Lock problem for Sharks?

2012-03-12 13:26

Gavin Rich - SuperSport

Johannesburg - The joy of beating the Lions and getting their home Super Rugby season off to a winning start may have been dampened just a bit by the untimely lock problem that the Sharks are sitting with as they prepare to play the Reds in Durban on Saturday.

Ross Skeate has been a revelation for the Sharks in the first three games of the season, and has probably been their best lock in the opening stanza of the competition. However, Skeate was forced to leave the field early during the 32-20 win over the Lions with a hip flexor injury that is expected to keep him from facing the Reds.

In the normal course of events a Skeate injury wouldn’t be a train smash. Alistair Hargreaves is a Springbok and a former national age-group captain who is regarded as one of the better middle of the lineout jumpers around. However Hargreaves, like bulky flanker Jean Deysel, is still two weeks away from being ready to return to Super Rugby.

Deysel is mentioned because had he been fit it could have offered the Sharks with a potential solution to their problem. Willem Alberts impressed the Springbok coaches when pressed to play from lock at stages of last year’s World Cup, and had Deysel been available, Alberts at lock could have been an option (though a Steve Sykes/Alberts collusion would appear a bit incongruous).

However until Deysel returns from a long battle with a ligament injury, the Sharks are unlikely to move Alberts away from No 7 flank, where he made the anticipated impression in his comeback game against his old team. It was when the Sharks forwards started driving upfield, with Alberts in the forefront, that the Sharks got into the game and then took control after a sluggish start at Mr Price Kings Park.

As it stands, Skeate’s absence will probably mean Anton Bresler starts at lock in partnership with Sykes. In the opening game against the Bulls Bresler struggled in a middle of the lineout role that looked unfamiliar to him.

The lineouts were one aspect of the Sharks game that still looked a bit vulnerable against the Lions, and there is no doubt that like most teams these days, the Reds will target this area in Saturday’s match. Lineouts are a facet of play in which most Australian teams are proficient, but the canny champion team from Brisbane particularly so.

The Sharks were happy with the win over the Lions, particularly as it was achieved with a bonus point, that enables the Durbanites to come right back into contention in the South African conference. But while the result at Loftus later on the same day means the Sharks are now just three points behind the Bulls, the Bulls have a bye this weekend which means they pocket a guaranteed four log points.

Those four points for the bye make it difficult to read too much into the log position in the early stages of the competition. For instance the Stormers are currently second on the overall log and out in front of the South African conference, but they picked up four log points for the weekend bye, and the Brumbies, who are also up with the leaders, also have four points for a bye.

So if the Stormers lose to the Blues on Friday night and the Sharks beat the Reds, it will effectively mean the top three South African teams are closely locked together in the conference battle after the Bulls’ defeat two days ago.


  • Bulldozer - 2012-03-12 13:41

    Never had a decent lock since Mark Andrews retired.

      Sulaiman - 2012-03-12 13:56

      Come on Bulldozer don't be nasty now with the Sharks and go sit in the naughty corner. Always rated Ross Skeate the best lock in the Shark tank shame they loss him.

      ryan.a.riley - 2012-03-12 14:12

      Johann Muller was more than decent..and so was johan ackermann..sykes not 2 bad either...

      aubrey.gloster - 2012-03-12 14:52

      If you take away the forward pass try of Luckybounce Bosman and the Mvovo try where his foot was on the line the Lions would have won the game with their B-team.Guess who was the ref..........

      Bulldozer - 2012-03-12 14:52

      Sulaiman, Skeate cost you the game against the Stormers. His discipline was pathetic.

      aubrey.gloster - 2012-03-12 14:53

      Decent locks on their gates to protect the Ref ha ha ha ha ha

      Lionel - 2012-03-12 15:00

      Dozey,I thought you said Mark Lawrence cost them the game against Stormers!!!

      Bulldozer - 2012-03-12 15:07

      A bit of both, Lionel. He he he he.

      malcolm.molver - 2012-03-12 15:54

      Muller, Sykes and even Mostert were/are more than decent. I'm p!ssed off that we let Mostert go.

      Martin - 2012-03-12 19:49

      Hate to admit it but being a Sharks supporter I would agree with you on this one - All the Valies seem to breed decent locks, maybe time we do some shopping? Lol.

  • ryan.a.riley - 2012-03-12 14:10

    why not give the highly rated Pieter Steph du-Toit a go? from what ive heard, he's the real deal

      malcolm.molver - 2012-03-12 15:56

      Du Toit is a very promising player. You're not the only one suggesting he gets an opportunity. Will be good to see what he can do!

  • Alan - 2012-03-12 14:43

    Still don't understand why a team gets 4 points for doing bu@@er all.

      Lionel - 2012-03-12 15:02

      To help teams like the Bulls that battle to get points during the season:):) Dozey,hierdie ou ken kwaai chicks hehe

      Bulldozer - 2012-03-12 15:08

      Ja wat, Lionel. Been there, done that. Got the STD to prove it.

      Lionel - 2012-03-12 15:09

      LOL@Dozey,jy het ook n antwoord vir alles hehehehe

  • Teboho Mphaloane - 2012-03-12 15:48

    Hey, I'm 1,98m tall and 87kg. Bulk me up and I'm yo man! :D. ....juuust kidding

      malcolm.molver - 2012-03-12 15:58

      Teboho you're just tall enough but need another 20kg! LOL

      Micheal - 2012-03-13 08:53

      Just have alot of KFC my man!

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