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Team Points
Premier Division
Xerox Golden Lions 10 10 48
Vodacom Blue Bulls 10 8 39
DHL Western Province 10 7 35
Toyota Free State Cheetahs 10 3 24
Cell C Sharks 10 4 22
Steval Pumas 10 3 17
Eastern Province Kings 10 2 12
ORC Griquas 10 1 8
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Griquas swoop for van Dyk

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Other SA Teams, Sharks on 27 Aug 2013 at 09:38
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

There’s a certain ironic sense of inevitability for me, in the news that Sharks under 21 tighthead Maks van Dyk is among the list of players said to be moving to Griquas for the 2014 season. This according to a report in Volksblad this morning.

The Sharks, after all, announced the signing of Griquas’ own Bok tighthead, Lourens Adriaanse, as a major coup just last week. With another former Sharks age-group 3, Nic Schonert, understood to be leaving Griquas for the Cheetahs at the end of the season, it became vital for CEO Arni van Rooyen to plug the gap. Van Dyk, a highly promising young player who was a key man in the Junior Springboks’ 2012 IRB JWC triumph, has inevitably become surplus to requirements in Durban, it seems, given the three senior tightheads of Bok quality ahead of him in the pecking order.

I can hear the mutters of discontent from here, of course and I share, to some extent, the sentiment. To me, it is always a tragedy when we lose a youngster from our own ranks; the harsh reality, I guess, is that even in this brave new Smit-Venter era, we simply cannot retain and contract every young player who comes through our ranks. If anything, the bigger problem here is the systematic over-supply of quality young props in the Sharks’ age-group ranks of late, often to the detriment of other positions. Aside from van Dyk who is now moving on, the Sharks still have another Junior Bok 3 in Marne Coetzee (still only 20), along with two contracted under 19s in Bart le Roux and Stefan van Schalkwyk. Next year sees the introduction of yet more props, including SA Schools tighthead Ruan Kramer from Grey Kollege. Lots of players with high hopes – but reality will need to kick in at some point too.

Perhaps a more joined-up approach is needed, with fewer youngsters, better initial identification and more specialist coaching in order to ensure a higher proportion actually come through.

There are those who will insist that the Sharks should have rather backed van Dyk and left Adriaanse where he was. With my hand on my heart, though, I cannot honestly say I agree with that thinking either. Super Rugby is no place to blood a 21-year-old tighthead who has yet to taste senior rugby in any form. That approach might work in other positions, but front rankers tend to mature on a somewhat longer schedule and we forget that at out peril.


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