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Reinforcements arrive at just the right time


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 1 Oct 2014 at 16:10
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , ,

While the odds are definitely stacked against the Sharks, as they prepare to take on the rampant Golden Lions in Durban on Friday night, I do find it pleasing that a number of injured players are now making their way back into the selection frame, strengthening the squad nicely ahead of the upcoming knock-out phase.

Let’s look at the changes that have been made this week.

Thomas du Toit back in
It’s hard to see this as anything other than positive, given how creaky the scrum has looked in recent weeks. One gets hte feeling that the coaches always had a plan to rotate du Toit and Chadwick in the number 1 jersey, with the young man’s untimely toe injury interfering with the roster to some extent. Scrumming challenges don’t come any tougher than a match against the Lions and young Thomas will have a lot of work to do to come out of this one with his burgeoning reputation enhanced.

What’s going to happen at hooker, though?
This is a trickier one; Kyle Cooper has a knee complaint and will be given as much time as possible to recover. Should Monde Hadebe start, he will need to show a tight game hitherto unsuspected, since the Lions aren’t going to step back an inch. The Sharks hands are a little forced here, but I would be lying if I said the prospect of going into this game without Cooper didn’t worry me a bit.

Stephan Lewies at 4
We’ve become very used to seeing Big Steph in the number 5, lineout kingpin role, but he has the size and attitude to do a very good job at 4 too – and let’s face it, only a fool drops Planet Marco given the pensioner’s current form. JC Astle played a big role in the lineouts last week but was, to my mind, found a little wanting in the tighter phases of the game. Let’s hope Lewies brings a bit more up-front oomph, particularly in the key scrum battle.

The legend returns
Would I have dropped Khaya Majola for anyone other than Jacques Botes? You’re bloody joking. Pecking orders exist for a reason, though and we’re hoping for some vintage play from a vintage player, if for hte last time ever at Kings Park.

The same backs
I’ll not make my point about S’bura at 13 again this week. Paul Jordaan stepped up well against the Kings and now needs to do the same against a good side. Sithole needs to handle the context switch and deliver a class performance in the 14 jersey – doing so won’t make me clamour any less for a lasting role in midfield for him. On the whole, it’s very positive, though, to see the same backline combination for a third week running. The boys will only benefit from the continuity.

A heavy bench
We’ve got Matt Stevens back as an extra prop on the bench and given what I think is coming up front, that’s a bloody good thing too. I’m perhaps a bit concerned about a lack of variety among the backline replacements; let’s face it, between them Hoffmann and Zeilinga really only cover 2 of the 7 positions. There’s enough versatility elsewhere, though, to make me hope that the gamble pays off.



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