Beast getting ‘back in the mix’

2012-04-24 00:00

SPRINGBOK loosehead Beast Mtawarira, who has been sidelined since January, seems certain to make his return for the Sharks’ Super Rugby game against the Highlanders at King’s Park on May 5.

The Sharks have their first bye of the season this weekend, but the return of the Beast, who fractured an ankle in the pre-season build-up, will provide them with a welcome boost for the second half of the competition.

It will also provide the young Dale Chadwick with some relief. Chadwick, the 21-year-old prop, is in his first season of Super Rugby and has played for 80 minutes in all nine of the Sharks’ games to date.

While he is relatively small — at 107 kg — for a prop packing down against seasoned internationals, he has surprised friend and foe with the quality of his scrummaging.

But the presence of Mtawarira, who saw his first action of the season for the Sharks XV against Eastern Province in Saturday’s Vodacom Cup match, will provide coach John Plumtree with front-row options.

“We will give Beast more time this week for the Sharks XV against the Pampas XV and he will come back into the reckoning for the Highlanders,” said Plumtree.

“It’s good to have him back in the mix. He offers a lot around the field with his explosiveness, both with and without the ball, and he will boost our match 22.”

Sharks wing Lwazi Mvovo, who was felled by a head-high and head-on tackle by the Chiefs’ Leila Masaga on Saturday, suffered a nose fracture and concussion, team doctor Ewoudt van der Linde said yesterday.

Both Masaga and Mvovo left the field but Van der Linde said the Sharks wing should be ready for the Highlanders game.

“It is fortunate we now have a bye and will be monitored by Dr Craig Roberts [the former Sharks and current Springbok team doctor] at the Bok camp this week,” he said.

Tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis is also battling with a rib injury, but Van der Linde said he should also be ready by the end of next week.

“Other than those two injuries, we look in good shape. It was a very physical game and there were more than the usual knocks, bumps and bruises,” said Van der Linde.

Van der Linde said that number eight Ryan Kankowski, who has recovered from his fractured thumb, could join Mtawarira in the Sharks XV to play the Pampas XV.

“If he does, and he comes through without any problems, then he will also be available for the Sharks’ Super Rugby game the following weekend.”

Lock Ross Skeate, recovering from surgery a month ago, will only be available again after the June break, the doctor said.

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