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Preview Super Rugby 2018 – Cell C Sharks

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Talking about the Sharks before Super Rugby season starts is like reading the winning numbers of your lotto ticket just to release when you claim your price that you had one number wrong.

Every year for some years now the Sharks have the players to be able to dominate the competition and every year they disappoint their supporters at some stage.

The Sharks have yet again manage to have some real quality players in their squad and added to that they have made the best transfers as well in the off season.

With only two major injury concerns to start the season the Sharks will be looking to go better than last year when they lost against the Lions in the play-offs.

It looks like Coenie Oosthuizen will be out for the whole Super Rugby and Jean-Luc that will only join them in April.

Even with Coenie out of the picture the Sharks have the Beast, Thomas Du Toit, Ross Geldenhuys, Meyer and Majola to show up in the front row.

Add the talent of Akker van der Merwe and Ralepelle at the number 2 jumper you have a great front-row who will be able to compete against the best.

The Sharks have always had some great locks and this year will be no different with Lewies, Botha, Andrew and Koegelenberg to man up in the lineouts.

They did loose Etienne Oosthuizen to Lyon but that should not be a problem for the men in black.

In the loose they have quality with players like Du Preez twins, Daniel, Van der Walt, Vermeulen and Mtembu

The key for the Sharks will be at the back this year if they want to secure a playoff spot. They mostly one dimension play we have seen from them the last couple of years just does not cut it anymore.

There are some excitement among Sharks supporters this year with players like Louis Schreuder, Robert Du Preez, Curwin Bosch, Lukhanyo Am, Andre Esterhuizen, Sbusiso Nkosi, Makezole Mapimpi and Leolin Zas.

All of these players can provide the Sharks with that X-Factor they need to take their game to the next level like the Lions have shown us all.

Sharks coach Robert du Preez is happy where they team is right now as he spoke to Sharks website “The boys worked really hard with a big emphasis on keeping the pre-season a lot more rugby-related. I think the players enjoyed it although we did take them out their comfort zone, so there was no status quo as far as how things have been done in the past.

But they adapted well and they’ve enjoyed their pre-season. The boys then went on a three week break over Christmas before returning to training.”

As far as the players’ conditioning goes, he said he was encouraged by their commitment and hard work.

“I’m very pleased with that aspect, although there is still a lot of work to do. They’ve worked hard, came back nice and refreshed and ready for what we have to do now.

The Sharks have also added some new personal to their coaching bench in Dick Muir and Braam van Straaten.

Robert Du Preez has progress nicely as a coach at the Sharks but he will be under some pressure this year to produce a better performance in the tournament.

With the Sharks having all the qualities on paper to be successful in Super Rugby, their fans will be hoping this year the can bring the quality on paper to the field.

 

6 COMMENTS

  1. Well I beg to differ on `the talent of Ralepele`but yes their squad is looking alright if everyone remains fit. Particularly interested to see how the unit Esterhuizen has come along after being used at ten and fifteen in Japan. Most the RSA teams are in dire need of a powerful full-back or extra kicking option from inside centre. Might also be a break-out year for Robert Du Preez.

  2. Sharks must be the side that has played the most finals without winning…

    I kinda don’t rate that T5 at all and don’t think Braam Van Straaten and Dick Muir will add anything.

  3. @bryce_in_oz: I disagree, no doubt the loss of Coenie is huge. The only thing the Sharks need to have a proper pack is a fetcher. Someone like brussouw, Kriel or the like. I like the look of this Sharks squad, they have some real talent at their disposal. The question seems though, will the Sharks pull a France on us, or live up to the hype?

  4. @DavidS:

    He is a bull-dozer in the tight-loose though.

    @Aldo:

    There is no TH of merit, Beast is on his way out, Coenie is out for the season, Du Toit is still a LH…. Ruan Botha is the best lock in RSA but he only has Lewies as back-up. The T5 lacks depth.

    I am never concerned with fetchers if every-on in the side pulls finger in that department and they rucking/counter-rucking like Malakas.

    Not feeling it.

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