Time to sink Bismarck du Plessis as captain for the Sharks ?

It was a throwaway remark from Directors of Sharks Rugby Gary Gold regarding the captaincy of the team going forward, but there could well be underlying substance in his response to a question late last week regarding Bismarck du Plessis’ leadership.

The Springbok hooker next week completes a four-week ban for kicking a Chiefs players in the head and is available for the Sharks’ first tour game, against the Highlanders in Dunedin on May 1.

“I still need to have that conversation with Bismarck,” Gold said on the eve of the match against the Bulls, which the visitors deservedly won 17-10 at the weekend “We are not under pressure to make that decision because we have a bye this week, and need to have a close look at the makeup of the squad.

“There are a couple of guys coming back, it’s not only Bismarck. (Centre) Paul Jordaan is back (from a hip injury sustained last year) and a key lock in Stephan Lewies is back in action. Frans Steyn and JP Pietersen will be back as well so we have to look at the permutations as we comprise our tour squad.”

But will there be an outcry of belligerent Bismarck resumes the leadership? The combative hooker is proving to be a time bomb, and after the first-round match against the Bulls, he felt compelled to issue a public apology for the petulant manner in which he reacted to niggling from wily veteran Victor Matfield.

Bismarck has a target on his back and the niggling most certainly is not going to stop over the Sharks’ last six games.

Surely the 30-year-old would be better off concentrating solely on his game without the additional responsibility of captaincy? He is one of the world’s best players and can best rediscover that form without the encumbrance of the captaincy.

“I haven’t necessarily thought about whether there would be an outcry or not,” Gold said of Du Plessis retaining the captaincy,after last year being given that role by then coach Jake White.

Gold inherited the leadership structure.

“I just have to think about what is the best decision for the Sharks, and that is the decision we have to make,” Gold said revealingly.

The current captain is Marco Wentzel, and the experienced 34-year-old has been in charge of two spirited performances by the Sharks, albeit in losses to the Lions and the Bulls.

The Sharks have already lost Du Plessis’ replacement captain, Patrick Lambie, to injury, and then another captain this year, Jean Deysel, was banned for seven weeks. It would make sense to keep Wentzel at the helm and let Bismarck do what he does best – smash the opposition to smithereens, in the framework of the law book.

The Sharks have lost four matches from 10.

They are ninth on the log and seven points behind SA Conference leaders, the Bulls, but have played one more game than the other SA teams.

The Sharks are entering the last chance saloon in terms of the play-offs, with their tour to come. This is not the time for sentimental decisions.

by Mike Greenaway

HEART TOP 40 – 18 APRIL 2015

HEART TOP 40 – 18 APRIL 2015
POS ARTIST SONG TITLE MOVE L/W PEAK WEEKS NOTES
1 Selena Gomez The Heart Want What It Wants NC 1 1 (2) 7 Last Week’s #1
2 Ellie Goulding Love Me Like You Do NC 2 1 (3) 7
3 One Direction Steal My Girl NC 3 2 6
4 Four7 feat. Tiffany J’Adore Up 9 13 4 3 SA Top 10 #1
5 Meghan Trainor Dear Future Husband Up 4 9 4 7
6 Maroon 5 Sugar Down 2 4 1 (2) 10
7 Iggy Azalea feat. Jennifer Hudson Trouble Up 9 16 7 3
8 Taylor Swift Blank Space Down 3 5 3 11
9 Dionne Warwick feat. Cee-Lo Green Feels So Good Down 3 6 4 8
10 Jimmy Nevis 7764 Down 3 7 2 12
11 Gracetown Band Kristan Wood Down 3 8 8 11
12 Can Skylark Timebomb Down 2 10 7 13
13 Ariana Grande & The Weeknd Love Me Harder Down 2 11 10 7
14 Mary J Blige Right Now Down 2 12 5 13
15 Beatenberg Beauty Like A Tightened Bow (Chris Sen Remix) Up 5 20 15 7
16 Ariana Grande One Last time Up 10 26 16 3 Highest Climber
17 Sia You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile Up 5 22 17 6
18 David Guetta feat. Sam Martin Dangerous Down 4 14 6 10
19 Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars Uptown Funk Down 4 15 1 (6) 20
20 Sam Smith Like I Can Down 3 17 15 7
21 Nick Jonas Jealous Up 4 25 21 7
22 Natalie La Rose feat. Jerimih Somebody Up 5 27 22 4
23 Muzart Oh Yeah Down 5 18 7 14
24 Chris Brown Time For Love Down 5 19 2 22 Longest Running Song
25 The Weeknd Earned It Up 9 34 25 5
26 Clean Bandit feat. Alex Newell, Sean Bass & Olly Alexander Stronger New 26 1
27 Jessie J, Nicki Minaj & Ariana Grande Bang Bang Down 6 21 13 14
28 Mi Casa Bora Viver NC 28 28 2
29 Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud Down 6 23 1 (3) 13
30 Jason Derulo Want To Want Me New 30 1
31 Eryn Laguma You Are So Beautiful Up 2 33 31 2
32 Magic! No Way No Down 8 24 24 4 Biggest Faller
33 Jess Glynne Hold My Hand New 33 1
34 Ed Sheeran Don’t Down 5 29 8 14
35 Ciara I Bet New 35 1
36 Boyz II Men Losing Sleep Down 6 30 26 7
37 Ed Sheeran Runaway Down 6 31 21 6
38 Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo Time Of Our Lives Down 6 32 5 18
39 Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne Real Love Down 4 35 6 18
40 Giorgio Moroder feat. Kylie Minogue Right Here, Right Now Down 4 36 26 7

David Kau is coming to Cape Town for Blacks only on 9 May 2015 at Grandwest

Funny Man David Kau is coming to Cape Town for Blacks only on 9 May 2015 at Grandwest

NO PAY FOR NO PLAY FOR ERRANT SHARKS RUGBY PLAYERS

Sharks players that are suspended from rugby because of foul play will now be docked their wages.

This was the no-nonsense resolution passed at a meeting of the Board of the Sharks Directors at Kings Park yesterday.

The notorious disciplinary record of the Sharks in Super Rugby this year – three red cards and three yellows – was high on the agenda and the Board has shown firm leadership in clamping down on the issue by warning the players that they will be hit where it hurts most if they irresponsibly transgress – in their pockets.

Chairman of the Board Stephen Saad told The Mercury that the Board agree fully with the public that the reckless behaviour of some of the players is intolerable. Saad went further and said that the suspensions given to the players by organising body SANZAR is not enough.

“We have decided that going forward there must be a policy of ‘no pay for no play’ should a player be suspended for foul play,” said Saad, who is one of the country’s leading captains of industry with his pharmaceutical company, Aspen.

Saad said this would be a prerequisite in future player contracts at the Sharks and that the current players would be “asked” to have the clause accepted into their contracts.

“The Sharks Board agree that red cards and dirty play cannot be condoned and it is unacceptable that this behaviour be associated with the Sharks brand,” Saad said. “We endorse the executive management’s suggestion that the current censure (suspension from playing) is inadequate and can confirm that further sanction on the players has been taken over and above that served from SANZAR.

“To this end we consulted legal counsel with regarding ‘no play-no pay’ for red cards,” he continued. “We feel this new censure is appropriate and will have the necessary teeth.”

The Sharks have lost senior players in Bismarck du Plessis (four weeks for a kick to the head), Frans Steyn (five weeks for a tip tackle) and Jean Deysel (seven weeks for a knee to the head) plus have had three other sinbinned.’

Jean Deysel sent off during the Crusaders game in Durban on Easter Saturday

As it stands, the suspended players are on full pay. It is known that senior Springbok can earn up to R500 000 a month from provincial and national contracts, a fortune however you look at it but particularly if he is idle at home because of a reckless act on the field.

It is not going to happen again at the Sharks.

The three afore-mentioned players are part of the seven-man player leadership group and all have captained the team, and with another member of the group, Patrick Lambie, injured for six weeks, the impact of the suspensions has surely been keenly felt by the squad and the coaching staff, who count on the support of the leadership group.

But it was not all doom and gloom at the meeting. Saad said the good news was that there has been a financial recovery over the last year or so under CEO John Smit.

“At the KZNRU AGM the consolidated accounts showed a financial turnaround of nearly R22 million in a single year,” he said. “The largest part of this turnaround can be attributed to the Sharks’ financial improvements. John has not only managed his expenses well and implemented the needed governance but has been instrumental in driving the sponsorship revenue.

“This was sorely needed to underpin the investment we need to make in our squad to help impact the future strength of Sharks rugby.”

The Sharks face a must-win game against the Bulls at Kings Park on Saturday. They have slipped to ninth on the overall standings and have lost their last two games.

“On the rugby front the Board recognises that we are not where we would like to be but need to acknowledge that John and his team in less than two years have won a Currie Cup, been in a Currie Cup semi-final with a very young squad and topped the SA Conference in Super Rugby last year for the first time.”

by Mike Greenaway

Five changes to Crusaders team to play the Chiefs

The Crusaders play a derby at home again this week, this time against the Chiefs. Todd Blackadder has made five changes to the team that was beaten by the Highlanders last Saturday night.

Wyatt Crockett and Nepo Laulala will be the starting props on Friday night, with Joe Moody and Owen Franks as cover.

Luke Romano returns to lock and Jimmy Tupou will take a spot on the bench.

Richie McCaw and Matt Todd have again rotated so that McCaw starts at 7 this week.

The only change in the backs is at second five, where Dan Carter takes Ryan Crotty’s spot. Crotty is recovering from a head knock received in the Highlanders match.

Crusaders team to play the Chiefs:

1 Wyatt Crockett RESERVES
2 Ben Funnell 16 Codie Taylor
3 Nepo Laulala 17 Joe Moody
4 Luke Romano 18 Owen Franks
5 Sam Whitelock 19 Jimmy Tupou
6 Jordan Taufua 20 Matt Todd
7 Richie McCaw 21 Mitchell Drummond
8 Kieran Read (c) 22 Tom Taylor
9 Andy Ellis 23 Nafi Tuitavake
10 Colin Slade
11 Nemani Nadolo
12 Dan Carter
13 Kieron Fonotia
14 David Havili
15 Israel Dagg

Heart 104.9fm TOP 40 for Saturday 11 April 2015

HEART TOP 40 – 11 APRIL 2015
POS ARTIST SONG TITLE MOVE L/W PEAK WEEKS NOTES
1 Selena Gomez The Heart Want What It Wants Up 2 3 1 6
2 Ellie Goulding Love Me Like You Do Down 1 1 1 (3) 6 Last Week’s #1
3 One Direction Steal My Girl Down 1 2 2 5
4 Maroon 5 Sugar NC 4 1 (2) 9
5 Taylor Swift Blank Space NC 5 3 10
6 Dionne Warwick feat. Cee-Lo Green Feels So Good NC 6 4 7
7 Jimmy Nevis 7764 NC 7 2 11
8 Gracetown Band Kristan Wood Up 4 12 8 10
9 Meghan Trainor Dear Future Husband Down 1 8 4 6
10 Can Skylark Timebomb Down 1 9 7 12
11 Ariana Grande & The Weeknd Love Me Harder Down 1 10 10 6
12 Mary J Blige Right Now Down 1 11 5 12
13 Four7 feat. Tiffany J’Adore Up 12 25 13 2 SA Top 10 #1 & Highest Climber
14 David Guetta feat. Sam Martin Dangerous Down 1 13 6 9
15 Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars Uptown Funk NC 15 1 (6) 19
16 Iggy Azalea feat. Jennifer Hudson Trouble Up 3 19 16 2
17 Sam Smith Like I Can Down 1 16 15 6
18 Muzart Oh Yeah Down 1 17 7 13
19 Chris Brown Time For Love Up 1 20 2 21
20 Beatenberg Beauty Like A Tightened Bow (Chris Sen Remix) Up 1 21 18 6
21 Jessie J, Nicki Minaj & Ariana Grande Bang Bang Up 1 22 13 13
22 Sia You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile Up 1 23 20 5
23 Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud Down 5 18 1 (3) 12
24 Magic! No Way No Up 8 32 24 3
25 Nick Jonas Jealous Down 1 24 21 6
26 Ariana Grande One Last time Up 5 31 26 2
27 Natalie La Rose feat. Jerimih Somebody Up 1 28 27 3
28 Mi Casa Bora Viver New 28 1
29 Ed Sheeran Don’t Down 15 14 8 13 Biggest Faller
30 Boyz II Men Losing Sleep Down 4 26 26 6
31 Ed Sheeran Runaway Down 4 27 21 5
32 Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo Time Of Our Lives Down 3 29 5 17
33 Eryn Laguma You Are So Beautiful New 33 1
34 The Weeknd Earned It Down 4 30 25 4
35 Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne Real Love Down 2 33 6 17
36 Giorgio Moroder feat. Kylie Minogue Right Here, Right Now Down 2 34 26 6
37 Taylor Swift Shake It Off Down 2 35 10 15
38 Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney FourFiveSeconds Down 2 36 23 4
39 Sam Smith Restart NC 39 7 19
40 Meghan Trainor Lips Are Movin’ NC 40 3 22 Longest Running Song

Crusaders team to play the Highlanders on Saturday and Owen Franks 100th Game

Todd Blackadder has named an unchanged backline to face the Highlanders this weekend. The team has returned from South Africa to host the Highlanders at AMI Stadium, 7:35pm on Saturday.

There are three changes in the forwards, with Joe Moody and Owen Franks the starting props this week, and Alex Hodgman and Nepo Laulala providing cover from the bench. Jimmy Tupou starts at lock this week alongside Sam Whitelock, and Scott Barrett is in the reserves.

Also taking a spot on the bench is Dan Carter, who has returned from paternity leave.

This will be Owen Franks’ 100th game for the Crusaders, which coach Todd Blackadder says is a remarkable achievement that will be celebrated by the whole team.

“Everyone will want to make this a special occasion for Owen, because he gives so much to this team. He leads the way with his professionalism and dedication and provides an outstanding mentor to other members of the team. He gives 100 percent every single day, both in his preparation and when he plays,” Blackadder said.

“I know that Owen will approach this game the same way as he approaches every game, but we will take some time afterwards to mark this important milestone with him and show our appreciation for the immense contribution he makes to this team.”

Crusaders team to play the Highlanders:

1 Joe Moody RESERVES
2 Ben Funnell 16 Codie Taylor
3 Owen Franks 17 Alex Hodgman
4 Jimmy Tupou 18 Nepo Laulala
5 Sam Whitelock 19 Scott Barrett
6 Jordan Taufua 20 Richie McCaw
7 Matt Todd 21 Mitchell Drummond
8 Kieran Read (c) 22 Dan Carter
9 Andy Ellis 23 Nafi Tuitavake
10 Colin Slade
11 Nemani Nadolo
12 Ryan Crotty
13 Kieron Fonotia
14 David Havili
15 Israel Dagg
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