Sharks poser over Alberts

2012-07-16 11:16

Cape Town – How exactly to accommodate their human freight train ... that is the fairly pleasant dilemma facing the Sharks ahead of their Super Rugby finals series qualifier against the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday (11:40 SA time).

Willem Alberts provided comforting evidence that he is back to full fitness -- after his impressive series for the Springboks against England came to a premature end at Coca-Cola Park with a knee problem -- with some decisive game-time off the bench as the Sharks came from behind to trounce the Cheetahs 34-15 at the weekend and seal their playoffs berth.

The bruising, 120kg ball-carrier is one of those players who is sometimes almost too versatile for his own good, given that he can operate effectively at either No 8 or blindside flank in a starting combo and also offers possibilities as a second-rower even if at 1.92m he is perhaps not the tallest lock in town.

His physical relish also makes him an ideal man to infuse off a bench if the pack he joins has already secured healthy front-foot status and he is able to inflict further suffering on retreating opponents.

But he is probably a strong option for coach John Plumtree at lock against the Reds, with promising young Pieter-Steph du Toit ruled out of the trip with an ankle injury.

The loss of Du Toit, however, is offset by the green light for seasoned Steven Sykes to travel to Queensland, so Alberts may well be left to serve loose-forward duty to which he is really best suited.

That said, what guarantee is there of the ex-Lions combatant automatically breaking into the start-out Sharks loose trio?

For both of the ultimately impressive, successive home derby victories over the Bulls and Cheetahs, the hosts have been wonderfully served by the in-form trio of captain Keegan Daniel at No 6, Marcell Coetzee back in more of a blindside mode after his Bok strides on the open side, and Ryan Kankowski packing a resurgent punch in the No 8 jersey.

It was a reflection of their present gelling as a combination that all three registered tries as the Sharks tossed aside their first-half slumber to dot down four times in the second half of the key win over the initially resistant Cheetahs.

The last-named player, in particular, is currently serving up some of the best rugby of his near seven-year first-class career, combining his renowned athleticism with notably more “grunt” at close quarters than he used to sport.

Against the Bulls, especially, he was also a massively influential factor at the lineout, causing problems for the visitors on their own throw and banking his own ball convincingly – he is important in this facet because the Sharks’ lineout collectively is not the most revered in the Super Rugby business.

The Durban-based side are so blessed with loose forward options right now (veteran Jacques Botes has also earned a ticket to Queensland) that coach John Plumtree even saw fit to declare another Bok hard man, Jean Deysel, surplus to immediate requirements.

Deysel has not made quite the impact expected of him since his return to the fray from a long-term injury, and may be expected instead to rediscover his mojo in the looming Currie Cup.

Certainly the back three of the scrum is one department where Plumtree has a greater array of blessings at present than, say, Cape counterpart Allister Coetzee who has been forced by a terrible injury jinx to do a spectacular amount of chopping and changing and no lack of experimentation for much of the Stormers’ successful ordinary-season campaign.

It is still hoped – though it must be considered a long shot that they would truly be battle-ready -- that either of Schalk Burger or Duane Vermeulen will be in the mix for the home semi-final after a welcome bye week.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


  • dhirshan.gobind - 2012-07-16 11:22

    where ever he is employed, he will smash them reds into the ground! what a boytijie! sharks groete!

      dhirshan.gobind - 2012-07-16 13:04

      @isak, lol spies is my main man but a disappoinment most of the time ay.

      cavin.snyman - 2012-07-16 16:12

      The Sharks must just stick to their game plan. Keep it tight up front and give the backs plenty of ball and we will beat the Reds. For now they must just focus on travelling well. Playing the Stormers the week after should not be in their minds as we know they can beat them. Sharks forever!!!

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-16 18:13

      he is employed at the sharks. what has happened to the IQ of this country?

  • andre.potgieter.5 - 2012-07-16 11:50

    Kanko se drie Saterdag was uit die boeke uit!!! n Aanwins in enige losvoorspelerposisie!

  • ndira.mtyenene - 2012-07-16 11:55

    I predict a Sharks vs Bulls final.....the stomers lack killer instincts

      ndira.mtyenene - 2012-07-16 12:01

      by first beating crusaders

      deon.louw.7505 - 2012-07-16 12:22

      It is not impossible, but chances are slim. To get to the Final the Bulls have to beat the Crusaders and then the Chiefs and away. The Sharks stand a better chance of reaching the Finals as they have to beat the Reds and then the Stormers.

      shannon.nass.1 - 2012-07-16 12:46

      Anyone can win it !!!except the stormers:)

      johan.coetzer.52 - 2012-07-16 12:57

      Would like Bulls /Sharks final , will then not have to travel to NZ for final .Hell of a lot of travelling for Sharks if they beat Reds in AUS then to Cape Town for Stormers and so on .

      Grant - 2012-07-16 13:00

      I'm not a stormers fan, but people are writing them off far too readily! They are top of the log, and got there playing ugly rugby! If they can finish a season on top without playing their best rugby, all they need is 2 decent performances. I think they've got a better chance than anybody else. ...although if the Sharks' forwards keep doing what they've been doing, it'll take a massive effort for anybody to stop them! :)

  • sean.bagley.50 - 2012-07-16 12:00

    Latest Scrum V Poll Who will lift the Super Rugby title on August 4? Stormers 225 VOTES Chiefs 113 VOTES Reds 93 VOTES Crusaders 384 VOTES Bulls 28 VOTES Sharks 78 VOTES Crusaders out and out favorites to go all the way according to this British poll.

      Frank - 2012-07-16 13:44

      British poll? I would'nt put any money on their predictions.

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-16 17:02

      is a british poll one of those construction workers from poland stealing their jobs?

  • dave.short.102 - 2012-07-16 12:05

    Dont think the Bulls has a gr8 chance here boys, Sharks, Crusaders final!!! Bulls Groete

  • maakdiebulle.almalbokke - 2012-07-16 12:08

    Alberts is n yster !Ek wil my verstout om te sê hy is beter as Spies.

      lionel.kemm.9 - 2012-07-16 12:13

      Stadig maar seker kom jy reg ou Bul hahahaha Bok loosies Duane at 8,Alberts 7 and Kolisi/Brussouw at 6???

      maakdiebulle.almalbokke - 2012-07-16 12:30

      Vermeulen moet eers n game of twee speel, 8 Alberts/Joshua Strauss 7Coetzee 6 Brussouw/Kolisis

      lionel.kemm.9 - 2012-07-16 12:32

      Bul,hy gaan in die semi speel en in die final:):)

      maakdiebulle.almalbokke - 2012-07-16 12:45

      Wil eers sien hoe hy speel na sy besering voor ek besluit sal maak.

      deon.fouche.3 - 2012-07-16 12:53

      @Lionel, waar hoor jy dat Duane gaan in die semi-final speel?

      lionel.kemm.9 - 2012-07-16 12:57

      @Deon,niks is bevestig nie maar daars n goeie moontlikheid,ons het hom nodig sien dat Sinclair kan nie speel nie.

      deon.fouche.3 - 2012-07-16 13:02

      @Lionel en Isak - ja dit is meer net hoop as enige iets anders. Van wat ek hoor sal hy nie kan speel nie. Eers weer in die CC. Isak, waar was jy Saterdag? Het jou gesoek by Nuweland! As ons so gaan speel speel ons ook ons laaste game volgende Saterdag!

      lionel.kemm.9 - 2012-07-16 13:11

      @Deon,ek moet ook se dat Deon Fourie nie sleg gedoen it op 8 Saterdag nie,hy het ook n bal in die lynstaan gewen hahaha

  • Jandl Reevo Reeves - 2012-07-16 12:59

    Bokke will dominate world rugby this year and next with our depth,power,size and is to much of excitement !!!! It's starting with the super 15 already 3 sides in the playoffs ,boooo yaaaah

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-16 13:18

      jandl, hot girlfriend, comment deemed VALID. well done

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-16 16:30

      seriously. i give 11/10 better than any i have paid for

  • betsy.dorris - 2012-07-16 13:32

    start him on the bench

  • Frank - 2012-07-16 13:43

    The Sharks have been in more Super Finals than any other SA team. This is their year!!!!

      dave.short.102 - 2012-07-16 14:12

      Also think so, as a bulls fan, SHARKS ARE LOOKING GOOD!!!

      maakdiebulle.almalbokke - 2012-07-16 14:50

      @Frank , Nope Bulls played 3(3Tophies) Sharks played3(0 trophies) But they can go all we way.

      LeonTheShark - 2012-07-16 15:20

      Sharks and bulls 3 finals each if you include super 10 sharks 4 finals yes bulls won all 3 sharks lost all but that 2007 sharks bulls final was blatant match fixing

      maakdiebulle.almalbokke - 2012-07-16 16:36

      The ref made one mistake,actually it was that idiot coach of yours, taking of Pery and Smith,leaving Steyn an inexperienced youngster to do the kicking.

  • LeonTheShark - 2012-07-16 14:54

    Deysel the best

  • Karel du Toit - 2012-07-16 16:44

    play alberts at 12

      robert.vandyk1 - 2012-07-16 17:51

      If there is a case of horses for courses then this is it and Alberts should warm the bench. The Reds will be beaten by pace and skill as opposed to the physical stuff. Keep Alberts for the crash bash merchants like the Crusaders, Chiefs and Stormers. Go Sharks.

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-16 18:14

      when did we start talking about horses?

  • marc.grondein - 2012-07-17 07:28

    Play him at lock,the loose forwards stay the same as last week.

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