for quality writing

Ken Borland

Sharks take Louw road in response to Lions employing services of Odendaal at 13 0

Posted on October 08, 2020 by Ken

With the Lions springing a surprise by employing the battering ram services of Burger Odendaal at outside centre, forming a bulky midfield pairing with Dan Kriel, much attention was focused on the Sharks’ selection on Wednesday and who they will play in the No.12 jersey when they meet the Gauteng side in Durban on Friday night.

With captain Lukhanyo Am assured of his outside centre spot, Sharks coach Sean Everitt has gone for the stockier option at No.12, preferring Marius Louw to Jeremy Ward. Although Louw is six centimetres shorter than Ward at 1.81m, he weighs eight kilogrammes more at 94kg. Of course neither Louw nor Ward have the physical presence of the Sharks’ long-time inside centre Andre Esterhuizen, the 110kg Springbok who has joined English club Harlequins, but they both have much to add, with Ward warming the bench on Friday night.

“The competition between Marius and Jeremy is always close and we had lengthy selection discussions about it. We just felt that when Marius came on against the Bulls on SuperFan Saturday he played particularly well and brought a lot of energy. But they are both very good players and leaders, and Marius just pipped Jeremy this week.

“Playing Odendaal at 13 means the Lions will have a big centre combination with Kriel at 12. We’re expecting something different from them, they may have moved away from their DNA a bit, away from continuity and ball-in-hand rugby a bit,” Everitt said.

Facing off against Odendaal as his direct opponent and not seeing him at inside centre is also going to be different for Am, who locked horns with the new Lions signing many times while he was up the road at the Bulls.

“I’ve never gone head-to-head with Burger but I have huge respect for him having played against him several times. He will bring experience and leadership to the Lions, and probably the same game he had at the Bulls – he takes on defenders and he carries the ball pretty hard. That’s what I expect from him, the Lions have quite a big centre pairing now and we expect a physical battle,” Am said.

Springbok Sevens star Werner Kok, making his official Sharks debut, has been paired with veteran JP Pietersen as the wings, with Madosh Tambwe expected to be fit for their next Super Rugby Unlocked game, away at the Bulls after next week’s bye, and Yaw Penje, signed on a short-term contract, still assimilating into the squad.

Ox Nche forms a powerful propping partnership with World Cup winner Thomas du Toit, and Everitt said he is really happy with the improvement shown in the Sharks’ scrummaging since the start of the year.

“Their great form really started early on in Super Rugby. We had a few issues at the start of the year in our scrum and there were plenty of critics. But since then the scrum has gone from strength to strength. I thought they stood up well against the Bulls two weeks ago and Ox and Thomas carried that through to last weekend’s Green and Gold game. Ox getting one over Ruan Dreyer of the Lions last weekend will add some spice to Friday night and it will be an interesting battle,” Everitt said.

Sharks team: Manie Libbok, JP Pietersen, Lukhanyo Am, Marius Louw, Werner Kok, Curwin Bosch, Sanele Nohamba, Sikumbuzo Notshe, Phendulani Buthelezi, James Venter, Hyron Andrews, Ruben van Heerden, Thomas du Toit, Dylan Richardson, Ox Nche. Replacements – Dan Jooste, Mzamo Majola, John-Hubert Meyer, JJ van der Mescht, Mpilo Gumede, Grant Williams, Jeremy Ward, Thaakir Abrahams.

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Thought of the Day

    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

    If there’s a frustrating vacuum in your spiritual life and you fervently desire to serve the Lord but don’t know how you’re meant to do that, then start by loving others in his name.


↑ Top