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A good return


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 15 Oct 2014 at 11:01
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

Back in January, we lifted the lid on the 14 new recruits to join the Sharks as contracted junior players this year. Let’s have a bit of a look at how well that investment has panned out.

Of the lads that came in, only Cameron Wright was ineligible to play under 19 rugby this year, having turned 19 in his Matric year at Hilton College. Wright, as we know, played a fair bit of Varsity Shield rugby for UKZN earlier in the year, before being thrust straight into the limelight in the senior Currie Cup side. He’s done remarkably well to come through as a senior option in just his first year out of school and we eagerly await even more great performances from him – as a senior – in 2015 and beyond.

Thomas du Toit, of course, has enjoyed an even more stellar trajectory and is highly unlikely to ever play age-group rugby for the Sharks, given his immediate and successful transition to Vodacom Cup, Super Rugby and Currie Cup at 19 years of age. Thomas is far more likely to wear a Bok jersey than he is a black one with two white hoops. Again, what a player – a credit to his family, his school and the the Sharks!

That leaves 12 of the 14, who according to Jake White’s edict were all to play under 19 rugby this year, rather than being considered to the under 21 side if they were good enough. This policy has borne fruit, I’d say, with the under 19s finding some good form in the latter half of the competition and qualifying for the semi-finals, with a 52-7 annihilation of the Bulls a fortnight ago the clear highlight. The down side, of course, was a poor under 21 season, but the less said about that the better.

Of the remaining 12, 10 have played regularly for the under 19s this season, to good effect. Ruan Kramer has started virtually every game at tighthead and has recently taken over the captaincy, while Andrew du Plessis, who sat out the early part of the season with injury, has featured off the bench regularly in the last month. Johan du Toit and Hyron Andrews have formed a potent lock partnership, while Jean-Luc and Daniel du Preez, along with Ayron Schramm, have weighed in with good contributions in the loose trio.

Marius Louw and Retief Marais, too, have played their part, albeit in different positions to the ones they filled at school. Louw has moved from flank to centre and has proved a try-scoring force in midfield, while Marais has broken the family mold and moved from the second row to the wing.

Flyhalf Innocent Radebe, too, has had a stellar season and would be higher up the points scoring charts than his current fourth position had he not sat out a few games midway through the campaign.

That leaves two players who’ve not featured and it’s not clear exactly what the future holds for either Wandi Mazibuko or Petrus du Busson. The former was always going to be a doubtful start in the second row given his lack of height and we’re hoping that somebody has been working with him in the background to find a place for him to play. Du Busson, on the other hand, is a fine lock who simply appears to have been caught in a bit of a logjam. We’re still holding thumbs that he emerges as a strong option at under 21 level in 2015 and 2016.



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