Sharks snap up top young tighthead
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.