Avoid injury, find form — Muir’s mantra

2008-02-01 00:00

FINDING form and avoiding injury — that would be at the top of coach Dick Muir’s wish list as he takes his Sharks into their pre-season friendly against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein this evening.

The Sharks open their Super 14 campaign against the Western Force in Durban on February 15 and they have tonight’s outing and the midweek friendly against the Lions at King’s Park next week to find their feet and settle into the new laws.

Injuries at this stage of the season are a particularl concern and Muir will be hoping that his new French flyhalf Freddie Michalak, for one, steers clear of the Cheetahs’ brawny backrow.

The 26-man squad will play the Cheetahs over four Chukkas with 11 reserves — and most of the Sharks’ World Cup Boks — all likely to be given a run.

“We would like to have left all our Springboks behind to do some extra conditioning, but it didn’t pan out that way,” he said.

Muir said he also wanted to see how his players adapted to the new laws. “Obviously we have practised them but we need to see how we fare in a match situation.”

Muir said that he expected the Cheetahs to play with greater cohesion.

“They have played together a lot and will be more organised but our chaps are enthusiastic and wanting to get the season under way after all the hard work.

Muir is expected to field close to his full-strebnth team against the Lions on February 6.

“There are certain players who select themselves but there are positions still open and early form is important.”

And so is sidestepping injury.

TEAMS:

Sharks

15. Stefan Terblanche; 14. Frank Wagenstroom; 13. Waylon Murray; 12. Andries Strauss; 11. Henno Mentz; 10. Frederic Michalak; 9. Charl Macleod;

8. Jean Deysel; 7. AJ Venter (Capt); 6. Keegan Daniel; 5. Albert van den Berg; 4. Johan Snyman; 3. BJ Botha; 2. Skipper Badenhorst; 1. Beast Mtawarira

Reserves:

16. Kees Lensing; 17.. Jody Jenneker; 18. Robbie Harris; 19. Alistair Hargreaves; 20. Johann Muller; 21. Jacques Botes; 22. Nikolai Blignaut; 23. Ruan Pienaar; 24. Francois Steyn; 25. Adi Jacobs; 26. Dumisane Matyeshana;

Free State Cheetahs: Hennie Daniller, Eddie Fredericks, JW Jonker, Meyer Bosman, Gavin Passens, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Falie Oelschig, Duanne Vermeulen, Juan Smith (capt.), Heinrich Br¸ssow, Barend Pieterse, Rory Duncan, CJ van der Linde, Adriaan Strauss, Wian du Preez .

Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Kobus Calldo, Flip van der Merwe, David de Villiers, Kabamba Floors, Darron Nell, Tobie Botes, Herkie Kruger, Jongi Nokwe, Howard Noble, Hendrik Meyer.

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