There’s a bit of good news coming out of the Sharks camp this week, with regular skipper Johann Muller odds on to return to the side to face Griquas this weekend. Muller has been out of the game for five weeks after breaking his arm in the opening match of this year’s Currie Cup.
First-choice halfback pair, Rory Kockott and Juan Martin Hernández may also be passed fit to play, although all three will need to come through fitness tests on Thursday before the side is finalised. The halfback cupboard is certainly looking a less bare than it was a few weeks ago, though, with both Charl McLeod and particularly Monty Dumond really putting their hands up in the absence of the more illustrious regulars. McLeod’s service is second to none and his ability to get the ball out to the backline quickly is a boon for the Sharks. Dumond has been brave on attack and defence, with an unerring boot as well.
It’s up front where the Sharks are likely to struggle, though, with no fewer than 6 props either unavailable due to Springbok commitments, or doubtful due to injury. John Smit, Beast Mtawarira and Jannie du Plessis are all with the Boks, while Wiehahn Herbst has now joined Deon Carstens and Pat Cilliers on the injured list. The under 21s have a bye this week, which may well prove to be a blessing in disguise, as Dale Chadwick, Julian Redelinghuys and Sabelo Nhlapo might find themselves pressed into service for the senior team. As baptisms of fire go, they won’t come much tougher.
Speaking of Jannie du Plessis, by the way, I see out old pal Gavin Rich now reckons that Western Province are poised to make an offer to both him and his brother. This is hardly surprising news, since Province are currently trying to buy anything that isn’t bolted down. The du Plessis brothers, unhappy with their lot in Durban, have been punting their combined CV up and down the country in recent months and with the Bulls showing no interest, it’s only inevitable that the Rupert money pot would inevitably come into the picture. I understand that they are still speaking to the Sharks as well, though, so this may again be a ploy to force Rudolf Straueli’s hand. While a move to Province would benefit Jannie immensely, since he would have no competition for the number 3 jersey, it is unlikely to do the same for Bismarck, since Tiaan Liebenberg is currently entrenched at hooker and playing out of his skin.Tweet