Sharks could go full strength for Pumas

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 25 Jul 2017 at 10:02
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We spoke yesterday about the need for the Sharks – coaches and players alike – to channel their rage into a good Currie Cup campaign and for Rob du Preez and his squad, that all starts on Saturday with a match against the Pumas.

Buoyed after a good win in the opening round over the Lions and bolstered by a number of former Sharks players, including Stefan Ungerer and Francois Kleinhans, the Pumas will fancy their chances against a Sharks side that will be short on practice time and perhaps a little disjointed. Certainly, there can be no question that Paul Anthony’s “young guns” will have to make way for Rob’s “supers” this week; the Sharks simply cannot afford to be understrength again and drop a must-win home game in the process.

Since the Springbok squad for the Rugby Championships will only be announced after the Super Rugby final, it’s at least two weeks yet until the Sharks lose players to that cause. Of the current crew, only Beast Mtawarira and Coenie Oosthuizen are thus unavailable for selection, with the likes of Jean-Luc du Preez, Lukhayno Am and Chiliboy Ralepelle free to play Currie Cup until further notice.

The loss of two key props, coupled with the departure of Lourens Adriaanse and an injury to John-Hubert Meyer leaves the team thin up front, which is a concern. Thomas du Toit and Franco Marais will probably start in the front row, with Ross Geldenhuys the only seasoned tighhead available until Meyer returns in a few weeks. Mzamo Majola did well enough against the Cheetahs to warrant a spot on the bench, with du Toit’s versatility meaning he can cover 3 in a pinch. The second row is also a little concerning; Etienne Oosthuizen has left and Stephan Lewies will play in Japan during Currie Cup, meaning Ruan Botha will need to be paired with Hyron Andrews, Jean Droste or maybe even Tyler Paul. One feels that the biggest challenge for the Sharks in this campaign will come up front, since losing so much beef in the tight 5 is never a good idea for a team.

Loose forward is an overflowing cupboard as usual; this week, du Preez will no doubt look at either Tera Mtembu or Keegan Daniel to complement the twins, but Jacques Vermeulen also staked a strong claim last week and there’s also Khaya Majola and Paul to consider.

Scrumhalf is no less overstocked, with Louis Schreduer to come in and add to a list of options that already includes Michael Claassens, Cameron Wright, Hanco Venter and Rowan Gouws. It’s not clear how much of a role Claassens will play in Super Rugby next year, hence the temptation to look at different options now. Curwin Bosch must surely be the favourite for flyhalf, but Inny Radebe’s return to fitness, along with the presence of Garth April and Ben Janse van Rensburg may mean a shift to the last line for the talented 20-year old, given a lack of depth at the back.

Centre is also overflowing, even with Andre Esterhuizen lost to Japan; the temptation will be to start with Jeremy Ward and Lukhanyo Am for now, while Marius Louw, S’bura Sithole, Tristan Blewett and (later) Johan Deysel will also come into contention. Wing is a little thinner, although in Sbu Nkosi and Kobus van Wyk, du Preez will feel he has possibly the best available starting pair in the competition. Figuring out what to do with Odwa Ndungane – perhaps even playing him at fullback where Bosch, April and currently-injured Rhyno Smith are the only real options in the squad. Lwazi Mvovo will also not be available due to a Japanese sabbatical.

It’s at 3, 4 and 15 that the Sharks are thin and one feels du Preez is going to have to try something radical, particularly in that latter position. Perhaps he could think out of the box and try van Rensburg there (since he’s not looking to have the calm head needed to start games at flyhalf yet, not even at this level) yet does boast a boot with more of a range than the likes of April.

Here’s what I might do if I were picking the team to face the Pumas this week. Let’s see how the official selection differs.

Possible Sharks: 15 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Jeremy Ward, 11 Sbu Nkosi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Droste, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Subs: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Hyron Andrews, 19 Tera Mtembu, 20 Michael Claasens, 21 Inny-Christian Radebe, 22 S’bura Sithole


  • What about Mvovo at Fullback?

  • Comment 1, posted at 25.07.17 10:14:44 by T-Shark Reply
  • Why is there no mention of Andre Esterhuizen? Is he out injured?

  • Comment 2, posted at 25.07.17 10:17:15 by boertjie101 Reply
  • @T-Shark (Comment 1) : @boertjie101 (Comment 2) : Mvovo and Esterhuizen will both be in Japan for Currie Cup.

    Sorry, I mentioned that in yesterday’s article but should have repeated the information in this one.

  • Comment 3, posted at 25.07.17 10:33:51 by robdylan Reply
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  • We at least have an exciting backline. Not sure what they are going to do at 15, but otherwise this backline could do quite well in this competition. Hope they pick the strongest possible team for Saturday, looking forward to the game already! We just can’t afford to miss out on qualifying for the semis again this year.

  • Comment 4, posted at 25.07.17 10:34:37 by HeinF Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : I’ve updated the article to make this a bit more clear

  • Comment 5, posted at 25.07.17 10:40:38 by robdylan Reply
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  • Think its likely Bosch and April will fill the 10 and 15 jerseys, just not sure who where. Cant Jacques Vermuelen play lock as well?

  • Comment 6, posted at 25.07.17 11:13:55 by SheldonK Reply

  • Going to be a cracker! The Pumas have made some astute acquisitions. Their scrum is solid, and will take some subduing to get momentum going.

  • Comment 7, posted at 25.07.17 11:33:02 by KingCheetah Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : Thanks Rob. Pity about Esterhuizen. Would have been the perfect opportunity to redeem himself with the fans after his suspension earlier this season. Really wish the guys can rather gel as a team rather than seek opportunities to bulk up their wallets.

  • Comment 8, posted at 25.07.17 11:56:15 by boertjie101 Reply

  • @KingCheetah (Comment 7) : Pumas – 15 Gerrit Smith, 14 Jerome Pretorius, 13 Hennie Skorbinski (cc), 12 Ryan Nell, 11 Ruwellyn Isbell, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Nardus van der Walt, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Hugo Kloppers (cc), 4 Jeremy Jordaan, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Mark Pretorius, 1 Mona Kwezi.
    Subs: 16 Frank Herne, 17 DJ Terblanche, 18 Marne Coetzee, 19 Jannie Stander, 20 Lambert Groenewald, 21 Reynier van Rooyen, 22 Sias Ebersohn.

    thats the team they ran out last weekend. some solid additions they have made, no devin williams or neil maritz in the back line I see, may be injured. Sias in the mix, should bring ability off the bench.

    Mark P at starting hookers is a talented one. Pieter Scholtz never performed greatly at the lions but dispite his appearance is still young and can learn. we will have to bring our a game to beat this team.

  • Comment 9, posted at 25.07.17 18:06:42 by revolverocelot Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 6) : I know Dan can!!! 😈

  • Comment 10, posted at 25.07.17 18:29:56 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 10) : I may be on board with dan or Paul starting at 4 ahead of droste. andrews more a 5.

    Im starting to wonder with tactic of playing three big loosies is the way forward, the best I have seen it used by cheetahs in last years cc all the way to the final, but even then most games they had more of a fetcher in Boom on the bench to make a impact.

    We have serious depth at loosie lets try some mobile guys at 4 and have botha and andrew play 5.

    I see tyler Fisher is still contracted to the pumas but hasnt played in some time, probibly injured.

  • Comment 11, posted at 25.07.17 19:15:56 by revolverocelot Reply

  • When will Smith be back?

  • Comment 12, posted at 25.07.17 19:23:19 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 12) : I believe Rob said in October, but lets hear from him.

  • Comment 13, posted at 25.07.17 19:53:42 by revolverocelot Reply

  • @KingCheetah (Comment 7) : Yeah…they look to have a good team together…

  • Comment 14, posted at 25.07.17 20:19:42 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @revolverocelot (Comment 11) : It’s interesting. Ross Geldenhuys was useless at the Cheetahs, was consistebt at the Highlanders and Kings. So I have learnt to reserve judgement

  • Comment 15, posted at 25.07.17 20:26:49 by KingCheetah Reply

  • @revolverocelot (Comment 11) : if you play three big loosies the backs (and other players) needs to work on stealing balls at rucks something both Big André and Am showed the ability to do! What I like about the Sharks big loosies is that they’re also fast(ish)!

  • Comment 16, posted at 25.07.17 20:58:39 by JD Reply
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  • @KingCheetah (Comment 15) : must say he’s not my favourite player but a hell of a lot better than Matt Stevens!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment 17, posted at 25.07.17 21:02:32 by JD Reply
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  • @KingCheetah (Comment 15) : this is true, scrums are truly a mystery at times, not being a front rower myself I can only give marginal opinions would be great if we had a blogger on here that played prop or hooker that could articulate some tactics for us.

    All I see every weekend is some scrums purposefully not talking the hit to trick the ref into thinking the other team early shoved, or maybe the tight head of the team that putting in actually doesnt scrum will their loosehead give it his all giving the impression that the team that didnt put the ball in did not earn the right to turn the scrum as they didnt go forward at first and then turn etc

    or some guys letting a bind slip. or like what happen to thomas the tank hinging, or a shorter tight head getting under a taller loose head (what happen to beast against france)

    I’m sure theres more too it. Ross also just showed up last week. I see that refs dont police the put in anymore, doesnt matter if its straight thus no need to hook. interesting ..

  • Comment 18, posted at 25.07.17 21:06:05 by revolverocelot Reply

  • @revolverocelot (Comment 18) : I’ve played prop and hooker and know a bit about but will not ever say I’m an expert and that my opinions are fact!
    I know a lot of what you say does happen to try and fool the refs! I also believe that when a scrum falls its usually the fault of the prop lying flat on his tummy rather than the one standing (like what happens with Big Tom) but then again others might say I was looking with my “Sharks glasses”!

  • Comment 19, posted at 25.07.17 21:37:16 by JD Reply
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  • @revolverocelot (Comment 11) : to ne, the loosie question is not so much about size as it is about pace.

    If you can’t get to the breakdown, you can’t have an effect on it and I feel that our “three big guys “approach is letting us down simply because our loosies aren’t able to get to where they need to be quickly enough or often enough.

  • Comment 20, posted at 26.07.17 08:09:39 by robdylan Reply
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  • @revolverocelot (Comment 13) : no, he should be back in 2-3 weeks. Deysel is out until October

  • Comment 21, posted at 26.07.17 08:10:00 by robdylan Reply
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  • got to remember that Ross and Mzamo had less than one full scrumming session with the team last week, so perhaps best not to judge too harshly on how the scrums went against a pack that knows each other well. Also bear in mind that light locks seldom make props look good.

  • Comment 22, posted at 26.07.17 08:11:47 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 22) : Add a fairly light no 8 and there is not a lot of scrumming power in the engine of the scrum.

  • Comment 23, posted at 26.07.17 08:24:31 by Bokhoring Reply
  • Damn why could we not have played the Lions as our next CC fixture…..

  • Comment 24, posted at 26.07.17 09:07:38 by BluffShark Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 20) : We need a Velleman, Brussow or Cloete to add balance to our loose trio. A fetcher is a must!

  • Comment 25, posted at 26.07.17 10:38:45 by ChrisS Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 21) : Agree! And in Kleinhans the Sharks will have their work cut out to protect possession. Together with Greeff, and Nardus vd Walt, and the workrate of Kloppers, theSharks will have to get to rucks with a dash of speed

  • Comment 26, posted at 26.07.17 10:49:46 by KingCheetah Reply

  • @JD (Comment 16) : @JD (Comment 19) : @robdylan (Comment 21) : @robdylan (Comment 22) : @Bokhoring (Comment 23) : all interesting points. Pleased at how much constructive debate we can have ahead of a CC game. looking forward to the rugby this weekend.

  • Comment 27, posted at 26.07.17 11:04:05 by revolverocelot Reply


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