Forgive me for panicking, guys, but I’m starting to get just a little concerned about the number of players in the Sharks camp carrying niggles.
By all accounts, the Sharks squad are looking and feeling great at this stage of the season; fitness and conditioning are right on track and the guys are brimming with confidence ahead of a gruelling campaign. Trying to get an accurate picture of what the early-season injury list actually looks like, though, is challenging to say the least, with contradictory reports all over the various newspapers.
I am really worried, though, that all four of our first-choice props are currently injured. Add our first-choice hooker to that list and we start to face the worrying possibility that our early season front row may well comprise Barra Mthethwa, Craig Burden and John Smit! Now I’m sure that it won’t really come to that, but the fact remains, there are a lot of causes for concern.
Beast Mtawarira is apparently carrying an injury. This is a piece of news that I discovered today for the first time, so hopefully it’s nothing too serious and the big man will be fit to play against the Bulls on Wednesday night. Let’s hope he manages to recover on time, as well as build up the required level of fitness before the season gets underway proper, as his understudy, Deon Carstens is also crocked. The latter, I understand, is unlikely to be fit in time for the Valentine’s Day visit to Cape Town.
On the other side of the scrum, Jannie du Plessis has apparently gone down with a back injury, leaving John Smit as the only fit tighthead in the squad. Pat Cilliers has injured his knee again and will be out of action for at least another 2 months. Smit himself is, of course, a hooker by trade and although keen to reinvent himself as a tighthead, needs to do so safe in the knowledge that he has quality backup should things go pear-shaped. Young Wiehann Herbst, talented though he is, is unlikely to be quite ready to be thrown into the cauldron that is the Super 14!
Bismarck du Plessis should hopefully be making his comeback on Wednesday as well, but he too is going to need careful nurturing lest he break down again. All-in-all, there are far too many ifs, buts and maybes for my liking at this stage of the season. If I were John Plumtree, I’d be hoping they manage to clear the snow off the UK runways fast enough to get Robbie Harris back from Nottingham in time for Wednesday’s game.Tweet