Currie Cup: Sharks fit for the final

2011-10-25 00:00

FRENCH flyhalf Frederic Michalak, who left the field during the weekend play-off match against the Free State Cheetahs, will be fit for Saturday’s final. However, centre Marius Joubert is doubtful.

Sharks team doctor Ewoudt van der Linde told The Witness yesterday that Michalak suffered bruising to his thigh after colliding with team-mate Stefan Terblanche in the opening minutes.

“But he has recovered well and he will definitely be ready for the final,” Van der Linde said.

The doctor said Joubert is suffering from a groin problem.

“We’ll make a call on him later in the week, but I would say he has a 50/50 chance of playing.”

Van der Linde said all the players who were nursing injuries last week, wing Lwazi Mvovo, Adi Jacobs and Jean Deysel, had all come through the Free State game without any problems.

“Apart from the injury to Joubert we came through a very physical game well.”

Jacobs could take over at inside centre if Joubert is sidelined, although coach John Plumtree also has the option of switching Pat Lambie from fullback to the midfield and including Mvovo on the wing with Odwa Ndungane at fullback.

Springbok lock Alistair Hargreaves, who has been nursing a back strain, could challenge for a place this weekend.

Plumtree is unlikely to tamper with his pack, but Hargreaves could provide lineout cover off the bench.

The South African Rugby Union announced yesterday that the experienced Mark Lawrence will referee his second Currie Cup final on Saturday.

The 46-year-old Lawrence recently announced his retirement from international rugby. He was in charge of the Currie Cup final in 2007 and the Super 14 final in 2008.

Said André Watson, general manager of the South African Rugby Referees’ Association, “Mark has consistently been one of the best referees in South Africa, if not the world, and his appointment to the Currie Cup final is just reward for his superb performances not only this season, but throughout his career.

“The decision has not been easy as we are blessed with some very good referees who are capable of refereeing finals.

The performances of Marius Jonker and Jaco Peyper in the semi-finals are testimony to this,” Watson added.

Lawrence will be assisted by Stefan Breytenbach and Christi du Preez, with Marius Jonker as reserve referee.

Johan Meuwesen has been appointed television match official.

The Currie Cup final will kick off at 5.30 pm and not 5 pm as previously announced. It is scheduled for Ellis Park, Johannesburg.

The main curtain-raiser will be the U21 final between the Blue Bulls and Sharks at 2.30 pm.

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