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More continuity – all good!

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 9 Oct 2014 at 13:50
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , ,

I really can’t find much fault with the side the Sharks have selected this week; with continuity in key areas as well as one or two changes that for the most part strengthen the side. Let’s look at what has been done.

The change at 3
Matt Stevens comes in for a first start since picking up his injury. He’s not done all that well in his previous starts, but I think it does make sense to put him in there this week, as Lourens Adriaanse has had a few tough weeks in the scrums and has battled to come out on top of the personal battles there. Stevens knows how to scrum and will hopefully shore up this somewhat ailing set piece. We’ll need to see a high work rate from him to free up the likes of Thomas du Toit to play a bit looser. Adriaanse has good skills and is a decent enough link player, so maybe he’ll add a bit of oomph in the second period.

Hadebe starts (some say at last)
Kind of ironic that Hadebe is now getting the “Kyle Cooper experience”, just the way Cooper himself had to endure endless splinters waiting behind Bismarck du Plessis at Super rugby level. With Cooper out injured, the Westville man earns a rare start and will have some big shoes to fill. Monde is a guy of whom we’ve seen relatively little, so he’ll want to make a good fist of this opportunity. Franco Marais, on the bench, is a fine player too, a real little “bus” at hooker and more similar to Cooper than Hadebe is. The coaches must have given serious consideration to starting him, with Hadebe earmarked for an impact role, but I think they have made the right call here given the pecking order. Monde will need to show that he’s every bit as competent in set piece play as either Cooper or Marais.

Cobus is back!
Well, when you have a capped Bok available to start, you start him. Cobus Reinach is a match-winner and it’s great to have him back in the team; let’s hope his spell with the Boks has added a few new strings to his bow. The downside, of course, is that we lose a bit of continuity at halfback, with Cameron Wright and Lionel Cronje looking pretty good as a partnership over the last few weeks. One thing that I can’t really agree with, though, is the decision to drop Wright outright and persevere with Conrad Hoffmann on the bench. Wright is the form man and should have kept the spot, given that Reinach himself brings loads of experience.

Tondie in, S’bura shifts
I’ve already had my say about S’bura Sithole at centre and why I think it’s a good idea. Chavhanga is the obvious choice to come in at wing and has looked eager and full of running whenever he’s been picked. I’m backing both players to put in big performances at Newlands.


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