Sharks take a break after Super 14 exit, look ahead to Currie Cup and Tests

2010-05-18 00:00

WHILE Pretoria (and Soweto) and Cape Town are gearing up for their Super 14 semi-finals on Saturday, the Sharks can lie back and think of the Currie Cup and Test rugby.

The Sharks’ early-season woes led to their early departure from the Super 14, but a late revival has enabled them to build some confidence for the Currie Cup challenges ahead.

The Springboks in the squad will have a couple of weeks off before the international season.

Ruan Pienaar, John Smit, Jannie du Plessis, Beast Mtawarira, Ryan Kankowksi, JP Pietersen and possibly Jean Deysel are expected to be involved with the Springboks.

Hooker Bismarck du Plessis is only expected to be back from injury in time for the return leg of the Tri-Nations in August.

The Springboks take on Wales in Cardiff on June 5, just a week after the Super 14 final, which could involve two South African sides in the Bulls and the Stormers.

With the Springboks facing France, the northern hemisphere champions, a week later in Cape Town (June 12), Bok coach Peter de Villiers has said he will call on a number of overseas-based players for the Cardiff anniversary Test.

The Sharks have nearly two months off before they open their Currie Cup season against Griquas in Durban on July 10, but they do have a compulsory friendly against the Falcons on June 27.

Head coach John Plumtree said all the players will have a week off.

“I’ll then bring in one group to train for two weeks and the others, those who have had a heavy Super 14 season, will return after three weeks.”

The Sharks are expected to announce a couple of new signings ahead of the Currie Cup season and they are, of course, still looking for a flyhalf , particularly as Pienaar is certain to be on international duty.

Plumtree admitted that young fullback Patrick Lambie, who played flyhalf in his formative years, is a consideration.

“He certainly has some attributes and he could possibly do that job. But it is a case of nurturing him into professional rugby at this level.

“We might see him getting opportunities at flyhalf in the Currie Cup,” said Plumtree.

He dismissed unsubstantiated reports that the Lions were chasing the Du Plessis brothers and John Smit, who are all contracted to the Sharks.

“There are always these rumours of players going to different places. There are opportunities all over the world, but I’d like to think the players will stay on with us even when they come out of their contracts.

We want to get better and we need key players to stay,” said Plumtree.

He said that there will be a changing of the guard with regard to the positions of veterans Deon Carstens and Johann Muller, who have signed overseas contracts.

“We have some others who will step up into leadership roles and we need to keep the experience of these senior players.”

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