DURBAN - Having had a tough season after taking a break last year, Inny Radebe is enjoying a bit of an extended run for the Sharks, admitting he's happy to slot in where needed.
The 22-year-old’s versatility has seen him come in at flyhalf and fullback during the Currie Cup, but with now one-capped Springbok Curwin Bosch released back to the Sharks, Radebe will be hoping he has made enough of an impact to stay in a starting berth.
It was Radebe who managed to break a massive dam wall put up by Western Province last week. The Sharks were camped in the home team’s half for going on a quarter of the game in the second half as they went in search of seven points to snatch the win.
Radebe was on hand to get the ball over the line and kick the vital conversion, and one has to think that with that star performance, even Bosch cannot usurp him.
“I'm enjoying being able to play 10 and 15,” Radebe explained. “Nowadays it is crucial that you are versatile, so I am enjoying the experience.”
However, when pushed, Radebe admitted his preferred position is flyhalf, also the position many believe is Bosch’s best, despite being utilised at No 15 a few times this season.
“To be honest, I would rather play a specialist position, but the game is evolving so much these days that to reach your full potential you need to have that versatility,” Radebe added.
“I don’t mind being able to explore other options but flyhalf is number one for me.”
It could well be that Bosch slots back into the flyhalf berth ahead of another youngster in Benhard Janse van Rensburg, with Radebe in the fullback jersey.
With Garth April seemingly still in the bad books for a disciplinary issue, Radebe still has competition with the returning Ryno Smith, who overcame injury last week, coming off the bench.
It is the versatility of Radebe, as well as a number of other backs, that has helped coach Robert du Preez enact a bench strategy that has seen the Sharks play a full front row in a system that only has 22 players in the match-day squad.
“We are in a position where we are lucky to have three or four backs that can cover multiple positions,” Radebe said.
“It makes it a little bit easier for the coach to add the extra front row on the bench, so we are fortunate to have that versatility in the squad as it makes it easier.”
Up next for the Sharks is a return fixture against the Cheetahs, the only team to have bested them all season.
However, it is the Cheetahs who are spread across two tournaments this time as they look to balance the Currie Cup and their opening fixture in the PRO14 in Europe.
It is apparent that the real focus for the Cheetahs is the PRO14 as they have taken their strongest squad to Ulster, Ireland, and left a team of reserves and fringe squad players behind.
The Sharks, however, will know that if there is any side that can break with the expected result, it is the unpredictable Cheetahs.