Heinz Schenk
2 minute read
16 Jan 2020
10:33 am

Sharks surprise with Louw plan, but does SA need another flanker?

Heinz Schenk

The stocky centre is no stranger to being a poacher at the breakdowns.

Is Marius Louw going back to his old position? (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)

Taking cue from how well England used two fetcher flanks – Tom Curry and Sam Underhill – in last year’s World Cup, the Sharks have decided to possibly re-tread centre Marius Louw in that position over a period of time.

It’s an interesting move from coach Sean Everitt, who has a decent group of loose forwards at his disposal for 2020 that is probably lacking the high class of recent departures in the Du Preez twins and Jacques Vermeulen.

The 24-year-old Louw captained Grey College and at the time noted how he wanted to model his game on former Sharks darling and Springbok loosie Keegan Daniel.

But his move to the Sharks Academy saw him being shifted into midfield.

“We gave him a run on the openside in last week’s warm-up. It was my idea,” said Everitt.

“I know Marius from his school days and he was a very accomplished openside flanker during those days.”

While Louw is going to move back to the No 12 jersey for this weekend’s Superhero Sunday meeting with the Stormers at FNB Stadium, the experiment surely won’t reach a dead end soon as the Sharks have pertinently identified the need for a strong bunch of flankers who play more to the ball.

“Over the past few years we haven’t really selected out-and-out fetchers, at least not since Marcell Coetzee’s departure (in 2016). In fact, we haven’t even looked at that,” said Everitt.

“It’s something that we needed to do. We identified that we need fetchers and also brought in (the Lions’) James Venter. Marius, with his experience, we feel could add a different dimension. He actually played very well last week.”

Louw’s potential switch also frees up the midfield for proper rotation as the Sharks boast three excellent centres in Andre Esterhuizen, Lukhanyo Am and Jeremy Ward.

Yet the question remains: in a crowded and competitive position nationally, does local rugby need another flanker?

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