All-Bok front row shake-up

2012-01-31 00:00

A WEDDING and a couple of untimely injuries has disrupted the Sharks’ internal trial game to be played at King’s Park on Friday.

The fractured leg suffered by prop Beast Mtawarira has broken up the all-Springbok front-row he formed with Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis and will limit coach John Plumtree’s scrummaging options.

Initially, Plumtree said he would fill the gap from inside the squad, but yesterday he said the Sharks would be looking to increase their front-row cover.

“We’ll put feelers out there for cover,” said Plumtree.

“Beast will probably be training in six weeks’ time and he’ll get fit quickly.

“We have a lot of confidence in some of the youngsters here, but we will probably need someone else to help out because we’ll have to tour without Beast.

“We’ll look to see what cover there is available, but it isn’t easy to find a prop at this time.”

Plumtree said the Sharks had a couple of other injuries ahead of Friday’s trial while Bok tighthead Jannie du Plessis is getting married this weekend.

“We’re trying to get the slightly injured players right but some won’t play. I’ll look after Jannie [ahead of his wedding] and Bismarck du Plessis this week. Kyle Cooper is having a scope on his knee so we’ll bring in Monde Hadebe [Sharks U21 hooker in 2011] to share the hooking duties with Craig Burden.”

The trial, four 20-minute chukkas, will take place on the King’s Park stadium and Plumtree is hoping to draw a good crowd.

“There is plenty to get out of the trials. But it’s not what I want, but what the players want to get out of it. There is competition for spots and we’d like to be able to see if our combinations work.

“It’s really just to see who is in early form and see if we can pick 28 from that for the Boland game,” he said.

Plumtree said he would try different combinations and the teams would be evenly matched. He said there was intense competition within the squad.

“The way I see it, it could be a very competitive trial game.”

He said he was still to decide on the composition of the front-rows.

The Sharks have lost John Smit, Eugene van Staden and now Mtawarira since last year and he is looking to the youngsters in the squad, players such as Dale Chadwick and Wiehahn Herbst, to step up.

The Sharks are also considering trying out versatile hooker Kyle Cooper at prop during the season.

“I’m hoping just about everyone will be available for the friendly against Boland at King’s Park next week,” said Plumtree.

Friday’s trial game is at 6 pm.

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