Selection headache for Sharks coach

2014-04-10 00:00

WHO will Sharks coach Jake White pick at lock when he names his squad to take on the Lions at Ellis Park this Saturday?

Pieter-Steph du Toit and Anton Bresler, the Sharks’ first choice locks who started the season, are both injured. White had to use Willem Alberts in the number four jersey to partner Stefan Lewies, who is growing in reputation, when they beat the Waratahs in Durban two weeks ago.

Alberts did well in the second row, but White acknowledged that the way Alberts plays, he was better suited on the side of the scrum.

Will White stick with Alberts at lock, and Jean Deysel, who came in like a wrecking ball last week against the ’Tahs, at flank, or will he return the former to his usual position on the side of the scrum?

Two-time Springbok Marco Wentzel has been quietly putting in the shifts for the undefeated Sharks XV in the Vodacom Cup and he could be a surprise pick, maybe even as cover on the bench.

A couple of weeks ago, White mentioned he was looking outside of the union to get a new lock into the set-up ahead of the tour down under. But with the experienced Wentzel available after recovering from an injury that kept him out for the majority of last year’s successful Currie Cup campaign, White wouldn’t have to look very far.

Despite the injuries to the locks, White will have a selection headache, and in Super Rugby, that is never a bad thing as it is a testament to the vast resources he has available to him.

Another decision that White will have to make is who to select in the 10/12/13 channels.

Following the injury to Pat Lambie, youngsters Tim Swiel (against the Bulls) and Fred Zeilinga deputised in the number 10 jersey. Zeilinga had a good outing against the Waratahs two weeks ago but the return from injury of outside centre Paul Jordaan complicates things.

Will Jordaan slot back into his number 13 jersey, which S’bura Sithole has occupied with aplomb, or with his ability to also play inside, will Frans Steyn move to flyhalf with Zeilinga playing off the bench?

White said two weeks ago he was entertaining the thought of moving Steyn to flyhalf when Jordaan returns, but after the Sharks’ game against the Waratahs in which the Zeilinga played with the assurance of a seasoned campaigner, racking up 19 points in the process, he could see himself starting at number 10 again.

The Sharks will announce the match 23 to take on the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday this morning.

Saturday’s game will kick off at 7.10 pm.

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