Lions captain Cobus Grobbelaar is nervous about his team’s Currie Cup rugby match against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
And no one can blame the livewire flanker. The fitness of several key players in his team is in doubt.
Hennie Brandt writes in Beeld that the Lions have played themselves back into contention during the past two weekends, but they may be without some of the stars on Saturday.
Grobbelaar himself is doubtful. He has a hamstring injury and did not train on Monday and Tuesday
Wing Louis Ludick, versatile backline player Jaco van Schalkwyk and lock Dewald Senekal also have hamstring problems.
And to make matters worse, Springbok outside centre Jaque Fourie and flyhalf Louis Strydom suffered groin injuries in training on Tuesday.
Thursday will be D-day for the injured players and the coaching staff.
Coach Eugene Eloff wants to finalise his team on Thursday afternoon and the injured players will have to prove their fitness before then.
The team’s physiotherapist worked overtime on Tuesday and chances are that Grobbelaar, Ludick, Van Schalkwyk and Senekal will play in Durban.
Two-stroke swing in golf
However, Fourie and Strydom still have to beat the clock.
“I’m a little nervous about us having to play the Sharks without some of our key players,” Grobbelaar said on Wednesday.
He compared it to a two-stroke swing in golf. “One guy makes a birdie and his opponent drops a shot, and suddenly the difference is two shots.”
The team’s preparations were disrupted when several players were unable to train, “but that’s not a big problem. Everyone knows what his role is and what is expected of him,” Grobbelaar said.
“The players who trained in our positions know the drill. They will do their job. And it’s an opportunity for them to show what they are capable of.”
Sharks coach John Plumtree has the luxury of being able to select Springboks Ruan Pienaar, Odwa Ndungane, Tendai Mtawarira and maybe Ryan Kankowski, who have been released for provincial rugby this week.
“Their availability will boost the Sharks,” Grobbelaar said. “If they play against us, they will grab the opportunity to try to show they should play for South Africa in the Tri-Nations home games.”Tweet