perfect time to move Dan DuPreez to lock?

  • Comment 1, posted at 14.07.17 09:54:02 by SheldonK Reply
  • @SheldonK (Comment 1) : I’m glad I’m not alone in worrying about this conundrum.

    To my knowledge, Ruan Botha is around, although that might change. I know he wanted to go to Japan and the Sharks tried to block it, but given that his contract is up they may have seen that as the lesser of two evils.

    Assuming Botha is around, then it’s him with Hyron Andrews and Jean Droste, which should be good enough at this level. If he’s gone, then we’re in trouble, as we need the likes of Rikus Zwart to step up as the third lock, or use a flanker like Tyler Paul or Wian Vosloo there.

  • Comment 2, posted at 14.07.17 09:59:42 by robdylan Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 1) : Dan is too short, 😈

  • Comment 3, posted at 14.07.17 10:15:02 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 3) : I dont think height is as important as it use to be. Keegan is short and he use to jump, heck a few weeks ago I saw faf from the lions jump in a lineout

  • Comment 4, posted at 14.07.17 10:56:31 by Poisy Reply
  • @The hound (Comment 3) : 😆 not anymore he aint.

  • Comment 5, posted at 14.07.17 12:24:28 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Poisy (Comment 4) : ok, so let me ask you this. Let’s say Lions are playing Bulls. who would you back to take more balls at the front of the lineout over 80 minutes, Faf or Jason Jenkins?

  • Comment 6, posted at 14.07.17 12:24:41 by robdylan Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 3) : Then wear longer studs 🙂

  • Comment 7, posted at 14.07.17 12:36:34 by SheldonK Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 6) : You just need a prop that can chuck Faf high enough and catch him safely on the way down.

  • Comment 8, posted at 14.07.17 12:50:16 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 8) : that does seem about the most sensible thing to do with him, yes.

  • Comment 9, posted at 14.07.17 13:04:08 by robdylan Reply
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  • So in terms of a CC idea we have (i think): 1. Du Toit 2. Marais 3. Meyer 4. D DuPreez 5. Andrews 6. Daniel 7. Mthembu 8. Van Der Walt 9. Wright/Schreuder 10. Bosch 11. Nkosi 12. Esterhuizen 13. Ward 14. Van Wyk 15 Mvovo
    This is assuming Beast, Chilliboy,Coenie, DuPreez, Am with the Boks and Botha in Japan.

  • Comment 10, posted at 14.07.17 13:30:16 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 10) : Esterhuizen and vd Walt may also be going to Japan

  • Comment 11, posted at 14.07.17 13:31:45 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 11) : If thats the case then i cant see the Sharks making the semis again this year. Too much personnel being lost

  • Comment 12, posted at 14.07.17 14:01:34 by SheldonK Reply

  • I guess there is not much the union can do about players going to Japan – either that or they off to Europe. Although it seems once a player goes to Japan, the next step is Europe shortly after that.

    This does not just stuff up any chances in the CC, but also must make preparation for Super Rugby a mission.

  • Comment 13, posted at 14.07.17 14:12:38 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 13) : I feel when a player goes to Japan only his body ever returns.

  • Comment 14, posted at 14.07.17 15:43:19 by Hulk Reply

  • @Hulk (Comment 14) : An out of shape body to top it all

  • Comment 15, posted at 14.07.17 16:00:40 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 13) : Ja it’s no win. I wonder how NZ copes with this or do they lose way less players and if so why? It makes you think rugby in SA is hopeless cause for most. Best you can hope for is a strong team of no names for as long as it lasts.

  • Comment 16, posted at 14.07.17 18:12:29 by coolfusion Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 2) : RB is way to soft

  • Comment 17, posted at 15.07.17 18:07:03 by benji Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 6) : FAF every time

  • Comment 18, posted at 15.07.17 18:09:11 by benji Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 11) : & hopefully not come back

  • Comment 19, posted at 15.07.17 18:10:06 by benji Reply
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  • @coolfusion (Comment 16) : cause NZ is a backwater

  • Comment 20, posted at 15.07.17 18:12:45 by benji Reply
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