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One last hurrah


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 13 Oct 2015 at 09:57
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

Let’s put aside our doom and gloom for a bit (and forget about the woes of the senior side) as we get firmly behind the Sharks under 21 team for this weekend’s semi-final against Free State.

They’ve perhaps flown under the radar a little bit this season and not always been as consistent as we would like, but there’s very little doubt that there is plenty of quality in this group and with that quality, a fair bit of hope for the future down in Durban. While the boys will conceded they let themselves down badly in losing to EP away (the fixture that ultimately cost them a home semi), there have been plenty of highlights too. Two narrow, but significant wins over the Lions showed the team’s character, while a last-gasp loss against the Bulls at Loftus was well avenged in a thrilling 29-23 win at Kings Park that looked closer on the scoreboard than it was in reality. It’s been a long time since the Sharks had a team that can compete with the likes of the Bulls at this level, making this result special indeed.

The best, of course, is the thus-far unbeaten record against the table-topping WP under 21 side; the men from the Western Cape have no blemishes on their otherwise perfect season, bar the defeat and draw suffered at the hands of the Sharks. That record will stand Michael Horak’s men in good stead should they progress, but they would be wise not to look any further ahead than this week’s game against a superb Free State side.

The team for the match would pick itself, were it not for the possibility of including a few “secret weapons”, made available courtesy of the senior Sharks’ dramatic Currie Cup exit. While Barend Potgeiter, Mees Erasmucs, Ruan Kramer and Mthunzi Moloi have all performed admirably in the front row this season, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Horak opts not to introduce the Currie Cup experience of Mzamo Majola and Thomas du Toit for this crucial clash. Working out the front row permutations is likely to be challenging enough (especially given the 7-man bench at this level of the game), but perhaps the key question this week will be where and how the prodigious Andre Esterhuizen might slot into the backline.The big 21-year-old has been utlised at inside centre and wing in the senior side, but it’s hard to imagine him displacing captain Marius Louw – a vital cog in the team machine this year – at number 12. A role in the back three would be more likely, with Esterhuizen able to do a job either at wing, or at fullback, a position in which he played much of his rugby in an impressive schoolboy career.



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