Sharks could spring Spedding surprise

Dick Muir may give Scott Spedding the No 10 jersey for their vital Super 14 opener against the Chiefs on Saturday.

Muir has two options. One, he can play Percy Montgomery at flyhalf and JP Pietersen at fullback. Two, he can give Spedding a Super 14 debut, pick Monty at fullback and play Pietersen on the wing. Option two could get the nod, simply because Brent Russell is still injured, which leaves Muir with fewer options at fullback.

Spedding excelled for the Sharks B-team in their warm-up matches against the Bulls and Cats. In Sun City, the former Lions Craven Week star held his nerve to kick a last-minute match-winning penalty, and he scored two tries in Rustenburg a few days later.

Muir proved during the Currie Cup – when he selected Waylon Murran, Dusty Noble and Pietersen – that he is not afraid to back his youngsters.

“With the youth policy paying off, we now have a number of very special youngsters to choose from,” Muir told the SuperSport Zone. “A lot of these guys no-one would have heard of. Among them are Craig Burdon, a centre from Maritzburg College, who did really well, and then others were Scott Speding and [scrumhalf] Scott Mathie, [fullback] Greg Goosen, [centre] Brad Barrett.”

However, Muir admits his youth policy could backfire. “Our youth could be a big plus for us, but of course if you look at it another way, it could be a negative in that obviously these guys lack Super 14 experience and in that sense it is a bit of a gamble to select them.”