Plumtree rests more Sharks for opener

2012-08-08 00:00

A NUMBER of overworked Sharks players, including scrumhalf Charl McLeod and lock Anton Bresler, are to be rested for Saturday’s Currie Cup opener against Western Province in Cape Town.

The Sharks have been flitting back and forth across the Indian Ocean in recent weeks and the watered-down Currie Cup squad was only able to start preparations yesterday.

The Sharks have lost 14 players (to the Springboks, overseas contracts and injury) and coach John Plumteree said yesterday that it would be an uphill struggle for the depleted squad.

Plumtree said: “It’s not easy. Anton Bresler and Charl McLeod won’t come to Cape Town this weekend. It’s really just a rush getting these boys organised and we started with that this morning.”

He said that he was neverthless looking forward to the Currie Cup and the fresh challenges.

“We’re proud of what we achieved in Super Rugby, but disappointed that we didn’t get the title. We certainly went the long way around trying to achieve that.

“Now we’re looking forward to this Currie Cup. We have a proud tradition in this tournament and we’ve made three finals in the last four years. We know the importance of that trophy to the Sharks and in SA rugby in general.”

He said that missing so many players would be a test, but the Sharks had succeeded before with a young, fresh squad.

“We’re excited about the youngsters who have an opportunity to impress, and to see if some can step up for next year’s Super Rugby tournament.”

With Pat Lambie on Springbok duty and Freddie Michalak back in France, Plumtree has to find new flyhalf and he said that both fullback Riaan Viljoen and inside centre Meyer Bosman would be used in that position.

He said that Cobus Reinach would be given a chance at scrumhalf in the absence of Mcleod.

“I really want to see what he can do at this level.

“We will be tested at times in certain positions, loose forward especially as we have a number of them out, but we will have to dip into the U21s.

“Francois Kleinhans played for us in the Currie Cup last year and players like him will be used.

“Your resources get stretched but, if you look at how Marcell Coetzee came out of the Currie Cup last year to become a Springbok, you know what can be done.”

Plumtree said that he would also be taking a break during the Currie Cup and handing over coaching duties to assistants Grant Bashford and Hugh Reece-Edwards.

Plumtree has named a Currie Cup squad of 28, which contains six players who have represented the Boks in the past. They are Odwa Ndungane, Marius Joubert, Riaan Viljoen, Meyer Bosman, Steve Sykes and Jean Deysel.

Others, such as Jacques Botes, Louis Ludik, Paul Jordaan, Tim Whitehead and Pieter-Steph du Toit (though both currently injured), Charl McLeod, Wiehahn Herbst, Craig Burden, Dale Chadwick and Jandre Marais, were regularly involved in this year’s Super Rugby campaign.

Saturday’s game kicks off at 7.10 pm.

Sharks Currie Cup squad

Meyer Bosman, Jacques Botes, Anton Bresler, Craig Burden, Dale Chadwick, Kyle Cooper, Jean Deysel,

Pieter-Steph du Toit, Monde Hadebe, Wiehahn Herbst,

Conrad Hoffmann, Paul Jordaan, Marius Joubert, Francois Kleinhans, Louis Ludik, Jandre Marais,

Peet Marais, Charl McLeod, Lubabalo Mtembu, Odwa Ndungane, Gouws Prinsloo, Julian Redelinghuys, Cobus Reinach, Sbura Sithole, Rosko Specman, Steven Sykes, Riaan Viljoen, Tim Whitehead.

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