The loss of no fewer than 11 of his players to a Bok training camp this weekend, coupled with the fact that two of them are carrying injuries after Saturday’s hard-fought win over the Bulls, may be a cause of concern to Sharks coach John Plumtree as he plans to win the Currie Cup for the second time in only three years.
After a poor Super 14 campaign, which saw the stocks of several Sharks Bok hopefuls fall, the black and white is again flavour of the day with the national selectors and a superb Currie Cup campaign has seen the likes of Pat Lambie, Willem Alberts and Lwazi Mvovo emerge as genuine contenders for the green and gold. With Plumtree opting to give his battle-weary troops a few days off at the start of this week, losing virtually half his squad just as his preparations are about to get underway in earnest is hardly ideal.
Then again, it’s not like the coach really needs to do all that much with this team ahead of the final. They already know how to do what they need to do and I’m sure the focus will be on mental preparation, fine-tuning the game plan and managing the players’ bodies to ensure they can be as close to their peak as is possible after a long season. The Bok management has given the assurance they there will be no hard physical work involved at the camp, which is good, because Plum would have a serious sense-of-humour failure were Lambie or Alberts to be sent back crocked a few days before the most important game of the year.
Bismarck du Plessis and JP Pietersen are the only injury concerns at this stage. The Bok hooker picked up a hand injury against the Bulls (aside from the nut injury inflicted by the cowardly Derick Kuun), but there is no indication at this stage as to how serious it is, or whether he’s in any danger of missing the final. JP Pietersen is probably unlikely to play, but with Odwa Ndungnae in great form and Adi Jacobs champing at the bit to return to the squad, I doubt the Sharks coaches will be too concerned either way.Tweet