As we know, warm up games play a huge part in a team’s approach to the season. Many coaches take this time to give fringe players a chance to show them whether they are up for the challenge of Super 15 rugby, and many times we end up with gems within that teams.
If you look at last year, the Stormers and Sharks bought through two gems in Marcell Coetzee and Eben Etzebeth, who played consistent for club and country over the last year.
The point I am trying to make though, is that no matter which way you look at it, the Sharks and Stormers were dealt massive blows to their campaigns, even before it kicked off. The Stormers lost Eben to a injury, putting him out for up to 8 weeks, which is a massive blow if you consider the amount of physicality he brings to their front row. He will be sorely missed. As much can be said about the Sharks, losing Keegan Daniel with a MCL injury and Tim Whitehead with a broken arm. The severity of the injuries are not known yet but will shortly, this will put a lot of pressure on the Sharks.
I do feel though that we have sufficient cover at Loose forward, but suddenly they seem stretched at Outside Centre. Whitehead is a good player, who must have been one of the in form players in the Sharks jersey last year, had injury not hampered his progress to a sure Green and Gold stint. Paul Jordaan as we know is another explosive player who is electric and space. I do hope that he can fill the void, now left by the former Stormer Centre.
Which brings me to my topic. Is warm up games really necessary if you are going to get casualties? Yes, is my answer, as you could have seen, their opposition may not have been Super Rugby sides but rugby as we know and love is a contact sport first of all, and what it does when you don’t play any form of pre season warmup is that you in essence play catchup, because players cannot be put in a cacoon and be expected to deliver their best.
More on squad updates as we move along, not long now until Super Rugby 2013 is upon us. Heck, before we know it, we will be asking for it to be over…..nah, we love rugby too much.