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Deysel, Alberts in doubt after surgery

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 9 Jan 2012 at 09:21
Tagged with : , , , , , , , ,

The Sharks’ pair of wrecking-ball loose forwards, Jean Deysel and Willem Alberts, are both still doing rehabilitation work after off-season surgery to correct knee and shoulder injuries respectively.

Both of the players carried a heavy work load last year, starting off initially with Alberts playing nearly every minute of every game during the first half of the Super Rugby campaign, due to an injury to Deysel. Once the latter came back, he too got through a lot of rugby, first used in tandem with Alberts, then alone as the ball carrying option in the loose trio when Alberts was on Springbok duty. Once both players were available towards the end of the Currie Cup season, Deysel was used at lock.

The recurring shoulder complaint that plagued Alberts last year – and even came frighteningly close to ruling him out of the World Cup – has been a cause of some concern and the hope is that it has now been properly fixed. Ditto Deysel’s knee issues, which have been a constant factor over the last few seasons, no doubt exacerbated by the high-contact nature of the game he plays.

The Sharks were criticised last year for a game plan that placed too much reliance on the likes of Alberts and Deysel to provide go-forward ball via brute force, rather than a varied approach that occasionally favoured breaking the line through the skills of other players. With the possibility that the team may be forced to do without the services of one or possibly both players when the season kicks off on 24 February, it is possible that an alternative approach may need to be developed for 2012. In the likes of Ryan Kankowski, Marcell Coetzee and even the young Tera Mtembu, the side has loose forward options that can complement physicality and aggression with pace and guile.

Whatever the case, I feel it is of vital importance that the Sharks learn the lesson of 2011 when it comes to management of players, with Alberts and Deysel being of particular value. We have seen that both of these players can be great assets to the side when used to their best effect; however, we have also seen that an over-reliance on their physical approach, in addition to the certainty of further injury, adds an unacceptable level of predictability to the Sharks game plan.

Jean Deysel and Willem Alberts, whether individually or in tandem, are a very good thing for the Sharks, in other words, but you know what they say about too much of a good thing, after all!


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