Currie Cup

Sharks to play without their Boks





Rudolf Straeuli, Commercial Manager of the Sharks, has confirmed that the Sharks will not have any returning Springboks to bolster their side ahead of the Boland clash this weekend.

With injury concerns, the Sharks’ depth is to be tested fully, and a couple of Springboks would certainly have helped the Sharks’ cause in a match that is going to be every bit as tough as against any of the sides in the Premier Division, with a Boland victory over Western Province a healthy notch in their belt.

“As a Union we have been in communication with the national body regarding the release of Springboks back to their Currie Cup sides, and support the cause for the World Cup, so we will wait until the squad announcement has been made and all players in Jake White’s plans have been announced,” Straeuli told the official Sharks website.

“We might have some next week after the announcement.”

The former Sharks coach explained that those players not named will be available to the Sharks.

“There might still be some directive from Jake to rest or play certain players, those on standby in case of injuries to the World Cup squad,” said Straeuli.

It isn’t just a lack of Springboks, but injuries that will test squad depth this weekend, with as many as eight players from last week on the “uncertain” list.

The Griquas match, while a running spectacle, had its toll on the players, coach John Plumtree explaining that “we’re a bit dinged up!”.

“We are sitting with three or four calf injuries as well as some flu,” said Plumtree.

“It’s a bit of a concern, and we are running a bit weak with limited resources, so we have the doctor and physio working hard, and hopefully we’ll be in reasonably good shape for the Boland match, but there could be a few changes this weekend.”

Adrian Jacobs, Steven Sykes and AJ Venter are all struggling with minor calf problems, Beast Mtawarira and Rory Kockott have flu, Odwa Ndungane has a hamstring strain, Alistair Hargreaves turned his ankle over before the Griquas match and will probably be rested this week while Grant Rees suffered a cut around the eye and down the nose resulting in over 20 stitches and a broken nose, but is expected to be fit for the Bulls’ match.

“I will give everyone until Thursday,” said John Plumtree of the injured players, but he did confirm that there will be changes this weekend enforced more than anything else.

“There are a few guys in the squad who haven’t had a run, who have been impressive in training and who are dying to show what they can do.

“These guys get frustrated when the team goes well and they aren’t in it, so they will look to impress and stand out.”

A common point that seems to be raised when talking to the coaching staff and players is a desire to constantly improve, to play their best rugby at the end of the season. It all makes sense that a team peaks in a final, not in July.

“We want to grow, progress slowly and see where we end up at the conclusion of season,” said the former Wellington Lions coach.

With the injuries and players out to the Springbok cause, it provides opportunities for others to get a start, and possible team changes this weekend include a new centre pairing.

“Adi (Jacobs) hasn’t been able to train, and with Grant Rees out, it looks like Andries Strauss and Gcobani Bobo will replace them,” said Plumtree.

“If AJ (Venter) doesn’t make it, Jacques Botes and Keegan Daniel can play the 6 and 7 role well, and with the heavy conditions we are expecting down there, those two could be a handful on the ground.”

Kees Lensing will replace Beast if he can’t make it and if Alistair Hargreaves is out, Nikolai Blignaut will take his place.
365 Digital

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