A host of relatively unknown youngsters along with a few Sharks regulars turned out in a large squad that returned to training on Monday as the coastal franchise begin intensive preparations for their encounter with the British and Irish Lions at the Absa Stadium next Wednesday.
Craig Lewis writes for the Daily News that there was also a new face among the coaching staff, that of former Sharks and Springbok back Deon Kayser, who it was confirmed will take on the role of skills coach for the upcoming Currie Cup.
Last year the role was successfully fulfilled by Sean Everitt with the intent to keep on developing and “upskilling” local coaches, and it will now be an opportunity for Kayser to take on this new challenge after having been a part of the Sharks Academy coaching team for some time.
“Deon’s been involved with coaching for a while now so it’s an opportunity for him to step up,” Sharks coach John Plumtree said.
“He’s obviously a real specialist in the midfield and on the wing as well, having played for the Sharks and Boks. So it will be quite exciting to see how he can contribute to developing some of these younger players.”
After his time with the Sharks during their successful Currie Cup campaign in 2008, Everitt coached the Sharks XV to the semi-finals of the Vodacom Cup and will now take charge of the Sharks U21s.
“Sean obviously went on and did well with the Sharks XV, along with Ryan Strudwick and Ettiene Fynn, and now he’s got the U21s, so we’ve got some good continuity going in the coaching system, which is exactly what I wanted to do when I arrived here,” Plumtree said.
Meanwhile, many players mainly from the Sharks Academy and club scene, took part in a virtual trial game yesterday and will do so again today before the group is cut down later in the week as Plumtree looks to settle on his combinations for the Lions match and with an eye to the Currie Cup.
“There are some opportunities for players and we have to sort out the pecking order in certain positions,” Plumtree explained. “The boys need some good contact work before next week because they’ve had a bit of a break.”
Centre Waylon Murray, who missed most of the Super 14 because of a knee injury, did not take part in training yesterday but is well on his way to recovery.
“Waylon is doing all right,” Plumtree said. “The second knee operation was a lot more successful, so we’re hoping he might be available for the Lions match but certainly for the Currie Cup.”
Kick-off next Wednesday will be at 7.10pmTweet