2018 Super Rugby Squads: Sharks

As I look back over my season previews of the last couple of Super seasons, I find one recurring theme. Every year we are told: “This is the year!” “This year the Sharks will do it!” “It’s the Sharks turn!”

And year after year, the Sharks make some teams sweat, others salivate, there is no consistency of performance. They will beat the Stormers, and then lose to the Kings……

Somebody called them: “The most successful team never to have won Super Rugby.”

 The Sharks has been runners-up five times, losing semi-finalists four times and reached the quarterfinals on another two occasions.

So, what can we expect in 2018?

There have been some changes in the coaching squad. Robert du Preez is joined by former Sharks and Springbok assistant coach, Dick Muir, as well former Springbok flyhalf Braam van Straaten.

I remain very unsure of Muir’s influence at the top level of the game, he is notorious for playing talented youngsters out of position and re-treading them into utility backs without any specific specialisation. I will not bore you with the stories of Ruan Pienaar, Frans Steyn, Brent Russell, or playing Pat Lambie at outside centre or fullback. I simply wonder about the future of the likes of Curwin Bosch, Garth April, and Robert du Preez. Where will we see them playing this year?

The Sharks have lost some significant firepower in the off-season. Pat Lambie is playing for Racing 92, Cobus Reinach is playing his game for the Northampton Saints, Sbu Sithole is playing Pro 14 for the Kings, Etienne Oosthuizen is with Lyon, Jean Deysel has gone off to Ulster.

Add in the news that Coenie Oosthuizen is out with a long-term injury, as is new signing Louis Schreuder.

New signings include Robert du Preez, Ross Geldenhuys, Armand van der Merwe, and Leolin Zas.

Ruan Botha has been handed the captain’s armband for the season.

2018 Sharks Super Rugby Squad:

Forwards: Armand van der Merwe, Coenraad Oosthuizen, Mahlatse Ralepelle, Daniel du Preez, Franco Marais, Gideon Koegelenberg, Hyron Andrews, Jacques Vermeulen, Jean Droste, Jean-Luc du Preez, John-Hubert Meyer, Juan Schoeman, Keegan Daniel, Kerron van Vuuren, Khuta Mchunu, Lubabalo Mtembu, Mzamo Majola, Philip van der Walt, Ross Geldenhuys, Ruan Botha (c), Stephan Lewies, Tendai Mtawarira, Thomas du Toit, Tyler Paul, Wian Vosloo

 Backs: Andre Esterhuizen, Cameron Wright, Courtney Winnaar, Curwin Bosch, Garth April, Grant Williams, Jeremy Ward, Johan Deysel, Jacobus van Wyk, Leolin Zas, Louis Schreuder, Lukhanyo Am, Lwazi Mvovo, Makazole Mapimpi, Marius Louw, Michael Claassens, Rhyno Smith, Robert du Preez, Sibusiso Nkosi, Tristan Blewett

In

Robert du Preez (Stormers)
Ross Geldenhuys (Kings)
Gideon Koegelenberg (Zebre)
Makazole Mapimpi (Cheetahs)
Tyler Paul (Kings)
Louis Schreuder (Kings)
Akker van der Merwe (Lions)
Cameron Wright (Montpellier)
Leolin Zas (Stormers)

Out 12

Lourens Adriaanse (Pau)
Stephan Coetzee (Kings)
Jean Deysel (Ulster)
Rowan Gouws (Kings)
Francois Kleynhans (Pumas)
Pat Lambie (Racing 92)
Khaya Majola (Kings)
Odwa Ndungane (retired)
Etienne Oosthuizen (Lyon)
Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints)
S’bura Sithole (Kings)
Hanco Venter (released)

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. I agree completely with this summary. As a Natal Sharks supporter going back to the 50s, I have had to anguish so often over what might have been. When Mac was our coach, we won the Currie Cup, built a great base which was then frittered away through bad choices of coaches. Kevin Putt was followed by Dick Muir who tried Brad Barritt at flyhalf. Muir ruined Russell who was a brilliantly innovative flyhalf. Hugh Reece-Edwards, as nice a guy as he was/is, should never have been coach.
    Now we have Muir back, will du Preez chop and change as you suggest Bill? Why bring this guy Ross Geldenhuys when he is known to be a liability at scrumtime? I applaud the recruitment of Robert jr – he proved in the Currie Cup that he has a superior ability at 10. He is a thinker, he marshalls his troops and is very determined. Bosch did appear to be suspect at defending his channel and so his best position until he mentally addresses his defence, is at 15. I would love to see Am and Esterhuizen stay fit and healthy enough to form a pairing in midfield. Am at 12 and Esterhuizen at 13 not the other way round as most would see them. Am would be the brains of that axis. I am afraid that April is just that. Smith has a rugby IQ of 3. Mapimpi has gas to burn but that is it. Louw seems to get on the park and look at the grass and the people in the stands and little else. The unsung hero is Lwazi who is my favourite player (behind Am – just). Both are hugely talented and work unceasingly. The same cannot be said of Mtembu who is an onfield observer – almost a shop steward, he runs from ruck to ruck making inspections but never commits. He has ability but seems to overthink his commitment. Clear your mind and play rugby laddie – you could be a very good player. A decent squad but not a Title contender.




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