Sharks in better shape?
January 25, 2013, 09:04:41
Sharks coach John Plumtree is satisfied with the depth in his squad this season.
The Durban-based franchise began last year’s tournament without injured players like Beast Mtawarira, Jean Deysel, Willem Alberts and Ryan Kankowski, and lost their opening two matches, against the Bulls and Stormers.
Plumtree, though, is confident they will avoid a repeat in 2013. This time round, only two players are injured, Bismarck du Plessis (who is expected to be back in April) and prop Dale Chadwick, who is out for four to six weeks with a stress fracture in his foot.
‘If you look at our squad, there is good depth in the backs, good depth in the locks now, and good depth among the loose forwards,’ Plumtree told the Sharks website. ‘There is really good competition for places and with the two trial games coming up [against the Leopards in Pietermaritzburg on 8 February and the Pumas in Nelspruit a week later] we’ll get the opportunity to see how everyone performs.’
While the Sharks no longer have the services of Steven Sykes (Kings), Ross Skeate (Agen) and Frederic Michalak (Toulon), they have made two good acquisitions in former Lions duo Butch James and Franco van der Merwe (the latter on loan), which will add depth in key positions.
‘Butch and Franco have done well,’ said Plumtree. ‘Franco is really enjoying it here. Although it is different to what he is used to, he looks to have settled in nicely. Butch knows our system, knows how we operate here and it’s really just coming back to family for him. He’s been great.’
All is not well with Beast who is still having minor heart palpitations. Beast though says it is not career threatening and can be treated. But the sharks are a bit thin at prop right now and missing Bismark is significant. Can they get of fto this good start?
So lets see how Du Toit goes, Kan Kan, Reinach, Frans, Mvovo and Jordaan and also possibly Ludik go. Meyer will probably be watching these guys closely. The sharks front row and Alberts are certain to be in the Bok mix. Frans will I believe show some good form this year. Movovo is improving. Ludik may have hit a ceiling. Jordaan and Reinach could well make the Boks ths year. Young Du Toit will have to show he can cope with Super 15 rugby.
All in all the sharks are an interesting side this year. They should be in the top 6 and that means play well and you are knocking on the door for the Boks.
One big worry for the sharks is of course the Stormers. They will be concerend that a second string WP side knocked them over at home! That must have left some psychological scarring. It is doubtful whether should they meet the Stormers at full strength that they will cope with the raw power of the Cape 8. They didnt against a second string and were dominated in the second half.
Stands to reason sharkies so no bluster and blowhard reactions please - facts are facts.!