‘Challenge is to get the balance right’ — White

2014-06-25 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Decisions, decisions, decisions.

That is what awaits Sharks coach Jake White during the Super Rugby league matches over the last two weeks against the Cheetahs and the Stormers.

“We have to decide whether we must go full force and include some of the players who have had a heavy workload during recent times, or whether to give them time to rest.

“When you include your star players you run the risk that they may be over-exerted for the away games should you not qualify for a home semi-final.

“If you do not play your strongest team, there may be a perception that the weakened team is not good enough to win and that is unfair to the players,” said White.

“The challenge therefore is to get the balance right to give ourselves a good chance to ensure a home semi-final, but in the event of that not happening; that the players are still fit and ready for the away games.”

There is a strong possibility that White will have to make do without two of his Springboks, Beast Mtawarira and Willem Alberts, during the last group matches.

Mtawarira is suffering from a neck injury while Alberts has to recover from concussion.

He will also have to decide whether he will start with the Du Plessis brothers, Jannie and Bismarck, against the Cheetahs, or whether he will leave them on the bench and include Lourens Adriaanse at prop and Kyle Cooper at hooker.

On the positive side the news is that Frans Steyn and Patrick Lambie re-joined the team practice on Monday.

Lambie has been absent during the past nine matches, but there is a possibility that he could be considered for the Cheetahs game next Saturday in Bloemfontein.

“Chances are good that Pat will be ready within the next 10 days. He still has to pass a few medical tests but I am hopeful that he will,” said White.

“Frans is ready for action,” said the Sharks coach. “Next to Lwazi Mvovo, he [Steyn] is the player who has spent the most time on the field during Super Rugby. Fortunately he had a two-week rest, which he needed badly.

“The guys who are not members of the Springbok squad are all fresh. Although the situation with our Springboks is not ideal, it gives us an opportunity to plan our strategy and games for the next couple of weeks,” added White.

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