Bismarck is needed

2014-04-29 00:00

The Sharks need Bismarck!

FRANS Steyn is important to the Sharks’ quest for glory this season. That much has been published countless times during the current Super Rugby campaign. What hasn’t been focused on is the importance of the world’s best hooker, Bismarck du Plessis, to the team. He was handed the captaincy before the season kicked off, and he’s gone about learning the art of leadership. And he hasn’t done a bad job as the Sharks find themselves at the top of the Super Rugby table. On Friday, when he was a late withdrawal from the team, he was sorely missed as the Sharks were given a wake-up call at home by the Highlanders, who had not been given a chance. Jake White will hope his skipper is back when they take on the Force in Perth at 11.40 am this Friday.

South African teams are

terrible

It’s been said before that the South African Conference is the pits. But, this weekend showed just how bad South African teams are. The Cheetahs were the only ones to win. But then again, they were playing against another South African team. Heyneke Meyer must be pulling his hair trying to figure out where he will get his 15 men to don the green and gold during the upcoming Test matches next month. A frustrated Nick Mallett pleaded with school boy coaches to teach players to offload at a young age as it seemed South African teams just cannot do that effectively, while for teams from Down Under, it comes as second nature.

The New Zealand Conference is extremely tight

The Highlanders are sitting at the top of the New Zealand Conference, and third overall on the Super Rugby table. That’s quite a turnaround for the team that finished second from bottom last year in the overall competition. It’s still early days, though, and the lead in New Zealand can change at the drop of a hat. Before the week began, the Highlanders were sitting at the bottom of their Conference, but a bonus point win over the Sharks in Durban has seen them knock the Chiefs right off their perch.

When did the Reds get so bad?

With players like Will Genia, Quade Cooper, James Horwill and Lachlan Turner, you’d expect the men from Brisbane to be in the upper reaches of the Super Rugby table. They did win the title not so long ago. But this year has been a nightmare season for Richard Graham’s team and they currently find themselves just above the Cheetahs and the Stormers, and at the bottom of the Australian Conference after just three wins. Having lost three games in a row, only the Bulls are on a worse run of form.

Jake White needs to be patient with Tim Swiel

The 20-year-old flyhalf clearly is talented, otherwise he wouldn’t be playing at this level at such a young age. He missed a number of kicks in their game against the Cheetahs and again against the Highlanders. But, with ball at hand, he looks like he’s going to be a very big player for them in the future. Unfortunately, injuries to Pat Lambie and Fred Zeilinga have meant that he has been thrown in at the deep end, and although he has looked fine, he’s struggled a bit. While keeping him motivated by letting him know that they trust him, White needs to guide the youngster to ensure that he grows to realise his full potential.

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