Springbok legend Joel Stransky has advised the Sharks to focus more on their coaching structure than who they actually play at flyhalf as they head into a pivotal stage of the United Rugby Championship.
The Sharks will host the Scarlets at Kings Park on Friday night and lead the South African Shield, sitting in eighth place in the play-offs. But the Stormers and Bulls are within easy reach and the Sharks need to score bonus points against both the Welshmen and Zebre Parma next weekend to take advantage of home games against teams in the bottom half of the log.
But to do that, the Sharks must score and seem unsure of who to play in the flyhalf’s crucial role: Curwin Bosch, Boeta Chamberlian or Tito Bonilla?
“Whenever a team doesn’t click attack, people blame the flyhalf, but more often than not one has to look at the coaching structure,” Stransky said.
“Is the team getting good ball, forward possession, fast ball? Do they create space to attack and what are their lines? Are there dummy runners?
“The flyhalf plays a big part in that, because he is more often than not the first receiver. If you have a forward as the first receiver, your whole game plan changes.
“But if your flyhalf is the first receiver, then he must understand the space and have the ability to carry the ball with speed in that space. He needs to understand whether to play flat or be in the bag.”
The 1995 World Cup hero was part of the Natal Sharks’ Currie Cup winning teams of the early 1990s, and while his most famous moment came with the shoe, Stransky was also an authoritative figure on offense, with silky skills . The coast side then moved on to a rock solid, gain-line dominating flyhalf in Henry Honiball.
None of the Sharks’ current trios, number 10, are in that mold, but Stransky said he would support Chamberlain as his first choice.
Chamberlain, 23, took a tough 24-10 win over the Pumas in the Currie Cup last weekend, kicking eight penalties when the Sharks failed to score a try.
“It’s a difficult one, but I would probably go for Boeta because he brings a little more flow and rhythm to their game,” said Stransky. “He plays a bit flatter and understands when to get the ball flat.
“Curwin is a great kicker and has other qualities, but he is a bit behind in the bag. The Sharks have trouble scoring attempts, but when Boeta played against URC five or six weeks ago, he wasn’t too bad. “