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THE SHARKS SUPER RUGBY PLAYERS:

 

PROPS:

 

Name: Dale Chadwick

Date of Birth: 20/06/1989
Place of Birth: Durban
Position: Prop
Height: 1.83m
Weight: 114kg
High School: Westville Boys High School
Club: Jonsson College Rovers

Dale a home-grown Shark, attended Westville Boys High School and made his provincial debut for the Sharks against the Leopards in 2009.

With a front row decimated by Springbok call-ups in 2011, Dale came of age in the Currie Cup competition with some outstanding performances for The Sharks. Locally schooled, he has a bright future of him and with the loss of Tendai Mtawarira to an ankle injury for the early part of the tournament, will find himself in the thick of things from the start.

He has big boots to fill in 2012.

 

Name: Jan Nathaniel (Jannie) du Plessis

Date of Birth: 16/11/1982
Place of Birth: Bethlehem
Position: Prop
Height: 1.88 m
Weight: 118 kg
High School: Grey College (Bloem)
Club: Bluff Superspar Harlequins

Jannie made the senior Free State Cheetahs side in 2003, and continued playing for the Cheetahs through the 2007 Currie Cup.Du Plessis was also named to a South African squad that faced a World XV at Ellis Park in 2006.

Du Plessis made his Super 14 debut in 2006 for the Vodacom Cheetahs. His 2007 Super 14 campaign was hampered by an ankle injury.After recovering, he was named to the Springboks squad for the first time during the 2007 Tri Nations, making his debut in the starting XV on 7 July against Australia during the Boks’ home leg. The match was significant for him in another way, as his younger brother Bismarck made his Boks debut as a substitute in the same match while he was still on the field. This made the du Plessis brothers the 23rd set of brothers to earn Springboks caps.

Neither Jannie nor Bismarck was named to the Springboks’ original squad for the 2007 Rugby World Cup, but both eventually joined the squad. Jannie was named to replace BJ Botha after Botha blew out a knee against the USA in the Boks’ final pool match.He received the call notifying him of his selection from Springboks selection panel member Peter Jooste early in the morning of 1 October, shortly after finishing an all-night shift at a Bloemfontein hospital on the evening of 30 September, during which he performed a Caesarean section. When interviewed after his selection, he said that his first sleep since 29 September was “an hour or so on the plane from Bloemfontein to Cape Town”, where he travelled to do his required paperwork before joining the Boks in France. On 7 October, little more than a week after the aforementioned all-night shift, he was starting for the Boks in their quarterfinal against Fiji, having been named to the starting lineup after CJ van der Linde was ruled out with a knee injury.

A week after the Boks’ victory over England in the Rugby World Cup final, du Plessis was in the squad for another final—the 2007 Currie Cup final, in which the Cheetahs defeated the Golden Lions 20–18. Because of his late call-up to the World Cup squad, he was the only member of the World Cup winners to play in enough Currie Cup matches to qualify for the final (at least four are required). Du Plessis joined three members of the 1995 Rugby World Cup winners as the only players to earn World Cup and Currie Cup winners’ medals in the same year.

He followed his brother and fellow front rower Bismarck to Durban (“A childhood dream”) and has since established himself as one of the premier tighthead props, not only locally but also on the international stage.

Jannie is a qualified medical doctor – having a powerful impact at the set phases as well as in loose play and relishes the opportunity to mix it up with the opposition.

We expect big things from Jannie in 2012 and hope that as senior member at the Sharks and at the Springboks he can contain his sometimes over-rubust temper.

 

Name: Wiehahn Jovan (Wiehahn) Herbst

Date of Birth: 05/07/1988
Place of Birth: Klerksdorp
Position: Prop
Height: 1.80 m
Weight: 114 kg
High School: Klerksdorp High School
Club: Varsity College Old Boys

Wiehahn represented South Africa Under 19 in 2007, South Africa Under 20 in 2008 and made his debut for the Sharks in 2009.

Not the tallest front rower, he is, however, a devastatingly powerful young prop with considerable strength and technically adept at scrum time. A committed defender and accurate support player, making him a valuable addition to the squad, and with his youth means his progress has been kick-started as a senior player and will continue to grow.

 

Name: Tendai (Beast) Mtawarira

Date of Birth: 01/08/1985
Place of Birth: Harare
Position: Prop
Height: 1.88m
Weight: 116kg
High School: Peterhouse
Club: Jonsson College Rovers

He attended Peterhouse Group of Boarding Schools in Marondera in Zimbabwe, along with fellow Springbok player Brian Mujati. Notably, despite living in South Africa and representing the country internationally, Mtawarira was a Zimbabwean national until late June 2010. He qualified for South Africa by three years’ residency, as allowed under International Rugby Board rules.

Mtawarira attended Churchill Boys High School for 5 years before being given a full scholarship to Peterhouse. At the age of 15, while at Churchill, he was spotted by legendary Zimbabwean Coach Joey Muwadzuri who invited him to join the Under 19 side at the National Schools Festival. Later that year Coach Joey invited him to be part of Cats and Dogs Rugby Academy Team that won the National Seniors 7′s tournament. He played with Stars Dan Hondo,Pete Benade,Tonderai “Kawaza” Chavhanga, among many others. Despite his young age he used his strength and will to learn to tread with the bigger boys. He also represented Zimbabwe in the under 19 age group.

After a fantastic 2008 Super 14 season with the Sharks it was apparent that he had fantastic potential and his speed would be beneficial with the new rules (ELV’s).

He was then selected in the Springbok squad and at first received limited game time. Later on he had the opportunity to be a reserve during the test against the Wallabies in Perth. Once he came on his impact was significant and had two long distance runs with the ball. He went on to be a part of the starting lineup in all the subsequent Tri-nations tests.

The highlight of Mtawarira’s career to date came in the first test of the British and Irish Lions Tour in 2009. Scrumming against Phil Vickery, Mtawarira dominated his more experienced opponent, leading to Vickery being substituted after 45 minutes, and a man-of-the-match award for Mtawarira.However, he conceded several penalties in the second test when playing opposite Welsh prop Adam Jones. Similarly, in the third test, Mtawarira was largely ineffectual in the scrum, with the returning Vickery, and replacement John Hayes, subduing him up front.

This crowd favourite, with chants of “BEASSSSTTTTTTTTT” is unfortunately injured at present and is expected to miss about 3 months of this Super Rugby campaign.

One of the most instantly-recognisable rugby players on the planet, and a crowd-pleaser regardless of where he plays, he has become a firm favourite with the fans and a valuable member of The Sharks with his powerful driving play and committed support play, while his pick and goes and his increasing potential as a dominant loosehead prop added to his repertoire.

He was a SA Rugby Player of the Year nominee, 2008. Sasol Young Player of the Year nominee, 2008.

 

Name: Julian Redelinghuys

Date of Birth: 11/09/1989
Place of Birth: Pretoria
Position: Tighthead Prop
Height: 1.76 m
Weight: 110 kg
High School: Monument High School
Club: Jonsson College Rovers

Julian attended Krugerdorp North Primary School and then Monument High School.

Julian played for the Golden Lions Under 16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo week in 2005, then for SA Schools in 2006 & 2007 as well as for the Lions Under 18 side in 2006 & 2007. In 2008 he joined the Sharks where he represented them at the ABSA Under 19 Competition.

In 2009 Julian represented South Africa at the IRB Junior World Championships, played for the Sharks Under 21 side and also for the Sharks senior side in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division.

In 2010 he played for the Sharks in the ABSA Under 21 Competition and in 2011 he played for the Sharks in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division.

Another youngster who has come through the ranks of the age group system. A short, but technically sounds scrummager and committed support player who adds good depth in the front row.

 

Starters:

Dale Chadwick and Jannie du Plessis are the logical starters for the first 3 months, till Tendai (Beast) Mtawarira recovers fom his long term injury.

Wiehahn Herbst should do regular bench duty.

 

HOOKERS:

 

Name: Bismarck Wilhelm (Bismarck) du Plessis

Date of Birth: 22/05/1984
Place of Birth: Bethlehem
Position: Hooker
Height: 1.89 m
Weight: 111 kg
High School: Grey College (Bloem)
Club: Fidelity Security Jaguars

A native of the town of Bethlehem in the Free State province, Bismarck du Plessis made his debut for the Sharks in Super Rugby (then the Super 12) in 2005. As he plays hooker and played in the same team as South Africa’s captain, John Smit, for much of his career he has been a backup to Smit; however, this has changed with Smit’s recent move to the UK. Whilst John Smit played hooker, he sometimes also moved to prop, which gave Bismarck much needed game time and therefore he has played in Super Rugby and the Currie Cup and in 2007 was selected to play for South Africa in the Tri Nations Series.

He made his debut for South Africa as a substitute in the same game against Australia in Sydney in which his older brother, Jannie, who was in the starting XV, also made his Springboks debut.The du Plessis brothers became the 23rd set of brothers to earn caps for South Africa at rugby union.

Following an illness to Pierre Spies, Bismarck du Plessis was called into South Africa’s squad for the 2007 Rugby World Cup whilst his brother Jannie was a later addition to the squad, replacing BJ Botha, who injured a knee in South Africa’s final pool match against the USA.

During the 2008 end-of-year Test series, the Springboks moved Smit to tighthead in order to accommodate both him and the younger, faster du Plessis in the front row together, this change has continued through the 2009 Super 14 season and into the Boks following seasons.

After South Africa’s second game of the 2008 Tri Nations Series, against New Zealand, du Plessis was cited for an eye-gouge on New Zealand’s Adam Thomson. At the subsequent disciplinary hearing, which was the first of his career, the judicial officer found that his action had been “careless”, not deliberate, and imposed a three-week suspension, a significantly lower penalty than the three-to-six months’ suspensions routinely imposed for deliberate eye-gouging.

This combative, fiery player, brings in the skills of a loose forward with his barging running, tough tackling and ability to play the fetcher’s role. A brutal competitive streaks runs through the double Rugby World Cup player who will use 2012 to establish himself as one of the world’s premier hookers. He combines immense physical strength on and off the ball to dominate and his inner determination and drive and work on and off the field, makes him one of the ultimate sportsmen. Named 2012 deputy captain.

Tours: Ireland & Scotland, 2007; RWC in France, Wales & Scotland, 2007; Wales & England, 2007, British Isles, 2008; France, Italy, Ireland & England, 2009; British Isles & Ireland, 2010; RWC in New Zealand, 2011.
Honours: SA Rugby Player of the Year nominee, 2008, 2011.
Brother of Jannie du Plessis, with which he holds the Springbok record for most Tests with a brother (Jannie) (20)

 

Name: Craig Burden

Date of Birth: 13/05/1985
Place of Birth: Durban
Position: Hooker
Height: 1.84 m
Weight: 100 kg
High School: Maritzburg College
Club: Jonsson College Rovers

Having made the remarkable transition from wing-cum-centre to hooker, Craig’s develpment has been ongoing over the past few years. In the absence of John Smit in 2008, Craig played a vital role for The Sharks while his development in 2009 came in the Vodacom Cup and again in the Absa Currie Cup where his explosiveness has made him a valuable player.

This Maritzburg College old boy made his provincial debut in 2006 against the Pumas, for the Sharks, and in 2007 for the Sharks as well in the Super 14.

He used his opportunities well last year in the absence of John Smit and Bismarck du Plessis during the international season, and now with John Smit playing his rugby in the UK, the former backline player will look to earn more game time at hooker. An explosive runner and a tough tackler, his strengths are his speed and acceleration.

 

Name: Kyle Cooper

Date of Birth: 10/02/1989
Place of Birth: Johannesburg
Position: Hooker
Height: 1.78 m
Weight: 106 kg
High School: Glenwood Boys High School
Club: Jonsson College Rovers

This Glenwood old boy has come through the ranks at the Sharks and played for South Africa in the IRB Junior Championships.

Kyle played for the Sharks Under 19′s and Under 21′s before making his debut for the senior Sharks side in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division against Griquas, thereafter earning a few starts in the 2011 Currie Cup campaign. A tough, nuggety front rower with plenty of power, possessing aggression and acceleration.

 

Name: Monde Hadebe

Date of Birth: 09/12/1990
Place of Birth: Durban
Position: Hooker
Height: 1.77m
Weight: 100kg
High School: Westville Boys High
Club: Jonsson College Rovers

Monde has played for South Africa Under 20′s and is another home-grown Shark.

Monde made his debut for the Sharks during the Currie Cup in 2011 following some important performances for the Sharks Under 21′s, especially as captain for the junior team who went on to contest the Under 21 Final. He adds solid depth to a vital position in the team and brings with him a professionalism so important at this age.

 

Starters:

The Battleship, Bismarck du Plessis, is sure to start, with Craig Burden sure to be a bench regular.

 

LOCKS:

 

Name: Anton Bresler

Date of Birth: 16/02/1988
Place of Birth: Windhoek, Nambia
Position: Lock
Height: 1.98m
Weight: 112kg
High School: DHS
Club: Jonsson College Rovers

A product of local school DHS but born in Namibia, the 23 year old has established himself more and more as a dependable, hard-working and tough-as-nails lock. He worked his way through the age group ranks, and after making a handful of Absa Currie Cup appearances for The Sharks in their successful 2010 season, he followed this up with a further 13 caps in the 2011 campaign.

Anton has been growing in stature, gradually, and 2012 could be a big year for him.

 

Name: Steven Sykes


Date of Birth: 05/08/1984
Place of Birth:Middelburgh
Position:Lock /flank
Height:1.98m
Weight:118 kg
School: Marlow Agricultural High School
Club: Acer Durban Collegians

Steven Sykes left The Sharks at the end of the 2011 Super Rugby tournament to pursue his career in Ireland. There he joined Leinster on a 3-year deal, but returned to the Sharks in January 2012 ahead of the new season to add his substantial offerings in the second row.

Sykes began his career with the Natal Sharks in 2005 and later the Sharks Super rugby team in 2007, with whom he played in the Super 14.

He has been a part of the Emerging Springboks team and played for them during their 13-13 draw against the British and Irish Lions on their 2009 tour to South Africa.

A player who enjoys the tight phases.

Sykes made his Provincial debut for the Sharks against the Elephants in 2005 and his Super Rugby debut against the Bulls in 2007.

Steven also played very briefly for the Springboks in 2011.

 

Name: Ross Carson (Ross) Skeate


Date of Birth: 02/04/1982
Place of Birth: Johannesburg
Position: Lock
Height: 2.01 m
Weight: 114 kg
High School: SACS High School
Club: Bluff Superspar Harlequins

Ross came up through the Western Province ranks, played for South African Schools in 2000, WP Under 19 and South Africa Under 19 in 2001, South Africa Under 21 in 2002 & 2003, WP Under 21 in 2002, WP Merit A in 2003.

He made his Provincial senior debut in 2003 for WP against the SWD Eagles.

He made his Stormers debut in Super Rugby in 2005 against the Blues.

He made his Sharks debut against the Blue Bulls in 2010 and his Toulon debut in 2008 against Montauban.

The former Stormers player, but signed from France, was in the form of his career during the latter stages of the Currie Cup season last year and will look to continue his domineering form in 2012. An intelligent lineout player who is able to combine the robustness of open play ball-carrying, support play or defence, his commitment is outstanding and he is becoming a very valuable member of the Sharks squad.

My nickname for the man is “Rocket Seat”.

 

Name: Alistair Hargreaves

Date of Birth: 29/04/1986
Place of Birth: Durban
Position: Lock
Height: 2.01 m
Weight: 114 kg
High School: DHS
Club: Varsity College Old Boys

Alistair attended Durban High School where he was captain of rugby and headboy in 2004 and represented the school’s first tem for 3 years from 2002 to 2004.

He captained SA Schools in 2004, then represented SA Under 19 at the Under 19 World Cup in 2004. He went on to captain the winning SA Under 19 side in 2005. In 2006 he represented South Africa Under 21.

He made his Provincial debut against the Griquas in 2006 and his Super Rugby debut against the Stormers in 2009.

Some say he’s developed into a quality lock and with extended game in the 2010 season, and it is speculated that he has established himself as a valuable member of the Sharks team. Tall and athletic, Hargreaves should be the consummate lineout lock, who adds value in both the tight and loose exchanges.

I personally think Alister is too soft and quite frankly do not know what people see in the guy.

 

Name: Jan Andre (Jandre) Marais

Date of Birth: 14/06/1989
Place of Birth: Welkom
Position: Lock
Height: 1.98 m
Weight: 118 kg
High School: Welkom Gymnasium
Club: Acer Durban Collegians

He joined the Sharks Academy in 2008 after attending Welkom Gymnasium, where he represented the Griffons at the Craven week in 2007.

At the Sharks he was part of the Under 19 side who won the Currie Cup Under 19 competition in 2008. In 2009 he represented South Africa Under 20 on a tour to Argentina and Japan.

He also represented the Sharks at Under 21 level for 3 years.

He made his Currie Cup debut against the Blue Bulls in July 2011.

Having been around the system for a while, Jandre (also known as Jan Andre) made his debut for The Sharks last year (his brother Peet made his debut when he replaced Jandre four games into the Currie Cup) and went on to feature in 10 games over the course of the campaign as a handy and hard-working second-rower, built for toughness and playing a vital support role necessary of a tight-forward.

 

Name: Peet Marais

Date of Birth: 31/10/1990
Place of Birth: Welkom
Position: Lock
Height: 1.99m
Weight: 114kg
High School: Welkom Gymnasium
Club: Acer Durban Collegians

Brother of Jandre, he adds depth to the second row, having been an important figure in the junior ranks to date.

 

 

Starters:

The Sharks should start with Steven Sykes and Anton Bresler, but both Rocket Seat and Alistair Hargreaves should get a good look in at lock this season too.

 

LOOSEFORWARDS:

 

Name: Willem Alberts

Date of Birth: 11/05/1984
Place of Birth: Pretoria
Position: Eighthman/Flank
Height: 1.92 m
Weight: 119 kg
High School: Monument Hoer Skool
Club: Acer Durban Collegians

Alberts made his professional debut for the Golden Lions in 2007. In that same year he was awarded his debut in the Super 14, playing against the Waratahs. He moved to the Sharks in 2010. In October 2010, Willem was selected to the Springbok squad of 39 players to prepare for the November tour of Europe.

He is known for his punishing runs (often requiring more than one tackler to stop him) and his rock solid defence. Due to his colossal mass (119 kg) Alberts’ bruising runs and bone crunching tackling, that often comprise of “big hit’s”, have made him a crowd favorite which has earned him a large following.

During the 2010 Currie Cup Semi – Final against the Vodacom Blue Bulls Alberts was awarded “Man of the match” after he put in a solid performance consisting of 21 ball carries gaining 144 metres. It is after a string of monumental performances for the Sharks that Alberts was named as part of the Springbok squad ahead of the 2010 Northern Hemisphere grand slam tour.

Alberts made his debut for South Africa off the bench and scored a try against Wales. Many believe that Albert’s impact was so great off the bench that he alone swung the game in the Boks favor and pulled them through.

He won his second Springbok cap against Scotland, when he once again came on off the bench and scored a powerful try after plucking the ball from the air in a line out and driving over the whitewash. However, his exploits were not enough and the Boks disastrously lost the game in shocking conditions.

His third cap came the following weekend against England at Twickenham. Alberts would come onto the field once more in the number 19 jersey and would score another try, this time in the corner which buried the English side and Alberts was branded “Super Sub”.

Willem Alberts made his run on debut against the Barbarians at Twickenham in the unfamiliar open side flanker birth. Although he did not score a try the test did not count as an official cap and Alberts returned to South Africa with a 100% try scoring record on his debut tour. An astonishing feat.

Willem’s move to The Sharks in 2010 marked the elevation of his career and tasted Absa Currie Cup success, as well as capping off 2010 with a call-up to the Springboks, scoring a try on international debut. He continued this form to become an important member of The Sharks before making the Bok Rugby World Cup squad in 2011. It is his brutal running and huge hits that mark him as a colossal and highly respected performer.

Tours: British Isles & Ireland, 2010; RWC in New Zealand, 2011.
Honours: Lions U20 2004
Lions Vodacom Cup 2005
Lions Absa Currie Cup 2005
Golden Lions U21 2005
UJ National Club Champs 2006
Lions Currie Cup 2008

 

Name: Jacques Botes

Date of Birth: 28/11/1980
Place of Birth: Nelspruit
Position: Flank
Height: 1.82m
Weight: 99kg
High School: Potch Gymnasium
Club: Varsity College Old Boys

Jacques made his Provincial debut in 2002 for the Pumas against the SWD Eagles and his Super Rugby debut for the Sharks against the Stormers in 2005.

A consistently high class performer who last missed a game for the Sharks back in 2006. The hard-working flank earned a century of caps for the Sharks last year, playing every single game of the season. Botes mixes tight play with strong running in the loose and with an eye for the try line, is regularly amongst the top try-scorers in the tournaments he participates in.

This hard-working flank goes into the 2012 season as the most experienced campaigner in the squad, earning his 100th Currie Cup cap in 2011 and approaches the magic 100 Super Rugby game as well. His vision and commitment makes him the consummate team player – and professional – while he adds leadership and an uncanny knack for scoring tries.

 

Name: Keegan Daniel

Date of Birth: 05/03/1985
Place of Birth: Humansdorp
Position: Flank (loose forward)
Height: 1.88 m
Weight: 94 kg
High School: Dale College
Club: Jonsson College Rovers

Born in the rural farming town of Humansdorp, Daniel started his education at Gonubie Primary before moving off to one of South Africa’s best known rugby nurseries, Dale College Boy’s High School.

Daniel played Craven Week for the Border rugby team in 2003 and was recruited afterwards by the Natal Rugby Academy.

Daniel came onto the provincial scene in the Super Rugby competition which earned him a place in the South African under 21 team. Daniel played well in the tournament with the South African under 21 team at the IRB u21 World Cup in France where South Africa lost in the final. He was nominated for player of the tournament and went on to claim the South African u21 player of the year for 2006. He has the ability to play flanker, wing, fly-half and fullback because of his blistering speed and kicking ability

Since then, Daniel has starred for the Sharks at Super Rugby level. In the 2008 season he earned man of the match awards in consecutive games against 2007 winners the Vodacom Blue Bulls and the high-flying Auckland Blues, scoring 3 tries in the process. His first try against the Blues came after just 16 seconds in the game – a record at Super 14 level.

On 30 October, Keegen was selected to tour with the Springboks in their November tour of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. He was not selected as a part of the initial squad of 39 but was later added after his performances in the Currie Cup semi-final and final.

On the 16th of Janiuary 2012, Sharks’ coach John Plumtree appointed Daniel Sharks captain for the 2012 Super Rugby season. Bismarck du Plesis who was widely anticipated to be appointed captain was made vice captain.

He is fast becoming one of the Sharks favourite sons and was last year appointed campaign captain for the Currie Cup, missing just 65 of their 1200 minutes over the course of the tournament. An athletic, play-making loose-forward who consistently punches well above his weight, finally earning his deserved – but belated – Springbok colours.

 

Name: Jean Deysel

Date of Birth: 05/03/1985
Place of Birth: Free State
Position: Flank
Height: 1.91 m
Weight: 112 kg
High School: Hentie Cilliers
Club: Goss & Balfe Crusaders

He was born in Virginia, Free State, South Africa and plays on the blindside flank but some suggest he might make a very good modern No 4 lock. Deysel is known for his bruising running with ball in hand, often “bumping” the first defender.

Whether it is running over, through or handing off his would-be tacklers, he is a devastating ball-carrier and attacking weapon in The Sharks arsenal. Jean proved his versatility starting at lock in the latter stages of The Sharks’ Currie Cup campaign, but it is at loose forward where he presents the most danger with ball in hand, using himself as a battering ram to break opposition defences and together with his physicality on defence, these attributes make him a formidable opponent.

Tours: France, Italy, Ireland & England, 2009

SQUAD LIST Sharks XV Vodacom Cup – 2011 Sharks ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division – 2010 The Sharks Vodacom Super 14 – 2010 South Africa Vodacom Outgoing Tours – 2009 Sharks ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division – 2009 Sharks Invitational XV Absa Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies – 2009 Emerging Springboks British & Irish Lions Tour – 2009 Sharks British & Irish Lions Tour – 2009 The Sharks Vodacom Super 14 – 2009 Sharks MTN test – 2009 The Sharks ABSA Currie Cup Premier Div – 2008 The Sharks Absa Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies – 2008 Wildebeest Vodacom Cup – 2008 The Sharks Vodacom Super 14 – 2008 Sharks XV Absa Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies – 2007 The Sharks ABSA Currie Cup Premier Div – 2007 Lions Vodacom Cup – 2007 Lions ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division – 2006 Lions Vodacom Cup – 2006 Golden Lions ABSA Under 21 Competition – 2006 Golden Lions ABSA Under 21 Competition – 2005 Lions ABSA Currie Cup Qualifying Round – 2005 Golden Lions Vodacom Cup – 2005 Golden Lions ABSA U20 Competition Section A – 2004 Griffons U/19 U19 Competition – 2002.

 

Name: Ryan Kankowski

Date of Birth: 14/10/1985
Place of Birth: Port Elizabeth
Position: Eighthman
Height: 1.93m
Weight: 107 kg
High School: St Andrews College (Grahamstown)
Club: Jonsson College Rovers

Kankowski is a tall, strong, yet pacey and skilled Number eight. He is also capable of playing as an Openside Flanker. He has a natural flair on attack, breaking the line with powerful runs from the back of the scrum, whilst he is unrelenting on defense. He is also an incredibly dangerous runner in open play. His game is reminiscent of that of Zinzan Brooke and, with maturity and leadership qualities that belie his age.

Kankowski was first selected to represent South Africa during the Springboks 2007 end of year tour to Wales & England. He made a try-scoring test debut on the tour as a substitute during South Africa’s resounding 34–12 victory over Wales at the Millennium Stadium on 24 November 2007, crossing the line for his team’s 5th try as the Springboks got their reign as World Champions of to a winning start. Although possessing the undoubted skills and talent to be a regular international, he has faced stiff opposition from Pierre Spies and the controversial Luke Watson for the Bok number 8 jersey. And with the recent emergence of the young and talented Duane Vermeulen, there is set to be even more competition for the Bok number 8 jersey in the future. As a result, he has mostly been an impact player, with 9 of his 15 Test Caps coming as a substitute. His most productive year was in 2008, when he received multiple nominations for his performances at Super Rugby and provincial level and was subsequently rewarded by being part of the Springboks Incoming Tour, their Tri Nations squad and their end of year Outgoing Tour. He was also part of the Springbok squad selected to play 3 Tests against the British and Irish Lions on their tour of South Africa in 2009.

He received one of his nicknames, “Definite”, from his close friends as they believed he would definitely be a Springbok rugby player at some stage. He is also affectionately known as “The Hoff”, referring to his similar looks to the actor, David Hasslehoff from Knight Rider and Bay Watch fame.

The rangy eighthman is a superb athlete, quick off the mark and able to get into his considerable stride rapidly. On attack, there are few forwards (or backs for that matter) quite as devastatingly quick or dangerous with the ball and his dynamic but powerful running style make him a difficult player to bring down. Consequently, he is a major strike force for The Sharks either scoring or making tries.

 

Name: Marcell Coetzee

Date of Birth: 08/05/1991
Place of Birth: Potchefstroom
Position: Eighthman/flank
Height: 1.91m
Weight: 106kg
High School: Port Natal
Club: Acer Durban Collegians

A locally schooled young man, Coetzee had an outstanding debut season for The Sharks when he was called in during the middle of last year’s Super Rugby tournament before featuring in every game in their Currie Cup campaign. He is a powerful-runner, hard-working and athletic loose-forward who is very accurate on both attack and defence and adds huge value and energy whenever he plays.

 

Name: Lubabalu Mtembu

Date of Birth: 09/12/1990
Place of Birth: King Williams Town
Position: Flank/Eighthman
Height: 1.87 m
Weight: 102 kg
High School: Dale College
Club: Jonsson College Rovers

Another junior player who has represented himself well in the junior ranks. He brings a good mixture of athleticism and power at loose-forward, adding depth top this critical area of the team. A quality player with a good future beckoning.

 

Starters:

I expect Keegan Daniel (Captain), Jean Deysel & Willem Alberts to be the 3 premier starters, but Ryan Kankowski and Jacques Botes should also get a decent run. We will not see Jean Deysel and Willem Alberts in the first week or 2 of the competition, seeing as they are still in recovery from injury, therfore Marcell Coetzee or Lubabalu Mtembu might get a little run from the bench, early on in the competition.

The Sharks are extremely well-covered at Looseforward and should be very competative in this department… as they always are.

 

SCRUMHALVES:

 

Name: Charl McLeod

Date of Birth: 05/08/1983
Place of Birth: Johannesburg
Position: Scrumhalf
Height: 1.80 m
Weight: 88 kg
High School: Wonderboom High School
Club: Bluff Superspar Harlequins

Charl attended Wonderboom High School in Pretoria.

He was recruited to the Sharks from one of the smaller SA Rugby Unions and made his Provincial debut for the Sharks against the Boland Kavaliers in 2008.

He made his Super Rugby debut in 2009 against the Brumbies.

He made his Test debut for the Springboks on 30 July 2011 against the All Blacks in Wellington… the only Test he’s played in.

McLeod missed the final four matches of last year’s Currie Cup tournament after sustaining the freakiest of injuries, a cracked hip. He has been in The Shark system long enough now with 60 caps to be an established member of the squad who is able to bring rapid service and an educated boot to the team’s endeavours.

 

Name: Conrad Hoffmann

Date of Birth: 09/11/1987
Place of Birth: Worcester
Position: Scrumhalf
Height: 1.81m
Weight: 86kg
High School: Paarl Boys High
Club: Fidelity Security Jaguars

Conrad made his rise through the age group levels at Western Province and represented South Africa Under 19 in 2006.

He made his Provincial debut for Western Province in 2007 against the Border Bulldogs.

He made his Super Rugby debut for the Stormers in 2008 against the Western Force.

Established himself as one of the top scrumhalves in the Currie Cup last year, enjoying extended game time following the injury to Charl McLeod, this coming off Hoffmann’s return from long term injury himself and he will look to build his reputation after playing in 21 matches for The Sharks over the course of the 2011 rugby season.

 

Name: Frederic Michalak

Date of Birth: 16/06/1982
Place of Birth: Toulouse (France)
Position: Flyhalf/Scrumhalf
Height: 1.82 m
Weight: 85 kg
High School: Joliman
Club: Fidelity Security Jaguars

Freddy was born in Toulouse, Haute-Garonne and is a French rugby player, who currently plays in South Africa for the Sharks in Super Rugby and the Natal Sharks in the Currie Cup. His early career was spent playing for his hometown team, Toulouse, in the Top 14 and in the Heineken Cup. He moved to South Africa to play for the Sharks in the Super 14 after the 2007 Rugby World Cup, but after just one year with the Natal Sharks he moved back to Toulouse. He has also played over 50 tests for France to date. He originally played scrum half but has played mainly at flyhalf. He has appeared in advertisements for companies such as Nike and Levis.

Michalak made his debut for Toulouse in 1998. He was a member of the team that won the French championship in 2001 and the Heineken Cup in 2003 and 2005. Michalak made his first appearance for France against South Africa on 10 November 2001 and became a regular on the French side. He was selected as a member of the squad for the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia and the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France. Michalak was also a part of the Six Nations French Grand Slam winners in 2004 and the champions of 2006.

Michalak signed with the Sharks for the Super 14 in 2008. The team, who had previously signed former French internationals Thierry Lacroix and Olivier Roumat, saw him as a key player in the Currie Cup campaign of the Natal Sharks, the provincial side that operates the Super Rugby side. Michalak made his Super 14 debut against the Stormersbut featured in only nine games before being sidelined by injury and shortly thereafter ending his spell with the Sharks. He played in the 2008 Currie Cup final, helping the Natal Sharks to win and becoming the third Frenchmen, after Olivier Roumat and Thierry Lacroix to win a Currie Cup medal. Michalak re-signed with his former club Toulouse for the start of the 2008-09 season.

Michalak’s second spell with Toulouse was frustrated by injurywith two serious injuries that limited his appearances for his club.

On 31 May 2011 it was announced that Michalak had signed a one-year contract with the Sharks, effective immediately – which meant that Michalak would not play in Toulouse’s Top 14 final on 4 June 2011.The Sharks’ need to fill vacancies left by injuries to several of their scrumhalves is widely considered a key short-term motive for the signing for the 2012 season, he is also seen as an extra option at flyhalf, a position where they had issues in 2011.

He contributed 192 points in the 2011 Currie Cup, finishing as the tournament’s top-scorer and will look to add his brand of mercurial magic to the Sharks backline in 2012.

 

Name: Cobus Reinach

Date of Birth: 07/02/1990
Place of Birth: Bloemfontein
Position: Scrumhalf
Height: 1.75 m
Weight: 83 kg
High School: Grey College Bloem
Club: Acer Durban Collegians

A speedy scrumhalf with an eye for the gap and the ability to break the line and either score, or set up scoring opportunities. Added to his blistering pace is a good appreciation of the tactical aspects of his position including good ball distribution.

 

Starters:

One of Charl McLeod or Frederic Michalak will start and I somehow think that it will be Charl McLeod, so that Frederic Michalak could cover on the bench both as scrumhalf and flyhalf. With a long season ahead, we should see Conrad Hoffmann play a role as well.

 

FLYHALVES:

 

Name: Patrick Lambie

Date of Birth: 17/10/1990
Place of Birth: Durban
Position: Fullback / Flyhalf
Height: 1.77 m
Weight: 92 kg
High School: Michaelhouse
Club: Jonsson College Rovers

He attended school at Clifton Preparatory in Durban before attending Michaelhouse from 2004–2008. He represented his country at the schoolboy level for his last two years of school. He was head boy and captained both the rugby and cricket team in his final year at Michaelhouse.

Lambie is capable of playing flyhalf, centre and fullback, and was the leading points scorer in the 2009 ABSA Under 21 Currie Cupdespite only turning 19 later that year. He represented South Africa at the Under 20 level when he was selected for the squad, and was utilized extensively as the first choice fullback during the 2010 Under20 World Cup in Argentina.

Lambie broke into the Sharks senior team set up in the 2010 Super 14 season, where his debut was spent in the fullback position. He was shifted to centre in the 2010 Currie Cup and due to injury was required to fill the flyhalf berth. Due to his natural talent and unwavering nerve he made the position his own and was integral in helping the Sharks reach Currie Cup success in 2010, including scoring two tries, three conversions and three penalties in the Sharks’ 30-10 win over Western Province in the final of the tournament. He was awarded with the “Man of the Match” award in the Currie Cup final. Lambie was also the second highest point scorer in the Currie Cup.

Lambie was called up to represent the Springboks during their 2010 tour to Ireland and the United Kingdom. He made his début against Ireland on 6 November 2010, at flyhalf after Morné Steyn was substituted in the second half. He converted a try on his debut.He has since then made six appearances in total for the Springboks with five off the bench and one start. He has also started against the Barbarians team for the Springboks at fullback, but this is not an official international match. Patrick Lambie was Michaelhouse school’s first South African rugby player in their 115 year history.

Debuting at the Rugby World Cup before his 21st birthday, Patrick Lambie’s star has shone brightly since making his debut for The Sharks at just 18 years of age. He is fast becoming an established Springbok while his role at The Sharks is firmly entrenched despite his youth. A rare talent that understands time and space which allows him to maintain composure despite the pressure, his range of abilities covers the entire skills’ set.

 

Name: Frederic Michalak

Date of Birth: 16/06/1982
Place of Birth: Toulouse (France)
Position: Flyhalf/Scrumhalf
Height: 1.82 m
Weight: 85 kg
High School: Joliman
Club: Fidelity Security Jaguars

Freddy was born in Toulouse, Haute-Garonne and is a French rugby player, who currently plays in South Africa for the Sharks in Super Rugby and the Natal Sharks in the Currie Cup. His early career was spent playing for his hometown team, Toulouse, in the Top 14 and in the Heineken Cup. He moved to South Africa to play for the Sharks in the Super 14 after the 2007 Rugby World Cup, but after just one year with the Natal Sharks he moved back to Toulouse. He has also played over 50 tests for France to date. He originally played scrum half but has played mainly at flyhalf. He has appeared in advertisements for companies such as Nike and Levis.

Michalak made his debut for Toulouse in 1998. He was a member of the team that won the French championship in 2001 and the Heineken Cup in 2003 and 2005. Michalak made his first appearance for France against South Africa on 10 November 2001 and became a regular on the French side. He was selected as a member of the squad for the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia and the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France. Michalak was also a part of the Six Nations French Grand Slam winners in 2004 and the champions of 2006.

Michalak signed with the Sharks for the Super 14 in 2008. The team, who had previously signed former French internationals Thierry Lacroix and Olivier Roumat, saw him as a key player in the Currie Cup campaign of the Natal Sharks, the provincial side that operates the Super Rugby side. Michalak made his Super 14 debut against the Stormersbut featured in only nine games before being sidelined by injury and shortly thereafter ending his spell with the Sharks. He played in the 2008 Currie Cup final, helping the Natal Sharks to win and becoming the third Frenchmen, after Olivier Roumat and Thierry Lacroix to win a Currie Cup medal. Michalak re-signed with his former club Toulouse for the start of the 2008-09 season.

Michalak’s second spell with Toulouse was frustrated by injurywith two serious injuries that limited his appearances for his club.

On 31 May 2011 it was announced that Michalak had signed a one-year contract with the Sharks, effective immediately – which meant that Michalak would not play in Toulouse’s Top 14 final on 4 June 2011.The Sharks’ need to fill vacancies left by injuries to several of their scrumhalves is widely considered a key short-term motive for the signing for the 2012 season, he is also seen as an extra option at flyhalf, a position where they had issues in 2011.

He contributed 192 points in the 2011 Currie Cup, finishing as the tournament’s top-scorer and will look to add his brand of mercurial magic to the Sharks backline in 2012.

 

Name: Paul Abraham (Paul) Jordaan

Date of Birth: 04/01/1992
Place of Birth: Somerset-East
Position: Flyhalf/Centre
Height: 1.80 m
Weight: 90 kg
High School: Grey College (Bloem)
Club: Varsity College Old Boys

Jordaan was born in Somerset East in the Eastern Cape, where he attended Gill Primary and represented EP at Under 12 and Under 13 levels in 2004 and 2005 respectively. He then became a boarder at Grey College in Bloemfontein, his father’s alma mater. He was selected for the Free State Under 16′s in 2008 and the Free State Academy side in 2009. He made the SA Academy team in 2009 too but didn’t play because of injury. Paul signed for the Sharks academy at the end of 2009 after having received bigger offers from other unions. While Jordaan has impressed at inside centre, he is also a capable flyhalf.

Paul Jordaan has been a significant contributor to The Sharks junior teams and indeed brings with him raw power and pace at both flyhalf and centre, making him an invaluable member of his former teams and the right mix of creativity and directness required of these two positions.

 

Additional players:

Riaan Viljoen & Meyer Bosman could also play flyhalf, if needed. Frederic Michalak could play at scrumhalf as well and Patrick Lambie is well suited at fullback where he’s done duty for the Springboks too, so all in all the Sharks have gone for multi-talented and / or utility players in most backline positions.

 

Starters:

Patrick Lambie seems to be preferred at flyhalf this year, so he should command a starting position at flyhalf, probably with Frederic Michalak doubling as his backup in addition to playing at scrumhalf.

 

CENTRES:

 

Name: Meyer Bosman

Date of Birth: 19/04/1985
Place of Birth: Bethlehem
Position: Centre
Height: 1.92m
Weight: 100kg
High School: Oakdale Agri. High
Club: Goss & Balfe Crusaders

Bosman started his professional rugby career at the Free State Cheetahs, in the Currie Cup in 2005. His most famous moment during his first season was the winning try he scored in the dying moments of the game against a full strength Blue Bulls team. The score earned the Free State Cheetahs their second Currie Cup championship (the first being more than 30 years prior). Bosman was part of the team that successfully defended the title for the following two years, by ending in a draw in 2006 against Blue Bulls and defeating the Golden Lions in 2007′s final.

At the young age of 20, he made his debut for the Springboks in late 2005, against Wales in Cardiff. The Springboks won the game 33–16, with Bosman contributing two conversions on his debut. He played the next week against France in Paris, again starting at flyhalf. He kicked one penalty goal in the 20–26 loss.

In 2006, the central province of the Cheetahs entered the Super 14, as the new South African rugby franchise. After the season ended, Bosman was called up for the Springboks for the Tri Nations, and was a reserve in the 0–49 loss in Brisbane.

At the end of the 2010 Currie Cup season, Bosman signed with the Sharks, the 2010 Currie Cup Champions. He made his debut for them against his former team, the Cheetahs, in the Super Rugby competition on 19 February 2011, playing at inside center. Ironically the former Sharks inside center, Andries Strauss, played in that match for the Cheetahs, the two players literally swapping the number 12 jerseys for the two teams respectively.

The big centre’s 2011 season closed on a low when he had to miss the last few rounds of the Currie Cup tournament with a broken facial bone, but he will look to reproduce the kind of form that saw him earn Springbok colours earlier in his career as well as shining for the Sharks in his first year in Durban.

Some call him “The Revolving Door”, as his tackling has taken quite a dive in 2011, something he has been working hard to set right.

 

Name: Tim Whitehead

Date of Birth: 30/051988
Place of Birth: Port Elizabeth
Position: Centre
Height: 1.87m
Weight: 95kg
High School: Grey College, PE
Club: Acer Durban Collegians

This Grey High School (Port Elizabeth) old boy represented WP Under 21 and the SA University side in 2009, despite missing out on both the Varsity Cup (UCT) and the Vodacom Cup due to injuries in the first half of 2009.

He earned the WP Under 21 backline player of the year award in 2009.

In 2010 Tim played for the Ikey Tigers (UCT) in the Varsity Cup and was largely overlooked by WP and the Stormers in 2011, prompting his move to the Sharks on a 2-year contract.

 

Name: Paul Abraham (Paul) Jordaan

Date of Birth: 04/01/1992
Place of Birth: Somerset-East
Position: Flyhalf/Centre
Height: 1.80 m
Weight: 90 kg
High School: Grey College (Bloem)
Club: Varsity College Old Boys

Jordaan was born in Somerset East in the Eastern Cape, where he attended Gill Primary and represented EP at Under 12 and Under 13 levels in 2004 and 2005 respectively. He then became a boarder at Grey College in Bloemfontein, his father’s alma mater. He was selected for the Free State Under 16′s in 2008 and the Free State Academy side in 2009. He made the SA Academy team in 2009 too but didn’t play because of injury. Paul signed for the Sharks academy at the end of 2009 after having received bigger offers from other unions. While Jordaan has impressed at inside centre, he is also a capable flyhalf.

Paul Jordaan has been a significant contributor to The Sharks junior teams and indeed brings with him raw power and pace at both flyhalf and centre, making him an invaluable member of his former teams and the right mix of creativity and directness required of these two positions.

 

Name: Marius Charl (Marius) Joubert

Date of Birth: 10/07/1979
Place of Birth: Paarl
Position: Centre
Height: 1.91 m
Weight: 96 kg
High School: Paarl Gymnasium
Club: Duikers

He has previously played for the Boland Cavaliers, Free State Cheetahs and Western Province in the Currie Cup and at the Stormers and the Central Cheetahs in Super Rugby. Joubert was educated at Paarl Gimnasium, alongside Springboks and former Western Province and Stormers teammates De Wet Barry and Jean de Villiers. A few years later, the same school produced another current Springbok star in Schalk Burger.

Joubert started his career at the Boland Cavaliers where he played from 1999 to 2001 when he joined Western Province from 2002–2006. 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 six 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.

Marius was signed from Cleremont in France in mid-2011. He was is a lethal finisher who brought a wealth of experience to the Sharks backline, but his form in 2011 was, to say the least, disapointing.

He played in 12 of the Sharks 15 Currie Cup games last year including a starting place in the final.

 

Name: Heimar Williams

Date of Birth: 02/09/ 1991
Place of Birth: Krugersdorp
Position: Centre
Height: 1.80m
Weight: 94kg
High School: Afrikaans Hoër Seunsskool, Pretoria (Affies)
Club: Acer Durban Collegians

Heimar was born in Krugersdorp and went on to grow up with his family in Pretoria. Heimar matriculated from Affies, a school known for its rare rugby talents. It was here where his rugby career started to take off.

He’s currently in his second year at The Sharks Academy, where he hopes to obtain is BCompt degree in the near future. He has already made a big name for himself, having caught the eye of Sharks Coach, John Plumtree. Heimar was recently given a massive boost when he was named on the bench as cover for the injured Marius Joubert. Although Joubert went on to pass a late fitness test, the fact is that it will not be long until Heimar receives another call up.

Be sure to watch out for this explosive centre, as he was named as the “player of the year” in the Under19 age group last year.

He played for the Blue Bulls Craven Week team in 2009 and went on to represent the SA Academy side that same year. More recently he made a big impact in The Vodacom Cup team that went on to reach the Semi Finals stage last year.

He has always managed to make fine centre combinations in the junior teams, adding power and speed to his repertoire of attacking abilities and adds further depth in the crucial centre position.

 

Additional Players:

The new idea or experiment we’ve seen in recent warm-up games focussed on converting J P Pietersen to an outside centre, which is where I suspect he’ll play most of the season, however for now I’ll pencil J P Pietersen in as a wing in my next Article. We also know that Patrick Lambie can play at inside centre, should the Sharks really need the services of a centre when things start going south!

 

Starters:

The most probable starting centre pairing will that of Tim Whitehead at inside centre and J P Pietersen at outside centre, but let’s add the revolving door (Meyer Bosman) to the starting mix as well, for good measure.

Marius Joubert has not been a shadow of the type of play which made him a Springbok years ago and I’d probably prefer Paul Jordaan at centre way before the old bones of Marius Joubert.

 

BACK THREE:

 

Name: Lwazi Ncedo (Lwazi) Mvovo

Date of Birth: 03/06/1986
Place of Birth: Umtata
Position: Wing
Height: 1.85 m
Weight: 91 kg
High School: Maria Louw High
Club: Varsity College Old Boys

He was schooled at Maria Louw High School. His debut for the Natal Sharks was in 2008 against Boland.

He made his Provincial debut for the Sharks against Boland in 2008 and his Super Rugby debut against the Lions in 2010.

In the 2010 Currie Cup tournament Lwazi Mvovo was the second highest try scorer with 12 tries to his name. He once again impressed in the Super Rugby competition when he tied for the second highest try scorer, once more, with 6.

He is very quick on his feet and shows an excellent work rate.

In October 2010, Lwazi was selected to the Springbok squad of 39 players to prepare for the November tour of Europe. He made his Springboks debut on 20 November 2010 in the 21-17 loss to Scotland at Murrayfield. Lwazi scored his first international try against England, at Twickenham on Saturday 27 November 2010, in a 21-11 victory.

Lwazi Mvovo made his Tri Nations debut against the Wallabies in Sydney on 23 July 2011. He was part of the 39 – 20 hammering at the hands of the Wallabies, however he showed strength and stamina to test the Australian defense for the full 80 minutes.

Mvovo then appeared against New Zealand in Wellington in the number 11 birth.

One of the most recent Sharks Academy boys to have made it all the way to Springbok level via The Sharks and a bright future looks certain to continue for the speedy winger. A deadly finisher who is able to combine pace, acceleration and pure power to score important tries for The Sharks.

 

Name: Odwa Nzuzo (Odwa) Ndungane

Date of Birth: 20/02/1981
Place of Birth: Umtata
Position: Wing
Height: 1.84 m
Weight: 96 kg
High School: Hudson Park High
Club: Varsity College Old Boys

Twin brother of the Bulls’ winger Akona, Odwa has enjoyed the fruits of his hard work and with regular selection thanks to his consistent good form, his game has grown to the state where he is reliability encapsulated. Sound under the high ball and a strong runner on attack, he always lends an air of dependability to the Sharks be it on defence or attack. His outstanding form was finally rewarded when he was selected to represent the Springboks.

He made his Test debut against Italy in a 26-0 victory in Cape Town in 2008.

Odwa made his Provincial debut for the Border Bulldogs against the SWD Eagles in 2000 and made his Super Rugby debut for the Sharks against the Bulls in 2004.

A committed team man who continues to deliver impressive and dependable performances for The Sharks each year. He has a strong work-rate on the field, a player consistently looking for work and a wing who never shies away from the action. A solid and safe player who brings an air of composure to the backline.

Tours: British Isles in 2008, France, Italy, Ireland & England in 2009, Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 2011.

 

Name: Jon-Paul Roger (JP) Pietersen

Date of Birth: 12/07/86
Place of Birth: Cape Town
Position: Fullback/Wing
Height: 1.90 m
Weight: 102 kg
High School: HS Generaal Hertzog
Club: Fidelity Security Jaguars

Pietersen was educated at the Hoërskool Generaal Hertzog in Witbank, but made his provincial debut with the Natal Sharks as a 19-year old during the 2005 Currie Cup season. His 2006 Super 14 season was disrupted by injuries but despite this, he was included in the South African Under 21 team to compete at the 2006 Under 21 Rugby World Championship. South Africa made the final, but were defeated by the hosts, France. Upon arriving back to South Africa after the Under 21 World Championship he was named in the Springboks 2006 Tri Nations Series squad where he debuted against New Zealand at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.

Pietersen’s deceptive pace and gliding runs make him an unpredictable back-line player, with the ability to break the line at will and create attacking opportunities for his team. He is also a clinical finisher, and was the leading try scorer in the 2007 Super 14 competition with 12 tries from 15 games. However, Pietersen’s weaknesses include his occasional susceptibility to poor handling, being particularly frail protecting the “high ball” and often “knocking on” in seemingly innocuous situations, a penchant which has often led to him being chastised by the local media and fans alike. Despite this, Pietersen remains a firm fan favourite for the unpredictable and exciting dimension his play brings to the team. Before the emergence of Francois Steyn at the Sharks franchise, Pietersen was seen as the ideal replacement for Percy Montgomery as fullback, however with Steyn being able to play at either fullback, wing or flyhalf, Pietersen then found his role as play-maker in the Sharks team divided as either wing or fullback.

He was selected into the Springbok 2007 Rugby World Cup squad. Starting in the first two matches, Pietersen scored three tries. He was impressive in the game against England, scoring two tries and setting up a third.

The top try-scorer in the 2007 Super 14 failed to score even one in 2008, a fact acknowledged by both AJ Venter and Stefan Terblanche in the October 2008 edition of SA Sports Illustrated.

However, post World Cup Pietersen went on to establish the most capped wing combination in Springbok history with Bryan Habana, standing currently at 25 tests. Ten more than next best, James Small and Jaques Olivier. Aside from his obvious attacking abilities, Pietersen is widely regarded for his outstanding defense. His cover defence being the saving grace of the Springbok’s 2008 End of Year Tour, manfully keeping the Welsh at bay, and dominating his opposite Shane Williams. His all-round skills remain of the highest standard, maturing into one of the best wings post readmission. He was a key figure in the Springbok World Cup campaign in New Zealand in 2011.

One of the first stars to come through the ranks of Sharks Academy, Pietersen has proven himself year after year. JP continues to produce quality performances for The Sharks and Springboks. He has appeared in two Rugby World Cup campaigns (with one winners’ medal) despite only being in his early 20′s and has amassed 108 Sharks caps which would be more were it not for his Springbok commitments.

Tours: Ireland & England in 2006, Ireland & Scotland in 2007, Rugby World Cup in France in 2007, Wales & Scotland in 2007, Wales & England in 2007, British Isles in 2008, France, Italy, Ireland & England in 2009, Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 2011.
Honours: SA Rugby Young Player of the Year nominee in 2005 & 2006.

 

Name: Sibusiso Sithole

Date of Birth: 14/06/1990
Place of Birth: Johannesburg
Position: Wing
Height: 1.82 m
Weight: 94 kg
High School: Queens College
Club: Bluff Superspar Harlequins

Of course, who will ever forget the memorable try Sibusiso Sithole scored for the Blitzbokke last year at the Edinburgh leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series, winning a Final at the death for the Blitzbokke against Australia.

A powerful runner with the ability to cut and pass his marker, S’Bura made his name as a Sevens player. Adds good value to The Sharks attacking arsenal out wide and we might see quite a bit of this man in 2012, with the planned move of J P Pietersen to outside centre.

 

Name: Riaan Viljoen

Date of Birth: 01/04/1983
Place of Birth: Carletonville
Position: Fullback / flyhalf
Height: 1.85m
Weight: 97kg
High School: Klerksdorp
Club: Goss & Balfe Crusaders

He was born in Carletonville, South Africa and his first tour with the Springboks was to France, Italy, Ireland and England in late 2009 where he played in two tour matches. All indications are that he’ll be the preferred option as starting fullback over rival Louis Ludik.

Blessed with a massive boot and an ability to play at either fullback or flyhalf, Viljoen who has represented the Cheetahs at Super Rugby level and Griquas in the Currie Cup, brings versatility, skill and experience to the Sharks where he was signed at the end of last season ahead of 2012. His contribution, especially on attack, is expected to be hugely valuable while he offers much in the kicking department.

Riaan played for the Valke in 2006 & 2007, GWK Griquas in the Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup in 2008 to 2011, the Royal XV against the British & Irish Lions in 2009, Springboks in 2009 and the Cheetahs in Super Rugby in 2009 to 2011.

 

Name: Louis Ludik

Date of Birth: 08/10/86
Place of Birth : Kempton Park
Position: Fullback
Height: 1.83m
Weight: 92kg
High School: EG Jansen Hoer Skool
Club: Acer Duban Collegians

Louis was one of 2 Lions players who joined the Sharks after contractual flaws were exposed in their contracts at the Golden Lions Rugby Union (Willem Alberts as the other), not endearing him to Lions fans at all, but this solid Fullback deserved to play in a structured side where his future was more secure.

When Louis joined the Sharks, he had torn ligaments in his knee in the Lions game against the British & Irish Lions in their tour to South Africa in 2009. He spent 8 months in rehabilitation.

He made himself a regular starter for the Sharks since, in both the Currie Cup as well as Super Rugby.

He will be looking to make 2012 a big 2012 season, but faces stiff opposition from Riaan Viljoen as first choice starter at fullback. A solid, safe and exciting fullback who enjoys counterattacking but gives everything on defence as well. Dependable under the high ball, he has all the attributes necessary for the fullback position.

 

Additional Players:

Young Gouws Prinsloo is waiting in the background as extra cover for the fullback berth and as we’ve mentioned in the Article dealing with flyhalves, Patrick Lambie could be used at fullback too if needed.

 

Starters:

The probable starters will be Lwazi Mvovo (Left Wing), Sibusiso Sithole (Right Wing) and Riaan Viljoen (Fullback). J P Pietersen will most probably be used as outside centre and not at wing as we have become used to seeing him play. The bench will probably contain Louis Ludik and old man Odwa Ndungane.


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