Cape Times



SHARKS coach Robert du Preez has courted controvers­y by promoting his out-of-form son Robert to the flyhalf position for tomorrow’s match against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires, replacing in-form Curwin Bosch, while also discarding red-hot fullback Aphelele Fassi.

Du Preez’s stubborn stance on the issue of Bosch (and Fassi) is turning up the heat on the Sharks Board to take meaningful action against a coach whose continued demotion of two black players in Bosch and Fassi will be construed as anti-transforma­tion.

It is also known than many of the Sharks players are miffed with the treatment of these players. It is understood that coach Du Preez wanted to start with his son in last week’s match against the Hurricanes, but the leadership group in the squad strongly objected and the coach backed down. But the players have not had similar joy this week.

So Fassi makes way for Bosch at fullback and is relegated to the bench, as he has been for the Sharks’ last five games which have seen Robert du Preez brought on early in the second half at 10, with Bosch moving to fullback.

The big issue with the selection of Du Preez at flyhalf is that it has no basis. It is not as if he has been in such good form that he could no longer be ignored, and at the same time Bosch has been shaky and thus warrants demotion.

Coach Du Preez, chastened by what he called “cockroach comments” from supporters regarding him playing his fatigued son (the poor bloke started every Sharks game last season and then played for Sale Sharks in the off-season), grudgingly gave Bosch his chance, and the 21-year-old seized it with gusto. It’s not just at the ill treatment of Bosch … The pawn in this unfortunat­e business is Fassi, who is taken off the field when he is in full flight at fullback, surely damaging the youngster’s confidence.

In a nutshell, what has been happening is this: Bosch gets moved away from the action after having commanding­ly directed play at flyhalf; Fassi, one of the Sharks’ best attacking players, gets moved to the bench; and a player struggling with confidence and form is thrust into the hot seat.

It makes no sense and leaves Sharks supporters asking: “Why? Why? Why?”

Sharks – 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuize­n, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Rob du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (c), 8 Dan du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Mzamo Majola.

Subs: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Luke Stringer, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Aphelele Fassi.

 ??  ?? Robert du Preez
Robert du Preez

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