Burden, Mvovo likely to return for Sharks for Lions clash

2012-09-18 00:00

WHILE the Golden Lions have suffered injuries to four of their players, the Sharks will be strengthened by the return of a couple of Springboks for Saturday’s top-of-the-log Currie Cup clash at Ellis Park.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer will only announce today which players he is releasing from his Rugby Championship squad, but it seems certain that hooker Craig Burden and wing Lwazi Mvovo, who were excluded from the Test squad of 22 in Dunedin, will be allowed to return to the Sharks this week.

No Rugby Championship games will be played this weekend and the Springboks next face Australia in Pretoria on September 29.

Sharks backline coach Grant Bashford said yesterday that the Sharks had suffered no injuries in beating Western Province in the wet on Saturday night, while centre Paul Jordaan and former Bok lock Steven Sykes, who both missed the Durban game, were expected to be ready for the Lions outing.

“By way of a change, we are getting more players back into our system, rather than the other way,” he said. “Pieter-Steph du Toit is also not far off his return, so there are a few good things happening which should help us in terms of our depth.”

The Sharks suddenly have an embarrassment of riches in the midfield, with centre Tim Whitehead returning against Province after an extended injury break, while inside centre Meyer Bosman, successful with nine out of 10 kicks in appalling conditions, has suddenly become the most accurate goalkicker in Currie Cup rugby.

“Tim Whitehead slotted back well into the team,” said Bashford.

“The conditions were not easy, but we were very happy with the way he came back.

“Territory was important on Saturday night, and with Meyer taking his chances, we won the kicking game. But to take a bonus point for four tries in those conditions was a real positive and not one we expected.”

Bashford said the result had been particularly pleasing because the Sharks had made fewer handling errors in the wet than in games played in dry conditions.

The Lions went down with four new injuries in their excellent 38-23 weekend win over the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

Highly rated fullback Jaco Taute (wrist) and lock Hendrik Roodt (dislocated shoulder) are out after both having just returned from injury.

Flank Willie Britz and wing Deon Helberg have also reportedly been sidelined with injuries.

There was some good news for the Lions, with flank Jaco Kriel and prop CJ van der Linde returning to training yesterday.

Saturday’s game kicks off at 7.10 pm.

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