Deysel’s return a boost for Sharks

2015-02-11 00:00

JEAN Deysel’s sudden return from Japan could not have come at a more opportune moment for the Sharks who open their Super Rugby challenge against the Cheetahs on Saturday.

The 112 kg Deysel signed a two-year contract with ­Toyota Verblitz in the Japanese Top League at the conclusion of last year’s Super Rugby competition, leaving a huge hole in the Sharks backrow. But, with Gary Gold having replaced Jake White as the Sharks’ chief coach, Deysel has agreed to return and he has been out with the squad this week.

He has been welcomed with open arms following ­Willem Alberts’s recent hamstring injury. Deysel is an ­Alberts’s clone, physically intimidating, powerful with ball in hand and a strong tackler, and he seems certain to be rushed into the team for the Cheetahs game.

Ironically, the Sharks had been expecting former ­captain Keegan Daniel, another player not on White’s Christmas card list, to link up with Gold in Durban. But Sharks CEO John Smit confirmed last month that “sadly Keegan has opted not to join us but instead continue with the yen”.

Deysel was the only one of four contracted Japan-based players to arrive on Monday with Frans Steyn, JP Pieter­sen and Ryan Kankowski expected to join the squad next week.

Gold’s Sharks Super Rugby squad, bulging with 40 players, was released yesterday with five others out injured. Team doctor Alan Kourie said last night that it was still uncertain when Alberts, Stephan Lewies and JC Astle would return but Paul Jordaan (hip) and Tonderai Chavhanga (chronic knee injury) are out for about three months.

The good news is that Cobus Reinach and Pieter-Steph du Toit, who both left the field in the Toulon game, would be ready for Saturday.

The Sharks have opted for experience in place of youth in signing the 32-year-old former Springbok Michael Claassens from Toulon as back-up for scrumhalf Cobus Reinach. Quite when Claassens will arrive in Durban seems uncertain. The Sharks said this week that he would available after completing his duties at Toulon but the French club have fixtures until the end of May.

Gold appears to have depth in most areas but he may have to look at one of his wings, Odwa Ndungane or Lwazi Mvovo, to cover fullback while he is short of specialist outside centres. He will need quality cover with a number of his many Springboks certain to be rested for a number of games ahead of the World Cup.

Sharks squad: Lourens Adriaanse, Mouritz Botha, Renaldo Bothma, Dale Chadwick, Michael Claassens, Marcell Coetzee, Kyle Cooper, Lionel Cronje, Jean Deysel, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Thomas du Toit, Andre Esterhuizen, Monde Hadebe, Conrad Hoffmann, Ryan Kankowski, Patrick Lambie, Khaya Majola, Franco Marais, SP Marais, Tendai Mtawarira, Tera Mtembu, Grant Mtyanda, Waylon Murray, Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, Etienne Oosthuizen, Paul Perez, JP Pietersen, Jaco Reinach, S’bura Sithole, Matt Stevens, Frans Steyn, Stefan Ungerer, Marco Wentzel, Heimar Williams, Cameron Wright, Jack Wilson, Fred Zeilinga.

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