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Plenty of movements (but none to Durbs?)

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 31 Oct 2014 at 11:06
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

For the first time in living memory, we find ourselves in the middle of “silly season” with nary a sniff of any transfer, whether big or small, in the direction of the Sharks.

Now there has, of course, once again been major upheaval in the coaching ranks which, I’m sure, leads to uncertainty. Changes at the top tend to imply changes in strategy and without a strategy defined and in place, it’s very difficult to procure. While it hasn’t been said in so many words, one would expect that Gary Gold, as Director of Rugby, would have the final say on player contracts and until he officially takes office, I would imagine it’s pretty difficult for the Sharks to make any big moves. That said, the clock is running down and while there appear to be rather slim pickings on the market in general, even those are running out fast.

The Bulls have both won and lost – in the sense that they’ve snagged three big names from the Cheetahs, but have lost twice as many from their disgruntled junior ranks as a result. The Lions and Western Province have both profited from yet another Loftus exodus, bolstering their stocks further, while there’s also the inevitable movement of players from minor unions towards the Cheetahs going on.

Now, we will do a more detailed analysis of the Sharks’ options later, but from a 1000 feet, there do appear to be gaps in the squad in a number of positions, with 4-lock, blindside flank and outside center areas in particular where depth is not what we’d like it to be. Perhaps the reason, though, that we’re not hearing of any movements, whether purported or real, is simply that there isn’t anyone suitable on the market to cover any of these positions? While I’m sure the options are being pored over thoroughly within the corridors of power, I’m really battling to pick a decent shortlist in any of those spots, considering that the majority of the guys we would want are tied up in existing contracts anyway.

Perhaps the answer here lies within the structures? It could be a good thing to have a few “thin spots” in the squad for 2015 since it creates the need to work with the players we have and develop them further. For too many years, the prevailing approach in Durban has been to buy senior journeymen, rather than give promising youth an extended run, but hell, if the Lions, Cheetahs and Stormers can afford to take the risk with untried players in Super Rugby when the need arises, why can’t we?

Maybe, just maybe, this dearth of new players coming in could be just the tonic that our squad needs, if the message that it sends to the existing players is “we believe in you – now go out and prove us right”?


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