Plumtree to excuse top players from training and save them for Friday

2009-09-22 00:00

HEAD coach John Plumtree says he will take the unusual step of resting some players from training this week, but will still use them at Absa Stadiumon Friday night when the Sharks take on the Leopards in their next Currie Cup match.

The Sharks are well placed at the top of the Currie Cup log and they will have their Springboks available for the final three games — against the Leopards, the Lions both in Durban, and Griquas in Kimberley — before the play-offs.

Plumtree’s team are only a point ahead of Western Province and need to win win all three games with bonus points to ensure they finish top of the log to ensure a home final if they advance that far.

The Leopards, lying seventh and battling this seson, should provide relatively easy pickings on Friday, while the Lions are almost certainly out of the Currie Cup race but Griquas, on their home ground and challenging hard for a semi-final berth, will be a major threat in the final round robin game.

Plumtree said this week would be about managing the players and “freshening up those who have had lots of rugby.”

He said that some Springboks, like Adi Jacobs, needed game time “but not training because they have done enough of that.”

“Adi needs to see his family this week, but I’ll bring him back (for the Leopards match).

“It might be a similar scenario for Bismarck du Plessis (because of the injury to Craig Burden). The rest of the guys like Ruan Pienaar, Jannie du Plessis and Ryan Kankowski are keen to carry on, to get some game time.”

Plumtree said that he was pleased with the depth in the squad as he looked ahead to next year’s Super 14.

“There are still a couple guys I want to recruit to strengthen us in the areas, but it’s going to be an exciting Super 14. We have lost an outstanding footballer in Frans Steyn which is a huge blow, but we’re really happy with how Riaan Swanepoel has come along.

“There are some similarities, although in the kicking department, Frans is a freak in terms of some of the things he can do.”

He said he was also looking to add depth at loose forward but he was otherwise happy with the quality and depth in the squad.

Friday’s match kicks off at 7.10 pm and coverage will be on SuperSport 1.

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