Sharks snap up top young tight­head

Weekend Witness - - Classifieds - JOHN BISHOP Sharks rugby

THE strong­est young tight­head in the coun­try, the 25-year-old Gri­qua prop Lourens Adri­aanse, is to join the Sharks at the end of the year.

The bad news is that the Sharks are to lose the tal­ented full­back/cen­tre Louis Ludik to France.

Sharks com­mer­cial man­ager Ru­dolf Straeuli said yes­ter­day that he could not con­firm Adri­aanse’s move be­cause the con­tract had not yet been signed.

How­ever, it was re­ported from Bloem­fontein yes­ter­day that Adri­aanse would be mov­ing to Dur­ban af­ter com­plet­ing this year’s Cur­rie Cup sea­son with Gri­quas and would play Su­per Rugby for the Sharks for the next two years.

The 115 kg Adri­aanse, who played Su­per Rugby for the Chee­tahs this year, was called up to the Spring­bok squad for the In­com­ing Se­ries in June but did not see ac­tion. He was sur­pris­ingly omit­ted from Heyneke Meyer’s cur­rent Rugby Cham­pi­onship squad with Coe­nie Oosthuizen, a loose­head, pro­vid­ing tight­head back-up.

In the open­ing round of the Cur­rie Cup last Fri­day, Adri­aanse un­der­lined his power when he dis­rupted the Sharks scrum as Gri­quas won in Dur­ban.

If the Sharks’ plan comes to­gether, they will have the three top tight­heads in the coun­try, cur­rent Test prop Jannie du Plessis, Wiehahn Herbst and Adri­aanse. Two of them, Herbst and Adri­aanse, can also play on the loose­head.

The Sharks, se­verely dis­rupted by in­jury this year, are de­ter­mined to add to their depth in key ar­eas while also man­ag­ing the work­load of such Test play­ers as vet­eran Jannie du Plessis.

It is also be­lieved that Su­per Rugby will fol­low the in­ter­na­tional ex­am­ple and in­sist on 23 play­ers in a squad with a full front-row (two props and a hooker) on the bench.

Des­per­ate at­tempts to keep Ludik in Dur­ban have, how­ever, failed and Straeuli said that the util­ity back would be leav­ing for France af­ter the Cur­rie Cup. Straeuli said Ludik was keen to play rugby in a new en­vi­ron­ment and the fact that he was clearly not part of Meyer’s Spring­bok plans had also played a part in his de­ci­sion to move.

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