While reports earlier in the week suggested that Willem Alberts was likely to feature for the Sharks against the Stormers this weekend, it now seems as though he big man will be given an extra week to fully recover before making his return to Super Rugby.
John Plumtree, meanwhile, has identified a lack of physicality as one of the main reasons for his side’s failure to overcome a spirited, yet limited-looking, Bulls side at Loftus Versveld last Friday. Alberts would, of course, have been just the man to add a bit more of that to a pack missing a few big names, but with at least 14 more games to go after this one, the last things the Sharks can afford to gamble on is the possibility of the former Lion re-injuring his shoulder through being brought back too soon.
The coach went on to identify the lineout as a source of concern, with five throws going to the opposition last week on attack. With the Stormers pair of giants, Eben Etzebeth (2.03m) and Andries Bekker (2.08m) looming large this weekend, the Sharks will need to improve this set piece, and quickly, in order to avoid more of the same treatment. The coach may well look to Ross Skeate as a starting option this week, given that he is probably the best lineout forward currently in the squad.
Should Alberts indeed be ruled out (along with Ryan Kankowski who will miss the next month at least with a broken thumb) there’s a good chance that young Dalian Tera Mtembu could come into the squad for his first taste of Super Rugby.
We expect a team announcement later today; however, with Alberts and Odwa Ndungane still given an outside chance of playing, that side might contain a few pesky brackets as we await the result of late fitness tests.Tweet