In this Article we look at the contenders for LOCKS at the Sharks 2013 Super Rugby group.
At Lock the Sharks have had their fair share of worries this past year, none more so than the semi-final and final of the Currie Cup 2012.
Anton Bresler and Jandre Marais along with Steven Sykes were the frontline jumpers but there always seemed to be something missing, and although the Sharks made both the Super Rugby and Currie Cup Finals, one glaring aspect of their play that at times was very troublesome was the poor line-outs.
This was due, one can assume, to various issues such as injuries to key players at critical stages of the season as well as just poor play.
The season of 2013 will see the Sharks with the same young locks accept for two changes – Steven Sykes has signed for the Kings and is returning to his family farm (Steven was a great servant to Natal rugby and will no doubt be sorely missed) and on loan to the Sharks for the Super Rugby season 2013 is Franco van der Merwe, who no doubt with his experience can help fill that void and add some much needed experience.
Anton “Ants” Bresler was schooled at Durban High School and has come through the ranks at the Sharks starting with the academy, having played the following:
- Natal U18 Academy Week, Sharks U19 – 2007
- SA U20 Trials, Varsity Cup – 2008
- Sharks U21 – 2009 to 2011
- Sharks Vodacom Cup, Sharks Super rugby and Currie Cup – 2011 to 2012
He had a good season for the Sharks, considering he in many games had to carry the line-out burden alone when things went wrong. His work ethic in general play has also been outstanding but the one thing still lacking is for him to be a bit more dominant over opposing locks and winning ball on their throw-in’s.
Jandré was schooled at Welkom Gymnasium, and went on the represent the Griffons at Craven Week and in the ABSA Under-19 Tournament in 2007 and 2008, after which he joined the Sharks academy.
His portfolio to date is as follows:
- CLUB – Collegians
- 2012 – Sharks Super Rugby and Natal Sharks Currie Cup
- 2011 – Sharks XV Vodacom Cup, Sharks ABSA Under 21 Competition
- 2010 – Sharks XV Vodacom Cup, Sharks ABSA Under 21 Competition
- 2009 – Sharks Invitational XV Absa Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, South Africa IRB Junior World Championships, Sharks XV Vodacom Cup, Sharks U19 ABSA Under 19 Competition
- 2008 – Griffons U 19 ABSA Under 19 Competition
- 2007 – Griffons U 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
- 2002 – Griffons U 13 Craven Week.
He has had quite an illustrious junior career and much is expected of him. He made his way into the Sharks senior side this year and although he had a solid season his line-out prowess seemed to be a bit below par, something the Sharks coaching staff no doubt will work hard on during the off season.
Pieter-Steph du Toit:
Pieter-Steph is one of the most promising up-and-coming juniors (Lock / Flanker) in South African rugby. He was schooled at Swartland High School in Malmesbury, just outside Cape Town.
Although only 20 years old he has had many a tongue wagging as he made his way from school to the Sharks academy.
A short portfolio at junior level he has, this being because his level of play is of a very high standard as he has already represented the Sharks at senior level as well as his super performances for South Africa in the Junior World Cup victory earlier this year.
Being a very skilled footballer he has played for the Sharks and Junior Springboks at Lock and Flank. He still attends the academy and has the following portfolio:
- 2010 – Boland U 18 Craven Week
- 2012 – Sharks XV Vodacom Cup, SA U 20 IRB Junior World Cup, Sharks Super Rugby and Currie Cup.
Franco Van der Merwe:
Franco was schooled Hartswater High School and is on loan to the Sharks for the 2013 Super Rugby season, his rugby portfolio is as follows:
2012 – South Africa Castle Outgoing Tours squad, MTN Golden Lions ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, South Africa Castle Incoming Tours squad, MTN Lions Vodacom Super Rugby
- 2011 – MTN Golden Lions ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, MTN Lions Vodacom Super Rugby
- 2010 – Xerox Lions ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Lions Absa Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Auto & General Lions Vodacom Super 14
- 2009 – Xerox Lions ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Xerox Lions Absa Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Xerox Golden Lions British & Irish Lions Tour, Emerging Springboks British & Irish Lions Tour, Auto & General Lions Vodacom Super 14, Golden Lions Vodacom Cup, Lions MTN test
- 2008 – Xerox Lions ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Xerox Lions Absa Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Golden Lions Vodacom Cup, Auto & General Lions Vodacom Super 14
- 2007 – Golden Lions XV Absa Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Golden Lions ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Lions Vodacom Super 14
- 2006 – Impala Leopards Vodacom Cup, Impala Leopards ABSA Currie Cup First Division
- 2005 – Impala Leopards ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Leopards ABSA Currie Cup Qualifying Round, Impala Leopards Vodacom Cup
- 2004 – Leopards ABSA Currie Cup First Division, South Africa IRB U 21 World Championships, Leopards Vodacom Cup
- 2003 – Leopards ABSA U 20 A Section
- 2002 – Leopards U 19 U19 Competition
Peet, like older brother Jandré, was schooled at Welkom Gymnasium and has pretty much the same junior career that his brother had, they also both play No4 lock and it will be interesting to see which of the two ends up with the better career. Peet is slightly taller and Jandré is slightly heavier.
Peet is also a product of the Sharks academy and his portfolio is as follows:
- 2007 – Griffons U 18 Craven Week
- 2008 – Griffons U 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
- 2009 – Griffons U 19, Elite Squad U 18
- 2010 – SA U19 Trials 2010
- 2012 – SA U 20, Sharks XV Vodacom Cup, Sharks Currie Cup
The Lock position, having been a problem area for the Sharks, will make it interesting to see which combination coach John Plumtree starts with, and how and if he will rotate them during the season as it unfolds.
I for one, feel that the coach will start with the most experienced Locks he has at his disposal, that being Anton Bresler and Franco van der Merwe, with the two Marais brothers as backup and rotation. For me the question however it is going to be when does he bring Pieter-Steph du Toit into the picture, as the latter is potentially the best Lock at the Sharks and potentially one of the best in SA! Du Toit is also the tallest Lock at the Sharks and the most mobile.
Of course the Locks are not always to blame for poor line-outs, as much depends on their partnership with the Hooker in the team. Also no doubt with the line-out calling problems, the coach will use the skills of 8th man Ryan Kankowski in calling line-outs.