The mood and energy levels were distinctly upbeat at Tuesday morning training as the four returning Springboks as well as two players coming back from injury sparked a timely revival and revitalization in the Sharks’ camp.
Michael Marnewick writes on Sharksrugby.co.za that with Frederic Michalak still 50-50 after taking a bump to the hip, the backline will not be finalised until later in the week, with Sharks Coach John Plumtree explaining that the flyhalf is still quite tender but, “hopefully by Thursday he’ll be a lot better.”
However, the good news was that Jean Deysel and Bradley Barritt were back in training, while Ruan Pienaar, Beast Mtawarira, Odwa Ndungane and Ryan Kankowski all look likely to get game time in the crucial Absa Currie Cup match against the Xerox Lions on Saturday.
Following Saturday’s loss to the Free State Cheetahs, the Sharks find themselves in something of a pressure situation as they look to get back to winning form.
“The Springboks plus a couple of injuries that have come right as well was good to see,” explained Plumtree. “Four good, class players adds to the depth and makes the job easier.”
But he did issue a proviso that they should not be expected, on their own, to win the match for the Sharks. “The important point is that we have to make sure we play well enough to help their transformation back into the team – the danger is we as a group expect them to get us going and it shouldn’t be like that.”
Compared to a week ago, the Sharks are certainly in a better position in terms of manpower, but despite the boost in player personnel, the coach admitted that he’s saving his smiles for the result, not the build-up.
“I’ll smile if we play well on the weekend.”
With three forwards and three backs added to the mix, this certainly creates more options for a Sharks team who this time last week had to face the prospect of playing a close-on full-strength Cheetahs side, while themselves had a severe test of squad depth.
“The pack has a bit of a different look to it,” confirmed Plumtree, “Especially the loose-forwards in particular and with Beast back it gives us a bit of depth in the front row, we’re happy with that
Article used Courtesy of www.sharksrugby.co.zaTweet