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Sharks Super Rugby 2014: The back three

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 23 Jan 2014 at 09:42
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , ,

We conclude our look at Jake White’s likely Sharks squad for Super Rugby 2014 by focusing on the wings and fullbacks, where few surprises are expected.

The Sharks are blessed with a talented winger trio, in Boks Odwa Ndungane, JP Pietersen and Lwazi Mvovo and have relied heavily on these players for several season now – perhaps even to the detriment of some promising up-and-comers. Pietersen has been asked to do some time in midfield of late, while Ndungane – still a crucial player due to his calmness under pressure and leadership – found himself in the number 15 jersey under Brendan Venter, as concerns about lost pace persist.

Still, in terms of game breaking and finishing ability, these three men would be the envy of many a Super Rugby coach and it’s thus not expected that White will quickly turn elsewhere in terms of options at wing. S’bura Sithole is a man who has been waiting in the, um, “wings” for far too long as well and it’s hoped that the likable Queens head boy will finally get a chance to at least taste Super Rugby action this season.

Fullback is perhaps slightly trickier, with SP Marais a recent addition to the franchise after the unfortunate departure of stalwarts Louis Ludik and Riaan Viljoen. White may well look to Ndungane here too, as soon as he has Pietersen available to play right wing, but also seems keen to give Jaco van Tonder a go after an encouraging Currie Cup debut season in 2013.

Rumours persist, however, that young Tyler Fisher is the man most likely to be backed by White in the number 15 jersey, in what would, with no disrespect to the player, be a bit of a shock selection. Fisher has power and pace in abundance and is no stranger to the tryline and with White keen to include more out-and-out finishers in his back division, the 20-year-old Westvillian could go from strength to strength this year.

Hansie Graaff and Tim Swiel are other to whom White could turn as options at fullback, but neither appears to be a frontline selection in that position at this early stage of the season.

With Ndungane starting to show his age a bit as a winger and no clear favourite for the number 15 jersey, one feels that the opportunity is certainly ripe for a young outside back or two to make big strides in Sharks colours in 2014.


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