RE: Sharks shake up pack for final
October 25, 2012, 07:00:45
The team selected for the CC final is way better than the WP one and is going to give them a walloping. What I am more interested in is the upcooming 2013 Super Series squad. I am not aware of any high-profile new players the Sharks comtracted and the only player of ote that is leaving them is in fact Sykes. There are one or two weak players - like Viljoen - that they should also have let go - but I don't think that for them was a priority.
There 2013 Super Series squad will be very good - taking into account the following:-
Ludick and Prinsloo.
Although thy listed Lambie as a flyhalf in he official squad for 2012 - they actually played him at full back virtually throughout the season. When he was not available they played Ludick or in some cases Viljoen. Prinsloo we never saw anything of - but he is still remaining with the Sharks and is likely to be in their squad again. Ludick played exceptionally well and I believe that he will be the anchor player in the position in 2013.
I don't think that Lambie will be played at full back in 2013 - I think he will be the flyhalf next year.
Mvovo, Ndungane, Pietersen, Sithole and Specman
We actually saw very little in 2012 of the latter two players in the Super series. The Sharks started off the series in 2012 by playing Pietersen at 13 - without too much success. They initially lost some games and then changed their backline - making it more effective. Pietersen was then played at wing - his prime position. The other wing was either Ndungwane, Mvovo or Ludick. and we saw nothing of Sithole or Specmman in the actual games played. The squad will remain the same - but the actual team will most probably include Pietersen and Mvovo with Ndugane on the bench.
Bosman, Jordaan, Joubert, Steyn and Whitehead
During most of 2012 the Sharks selected Whitehead at 12 and Jordaan at 13. Steyn only became available later in the season - and played at 12. Bosman and Joubert were essentially the bench players in the series. Joubert is past his prime and will rarely be seen in 2013. I think essentially in 2013 the Sharks will play Steyn at 12 and Jordaan at 13. The problem will most likely be who should be on the bench. The advantage of having Bosman on the bench is that he can also cover for the flyhalf and he is a reliable kicker at goal as well. That leaves Whitehead - a very good player - in a bad situation, namely that he may only be on the fringes next year and not even certain whether he will make the bench. Unless Steyn really shaped up and get back to his best - it is likely that Whitehead will take over at 12.
Lambie and Viljoen
Although the above two were the only two players listed on the website, Michalak joined the squad after the 6-Nations tournament and played most of the time in that position, leaving Lambie to play at full back. There is at present no indication that Michalak will be back for the next season (great loss for the girls of Durban). In any event - Michalak at times also played at scrummie. I think that the situation would change next year and it is likely that Lambie will be the key flyhalf. Viljoen is a dead loss at flyhalf - something like Morne Steyn of the Sharks in that position. He may be subbed by Bosman - who did show some improvement later in the season. The above is confirmd even by the selection of the Sharks team for the final.
Hoffman, McLeod and Reinach
Hoffman and Reinach we never saw anything of in the Super 15 in 2012 and the Sharks consistently played Mcleod in this position - in a few games they also played Michalak at scrummie too. However, as the season went on McLeod's game keep on deteriorating - to the extent that in the CC Competition he was basically replaced by Reinach. The latter really showed star quality and seems to have the upper hand now. I think the starting scrummie will be Reinach with McLeod gradually fading out of contention.
Albert, Botes, Coetzee, Daniel, Deysel, Kleinhans, Mthembu and Stander
There are two players not listed above that may come into the picture next year and that is Kankowski and Du Toit. Kankowski last year was mostly injured and after playing some really good games for the Sharks in the CC competition left for Japan wher he has a contract until Feruary 2013. He will then be back - and will most likely be in the squad for 2013. The other interesting player is Pieter-Steph Du Toit. In discussions of the squad for the CC final - Plumtree said tht he may include Du Toit in the Final Squad. Du Toit was brilliant in the Under 21 team . He already had some Super 13 expereince in 2012 and with the departure of Sykes - he will definitely be in the squad of the Sharks for 2013 - especially since both Alberts or him can either play as loosies or locks.
This is really a top class combination of loosies. I don't think we will see much of Botes, Kleinhans, Mthembu and Stander in Super 13 next year. The players most likely to play at loosie - depending on the opposition could be Alberts (alternatively as a lock), Kankowski, Damiel, Du Toit (alternatively as a lock) and Coetsee. Even Deysel would have difficulty in getting into the squad on a regular basis. The likely scenario is that Du Toit will be on the bench to cover both the lock and loosie positions.
Bressler, Du Toit, J Marais, P Marais
The above list can be augented by playing Alberts at lock as well. I have written about the position of Du Toit already in discussions on the loosie issue. The likely combination will be The likely locks will be Bressler, Du Toit and J Marais - with th ltter two alernating depending on performance. If need be Alberts can also be moved to lock - so again a very strong combination.
Chadwick, Dell, Du Plessis, Herbst, Mtawarira and Redelinghuys
We have seen very little of Hernst and Redelinghuys the past Super 15 season and rhat is unlikely to change next year. The likely combination remains Chadwick, Du Plessis and the Beast.
Burden, Cooper, Dixon, Du Plessis, Hadebe and Marais
There are in reality only two players that will actually play in matches in the series and those are Du Plessis and Burden. Dixon is way past it and if one of the top two are injured - Cooper may be on the bench.
The above representa an exceptionally strong team that could easily be in the number 1 position on the log next year. A repeat of the travelling scenario that caused havoc in the play-offs, semi and final will be most unlikely.