Will the Bok cavalry save the Sharks?

Will the Bok cavalry save the Sharks?

The bad news is that Bongi Mbonambi is expected to be out for 6 months and Vincent Koch for around 3 months. The only other two Boks what will bolster the pack at some point will be Ox Nche and Eben Etzebeth. The remaining Boks that can add zip to the back line is Jaden Hendrikse, Grant Williams and Makazole Mapimpi. That is the makeup of the available cavalry unfortunately. There are a number of players out injured that can certainly add value to the squad.

I have made a summary of the entire squad starting with the players that featured against Connacht (information about caps have been obtained from itsrugby.co.uk. The Sharks Rugby website does not have consistent info). The stats are for the start of the 23/24 season.

PlayerAgeURC / Super Rugby / Heineken Cup / ERC / ECStartsRank
Ntuthoko Mchunu2435132
Dylan Richardson2426143 (2)
Coenie Oosthuizen331291012
Corne Rahl20212
Emile van Heerden23753
James Venter2629231
Phepsi Buthelezi2360373 (1)
Sikhumbuzo Notshe29105641
Cameron Wright2949103
Curwin Bosch2594811
Aphiwe Dyantyi2829252
Francois Venter3288781
Lukhanyo Am2990901
Werner Kok2940331
Aphelele Fassi2451451
Daniel Jooste242254
Dian Bleuler241323
Hanro Jacobs23523
Jeandre Labuschagne241682
Tino Mavesere253
Zee Mkhabela291225
Boeta Chamberlain2336282
Rohan Janse van Rensburg2980542
Jaden Hendrikse2229221/2
Grant Williams2746191/2
Ox Nche28111861
Eben Etzebeth
Makazole Mapimpi3387831
Hyron Andrews2874444
Diego Appolis234
George Cronje223
Lionel Cronje3438223/4
Muller du Plessis245
Nevaldo Fleurs24313
Gerbrandt Grobler3168461
Francois Hougaard351111004
Reniel Hugo3359392
Eduan Keyter274
Murray Koster24323/4
Siya Masuku27753/4
Fez Mbatha241773
Khwezi Mona31934
Yaw Penxe2664552
Ignatius Prinsloo2644/5
Marnus Potgieter2418132/3
Vincent Tshituka2551471
Kerron van Vuuren2870352
Anthony Volminck3346384
Vincent Koch3366411
Bongi Mbonambi32114821
Le Rouz Roets282272

If all players were fit, I would think this would be a probable starting 15 (vs last starting 15):

1Ox NcheNtuthoko Mchunu
2Bongi MbonambiDylan Richardson
3Vincent KochCoenie Oosthuizen
4Eben EtzebethCorne Rahl
5Gerbrand GroblerEmile van Heerden
6James VenterJames Venter
7Vincent TshitukaPhepsi Buthelezi
8Phepsi ButheleziSikhumbuzo Notshe
9Jaden HendrikseCam Wright
10Curwin BoschCurwin Bosch
11Makazole MapimpiAphiwe Dyantyi
12Francois VenterFrancois Venter
13Lukhanyo AmLukhanyo Am
14Werner KokWerner Kok
15Aphelele FassiAphelele Fassi
16Kerron van VuurenDan Jooste
17Dian BleulerNtuthoko Mchunu
18Hanro JacobsCoenie Oosthuizen
19Emile van Heerden / Jeandre LabuschagneJeandre Labuschagne
20Sikhumbuzo Notshe / Dylan RichardsonTino Mavesere
21Grant WilliamsZee Mkhabela
22Boeta ChamberlainBoeta Chamberlain
23Rohan Janse van RensburgRohan Janse van Rensburg

The tight five will definitely be strengthened, the loose trio less so but most of the back line will be made up of the same crowd now playing there. So the team will have an improved set piece and tight exchanges, but the same errors will still hamstring the results.

IMO if Plum wants to get the Sharks to play expansive rugby the franchise as a whole will have to put in a major effort to measure and improve the skill levels of all players in the senior and junior squads. The number of silly errors made per game are not good enough for this level.

The only alternative is to find a game plan / playing style that can produce results with the current average skill levels in the squads.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x