The Sharks will welcome the availability of some returning Springboks for their Currie Cup opener this weekend, while youngster Guy Cronje will be at flyhalf in the absence of Ruan Pienaar, Frans Steyn and Juan Martin Hernandez.
Rugby 365 reports that the return of five of the Sharks current Springboks will be a welcome boost to the Sharks, who have a tricky opening fixture in Cape Town. Ryan Kankowski, Deon Carstens, Odwa Ndungane as well as lock pairing Johann Muller and Steven Sykes return from Springbok duty, and should be fresh to take on Province as they all played limited roles in the victorious Lions tour.
John Plumtree has expressed his delight at having the experience of the Springboks to call upon against a Western Province side that will closely resemble a Stormers team, but admits that there are no new developments on Hernandez’s arrival.
The Sharks mentor will be hoping that Hernandez will be able to make his debut in the black and white strip sooner rather than later, as he will be without the services of Springbok backs Frans Steyn and Ruan Pienaar, who remain unavailable alongside John Smit, Tendai Mtawarira, Adi Jacobs, JP Pietersen and Bismarck Du Plessis.
In Hernandez, Pienaar and Steyn, the Sharks have three the most exciting and talented play makers in the world game and their absence leaves a big hole at flyhalf, which is likely to be filled by last year’s Sharks Under-19 flyhalf, Guy Cronje.
It seems likely that Cronje will wear the No.10 jersey on Saturday, after the youngster impressed against the Pumas in last Friday night’s compulsory friendly.
Plumtree certainly thinks that the youngster has what it takes to step up, saying:
“I was very happy with Guy’s performance against the Pumas,
“A lot of things about that position come naturally for him and he understands time and space, he’s going to be excellent in time. It will certainly be a baptism of fire for him in Cape Town, but we’ll put him in and see how he goes.”
The Sharks will also have prop Jannie Du Plessis and centre Riaan Swanepoel available after the pair recovered from niggles which kept the out of the Pumas game, while veteran fullback Stefan Terblanche will return after being rested for the friendly.
However, Waylon Murray (knee), Alistair Hargreaves and Skholiwe Ndlovu (both ankle) will miss out on a trip to Cape Town due to injury.Tweet