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Stating the obvious


Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Super Rugby on 4 Oct 2011 at 08:00
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A lot has been said about Western Province and the blooding of their juniors, with coach Allister Coetzee quoted as saying that at least fifteen U21 players getting game time in the senior team this season so far. Although most of those players only got their opportunity due to crippling injuries, it can still be seen as a succesful exercise.

An equally publicised vocal point has been the Sharks’ clear lack of selecting talent in the centre position, not even mentioning the blooding of a youngster or two. Looking at the four centres that have run out for the Sharks so far this Currie Cup campaign, they have an average age of 31 years old.

Digging a little deeper, and looking at the four centres, we have had Meyer Bosman, Adi Jacobs, Marius Joubert and Stefan Terblanche. Firstly, it is worth mentioning that Terblanche is not even a centre, and that he is actually a wing-cum-fullback that has somehow convinced our coaching staff that he is a centre. So, back the point, we have three aged centres and a very aged wing-cum-fullback who we have doing duty in the centres.

The first problem I have with this combination, is that the best of the four men seems to be out of favour with our dear coach, sitting on the bench and getting his allocation of 15 minutes every game. That was until this past weekend, when the coach changed his mind half an hour before the game and selected Mr Jacobs in the 13 jersey. Finally, we thought he had seen the light, but alas, Adi was pulled with the most important 20 minutes still to play, while the robots around him were allowed to lose the match in that time.

Onto our latest addition, the 32 year old Marius Joubert, who at first was thought to be brought in to add experience in the midfield, only to be sent back to the gym for not being conditioned. What is really sad about this fact, it took our dear coach about 5 weeks to realise that he is not fit enough to play.

The only player who has really put his hand up so far this season, and also the only sub-30 year old amongst the four, is Meyer Bosman, who has been improving throughout. He has shown glimpses of what we all expect from a 12, running at the defence and putting away a pass in contact. Now if only we had someone outside him who could catch said in-contact pass.

Now that we have some background to our maestro’s, we look forward past the Currie Cup, past the End of Year tour and Christmas, and before we know it, we are at the start of another rugby season, a super long rugby season, and what do we have to show in the centres? An even higher average age of 32 years, and nothing else.

This is said on the assumption that both Stefan Terblanche and Adi Jacobs stick around. What really worries me personally, is the fact that there are rumours doing the rounds that, firstly, this is Stefan Terblanche’s last season and secondly, Adi Jacobs is not going to be at the Sharks next season. (Who would blame him, in all honesty?). Either of these situations would leave the Sharks with only three centres who have any experience playing in the midfield.

Then there is also this rumour doing the rounds that the Sharks have signed WesternProvince centre Tim Whitehead, a 23 year old 1.88m 90kg Grey boy that has had a fair bit of game time for the Cape side, but is behind numerous Springboks in Jean de Villiers, Jacque Fourie and Juan de Jongh. This would be a welcome addition to the Sharks centre stock, but still a bit desperate considering the talent we already have in our midst.

What frustrates me most about this situation, is the fact that coach John Plumtree is not a stupid man, and I find it difficult to understand why he put himself in this situation. It leads me to think that he has an idea, what that idea is I am not quite sure, but he seems to be sure that we will be fine come the Super season.

The biggest mistake the Sharks could make is to try and blood the likes of Piet Lindeque, Heimar Williams or Paul Jordaan in SupeRugby, but I suppose that would be better than approaching Rovers centre Gcobani Bobo to make a Shark come back. It is goingto be interesting to see what develops in this regard over the coming months.



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