Lock Johan Ackermann has been called up as back-up for Johann Muller for the match against the Cheetahs this weekend with the Sharks captain in doubt for the game.
Mike Marnewick reports for www.sharksrugby.co.za.
Sharks coach Dick Muir has selected a 25 man squad explaining that, “Brad Barritt, Bismarck du Plessis and Johann Muller are the ones concerning for us and they are the ones we have cover for.”
The good news is that Steven Sykes is back in training and will undergo a fitness test “but looks good for the weekend.”
With there being bit of a cloud hanging over Johann Muller, Johann Ackermann’s experience will be vital in this must-win clash.
“Johann [Muller] probably has a 30% chance of playing,” Muir confirmed. “Ackers [Johan Ackermann] played club rugby in Cape Town this past weekend for Hamiltons against Maties. The company he now works for, Kepu Petroleum, have been generous enough to allow him to return to play for us, even though he’s semi-retired. Thanks to them we can use him on an ad hoc basis if needed until the end of the tournament.”
The Full Squad is:
Beast Mtawarira, Deon Carstens, Craig Burden, Bismarck du Plessis, BJ Botha, Jannie du Plessis, Johann Muller, Albert van den Berg, Steven Sykes, Johan Ackermann, Jacques Botes, Keegan Daniel, AJ Venter, Jean Deysel, Ryan Kankowski
Rory Kockott, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Waylon Murray, Bradley Barritt, Adi Jacobs, Francois Steyn, Odwa Ndungane, Henno Mentz, Stefan Terblanche.
Muir admitted that one major positive that came out the game against the Crusaders was in chatting to their management after the game, they felt there wasn’t much in it between the sides.
Overall, he believed that, “Our tour was disappointing from a results’ perspective. We feel we did better than what the results show. Against the Hurricanes, we missed an easy kick so the match could have gone our way, although they missed a try at the end and the result could have gone the other way.
“I felt that the Waratahs was the only game of the season where we were outplayed. In the Crusaders’ match, it was down to the wire. They aren’t leaders for nothing, showing what a good outfit they are.”
On the issue of a lack of tries scored this season, he admitted that it has been a bit of a soul-searching question. “If you look at the competition, no backline has really fired consistently. In our case, we have shuffled the backline, but that’s no excuse why we haven’t performed to our fullest.”
Asked about Ruan Pienaar who has found himself now the number one flyhalf at the Sharks following Frederic Michalak’s untimely departure back to France with a knee injury, Muir said that, “He has proved what a talent he is, he’s a really versatile player. He’s fitting into the flyhalf role very well and when you have the misfortune like Fred’s injury, this is a positive.
“From an SA Rugby perspective, it’s a great opportunity for someone as versatile as Ruan to play in that position. He has a massive amount of balance and great feel for the game.”Tweet