DURBAN - The Sharks find themselves in a rather peculiar position in terms of their backline, in that, the average age on most days is closer to 20 than it is to 30.
Yet, these stars are already making big waves at young ages as they build towards being some of the best assets South Africa has in the back division.
From newly-capped 20-year-old Curwin Bosch through to the burgeoning and versatile centre pairing of 23-year-old Lukhanyo Am and 21-year-old Jeremy Ward, as well as the explosive talent of another 21-year-old in Sbu Nkosi, there is plenty to smile about for backs coach Sean Everitt.
The veteran Sharks man also finds himself in an intriguing position as his charges are of the age where coaching, as opposed to man management, is still key.
As such, a lot of their development is coming from the work the coaches put in, but as Everitt explains, also from their own drive.
“It is to get them to understand how to manage the game correctly,” Everitt said in explaining his biggest challenge with this herd of talented youngsters.
“We spend a lot of time with them as individuals, discussing their game and also video sessions, that helps with their development.
"Fortunately, all of them are really quick learners ,and have the ability to play rugby at the highest level, so that makes it a hell of a lot easier.”
Everitt also explains that although these players have such low numbers in their age column on the match day program, their maturity outshines that inexperience as they work hard on their own time to improve.
“The maturity levels of the individuals in the backs is really high, a guy like Sbu Nkosi has come on in leaps and bounds in a short time; he works a lot on his game too as an individual, not only at training, but also on off days” Everitt went on to explain.
“A guy like Jeremy Ward is also mature beyond his years. He arrived at the Sharks as a leader and a captain of his teams, and that helps a lot, and the guys are really self-motivated.”
The Sharks have shown recently that their game has matured on the field to be much more of an attacking brand, especially since the dark days of Jake White and the difficulties they faced, even recently, in scoring tries.
The game plan has changed, but in that, the individuals have worked hard at upskilling themselves in order to enact the plan that has been laid out.
“It is about them both working on their Individual game, and then getting that right in our setup,” said Everitt.
“We have AB Zondagh working on their skills. He does a lot of individual work with them on the days off. They also work hard on the game after training sessions, and then in between there is plenty of analyzing on their individual performances seeing where they can improve.”
With Bosch already a Springbok, Lukhanyo Am making it into the national team camp, many pegging Nkosi as a Bok legend in waiting, as well as Ward being a former junior Bok captain, it is pleasing to see that skills, above all else, seems to be at the top of these players’ agenda.