The Sharks squad for the new season is taking shape and what is encouraging is that it seems that the only players leaving the Sharks are Steven Sykes who will Join the Kings in Port Elizabeth as well as Piet Lindeque who will be furthering his studies and rugby career at the university of Pretoria although the latter not yet confirmed.
As the sharks look forward to their 2013 season the squad so far has a very settled look to it, although the announcement of the squad has a very settled look to it, the fact that all contracts are in order allows for great continuity.
With a settled squad the Sharks coaching staff can put better structures in place as for when rotation or injuries occur, the positive depth of the squad in each position of course will allow for momentum and continuity.
The Sharks have been very fortunate the last few year regarding loss of players nor an influx of new players which means the coaching staff have a very settled squad to work with and this being the case again as they prepare for the new season ahead.
Great news for the Sharks is that Springbok and Sharks loose forward Marcel Coetzee has agreed and signed a new contract until 2015 with the likes of Pat Lambie, Louis Ludik and Francois Steyn still contracted till end 2014.
The rest of the squad remain on contracts that extend for various lengths which means that the coaching staff will have very little disruption to their squad as they plan for the short and long term future.
Ryan Kankowski, will return to The Sharks on 15 February to be available for the start of the Vodacom Super Rugby tournament having then completed his short term(six months) contract in Japan.
The Sharks have also agreed to loan terms for the Lions pair of lock Franco van der Merwe and former Sharks crowd-favourite Butch James. Butch’s role will to provide depth at flyhalf as well as to mentor the younger players in the system, helping to bring through the likes of Fred Zeilinga, Robert du Preez (son of former Sharks and Springbok Robert) and Jean-Luc du Plessis (son of former Springbok Carel).
Franco van der Merwe, currently with the Boks squad ahead of the end of year tour, will join up with The Sharks later in the year, said he was excited and thrilled to be playing Super Rugby with The Sharks next year.
An excited Franco admitted he was really happy when he learnt he was going to play for the Sharks in their super rugby 2013 season. ” There is so much experience there, lots of Springboks in the team and I am looking forward to being part of a nice, family culture. I know a few of the guys there and I know there is a positive vibe in the team, a good team culture. I’m also looking forward to staying in Durban.
The big lock forward also had praise for coach John Pumtree and felt honoured to be a part of and playing with the team and coach of the year.
There is also plenty of exciting young talent available to the senior squad for the future. Amongst the players representing the SA Under 21 World Champions , Pieter-Steph du Toit and Paul Jordaan who have both played for The Sharks, there is further depth in Franco Marais, Allan Dell and Nicolaas van Dyk.
The squad here is 53 players of youth and senior players from which the final squad will be formed as the 2013 season nears.
Full Back: Louis Ludick, Riaan Viljoen, Gouws Prinsloo
Right Wing: JP Pietersen, Odwa Ndugane
Outside Center: Paul Jordaan, Tyler Fisher, Marius Joubert
Inside Center: Frans Steyn, Tim Whitehead, Meyer Bosman, Heimer Williams
Left Wings: Lwazi Mvovo, Sibusiso Sithole, Rosco Speckman
Flyhalf: Patrick Lambie, Butch James, Fred Zeilinga, Robert Du Preez jnr, Jean-Luc Du Plessis
ScrumHalf: Cobus Reinach, Charl Mcleod, Conrad Hoffmann, Hanco Venter
- Eighthman: Ryan Kankowski, Keegan Daniel, Lubabalo Mtembu
- Flank: Willem Alberts, Jean Deysel, Marcel Coetzee, Jacques Botes, Chris Cloete, Franscois Kleinhans, Brynhard Stander
- Lock: Anton Bresler, Jandre Marais, Peet Marais, Pieter- Stef Du Toit, Franco VD Merwe
- Tighthead Prop: Jannie Du Plessis, Wiehann Herbst, Jullian Redelinghuys, Nick schonert
- Hooker: Bismark Du Plessis, Craig Burden, Kyle Cooper, Monde Hadebe, Franco Marais
- Loosehead Prop: Tendai Mtawarira, Dale Chadwick, Danie Mienie, Allan Dell, Nicolaas Van Dyk
Of course some players cover more than one position and there is also the possibility of another player or two joining the Sharks from elsewhere but that for the most is what the squad should look like come 2013.
The Sharks Super Rugby campaign kicks off against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday 23 February 2013, with the first home game at Mr Price KINGS PARK taking place against the Stormers on Saturday 2 March.