Sharks to test Pietersen at 13

2012-02-01 20:00
JP Pietersen (Gallo Images)
Durban - The Sharks are bracing themselves for their first hit-out of the season, which will be an internal trials match on Friday evening.

And according to Sharks website editor, Michael Marnewick, the latter part of this week will involve the players organising themselves into the various teams that will play over the four 20 minute periods.

Next week, a big emphasis will be placed on getting ready for the Boland game (also Kings Park) for which 28 players will be picked.

When the Sharks travel to play the EP Kings the following week, just 22 players will be taken. But right now, with competition up for places, the composition of the team to face the Bulls at Loftus in week one of the Super Rugby competition has not necessarily been ascertained.

“In the second row there is competition between Ross Skeate and Alistair Hargreaves, they are both determined to dominate the middle of the lineout, and look after that role, but there is some good pressure coming from the youngsters, and they know that,” explains Sharks coach John Plumtree.

“That competition for places is what’s going to keep that honesty alive, that’s what we need. We’re looking for some big performances week in and week out and the players will be under pressure to deliver, that’s how professional rugby should be.”

With Pat Lambie and Frederic Michalak the two flyhalf options, the coach has an interesting selection quandary ahead of him.

Again, he points to the fight for places as the driving force for both players to deliver their best.

“Fred’s a competitive character and he won’t let Pat Lambie take the jersey without a fight. He can also play at 9 for us. He’s not prepared to just make up the numbers, he’ll be pushing hard.”

In the midfield, there are some exciting options available to the Sharks as well. Along with the established centres, there are some experiments along with the fight for places coming from the new crop of players.

“We’ve changed a couple of philosophies of our play, but the proof of the pudding will be in how we play,” explains Plumtree.

“We’ve got firepower up our sleeves. We’re experimenting with JP Pietersen in the midfield, it’s something we’re interested in.

"He’s got a lot of experience, he’s a big presence in the middle of the field, defensively he’s very big, attacking-wise he’s outstanding, and he’ll just need a transition in his work rate.

“He’ll get an opportunity in the trials at 13 and we also have Tim Whitehead who has played in that position and Paul Jordaan who excites us with his X-Factor. We also have Meyer Bosman and Marius Joubert who have had big pre-seasons and are looking fit.

“Paul Jordaan played 10 for the under-21s last year and although he’s flirted with wing and fullback, he likes being close to the ball and we could see him becoming more of an impact player; we’ll see how he goes, there is a bit of excitement around him," said Plumtree.

Read more on:    super 15  |  john plumtree  |  jp pietersen  |  durban

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