The Sharks have returned home after a mostly successful Super Rugby tour. Here, we look at five Sharks players who shone in Australia and New Zealand.
Schreuder toured with the Springboks last November as just reward for his rich form in captaining the Sharks to the Currie Cup title. Further, it was decided by the Sharks’ internal leadership group that Schreuder should replace 2018 Super Rugby captain Ruan Botha in the 2019 event, thus giving continuity from the Currie Cup. The 29-year-old Schreuder was excellent in the Sharks’ opening wins over the Sunwolves and the Blues before finding himself behind beaten Sharks packs in the SA derbies, and his form suffered a little. On this tour Schreuder was given a platform to coolly direct traffic from his position at the back of the forwards.
Philip van der Walt
In December the former Cheetah returned to Durban from duty in Japan with a thigh contusion that kept him out of the first month of Super Rugby. It took him a while to build up a head of steam and he would be the first to admit that it was only on tour that he hit his best form. And it could not have been more timely. After the disastrous home defeats the Sharks needed strong leadership overseas, and the intelligent 30-year-old delivered in that respect as well as in his role as a rugged flank.
Kerron van Vuuren
The 22-year-old was thrust into the deep end of Super Rugby this season following the doping drama that ruled out Chiliboy Ralepelle, and then the suspension of Akker van der Merwe.
The Glenwood old boy showed from the first match he played that there was no chance of him sinking. Van Vuuren, who paid his dues in age group rugby for the Sharks before promotion to the senior ranks, impressed because of his commitment to the basics. On tour, he again showed that he was more than willing to roll up his sleeves and do the dirty work.
This tour will be forever remembered for the “coming of age” of Bosch as a world-class flyhalf. The 22-year-old has had to be patient for his chance in the No10 jersey in Super Rugby.
He would have had his frustrations while he had to bide his time at fullback, but when his opportunity came, against the Waratahs in Sydney in the tour opener, it was as if he was unto the flyhalf manor born.
What made Bosch’s commanding performances more compelling was the fact that he had not played flyhalf since the 2016 Currie Cup final.
Dan and Jean-Luc du Preez
Because they are twins I can get away with combining these two. Dan has been a stand-out at No 8 all season for the Sharks. He has been consistently good and at times looked like he was fighting a lone battle in the Sharks’ poor performances pre tour.
Jean-Luc missed the first six weeks of the competition because of injury before making comeback cameos off the bench. On tour, the pair were at their burly, combative best in relentlessly getting their team over the advantage line, and in their highly physical defence.