Currie Cup

Sharks won’t underestimate Lions quality

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Sharks coach John Plumtree has just returned from a brief trip to New Zealand for his father’s 70th birthday but was confronted by a number of injury concerns.

On Tuesday’s afternoon’s training session Juan Martin Hernandez was unable to take much part in the session after the Argentinian picked up an unfortunate ankle injury against the Leopards last weekend.

Plumtree may decide not to use Hernandez against the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday unless he makes a speedy recovery.

Similarly, Rory Kockott also looks like an increasingly doubtful starter for the weekend’s game because of a shoulder injury, while Deon Carstens (rib) was also only able to play a bit-part role in training.

However, all three will undoubtedly be given as much time as necessary to prove their fitness.

On a more positive note, Odwa Ndungane appears to have overcome his hamstring injury, and although he and Ryan Kankowski have been called up to the SpringboksTriNations touring squad, they were both involved in Sharks training yesterday and should be available to face the Lions.

Sharks technical advisor for the Currie Cup , Deon Kayser, attended his first press conference and provided the media with some insight into last Friday’s untelevised win over the Leopards.

“I think what we learnt from that game is that we need to look after our first phase possession better, especially in the first half we didn’t look after our ball at the breakdown. However, our backline did well, our counter-attack was good,” Kayser told the Daily News.

“There was also some impressive interplay between the backs and forwards and we managed to score some long-range tries so that was positive.”

Looking ahead to Saturday’s game, Kayser said they had the utmost respect for the Lions, who are lying fourth on the log.

“The Lions certainly have several quality players,” Kayser said.

“Jano Vermaak, Willem Alberts, and there are many others. So we need to study them carefully, but it is difficult because every week they are selecting different players so we’ll have to see what they do this weekend.

“However, what we do know is that they can’t be underestimated, they’re a Super 14 franchise with quality players.”

“They have their own problems at the moment, but it’s certainly never easy playing one of the bigger unions away from home.”

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