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The SharksIn this Article we look at the contenders for HOOKER at the Sharks 2013 Super Rugby group.

The Sharks have pretty decent depth at Hooker where they would start with the Hooker that probably tops the world ratings in his position, and although he has just gone through  major knee surgery is seems according to some reports that he should be ready to take his place in the starting line-up come mid March 2013.

This means he would miss the first two to three weeks of Super Rugby thus leaving a huge hole in the Sharks front row, but now open chance for either Craig Burden or Kyle Cooper to show their skills and if they can handle the pressures of Super Rugby as a starting Hooker.

 

 

The Contenders:

Bismarck Du Plessis:

Position Hooker, 1 match at prop
Height 1.89
Weight 114 kg
Date of Birth 22 May 1984
Place of Birth Bethlehem
Provincial Debut 2005 Natal Sharks
Provincial Caps 36
Provincial Points 50
Super Rugby Debut 2005 Sharks
Super Rugby Caps 100
Super Rugby Points 65
Test Debut 7 July 2007 vs Australia in Sydney, aged 22
Test Caps 46
Test Points 30
Bismarck du Plessis

Bismarck is probably one of the biggest names right now in world rugby and his present injury is and was a huge setback for the Springboks and the Sharks. The Sharks lost a final where their lineouts was a total shambles as the reserve hookers struggled to find their jumpers and although in the Springbok matches it was not felt as badly, as backup hooker Adriaan Strauss was solid.

But Bismarck is more than just a lineout throwing Hooker, he beings far more to the table as a player. The Sharks lost the man that is not only their fetcher but he is the player that seems to put fire in the belly of the Sharks pack and also is the one hitting rucks with venom.

His return to the team in 2013 will surely be a huge injection for the Sharks.

 

Craig Burden:

Position Hooker
Height 1.84
Weight 100 kg
Date of Birth 13 May 1986
Place of Birth Durban
Provincial Debut 2006 Natal Sharks
Provincial Caps 82
Provincial Points 146
Super Rugby Debut 2006 Sharks
Super Rugby Caps 34
Super Rugby Points 20
Test Debut  2008
Test Caps 41
Test Points 10
Craig Burden

Craig is probably the most perfect bench Hooker one can find. He started his career in Pietermaritzburg where he was schooled at Maritzburg College, but he started at center / wing and even went on to represent Natal and the Sharks at center / wing. He too has come through the Sharks academy.

It was the then coach at the Sharks, Dick Muir, who convinced him to convert to Hooker where he now applies his trade. Muir in his conversion of Craig sent him to New Zealand where he spent 3 months in special training at the Murray Mexted academy.

Since returning Craig has played and grown into the position of Hooker and is a very dangerous replacement as he tears defenses to shreds with speed and power. His one shortcoming however still seems to be at times is finding his jumpers at the lineout. Now we can put all the blame on the hooker, but we know a combination is just that and to be honest, yes he partly is to blame, but I feel part of the blame goes to the Locks and their calling of lineouts.

Natal Club – Berea Rovers Honours
Natal Absa Under 20 2004
Natal Under 21 2005
Sharks Super 14, Natal Wildebeest, Vodacom SA Under 21 in 2006
Sharks Currie Cup 2008

He also earned a call up from the Springbok coach in 2012 for the Castle Rugby Championships.

 

Kyle Cooper:

Position Hooker
Height 1.78
Weight 109 kg
Date of Birth 10 February 1989
Place of Birth Johannesburg
Provincial Debut 2010  Natal Sharks
Provincial Caps 49
Provincial Points 15
Super Rugby Debut 2012 Sharks
Super Rugby Caps 1
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut 0
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Kyle Cooper

Kyle was schooled at Glenwood High in Durban and from there went to the Sharks academy. He too has a very good junior background and has steadily grown as a player. He is a very strong ball carrying Hooker, his achievements from junior to senior level are as follows:

Club:Rovers
Sharks XV Vodacom Cup – 2011
Sharks ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Sharks ABSA Under 21 Competition, Sharks Invitational XV Absa Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Sharks XV Vodacom Cup – 2010
Sharks ABSA Under 21 Competition, South Africa IRB Junior World Championships – 2009
Sharks ABSA Under 19 Competition – 2008
Kwa-Zulu Natal Under 16 Coca Cola Grant Khomo Week – 2005
EP Under 13 Craven Week – 2002

Kyle has all the attributes to be a top class hooker but seems to have the one problem in his armoury and that’s the same as Craig Burden in finding the Lineout jumpers as we saw in the Final of the Currie Cup recently, something the coaching staff will surely have to rectify as Bismarck is still in the recovery phase after his knee surgery and is only due back mid March 2013, thus leaving the void to be filled by either Burden or Cooper.

 

Monde Hadebe:

Position Hooker
Height 1.77
Weight 102
Date of Birth 20 June 1989
Place of Birth Durban
Provincial Debut 2009 Natal Sharks
Provincial Caps 36
Provincial Points 0
Super Rugby Debut 2012 Sharks
Super Rugby Caps 10
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut 0
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Monde Hadebe

Another young Hooker with a rich youth pedigree that has come through the ranks and like Burden and Cooper still are just short of the experience as a player to lift them onto that higher platform. He is another Glenwood High School boy that is destined for higher honors and only time will tell if he is able to lift himself and play consistently well enough to play for the Sharks.

His portfolio is as follows:
Club: College Rovers
Sharks XV Vodacom Cup – 2012
Sharks XV Vodacom Cup – 2011
Sharks ABSA Under 21 Competition, South Africa IRB Junior World Championships – 2010
Sharks ABSA Under 19 Competition – 2009
Kwazulu-Natal Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, Under 18 Elite Squad – 2008
KZN Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week – 2007
Natal Under 16 Coca Cola Grant Khomo Week – 2006

 

Franco Marais:

Position Hooker
Height 1.86
Weight 94
Date of Birth 23 September 1992
Place of Birth Vereeniging
Provincial Debut 2010 Valke/Falcons U21
Provincial Caps 1
Provincial Points 0
Super Rugby Debut 0
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut 0
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Franco Marais

Franco is a player schooled in Vereeniging at Transvalia High where he played Hooker and Flank, he went from school to the Falcons where he at the tender age of 18 got selected for the Falcons Under 21 side and played 1 match before making his way down to Durban where he settled in at the Sharks academy.

Franco was the Hooker for the Junior Boks when they won the Junior World Cup earlier this year and was very prominent. He is still lacking in bulk but no doubt as he is only 20 will still add weight as needed. He is a very skillful footballer and dare one say it – could go on the play like Uli Schmidt of old? His portfolio since joining the Sharks are as follows:

ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division – 2012ABSA Under 21 Competition – 2012IRB Junior World Championship – 2012Vodacom Cup – 2012
ABSA Under 19 Competition – 2011
ABSA Under 21 Competition – 2010

 

Starters:

Bismarck would start every match no matter the team he played for, so normally we wouldn’t even give who starts a thought, but he is in recovery phase after surgery and thus it leaves the Hooker birth open for the fringe Hookers to fight it out for. Again many would say the Sharks have a problem at Hooker, I do not believe that for one minute, all four backup Hookers have a fantastic pedigree and will never let the team down. I am sure the lineout throwing is something the coaching staff would have given a lot of thought and no doubt will be rectifying this issue.

As to who will start with Bismark out? My gut feel is Burden will start with Cooper off the bench, you might also find the two rotating depending on opponents until such time as Bismarck returns from injury.

As for Hadebe and Marais, I feel they will be playing Vodacom Cup during the Super Rugby period, both are still very young and can only grow from the experience.

25 Responses to Super Rugby: Sharks squad contenders – Hookers

  • 1

    Lineouts for me are a concern as we saw earlier this year but if the Locks settle in calls that problem might just be something of the past, we cannot afford to make our lineouts an easy target for other teams.

    Here I have a feeling Franco at 4 lock for the Sharks might just make a big difference and have him join Bresler as genuine jumpers, both the Marais brothers are very good Locks in general play but their work at lineout time needs to seriously be looked at, as well of course as the Hookers in their understanding with these locks.

    I have a feeling Kanko again this coming year will fill the roll of lineout caller and thus the 8thman position will seldom rotate as his role within the sharks will be more critical.

    Alberts might also be used at 4 Lock from time to time as the Loose forwards are rotated.

  • 2

    Interesting to see the various squads take shape. Looking at the front rows as a whole, all the franchises with the exception of the Kings look well served as far as starting combo’s go. Depth at prop could be a problem for the Sharks, Bulls and to a lesser degree the Stormers. The Cheetahs look better served as far as depth goes. Lets analyse my view.

    Bulls Starters: Greyling, Chillipop, Kruger. With Marcel out they have Kirsten, Dawie Steyn, and a relative novice in Mellet at prop. At Hooker Wepener and Mbonambi are back up

    Sharks Straters: Beast, Burden, Jannie. With Bissie out, they have Chadwick, Herbst, and Cooper with experience, and untested Hadebe, Redelinghuys, Schonert, and Dell. All talented, but Super rugby is a tough school.

    Stormers Starters: Kitshoff, Fourie, Cilliers. With Malherbe, Caarstens (a bit past his best) and Verbrokkel in reserve with Scarra, and liebenberg as hookers.

    Cheetah Starters: Oosthuizen, Strauss, Coenie. With Nyakane, Rossouw, and Adriaanse all with Super Experience. Liebenberg and Barnes are seasoned campaigners with Torsten learning the ropes.

    Kings Starters: Engels, Maku, Schlechter. With Ferreira, Geldenhuys, and Buys not exactly going to ruffle any feathers. At hooker Franklin is long in the tooth.

    Injuries are a given, and it will be interesting to see how the teams will cope when the depth needs to be tested. Experience comes in handy then, and this is where the Cheetahs have a slight edge. Most of their back up front row players have had plenty of Supre Rugby milage.

  • 3

    @ Cheetah4eva:

    Hi boet, although i agree i would like to point out that the Sharks made the finals and topped the CC log with those so called inexperienced props My main concern is the LH back up depth at the Sharks ,

    Also PSDT is the tallest lock at the Sharks, I have a feeling he will come through strong this year to solve a lot of the lineout problems, one forgets he is still 1 year younger than Eben Etzebeth. My next article on the Sharks Locks will be a difficult one as to who the Sharks will choose as their main combo, and of course the back up players as to who they will be

  • 4

    3 @ Sharks_forever:
    Tjarkie,

    See exactly how I’ve changed the Pictures… this is how it should be.

    Also check you sentence construction, spelling, punctuation and single spacing between words in a sentence… will make it easier for me, so as I then don’t have to EDIT every Article placed… then I could just as well have done it myself, same time spent on the Articles.

    I also took out the extra Tables with where the players played ect… and converted those stats to normal text. Atricles have to be neat, a uniform structure inside the article and have some semblance of form and balance.

    Soon as you go over 5 Prime players, just mention the rest, no picture, no tables… otherwise it becomes too long.

  • 5

    I will add the Bulls & Southern Kings Hookers later today or tonight….

  • 6

    @ grootblousmile:
    Thanks boet, I will actually do my articles on Word, the checking on there seems to fix things better lol

    I will be doing the Locks later today

  • 7

    I just wont post it today

  • 8

    6 @ Sharks_forever:
    Remember, Locks and Loosies only next week, one Monday or Wednesday, one on Thursday… only to position articles per side a week.

  • 9

    I think the Sharks hookers are fantastic. They should be playing for the Boks, as they seem to be able to find Eben Etsebeth with ease each time they throw in, even when they are not in the same team as them.

    Overjoy Overjoy Overjoy Overjoy

  • 10

    *as him.

  • 11

    @ Stormersboy:

    :lol: true, but trust me you can count ur blessings Bissy did not play in that final, WP sou snot en trane gehuil het :lol:

    Btw TODAY WAS MEANT TO BE END OF THE WORLD, BUT I WOULD JUST LIKE TO LET EVERYONE KNOW IT WAS POSTPONED FOR ANOTHER 21 YEARS TO SEE IF WP WILL MANAGE ANOTHER CUP VICTORY!!!

    And on a serious note, its kinda funny to see some people actually stupid enough to think it will be the end of the world because some clown thought he could forcast what he did not have the right to do or power to do so;

    End of the world will come when the lord decides it is such time, and I doubt very much that god has given up on mankind just yet!!!!

  • 12

    Ja boet I know… Luckily for us you guys had Burden and Cooper and Daniel.

    We were missing a bunch of guys too if you recall… ;)

  • 13

    9 @ Stormersboy:
    Bwaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaaaa….. Happy-Grin Overjoy

    Damn Eben will face Burden or Cooper AGAIN in our first encounter of Super15. Cry-Out Just wait until we set Bissie loose on your lot……………… then it is goodbye Strompies…. Overjoy Overjoy

  • 14

    12 @ Stormersboy:
    Yip it was our lineout that cost us in the CC. Can’t loose so many and expect to win. Burden is a lot better than that though, remember he was under cooked. Had toured with the Boks for 2 months with no game time. Still think our chances for this S15 with our Bissie is slimmer than it was last year. Though we were without Beast for about 8 or 9 games, can’t remember how many he was out for. Once he came back with Alberts our whole season turned around. But to loose Bissie for the first half of S15 is a major blow to my Sharks.

  • 15

    1 @ Sharks_forever:
    I wonder who will be used as 4 lock? We have PSDT, Alberts and Van der Merwe to choose from. Now again wonder if Alberts will play blindside flank or lock? As when we had Kanko, Coetzee and Keegan as our loose trio they we sublime together. There we had Alberts at 4 lock. So do wonder where Plum will play them?

  • 16

    Bissie is highly overrated as a hooker. He needs to be retreaded as a loosehead prop.

  • 17

    I think Sharks may struggle without Bissie, none of our other hookers come even close to Bissie. He is a massive loss. Burden will have to step up much like he did when we toured last year and Bissie had to sit two games out due to injury. There Burden was actually superb, not the Burden we saw in the Currie Cup Final. I think he was totally under cooked with no game time for 2 months. Just toured with the Boks. Why they had him there was a waste for Sharks as he was playing some great rugby before he got a call up to join the Boks. Then Cooper is not too bad either, just not any where near the class of Bissie.

  • 18

    16 @ Lion4ever:

    Bissie was outstanding for Sharks in the past Super15. Only the first two games where he and Keegan gave away plenty penalties and for that matter so did Chadwick. Bissie tighten that up after and his penalty count was far less against him. If he was playing for Sharks in the CC Final I doubt Province would have won. Simply as that. Deon would never had it all his own way at the breakdowns and our lineouts would have been far better. Bissie is a massive loss for Sharks. Non of our other hookers are truly in his class.

  • 19

    @ Puma:
    Actually, jokes aside, Bissie was very unlucky to play as Smit’s understudy during PDV’s tenure as coach. I think he lost 2 years of being no 1 hooker in SA. And Smit was unlucky to have Bissie as his understudy, because he had 2 years where people were calling for him to be dropped for Bissie. If Bissie overcomes his injury woes, he can become one of the all time no 2 greats.

  • 20

    19 @ Lion4ever:
    Yes he is getting injured more and more these days. Could be the body can take just so much. Though if he does come through this knee op a 100% then we will see him back to his best. He always gives 100% and nothing less.

    John was a great hooker too, some forget that. But he was by far our best ever captain for the Boks. So much like Pienaar in 95 he was there mostly for his captaincy. Also you know our best year with the Boks under Peter was in 2009. Strangely as most went beserk with John playing TH. That year we won the BIL with him playing there with Bissie at hooker. Pity that experiment never turned out like it should have. Then Bissie would have had his two years already playing hooker. He will though, he is only 28 next year. That is still young for a hooker, they seem to go on until 32 around there before they slide down. He is a massive loss for Sharks. He brings so much as a player. You know in the wc quarter when Brussow went off injured I actually would have brought on Bissie there to play openside flank. I bet he could play that position brilliantly. Bissie would therefore been on the field for that game for almost the whole game. Think Brussow went off injured after 15min or something like that. I know we had Flo for that game, but Flo was not as great in that game as he was for Boks this year. Flo has grown as a player and has huge respect from me now.

  • 21

    @ Puma:
    Its a pity the 2 of them played at the same province at the same time. I would have loved to have seen the 2 of them go head to head in similar strength packs. We would have seen some epic battles.

    Even in Smit’s last 2 years of playing in SA he was a great hooker, but was messed up by moving to TH.

  • 22

    21 @ Lion4ever:
    It was probably a pity that they both played at the Sharks. Would have been better for one of them to have played for another franchise. That way they both would have had plenty game time at hooker.

    John was a excellent hooker though, better scrummager than Bissie and a better lineout thrower. But Bissie in the loose is just brilliant. The reasaon we can get away with not having a true fetcher play openside for us. Bissie does that work as well. Both had their strengths.

    They did mess John up by making him play TH. Though at the time when he did play there in 2009 we won most of our games with Boks that year. However, they made him put on a heck of a lot of weight and that too messed his game up later on. He did eventually go back to his normal weight.

    The reason I also never wanted Elton Jantjies to come to the Sharks for that reason as well, as we have Lambie and no way would Elton have been first choice at the Sharks. He would too have sat on the bench and that would have been a waste for Elton. So pleased he is going to be playing for Stormers next year. That way we have all our best fhs at different franchises and starting each game. Getting game time is important for all of them to grow in that position.

  • 23

    @ Puma:
    What will happen to Elton when Peter Grant comes back from Japan? Unless he has covered himself in glory, it will be Elton warming the bench and not Grant.

  • 24

    23 @ Lion4ever:
    I think it will be Grant warming the bench and Elton starting most games. That is where Stormers lost it last year, they should have had a better flyhalf and scrumhalf. Now they have Elton and Groom. They will be far better with both those players next year.

    I feel Elton will be Stormers first choice flyhalf.

  • 25

    Hello Moepels, Mopkoppe & Friends.

    What you all up to today?


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