Plumtree spoilt for loose-forward choice

2010-09-16 00:00

SHARKS coach John Plumtree will be spoilt for loose-forward choice today when he names his starting line-up for the Currie Cup game against the Free State Cheetahs at King’s Park.

Flank Keegan Daniel, one of the outstanding players in the Currie Cup this year, is expected to return from injury and will join Ryan Kankowski, Willem Alberts and Jacques Botes in competition for the three loose forward positions.

The indications are that Botes, in spite of his excellent recent form, will drop to the bench with the game-breaking Daniel wearing the No 6 jersey and complementing the power of fellow-flank Alberts and the pace of number eight Kankowski.

The Sharks look to the 120 kg Alberts to create momentum for the pack but Plumtree said there should always be other options.

“It’s important that we don’t only rely on Willem to threaten. Ryan Kankowski, Keegan Daniel, Jacques Botes and Craig Burden need to be strong in terms of their ball-carrying. Willem [Alberts] has been great this year but we have to make sure we challenge across the park and we don’t keep going back to him.”

Fullback Louis Ludik, if he is passed fit, will return to add pace to the backline and allowing Stefan Terblanche to move back to outside centre in place of Riaan Swanepoel.

Plumtree said that the Cheetahs had very few weaknesses and they were particularly strong at loose forward.

“Ashley Johnson has played great rugby all year and, in fact, the depth at loose forward in this country is scary.

“The Cheetahs have some effective ball-carriers. [Hooker] Adriaan Strauss is a threat with ball in hand while [wing] Jongi Nokwe is playing some outstanding rugby and he’s a very dangerous finisher. They’re well-balanced right across the pitch.”

The Free State backline is built around former Springbok centre Meyer Bosman, who is moving to Durban at the end of the year.

“Bosman has been playing great rugby,” said Plumtree, “especially in the last three weeks. His all-round game has improved, he’s physical, his catching, passing game is impressive and he’s a key playmaker for them.”

Pro Legoete will referee the game which kicks off at 3 pm.

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