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SharksThis is the 7th article in the series of Cell C Sharks Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2014. We do 2 articles per week per South African Super Rugby participating franchise.

We discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.

In this Article we look at the contenders for MIDFIELD in the Cell C Sharks 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.

 

 

The Contenders:

Name: Francois Phillippus Lodewyk “Frans” Steyn:

Position Centre
Height 1.91m
Weight 110kg
Date of Birth 14 May 1987
Place of Birth Aliwal North
Provincial Debut 2006 for Sharks
Provincial Caps 20 & 16 Caps for Racing Metro
Provincial Points 65 for Sharks & 47 for Racing Metro
Super Rugby Debut 2007 for Sharks
Super Rugby Caps 50
Super Rugby Points 81
Test Debut 11 November 2006 vs Ireland in Dublin
Test Caps 53 PLUS 2 Tour games
Test Points 132
Francois Steyn

Frans Steyn is a product of Truida Kestell Primary School in Bethlehem and Grey College in Bloemfontein.

His early career was spent at the Free State where he represented them at the Craven Week in 2004 and at Under 21 level in 2005. In 2005 he also represented South Africa at the IRB U19 World Championships.

He moved to the Sharks in 2006 and after playing only 10 matches for the Natal Sharks in the 2006 Currie Cup Premier Division (at flyhalf), only 19 years old, was selected to represent the Springboks in the Northern Hemisphere touring squad by national coach Jake White. He debuted at wing against Ireland, he scored a try on his debut. In his next international match he was moved to fullback against England, scoring a long range drop-goal, from his own half. Steyn has shown to possess superb goal kicking qualities as well.

In his debut season of Super 14 rugby, Frans Steyn was selected on the right wing, however was moved to fullback when Percy Montgomery was injured. He played as the last line of defence until Percy Montgomery returned for the game against the Blues in Round 11, and was moved to flyhalf for this game.

He kicked two drop goals in the 2007 Tri Nations opener against Australia at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town, to win the game for the Springboks. One of these, a 42 metre effort from a fielded clearance kick next to the sideline, and another three minutes from time next to the posts about 30 metres out.

In South Africa’s first game at the 2007 Rugby World Cup, their star centre Jean de Villiers got injured. Steyn replaced him, playing only his second game at professional level at inside centre, but he made a break on first touch of the ball and his inclusion sparked the Springboks to a 37–0 second half demolition of Samoa.

On 24 September 2007 Steyn was cited to appear before a disciplinary hearing for allegedly biting Tongan winger Joseph Vaka during the Springboks v. Tonga 2007 Rugby World Cup game on 22 September. Both players were sent to the sinbin in the 60th minute for an off-the-ball incident. He was subsequently cleared of the charge, due to insufficient evidence and Vaka conceding that the apparent “bite mark” could have been received during normal play.

Steyn was the starting inside centre for the Springboks in the 2007 Rugby World Cup Final, he made a fantastic break that resulted in a penalty for the Boks and also converted one himself later on in the game. He is therefore the youngest player to win a Rugby World Cup.

In April 2009, Steyn signed a two-year contract with French Top 14 club Racing Métro 92 for an estimated €750,000 per season.

In the Springboks’ final match of the 2009 Tri Nations against New Zealand, his last match with the Springboks before his departure for France, he converted three penalties from within his own half of the field – he is believed to be the first player ever to do so in a Test match.

Steyn rejoined The Sharks by signing a 3 year deal on 29 May 2012. Back with his old team, Steyn played in the Sharks’ final two league matches of the 2012 Super Rugby season, helping them to make the finals series. Unfortunately for the franchise, Steyn was not available to them for the knock-outs due to his late entry into the squad. The Sharks went on to lose in the final to the Chiefs.

Reaching his 50th Test cap against Argentina in Cape Town in 2012, Steyn is the youngest South African to reach the milestone. Steyn was injured during The Rugby Championship in 2012, missing the final 2 matches, along with the Currie Cup, and the end of year tour to the UK.

He player made his return for the Sharks in the 2013 Super Rugby competition, captaining the side in the first few matches in the absence of regular skipper, Keegan Daniel. Steyn struggled with form early on in the Super Rugby year, but as the season progressed he began to regain the form that first earned him Springbok honours. Once again though, he was injured in the Sharks league match against the Highlanders in Dunedin, which they lost. Steyn would have to wait until the Currie Cup semi-final of 2013 against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs to make his next appearance. He was subbed early on in the match, but was again selected for the final against DHL Western Province. In the final his contributions on attack were good, but it was his immense defense that really marked his successful comeback and helped The Sharks to Currie Cup victory in 2013. After only 2 matches back, Steyn was not selected for the Springbok End Of Year tour in 2013.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2004 – Free State – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2005 – South Africa – IRB U19 World Championships, Free State – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Free State – ABSA U19 Competition
  • 2006 – The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, South Africa – IRB Under 19 World Championship, Springboks – Vodacom Outgoing Tours
  • 2007 – Springboks – World Cup warm-up matches, The Sharks – Vodacom Super 14, Wildebeest – Vodacom Cup, Springboks – Vodacom Incoming Tours, Springboks – Vodacom Tri-Nations, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – Vodacom Outgoing Tour, Springboks – IRB Rugby World Cup
  • 2008 – Sharks – Vodacom Super 14, Springboks – Vodacom Incoming Tours, Springboks – Vodacom Tri-Nations, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – Vodacom Outgoing Tour
  • 2009 – Sharks – Vodacom Super 14, Springboks – British & Irish Lions, Springboks – Vodacom Tri-Nations, Racing Metro
  • 2010 – Racing Metro, Springboks – Vodacom Tri-Nations, Springboks – Outgoing Tours
  • 2011 – Racing Metro, Springboks – Vodacom Tri-Nations, Springboks – IRB Rugby World Cup
  • 2012 – Sharks – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springboks – Castle Incoming Tours, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – The Rugby Championship
  • 2013 – Sharks – Vodacom Super Rugby, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Frans is one of the darlings of South African rugby supporters, with massive talent, but he has been hampered by injuries of late and his bright star has waned somewhat from before. When not injured Frans is an asset in any side, whether he plays at centre (preferred position) or flyhalf or fullback and has an abrasive attacking style, whilst staunch in the defensive channels. He will start for the Cell C Sharks at inside centre unless he has a surprise lack in form or is injured.

 

Name: Paul Abraham “Paul” Jordaan:

Position Centre
Height 1.80m
Weight 91kg
Date of Birth 4 January 1992
Place of Birth Somerset East
Provincial Debut 2012 for The Sharks
Provincial Caps 14
Provincial Points 20
Super Rugby Debut 2012 for Sharks
Super Rugby Caps 18
Super Rugby Points 10
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Paul Jordaan

Paul Jordaan is a product of Gill Primary School and Grey College.

He represented Eastern Province at Under 13 level in 2005 and from Under 16 level to Under 18 level represented Free State. He represented South Africa in the Under 16 Elite squads in 2008 and South Africa in the SA Under 18 High Performance squad in 2010.

In 2011 he represented South Africa at the IRB Junior World Championships and made his move down to Natal where he played for the Sharks at Under 19, Nuder 21 and Currie Cup levels.

In 2012 he made his debut at Super Rugby and also represented South Africa at the IRB Junior World Championship.

His regular playing position is centre but he can also play flyhalf and wing.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2005 – Eastern Province – U13 Coca Cola Craven Week
  • 2008 – South Africa U16 Elite Squads, Konika Minolta Free State – U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week
  • 2009 – Free State – U18 Academy Week
  • 2010 – Free State – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, South Africa – SA U18 High Performance
  • 2011 – South Africa – IRB Junior World Championships, Sharks XV – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Sharks – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Sharks – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2012 – Sharks – Vodacom Super Rugby, Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championship, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Sharks – Vodacom Super Rugby, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Paul Jordaan is a great talent and a versatile player, steadily making his progress in the rankings and teams and could start at centre next to Frans Steyn or be on the bench as a utility back.

 

Name: Timothy John “Tim” Whitehead:

Position Centre
Height 1.88m
Weight 90kg
Date of Birth 30 May 1988
Place of Birth Port Elizabeth
Provincial Debut 2009 for Western Province
Provincial Caps 37
Provincial Points 15
Super Rugby Debut 2010 for Stormers
Super Rugby Caps 25
Super Rugby Points 5
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Tim Whitehead

Tim Whitehead is a product of Grey Primary and Grey High School in Port Elizabeth.

He played for UCT in the Varsity Cup in 2008, 2010 and 2011 and also represented SA Students in 2009. In 2008 and 2009 he represented Western Provice at Under 21 level and Western Province in Vodacom Cup in 2009.

In 2010 he started playing Super 14 rugby for the Stormers and also started his Currie Cup career at Western Province.

In 2012 he joined the Sharks for Super Rugby and Currie Cup Premier Division and continued to do so in 2013.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2008 – UCT – Varsity Cup, Vodacom WP – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2009 – Western Province – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Western Province – Vodacom Cup, South Africa – SA Students
  • 2010 – Vodacom Stormers – Vodacom Super 14, UCT – Varsity Cup, Western Province – Vodacom Cup, Western Province – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Vodacom Western Province – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2011 – DHL Western Province – Vodacom Cup, UCT – Varsity Cup, DHL Stormers – Vodacom Super Rugby, DHL Western Province – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, DHL Western Province – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – Sharks – Vodacom Super Rugby, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Sharks – Vodacom Super Rugby, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Tim Whitehead, like Paul Jordaan, is one for the future and I expect him to get fair game time at centre for the Cell C Sharks in Super Rugby 2014.

 

Name: Heimar Williams:

Position Centre
Height 1.80m
Weight 93kg
Date of Birth 2 September 1991
Place of Birth Krugersdorp
Provincial Debut 2011 for Sharks
Provincial Caps 32
Provincial Points 20
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Heimar Williams

Heimar Williams is a product of Hennopspark Primary School in Centurion, Afrikaans Hoër Seunsskool in Pretoria (Affies) and the University of South Africa (Unisa).

He made the SA Academy side at the Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week in 2009 and joined the Shaks in 2010 where he played in the ABSa Under 19 Competition.

In 2011 he played for the Sharks XV in Vodacom Cup, the Sharks at Under 21 level and The Sharks in the Currie Cup Premier Division and has ranged between these sides till 2013.

He has not played Super Rugby yet.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2009 – SA Academy – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2010 – Sharks – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2011 – Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup, Sharks XV – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Sharks – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2012 – Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup, Sharks – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2013 – Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Heimar is yet another Shark centre with a possibly bigger future ahead.

 

Name: Marius Charl “Marius” Joubert:

Position Centre
Height 1.88m
Weight 92kg
Date of Birth 10 July 1979
Place of Birth Paarl
Provincial Debut 1999 for Boland Kavaliers
Provincial Caps 96 plus 66 caps for Clermont Auvergne
Provincial Points 145 in SA and 70 for Clermont
Super Rugby Debut 2002 for Stormers
Super Rugby Caps 61
Super Rugby Points 55
Test Debut 21 July 2001 vs All Blacks in Cape Town
Test Caps 30 Plus 1 Tour game
Test Points 45
Marius Joubert

Marius Joubert is a product of Paarl Gymnasium.

He has previously played for the Boland Kavaliers, Free State Cheetahs, ASM Clermont Auvergne and Western Province in the Currie Cup and the Stormers and the Central Cheetahs in Super Rugby. At Paarl Gymnasium he played alongside Springboks like De Wet Barry and Jean de Villiers.

Joubert started his career at the Boland Kavaliers where he played from 1999 to 2001 when he joined Western Province from 2002 to 2006. He made his debut for South Africa against New Zealand in 2001 and in that very game, picked up a serious knee injury. Despite several injury setbacks (one of which, a badly damaged shoulder, kept him out of the 2003 World Cup), Joubert continued to develop into a world-class centre.

He was a member of the 2004 Springbok squad that won the Tri-Nations. In the Springboks home match at Ellis Park in Johannesburg against the All Blacks, he became only the second Springbok in history (after Ray Mordt in 1981) to score a hat-trick of tries against the All Blacks. Joubert was also for a time South Africa’s leading try scorer in Tri Nations play, with 6 tries, before being overtaken by Breyton Paulse.

During the 2006 Super 14 season. Joubert’s form dipped dramatically due to several injury problems. Firstly he struggled with a back injury that kept him from playing in the Currie Cup. He then sustained a back injury that kept him out of the Currie Cup and the Springboks’ year-end tour to Argentina, Wales and France. He returned to play for the Stormers in the Super 14, only to break his hand in their final fixture. On 11 September 2006, the Cheetahs announced that Joubert had signed for them for the upcoming 2007 season, thus ending Joubert’s 5-year association with the Stormers and Western Province Rugby Union.

Joubert won the 2007 Currie Cup with the Free State Cheetahs and the 2010 French Championship with ASM Clermont Auvergne.

In March 2011 he signed on at the Sharks and it is unclear whether he has retired now or will still be available at the Sharks. He is entered here as 5th option only.

He is seriously over the hill now, already well over 34 years old.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 1998 – Wellington – Supersport Club Championship
  • 1999 – Boland – Vodacom Cup, Boland Kavaliers – Bankfin Currie Cup
  • 2000 – Boland Kavaliers – Vodacom Cup, South Africa Under 23 – African Rugby Championships, South Africa – Southern Hemisphere U21, Bloand Kavaliers – Bankfin Currie Cup
  • 2001 – Boland Kavaliers – Bankfin Currie Cup, Springboks – Vodacom Tri-Nations, Springboks – SA A tour to Europe
  • 2002 – Stormers – Vodacom Super 12, Springboks – Incoming Tours, Springboks – Vodacom Tri-Nations, Investec Western Province – Bankfin Currie Cup, Springboks – Outgoing Tour
  • 2003 – Investec Stormers – Vodacom Super 12, Investec Western Province – Vodacom Shield, Springboks – Vodacom Incoming Tours, Investec WP – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2004 – Investec Stormers – Vodacom Super 12, Western Province – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – Vodacom Incoming Tours, Springboks – Vodacom Tri-Nations, Springboks – Vodacom Outgoing Tours
  • 2005 – Investec Stormers – Vodacom Super 12, Springboks – Vodacom Incoming Tours, Investec Westrn Province – ABSA Currie Cup Qualifying Round, Springboks – Vodacom Tri-Nations, Springboks – Nelson Mandela Challenge
  • 2006 – Vodacom Stormers – Vodacom Super 14
  • 2007 – Vodacom Cheetahs – Vodacom Super 14, Vodacom Free State Cheetahs ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2008 – 2010 – ASM Clermont Auvergne
  • 2011 – ASM Clermont auvergne, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – Sharks – Vodacom Super Rugby, Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

The Sharks would have to be rather desperate to use Marius Joubert in Super Rugby and the more likely scenario is that in case too many centres are injured, that JP Pietersen will move from wing to outside centre to cover that problem situation, alternatively that Patrick Lambie moves one position out from flyhalf to inside centre and with Fred Zeilinga at flyhalf.

 

Starters:

The Sharks will most probably start with Frans Steyn at inside centre and Paul Jordaan, Tim Whitehead and Heimar Williams will fight it out for the outside centre berth. In emergency situations Patrick Lambie could play inside centre and JP Pietersen could play outside centre.

 

The next Article in the range will deal with the Cell C Sharks’ Back Three.

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