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No shortage of experience for Sharks

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 9 May 2013 at 11:06
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

The talk coming out of Brisbane this week (well, from coach Plumtree, at any rate) has all been about a Sharks team held together with bits of chewing gum and old string, clinging desperately to any semblance of hope despite being continually ravaged by the worst injury curse he’s yet seen. Our analysis of the match 22 named to face the Reds paints a somewhat different picture.

Before the season began, people looked at the Sharks as strong contenders for the title, with squad depth and experience being key factors in that prediction. Super Rugby is a long and uncompromising competition and injuries are going to happen; that’s why you have a big squad and good structures to back when they do and for many pundits, the Sharks started the season with about the best squad out there, in terms of depth. As fate has decreed, that depth has been sorely tested, but the key point here is that it has come through, by and large, with the Sharks never in any danger of fielding a seriously, or embarrassingly, under-strength outfit this season.

Odwa Ndungane, should he take the field this weekend, will play his 100th Super Rugby match, joining Jannie du Plessis (108) and Meyer Bosman (104) in the elusive centurion club. Also achieving milestones will be Jean Deysel and Charl McLeod, each playing their 50th in the competition, as well as Willem Alberts, who’ll gain an 80th cap should he come off the bench. It’s not the individual achievements that are important here, but rather the overall squad composition and the numbers here certainly provide food for thought.

Across a match 22 that includes an uncapped player in  Monde Hadebe, the Sharks boast a combined tally of 1123 Super Rugby caps. As if the total itself isn’t enough to give the lie to any talk of a weakened, injury-ravaged side, let’s divide that total by 22 to derive an average: the answer is 51.04. Seems funny, doesn’t it, that a team where each player, on average, has a half century of Super Rugby caps should be considered under-strength. Just by comparison, the Bulls team that played the Hurricanes last week (by no means under strength) came in at 1186 total caps.

Sharks, it’s time to pack the excuses away and play some rugby. Injuries happen, but that’s why you have depth and we as fans back each and every one of you lads wearing the black and white to deliver for us, whether you started the season as first choice, or as reserve for the Vodacom Cup side.

Player Sharks Caps Other Caps Total
1 JC Janse van Rensburg 1 50 51
2 Kyle Cooper 11 0 11
3 Wiehahn Herbst 33 0 33
4 Pieter-Steph du Toit 16 0 16
5 Franco van der Merwe 10 73 83
6 Marcell Coetzee 33 0 33
7 Jean Deysel 49 0 49
8 Keegan Daniel 90 0 90
9 Charl McLeod 49 0 49
10 Pat Lambie 45 0 45
11 Lwazi Mvovo 46 0 46
12 Meyer Bosman 43 61 104
13 JP Pietersen 95 0 95
14 Piet Lindeque 2 0 2
15 Riaan Viljoen 17 26 43
16 Monde Hadebe 0 0 0
17 Jannie du Plessis 82 26 108
18 Anton Bresler 32 0 32
19 Willem Alberts 42 37 79
20 Derick Minnie 2 42 44
21 Tian Meyer 0 11 11
22 Odwa Ndungane 89 10 99
Total 1123


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