News just out is that the Sharks will be able to call on the service of most of their returning Tri-Nations Boks next week, with Beast Mtawarira, Ryan Kankowski and Ruan Pienaar all released for Currie Cup duty on return from the disastrous Antipodean tour.
The availability of this lot, together with further returnees in the form of Jean Deysel and Odwa Ndungane should leave John Plumtree scratching his head as he searches for the right combinations to give his team the best possible chance of victory over the cheetahs in Bloemfontein this weekend. Somewhat bizarrely, though, only Mtawarira should be expected to walk into the team, with Pienaar and Kankowski coming up against two of the most in-form players in the entire Currie Cup, Charl McLeod and Keegan Daniel respectively.
With Daniel’s position at the back of the scrum already under threat from Willem Alberts, the diminutive number 8 underlined his credentials in impeccable style in scoring three tries against the Pumas – making him the competition’s leading try scorer with 5 scores. The other Sharks try was scored by McLeod, who has revolutionised the Sharks backline with his great positional play, pace and crisp service from the base. With the aforementioned Alberst, as well as the enigmatic Rory Kockott both in the squad and raring for action, Plumtree now finds himself in a bit of a delicate three-way balancing act in both the number 8 and scrumhalf positions.
Then again, Kankowski did pretty well playing at bilndside flank for the Springboks in Brisbane and with Deysel presumably earmarked to play off the bench (if at all), it might make sense for the popular Hoff to play in the number 7 jersey against Free State, where he will have his hands full against the irrepressible Juan Smith.
Other players to be released to the Currie Cup are Dewald Potgieter, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Flip van der Merwe, Francois Hougaard, Gio Aplon, Juan de Jongh, Francois Louw and CJ van der Linde. The Springbok squad for the home leg of the Tri-Nations will be announced on 7 August.Tweet