Sharks sign Springbok Sevens veteran Werner Kok
With announcement franchise has unveiled a new player every day for the past nine days
Now that the Sharks have signed Springbok Sevens veteran Werner Kok‚ they have unveiled one new player every day for the past nine days.
It is an impressive set of players that will fill starting and squad vacancies.
There will be almost six months of nonstop Super Rugby, with the 2020 season starting on January 31 and ending on June 20.
Depth in strength will be critical for the Sharks and this is how their signings weigh up:
Loose forwards: James Venter‚ Sikhumbuzo Notshe‚ Henco Venter
Incumbents: Phendulani Buthelezi‚ Luke Stringer‚ Lubabalo “Tera” Mtembu‚ Celimpilo Gumede‚ Tyler Paul‚ Kwanda Dimaza‚ Wian Vosloo
Reason: With the Du Preez twins Jean-Luc and Daniel gone‚ and Philip van der Walt and Jacques Vermeulen also seeking greener European pastures‚ chances abound for loose forwards at the Sharks.
Whether the new signings will have the same effect as the departed players remains to be seen. Depth though is something the Sharks have at loose forward.
Wings and centres: Madosh Tambwe‚ Werner Kok
Incumbents: Makazole Mapimpi‚ Aphelele Fassi‚ Lwazi Mvovo‚ S’busiso Nkosi‚ Kobus van Wyk
Reason: As there are two Springbok starters in Mapimpi and Nkosi‚ rotation will be necessary to ensure they are kept fresh.
Kok and Tambwe bring different qualities that will be useful in a long season. As Fassi is the only genuine fullback in the group‚ competition at wing will be intense‚ even when the Boks are rested.
Flyhalf: Jordan Chait
Incumbents: Curwin Bosch‚ Henry Chamberlain
Reason: With coach Robert du Preez gone‚ Curwin Bosch will finally get a season-long opportunity to stake a flyhalf claim.
That will leave junior achievers Chamberlain and Chait to battle it out for the understudy position. They are both talented‚ but they will do some serious bench time unless Bosch is injured.
Front rowers: Michael Kumbirai‚ Retshegofaditswe “Ox” Nche
Incumbents: Juan Schoeman‚ Thomas du Toit‚ John-Hubert Meyer‚ Khuthazani Mchunu‚ Mzamo Majola‚ Tendai Mtawarira
Reason: A big hole has been left at tighthead by the departure of Coenie Oosthuizen, and the above players will need to fill it.
A loosehead prop also needs to be eased in, with Mtawarira slowly starting to draw a curtain on his illustrious career. There is depth here‚ but whether it’s the sort of quality the Sharks require is uncertain.
Lock: Jordan Sesink-Clee
Incumbents: Gideon Koegelenberg‚ Hyron Andrews‚ JJ van der Mescht. Tyler Paul
Reason: Quality locks are in short supply as franchises hang on to their number fours and fives.
With Ruan Botha gone‚ the Sharks trawled the Varsity Cup and found a replacement in Sesink-Clee. They still need more bulk and grunt in this position.