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Sharks need a dose of Gouws

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 23 Aug 2011 at 08:00
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

In a backline looking short of any real attacking potency at the moment, the Sharks simply have to find a way to accommodate the precocious skills of under 21 fullback Gouws Prinsloo in the senior side, as soon as possible.

Regular readers of the site will now that at Sharksworld, we are seldom afraid to back a young player and advocate the selection of exciting youngsters over the sort of “grizzled veteran” that seems to be the Sharks stock-in-trade of late. While players clearly don’t all develop at the same pace, with some adapting to the rigours of senior rugby at a far younger age then others (while yet other age-group stars somehow never manage to step up) if a player consistently stands out at age-group level (and manages to shine even in a poor team performance), then that player, I feel, should be promoted up the ranks.

We’ve seen it work with Pat Lambie – and far more recently with Marcell Coetzee who has by-passed the under 21 side entirely and over the course of just 6 games has emerged as the best forward of the Sharks Currie Cup campaign so far, bar none. Sbura Sithole is another who is being given a shot to show that he’s ready for the seniors. These are guys who have matured at such a rate that they were, quite simply, too good to be playing under 21 rugby even though still eligible and those who have watched Prinsloo in action this season seem to be of one accord; Gouws is another special player who regularly stands out in a Sharks under 21 team that tends to blow hot and cold. He is, in short, ready to take the step up and the Sharks need to find a way to blood this young man to senior rugby as soon as possible.

Finding a spot for a player is, of course, always easier said than done. While my somewhat reactionary suggestion to throw him straight into the starting team, in the completely unfamiliar position of outside centre, might be considered a little too “outside the box”, not to mention perhaps a tad unfair on the player, the inclusion of Prinsloo at fullback could open up the possibility of using either Louis Ludik or Odwa Ndungane in the troublesome number 13 jersey, a position which either player may find suits them well. While it may be a bit of a stretch to include Prinsloo in the starting team right now, my feeling is that having two centres on the bench, in the form of Adi Jacobs and either Stefan Terblanche or Marius Joubert, is superfluous in the extreme. Surely a strong case could be made for adding Prinsloo in the number 22 jersey, to introduce him more gradually in that way?

As a closing thought, here’s a quote attributed to the youngster in an interview he did with the website. “As far back as I can remember, there was somehow always a rugby ball in my hands as a kid. The game has always been a massive part of my life and one of my fondest childhood memories revolves around an u9 game that I was chosen to play in as a curtain raiser to the 1999 Currie Cup final at Kings Park. From that day on, it was my dream to return to the stadium and play there professionally. After school I turned down several opportunities at other South African unions so I could follow my dream and enrol in the Sharks Academy in Durban.” Now if that doesn’t sum up exactly the attitude you want from an aspiring Sharks player, then I simply don’t know what does!


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