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Plumtree banks on his 'pups' for Shark success

SPOTLIGHT: Ethan Hooker, the 21-year-old centre at the Sharks, has put up his hand to fill the vacant centre berth.

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He will get a huge opportunity against Ulster in the United Rugby Championship at Kingspark this weekend.

Hooker is touted to fill the boots of Rohan Janse van Rensburg, who is now playing in Japan.

Sharks coach John Plumtree says he sees massive potential in the youngster and foresees a big future for him at the franchise.

“He’s come through the age grades here at the Sharks and the South African Under-20 team,” Plumtree told reporters on Friday.

Hooker looks set to become a key member of the team.

“[We are] just looking at developing him as a No.12.

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“He is a big boy and he’s got good speed.

“He needs a little work on his skill sets, but understands the defensive game well.

“And a very relaxed manner about him which is impressive.

“He doesn’t get overawed by the occasion and I think he has a massive future at the Sharks,” the coach added.

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He has given quite a few youngsters the nod for Saturday’s outing in the Shark Tank.

Eduan Keyter, back from a knee injury that kept him on the sidelines for six months, gets a run on the wing.

Siya Masuku also gets another opportunity to cement his place as the go-to flyhalf in the squad.

“It just opens up a bit of competition in the squad,” Plumtree said.

“There hasn’t been enough pressure on players for selection and what that does, it makes players comfortable and complacent.

“There is competition for places and that’s what we want.

“I want to create competition in the midfield.

 

“I’ve been impressed with Ethan [Hooker]. I want to give him more time to gain confidence at this level.

“If you look at Eduan [Keyter] on the wing, I thought he played well against the Lions,” Plumtree said, adding ‘It grows our competition out wide.

“When Aphiwe [Dyantyi] comes back into consideration – he is not available at the moment – and we have Werner Kok and Mapimps.

“That’s the competition we want to create out wide.

“Curwin [Bosch] and Siya [Masuku] will fight it out for the No.10 jersey. We will see how that battle goes and of course Curwin can play at fullback as well.”

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