Plumtree sweats over Alberts

2012-03-06 09:01

Gavin Rich - SuperSport

Johannesburg - The Sharks are desperate to see him back in action, but there is still no certainty that big Willem Alberts will be back in the mix for Saturday’s crucial Vodacom Super Rugby derby against the Lions in Durban.

The Sharks were hoping that Alberts would be ready for last week’s match against the Stormers, but after taking contact in the initial part of the week, Alberts was unable to complete the build-up with a clean bill of health and was subsequently withdrawn from consideration for the Cape Town trip.

Although the Sharks loose-forwards were excellent against the Stormers, with young Marcell Coetzee being particularly outstanding, Alberts’ ability to barge across the gainline and then transfer to support players around him is unparalleled in the contemporary South African game.

The Springbok impact forward is a giant of a man but that does not mean he lacks ball skills. On the contrary, Alberts was a provincial level schoolboy cricketer, and he has the hand skills and hand to eye co-ordination required for that sport.

He also doesn’t have to make his comeback on the flank or at No 8, with the latter position a strong possibility now that Ryan Kankowski is out for a while with injury. Alberts impressed the Springbok management last year with the work he put in as a lock and technical adviser Rassie Erasmus in particular believes that his future may well be in that position.

Obviously if Alberts is ready to play the Sharks will jump at the opportunity to include him, maybe even in the starting team. There is no coincidence in the fact that the best Sharks teams of the past 20 and maybe even 30 years have had big ball hugging flanks in the mould of Derek La Marque, Wahl Bartmann, Jean Deysel and Alberts.

But it will all depend on how he gets through training this week, with coach John Plumtree holding thumbs that after last week’s setback it goes better this time and Alberts doesn’t feel any after-effects from taking contact. Plumtree is hopeful.

“Hopefully we will have Willem back this week although I have to say that I thought our loose-forward play against the Stormers was very good, with Marcell Coetzee particularly exceptional,” said Plumtree.

“Willem took contact last week but then later in the week he didn’t feel ready. Hopefully he will come through the contact this week and become available.”

Coetzee fulfilled the Alberts ball carrying role against the Stormers, but he doesn’t have the ability to play the men around him after getting across the advantage line in the same way that Alberts does. Should Alberts return, Coetzee could be usefully utilised as a No 8.

Plumtree added that there had been sufficient improvement against the Stormers for him to be upbeat about his team’s chances going forward in the competition.

“The intensity and commitment is right up there, but our accuracy needs working on. It’s currently floating around 70% in terms of things we can control, and we would like it to be better than that. We do need to improve in that area against the Lions.

“Both games we have played so far have been really physical, and we’re not at full-strength from a personnel perspective, but we feel we have a group that is capable of winning. It’s a bit concerning to be two-zip down in terms of derbies, but we feel we feel we have things we can draw confidence from.”


  • Christopher - 2012-03-06 09:28

    I said after the WC last year that I'd love to see Alberts moved to lock. He and Bekker would form an impressive partnership! This would also free up a place on the flank for Schalk or Juan.

  • Darren - 2012-03-06 09:37

    The headline is gross…sies…you sharky boys are dodgy.

      malcolm.molver - 2012-03-06 09:44

      Are you really that stupid? Do you really think they came up with the headline? You must be a Bulls supporter. Only a Bulls supporter can be stupid enough to think that.

      Marius Roodt - 2012-03-06 09:45

      Hell, is that the full extent of your intellectual ability? Can you even read the whole article? Do you even watch the game? Such a chop.

      Jason - 2012-03-06 09:56

      Dont worry Darren I aslo had a giggle at the stupid Title, these guys are just sensitive!

      Jason - 2012-03-06 10:06

      @BlueRaven, lol to be honest I think they should be sweating over more than just Willem, As a Stormer fan we hardly look convincing at the moment and the Sharks are the team to beat this year..........................literally!

  • Jason - 2012-03-06 09:55

    "Plumtree sweats over Alberts"?????? Kinky bunch down there in Durbs huh?

  • Christopher - 2012-03-06 10:30

    See my previous statement was removed so I'll try again... Why all of the slating on this site? Does anybody actually come on here to discuss the rugby or is it just a name-calling competition???

      Bootman - 2012-03-06 10:34

      Christopher I have to agree with you. This has become ridiculous and impossible for real rugby fans like us to discuss the game we love BULLS ARE POOFTERS!!!!!!!!!

      Bootman - 2012-03-06 10:42

      Darren maybe you should lay off the man lovin pal.

      Christopher - 2012-03-06 10:43

      @Darren: Do you even know me? That's exactly the kind of childish behaviour I'm talking about. Don't you think it's kind of lame?? Why not just discuss the article? What do you think of the idea of turning Alberts into a lock? I think it'd work as it would give us a more mobile version of Bakkies and allow us to field an extra ball-carrier!

      Christopher - 2012-03-06 11:21

      @Blueraven: I'm not taking myself seriously, just asking why nobody discusses rugby on this site. I could also come out and insult people but really, what's the point? I'd rather discuss the articles and what's happening in SA rugby.

      Christopher - 2012-03-06 11:33

      Thanks Blue...Now tell me, what are your views on switching Alberts to lock? I reckon it could work. He and Schalk were immense there during the WC when we had so many lock injuries!

      Jason - 2012-03-06 12:48

      Agreed Raven, We have youngsters like Kruger and Etsebeth coming through the ranks. Willem is best suited alongside the scrum, not caught up at the bottom of it! There are good things coming to Springbok rugby if all goes well!

      Christopher - 2012-03-06 13:14

      @Blueraven and JasonEye: I don't think it will hinder his natural game at all. Kruger is a 5 lock and should be backing Bekker up and Etzebeth can provide back-up to Willem. Playing Willem at 4 will allow us an extra dynamic ball-carrier on the field. Bakkies was a legend and a wonderful enforcer but not nearly as effective a ball-carrier as Willem is! Willem would be like Danie Rossouw and he can also shift to flank later in a game or even eighthman.

      Christopher - 2012-03-06 13:50

      I'd like to see Alberts specialise at lock. That way we can have him, Deysel and Marcell on the field at the same time and Alberts is a far more effective enforcer and ball-carrier than Sykes. I like Lambie at fullback but I'm worried about his lack of pace. I prefer pace from the back on attack eg. Joe Petersen or Gio Aplon. I think Lambie's better suited to 10 or 12.

      Christopher - 2012-03-06 14:04

      Blue, that's what I'm here for :) I like Lambie in any position as he brings so much calm and stability! He almost never misses a tackle and I have yet to see him make a crazy mistake!

  • Nico - 2012-03-06 12:29

    GO LIONS!! This game will be determined by the tight 5, whoever will dominate here will win, as both sides got good loosies and a good backline. I hope Michelak plays the whole game at 9 though, just for incase the Lions does not dominate up front :)

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