Bok balancing act

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 9 Oct 2017 at 11:38
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

After the unexpected excitement of Saturday’s Rugby Championship finale, all eyes are back on the Currie Cup with an absolutely crucial weekend of clashes lined up. Adding further spice is the fact that a number of non-contracted Springbok squad members will be available to their respective provincial coaches, leading to much soul-searching and anguish as those wise men attempt to find the ideal balance between picking a full strength side and disrupting whatever continuity they’ve built to date.

The only teams who really won’t mind too much about this weekend’s results are those at the very top and the very bottom. Griquas have completed their 12 games and are, unfortunately, not going to move above stone last. The Sharks, on the other hand, will badly want a win this weekend against WP to keep their unbeaten run going and build for the semi’s, but the reality is that a loss for them will have zero real impact, at least in terms of the log.

The other two games are going to be almighty tussles, with all of the Bulls, Pumas, Lions and Cheetahs absolutely needing a win in order to progress. There are three spots up for grabs and five teams very much in the running. WP only really need a point in Durban to make sure they are in the mix, but for the others, nothing but a win will do. That only adds pressure to the coaches to get it right in terms of selection, even though there’s really only a mattering of players coming back to each side.

Strangely enough it’s Rob du Preez who arguably has the biggest problem, given that his team are in the best form of the whole lot even without their Bok players. While many of the guys coming back (like Tom du Toit, Dan du Preez, Louis Schreduer and Sbu Nkosi) have been with the team already this season and will slot in quite naturally, it’s the likes of Chiliboy Ralepelle and Jean-Luc du Preez that that will cause the biggest concern. There’s simply no way to leave either Franco Marais or Akker van der Merwe out of a strongest possible lineup, but with a test player (even an unused one) also in the mix, it becaomes very hard to figure out what to do.

At loose forward, the challenge is no less severe. Jacques Vermeulen has bene the beating heart of the team all season long and one feels du Preez would do untold damage where he to pick Jean-Luc to come straight in if it means Vermelulen losing out. Figuring out how to pick four loose forwards out of a group that includes both twins, Vermeulen, Tera Mtembu and Keegan Daniel is going to be a tricky one indeed and sure to cause a sleepless night or two for the Sharks coach.


  • My thoughts on the strongest Sharks side available: 1. Du Toit 2. Marias 3.Geldenhuys 4. Paul 5. Botha 6. JL DuPreez 7. Vermuelen 8. Dan DuPreez 9. Scheuder 10. Bosch 11. Nkosi 12. Louw 13. Blewett(Am if fit), 14. Smith (my preference)/Ndungane will play 15. April.
    Bench: Schoeman, Marais, Daniel, Claasens , Smith
    Seems we a bit thin at centre with all of Esterhuizen/Ward/Am/Van Wyk out

  • Comment 1, posted at 09.10.17 11:56:34 by SheldonK Reply
  • So what is the best call. Play the best possible side an risk re injury of the best players and lose them for the knockouts. Or risk losing a game that cannot hurt our chances to chase a semi unbeaten record with little squad change except for forced ones. What would you do?

  • Comment 2, posted at 09.10.17 12:07:12 by coolfusion Reply
  • Keep your powder dry for the semi & final.

    WP fairly kak anyway, no real chance of going beyond semis.

  • Comment 3, posted at 09.10.17 12:13:56 by McLovin Reply
  • @coolfusion (Comment 2) : I reckon chnage now and have hopefully the same side for the semi rather than change in the week before a semi. Injuries happen so cant select in fear of them as a guy can get injured walking out his house

  • Comment 4, posted at 09.10.17 12:30:38 by SheldonK Reply
  • @SheldonK (Comment 1) : Agree 100% with your team

  • Comment 5, posted at 09.10.17 12:40:35 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    The hound
  • @The hound (Comment 5) : I see i do have Marais starting and on bench. Id start him and have Chilliboy on the bench. Akker is good is loose play but his basics are lacking

  • Comment 6, posted at 09.10.17 12:47:44 by SheldonK Reply

  • Going to be an interesting weekend!!!

  • Comment 7, posted at 09.10.17 13:27:48 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • @SheldonK (Comment 6) : No Akker to come on in last 20 to give fresh grunt and sow havoc

  • Comment 8, posted at 09.10.17 14:13:02 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    The hound
  • @The hound (Comment 8) : Cant see RDP not picking the Bok Chilliboy. But i do get your thinking

  • Comment 9, posted at 09.10.17 14:14:15 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 9) : I see its going to be a benefit game for Odwa so he will play 14 ,so move Smith to 15

  • Comment 10, posted at 09.10.17 14:22:19 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    The hound
  • @SheldonK (Comment 9) : Sorry Tribute game not benefit game.

  • Comment 11, posted at 09.10.17 14:23:34 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    The hound
  • @The hound (Comment 10) : Ah ok i didnt see that. Then yeh Ndungane will play 14. Is the only contracted Bok from the Sharks Beast? So everyone else should be available. Am and Van Wyk still injured?

  • Comment 12, posted at 09.10.17 14:26:49 by SheldonK Reply

  • Actually Cheetahs can qualify by losing by less than seven, and securing a bonus point for 4 tries. That however would be a worst case scenario, and a win being the preferred option. Cheetahs will have all the Pro 14 players available for selection, which will be a boost for them.
    Think Lions will only get Ross Cronje back, which can help the Cheetahs get a try 👿

    The Sharks do have a conundrum, best filter the boks back now. In seasons past doing it in a semi has backfired in terms of cohesion.

  • Comment 13, posted at 09.10.17 14:43:01 by KingCheetah Reply

  • Does no one consider going for the squad that has done us proud all year?

  • Comment 14, posted at 09.10.17 15:07:08 by Lastoutpost Reply

  • @Lastoutpost (Comment 14) : I think the starting XV should be the guys who got us here, but having JL du Preez on the bench for the second half certainly won’t hurt!

  • Comment 15, posted at 09.10.17 15:48:08 by Dragnipur Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • If either of Am and Van Wyk will be able to play, I would use the WP match to get them back into the swing of things. Likewise JLDP (you just can’t leave him out) and Dan needs to be integrated back in the team. We will need our best players in the semis

  • Comment 16, posted at 09.10.17 16:18:22 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Lastoutpost (Comment 14) : @Dragnipur (Comment 15) : except for JLdP and Chili most of the players like Dan, van Wyk, Am and co played a couple of games before so they also helped to get the team up on top! Could be a good time to give players like Vermeulen and Marais a rest to recover for the playoff games!

  • Comment 17, posted at 09.10.17 17:07:00 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • Quite often those “star” players brought in to bolster the team for the final rounds fail to perform…..

  • Comment 18, posted at 09.10.17 17:33:39 by Lastoutpost Reply

  • In my view If Am, Van Wyk is back this would be the team.

    15 April
    14 Odwa (tribute game)
    13 Am
    12 Louw
    11 Nkosi
    10 Bosch
    09 schreuder
    08 Dan
    07 Jl Dup
    06 Vermeulen
    05 Botha
    04 Paul
    03 Ross
    02 Marais
    01 Thomas

    16 Akker
    17 Juan
    18 Drostdy/Andrews
    19 Mtembu/Keegan
    20 Claassens/Wright
    21 Radebe
    22 Blewett

  • Comment 19, posted at 09.10.17 21:05:42 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @sharks_lover (Comment 19) : If van Wyk is back you wouldn’t pick him? With Odwa playing in this Tribute match, I’d still have van Wyk at least on the bench…

  • Comment 20, posted at 09.10.17 22:55:05 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • I’d also play JLdP off the bench…

  • Comment 21, posted at 09.10.17 22:55:56 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • @sharks_lover (Comment 19) : I agree with that team, although if Van Wyk fit id put him on the bench ahead of Blewett (i do think Blewett needs more games though as i like the fight i see in him)

  • Comment 22, posted at 10.10.17 07:53:45 by SheldonK Reply

  • @sharks_lover (Comment 19) : @pastorshark (Comment 20) : @SheldonK (Comment 22) : I would have both van Wyk and Blewett on the bench and drop Inny.

  • Comment 23, posted at 10.10.17 10:59:26 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator

Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.