Help may come too late for embattled Sharks

2011-05-05 00:00

HELP is on its way, but it could — unless there is a dramatic Sharks’ revival over the next month — arrive just too late to spark their Super Rugby challenge.

The Sharks’ most obvious problem this season has been in the midfield where Bok centre Meyer Bosman and veteran Stefan Terblanche have failed to make the expected impact on either attack or defence.

The Sharks have signed Marius Joubert, the 31-Springbok centre, on a two-year contract, but he may not arrive in Durban in time to play a significant role in this year’s Super Rugby tournament.

Joubert is playing for French club Clermont Auvergne in the French Top 14 and they are still in contention for a semi-final spot and the title. He will leave for Durban as soon as Clermont’s interest in the competition has ended and the Sharks are hoping that will be sooner rather than later and he will be available later this month.

The French Top final is on June 4 and the Sharks play their last two league games against the Lions (June 11) and Bulls (June 18) before the play-offs.

Joubert can play either inside or outside centre and certainly his pace and penetration on attack would add a refreshing new dimension to the Sharks’ backplay.

But for the moment coach John Plumtree is short of midfield options and he will be looking at the current centres — Bosman, Terblanche and Adi Jacobs — to lift their level of performance.

The Sharks face the Brumbies at King’s Park on Saturday night and midfield is not Plumtree’s only area of concern.

The return to full fitness of tall lock Alistair Hargreaves should bring some consistency to a wobbly Sharks lineout while flank Jean Deysel’s availability after many months adds power and quality at loose forward.

A number of players, among them number eight Ryan Kankowski and scrumhalf Charl McLeod, have battled to reproduce the verve and excitement they showed in the Currie Cup last year. Indeed, Plumtree could now opt for a backrow of Deysel, Willem Alberts and Keegan Daniel and play Kankowski off the bench.

John Smit (strained calf) is out for a fortnight — the Sharks have a bye next weekend — but Plumtree can still field an all-Bok front-row of the Du Plessis brothers and Beast Mtawarira.

The Brumbies, beaten 47-36 by the Cheetahs on Friday night, travelled to Durban on Saturday and have since held two training sessions at Northwood High School.

Their three injury concerns are Mitch Chapman, Peter Kimlin (both arm) and Dan Palmer (foot), but they are recovering well and are expected to be fit to face the Sharks.

Captain and Wallaby flyhalf Matt Giteau said he is confident his team could right the wrongs made against the Cheetahs.

“We need to be more focused and committed from the start of the match,” Giteau said.

“That will be something we are looking at tightening up against the Sharks.

“Once again our discipline will also have to improve. Pat Lambie is a very good goal kicker and will make us pay if we let him.”

Both teams will be announced today. The match kicks off at 7.10 pm.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.