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Herbst conundrum for Plumtree

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 1 May 2013 at 09:24
Tagged with : , , , , , , , ,

When you pick a player out of position – as a last resort – to do a holding job for you, the last thing you really need is for him to deliver such a commanding performance that it complicates selection for the following week.

Obviously I write this with tongue firmly in cheek; the last thing that Sharks coach John Plumtree will be doing, I’m sure, is losing sleep over the excellent play delivered by makeshift loosehead prop Wiehahn Herbst against the Chiefs, but with JC Janse van Rensburg now having joined up with the team, there is something of a front row puzzle to solve.

Nobody has managed to put Herbst’s performance into better context than his front-row partner on the day – as well as usual rival for the number 3 jersey – Jannie du Plessis, who told the Sharks website, “I don’t know if people realise how well Wiehahn Herbst played at loosehead! It’s not easy to go and play on the other side of the scrum, but he’s very strong and shorter than others he plays against, but I don’t think people know how well he is playing. He deserves credit and like the whole pack, was brilliant”.

The fly in the ointment here is that prior to Beast Mtawarira’s untimely injury, Herbst had actually managed to displace du Plessis himself from the starting lineup and was fast establishing himself as an automatic pick on the right hand side of the scrum. Should Plumtree opt to remain true to that philosophy, then we should see Herbst back at tighthead this weekend, with van Rensburg picked to start at loose.

Tinkering with any winning combination, though, would be folly and who could blame the coach if he opts to go with exactly the same starting combination this weekend, with van Rensburg likely to displace Danie Mienie amongst the substitutes. That would be scant reward for a promising three-minute cameo, and strong first scrum in Sharks colours, for the youngster, but with the Sharks needing to throw everything they have into this game, I simply can’t see Plumtree opting against introducing Bok tourist van Rensburg into his match 22.


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