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New Sharks captain needed

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 29 Jun 2015 at 14:13
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , ,

One of the most critical decisions that Gary Gold and his team will need to make over the next few weeks regards the choice of captain for the upcoming Currie Cup campaign.

With the squad now mostly settled, bar one or two announcements (like please can we have another prop or two!) the coaches will need to figure out who the leadership group will be. Tera Mtembu, who took on the role during last year’s campaign, has been ruled out for a good four months with an ACL tear, meaning no game time at all until Super Rugby next year. Bismarck du Plessis and Pat Lambie are also not in the equation due to Bok commitments, but the Sharks do boast a number of other players who will come strongly into the reckoning.

Perhaps the most obvious thing to do would be to retain Marco Wentzel as skipper – the veteran lock assumed the role during the latter stages of Super Rugby and performed his task admirably, showing great nous and leadership in holding together a team rocked by injury, suspension and a run of awful results. While Wentzel probably didn’t really intend to play each one of the 16 Super Rugby games, injury to both Pieter-Steph du Toit and Stephan Lewies, coupled with his leadership responsibilities, meant that the 36-year-old got through a mountain of work. Whether it would be wise to expect him to play 10 Currie Cup games (or more) as captain remains to be seen, but with few other options available in the number 5 shirt anyway, it’s probably more than likely that Captain Planet will be the man entrusted with the armband.

Jean Deysel is likely to be a strong deputy; still sitting on the edge of the “naughty chair” after his lengthy Super Rugby suspension, though, he’d be a strange choice as official captain of the team, his leadership skills notwithstanding. Deysel has been through a number of upheavals of late and one feels he’d most likely relish an opportunity to work on perfecting his own game, without the official captaincy burden.

Odwa Ndungane is another likely to soldier on in this campaign and he has been a part of “leadership groups” in the past. Wing is a pretty tricky place from which to captain a side, though and with younger players pushing him hard for selection, it’s difficult to picture Odwa appointed as the official captain of the team; like Deysel, I would imagine he’d rather settle for an adjutant’s position.

There must be at least an outside possibility that a youngster will be given a leadership role in the squad too, with a view to developing those qualities for later use. Stefan Ungerer has performed the job at lower levels and seems to have natural leadership abilities, while Heimar Williams has the sort of backline marshaling skills that you’d look for in a vice captain too. Khaya Majola and Monde Hadebe are the young forwards who would appear the most natural candidates.

Given the above, I must say, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Wentzel getting the job.


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