Being a confused selector is probably the toughest job in the world; just ask any badly programmed automatic gearbox. No matter how powerful the engine or aerodynamic the body, if the gearbox throws you into 6th gear when you should be in 2nd, you won’t be going anywhere fast…
So, in the interests of all involved I’ve decided to help the Sharks pick their team for this weekend’s game vs the Hurricanes.
To be clear, i have no qualifications as a team selector, nor do i pretend to know any more about anything than any body else. These are just my opinions so take them with however much salt you wish.
I’ve selected what I think will be the most defensively sound backline available and due to the lack of loose forward cover I’ve picked Andre Estherhuysen on the bench as cover. He has the size and speed to cover and did so last year with varying degrees of effectiveness. His defensive skills at 12 have been found wanting but that hasn’t been entirely his fault as there is no real backline defensive organiser in the mould of a Brad Barritt or Jaque Fourie.
Frans Steyn will have to take up the role of defensive organiser. Fred Zeilinga deserves another crack. He has been unfairly thrown into the fire, bypassing the frying pan completely. With the more experienced head of Frans outside him it should give him a bit more confidence and take some of the pressure off.
Conrad Hoffman has been the back up 9 to Reinach in the last few games, but he has been found wanting in all areas, therefore it is time to pick the youngster Ungerer and see how he performs.
The backline desperately needs a reshuffle with JP on the wing and Sithole at 13 which is without a doubt his best position. Odwa should continue at fullback in the absence of SP Marais and Jaco van Tonder.
As a side note, I would have selected Heimar Williams either as my starting 13 or on the bench in place of Waylon Murray whom I feel has added nothing to the squad all year.
15. Odwa Ndungane 14. JP Pietersen 13. Sbura Sithole 12. Francois Steyn 11. Lwazi Mvovo 10. Fred Zeilinga 9. Stefan Ungerer 8. Renaldo Bothma 7. Willem Alberts 6. Marcell Coetzee 5. Marko Wentzel 4. Etienne Oosthuisen 3. Jannie du Plessis 2. Bismarck du Plessis 1. Beast Mtawarira 16. Kyle Cooper / Franco Marais 17. Lourens Adriaandse 18. Dale Chadwick 19. Mouritz Botha 20. Andre Estherhuisen 21. Conrad Hoffman 22. Lionel Cronje 23. Waylon Murray