The Sharks are waiting anxiously on the fitness of tall lock Albert van den Berg ahead of Saturday’s Currie Cup semi-final against the Lions at King’s Park.
John Bishop reports for The Witness that Van den Berg, an ideal impact player who adds variety to the lineout and mobility to the pack, injured his shoulder in scoring a try early in the second half against Griquas on Saturday.
He immediately left the field and coach John Plumtree said on Monday that the lock was still in some pain.
“We are waiting on a scan but we’ll give him the week before we assess his fitness.”
The Sharks have captain Johann Muller and Steven Sykes to lock the scrum but they already have Alistair Hargreaves on the injury list and the loss of Van den Berg would leave them without back-up in the second-row.
Plumtree said that apart from Van den Berg “we came through the Griquas match pretty well.”
Hooker Bismarck du Plessis took a knock to the knee but Plumtree is satisfied he will be fit by Saturday.
Meanwhile the Lions aim to cancel out the threat of Sharks number eight Ryan Kankowski on Saturday.
Lions coach Eugene Eloff believes his team can neutralise Kankowski by playing a tighter game. Kankowksi proved a major threat in the Sharks’ recent win over the Lions at Ellis Park.
“Kankowski is a very special player,” Eloff told Sport24 after Western Province had beaten the Lions 14-6 at Newlands.
“He has that X factor. If you allow the game to become loose, you bring him into play. But if you make it a physical battle where they have to come and clean out the rucks you test a guy’s character.
Eloff said his players were bruised and sore after defending resolutely against Province on Saturday to limit them to a 14-6 win and knock the Cape Town side out of the Currie Cup.
He said the narrow defeat “felt like a victory” because his side had qualified for the semi-finals.
“I take my hat off to the guys for their courageous defence,” adding that he would have to rest his players this week to allow them to recover.