Heinz Schenk
2 minute read
7 Jun 2019
7:40 pm

Du Preez’s ‘nepotism’ places undue burden on Sharks

Heinz Schenk

The Durbanites' coach makes a risky selection that has already prompted a backlash.

Robert du Preez of the Cell C Sharks during the Super Rugby match between Cell C Sharks and Reds at Jonsson Kings Park Stadium on April 19, 2019 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

While he’ll argue that he’ll only be seen a few more weeks in a Sharks jersey anyway, Robert du Preez jr’s swansong is in danger of going distinctly sour.

His father and head coach, Robert, has surprisingly entrusted him with the No 10 jersey in tonight’s make-or-break meeting with the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.

It’s not supposed to be an awkward development, but it is.

Du Preez snr copped flak in last weekend’s loss to the Hurricanes in Durban after he brought his eldest son on for fullback Aphelele Fassi, who seemed to be yanked off for making one mistake.

It meant a composed Curwin Bosch was shifted to the No 15 jersey and his influence was markedly less.

More importantly, the Sharks collapsed.

As a result, the old parrot cry of nepotism has re-emerged and perhaps places unnecessary pressure on a team that’s already being weighed down by criticism for underperforming yet again this season.

Ironically, from a rugby perspective, Du Preez jr’s inclusion isn’t necessarily a bad one.

The Sharks have been accomplished tourists in 2019 and have, in fact, performed better away from home.

They’ll take 2017’s 33-25 win in Argentina as inspiration, where their power game subdued their more fancied hosts.

It’s the type of game that Du Preez has controlled well on occasion, though one could argue that Bosch has been doing it consistently this season too.

Either way, it’s a selection that places the Sharks’ already flimsy playoff prospects in more jeopardy.

Sharks: Curwin Bosch, Sbu Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am, Andre Esterhuizen, Makazole Mapimpi, Robert du Preez jr, Louis Schreuder (c), Dan du Preez, Tyler Paul, Jacques Vermeulen, Ruan Botha, Hyron Andrews, Coenie Oosthuizen, Kerron van Vuuren, Mzamo Majola. Bench: Craig Burden, Juan Schoeman, Thomas du Toit, Ruben van Heerden, Luke Stringer, Zee Mkhabela, Jeremy Ward, Aphelele Fassi.

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