Rejected Boks Mvovo and Deysel to beef up Sharks

2011-08-25 00:00

THE Sharks and the Lions have both been bolstered by returning players for Saturday’s top-of-the-log Currie Cup match at Ellis Park.

The log-leading Lions are a single log point ahead of the Sharks and they will have their captain Josh Strauss fit and ready to lead them on the day.

The Sharks, in turn and as expected, are boosted by the return of snubbed Springboks Lwazi Mvovo and Jean Deysel.

Strauss (rib injury) left the field during their narrow 28-26 Newlands loss to Western Province last weekend, but he was yesterday cleared to play.

In the only change to the side that started against Province, Springbok Wikus van Heerden returns in place of lock Joe Snyman.

Deysel and Mvovo, overlooked by Bok coach Peter de Villiers for the RWC, have practised all week with the Sharks.

The pair have joined other Sharks’ Tri-Nation squad members Charl McLeod, Adi Jacobs, Alistair Hargreaves and Ryan Kankowski in the Currie Cup squad.

Coach John Plumtree said he understands the disappointment among the rejected players, but said he was pleased to have his squad bolstered by their return.

“At least we know now where we stand and this makes planning for the rest of the season easier,” he said.

He admitted he is still concerned about his centre pairing and the condition of former Springbok Marius Joubert, who returned to Durban from French club Clermont Auvergne at the start of the Currie Cup season.

“One of the things that is pretty evident to us now is that players that have got back from France have been poor from a conditioning perspective,” Plumtree said of Joubert and, indirectly, bulky Springbok fullback Frans Steyn.

“They’re good footballers, but they’re just down on their strength and we need to improve that.”

Plumtree will name his team today and said Joubert will probably miss the Ellis Park game.

Plumtree said, “We probably will take him out and give him a conditioning block to get his strength back up.

“We’ve noticed with his weight, his speed, his power and his contact that he’s down on where he normally is.

“We’ve got to get him up to speed. We did a similar thing with Meyer last week — took him out for a week — and he benefited a lot.”

Plumtree is happy with his team’s position on the log in spite of the laboured 23-3 win over the Leopards.

“We’re right up there, we’re second on the log, we’re one point behind the Lions at the end of round one, which is not that bad,” said Plumtree.

“If we can turn the Lions over then it will be a big finish to the first round.

“We left a point behind [against the Leopards], but ultimately we won the game and that’s what it’s all about …

“I think the Leopards also need to be credited because they defended very well. It was probably their best defensive effort all year.”

Mvovo seems certain to fill the gap left by World Cup wing Odwa Ndungane, while Plumtree is spoilt for choice at loose forward where young Marcell Coetzee — arguably the Sharks’ outstanding Currie Cup player this year — Springboks Keegan Daniel, Jean Deysel and Ryan Kankowski, along with Jacques Botes, are vying for three places.

The match kicks off at 5.05 pm and Jaco Peyper will be the referee.

LIONS TEAM

15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Joshua Strauss (captain), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.

Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Joe Snyman, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Warren Whiteley, 21 Doppies la Grange, 22 Burton Francis.

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