Sharks scrum-half Rory Kockott is expected to be fit for the important trip to Bloemfontein this weekend.
The live wire halfback hurt his ankle against Boland two weeks ago, forcing a re-shuffle amongst the Sharks backs in order to introduce another goal-kicking option. Should Kockott be passed fit to wear the number 9 jersey against the Cheetahs, it would pave the way for Fred Michalak to start at flyhalf ahead of Monty Dumond. Dumond has been solid as a stand-in place kicker, but has been average in other areas of play.
Lock Steven Sykes is also expected to be fit, after sitting out the last two weeks with a knee injury. Against the physical Cheetahs, Sykes should be expected to start in the number 4 jersey, with veteran Albert van den Berg on the bench, despite a solid 50th-cap performance against the Valke on Friday. BJ Botha will be out for a fortnight still, but Jannie du Plessis and Robbie Harris should deputise sufficiently against a Free State team that itself boasts two of the best props in the competition.
Bradley Barritt will know later this week whether he’ll be fit to take up his place in midfield. Should he succumb once again to the groin injury that has plagued him of late, expect Andries Strauss to carry on in the number 12 jersey.
Prop Pat Cilliers and loose forward Jean Deysel should also be back with the squad in a fortnight or so’s time.
Possible Sharks team:
15 Terblanche, 14 Jordaan, 13 Murray, 12 Barritt, 11 Bodmer, 10 Michalak, 9 Kockott, 8 Daniel, 7 N Strauss, 6 Botes, 5 Muller (capt), 4 Sykes, 3 du Plessis, 2 Badenhorst, 1 Harris
16 Burden, 17 Mthethwa, 18 van den Berg, 19 Ndlovu, 20 Macleod, 21 Strauss, 22 Dumond