Sharks to shape up for Reds’ attrition

2012-03-13 00:00

THE Sharks are expecting lock Ross Skeate to be fit for Saturday evening’s Super Rugby clash with the title-holding Reds, while Bok flank Jean Deysel should join them when they leave on their Australasian tour on Sunday.

Team doctor Ewoudt van der Linde said yesterday that Skeate, who left the field during the Lions game with a hip/groin problem, was recovering rapidly but would undergo a fitness test on Thursday.

Deysel underwent knee surgery in the close season and coach John Plumtree confirmed at the weekend that the big flank would tour with the Sharks. But he did want him to see some action in the Sharks XV’s Vodacom Cup game against Western Province this weekend.

“Jean Deysel’s knee is doing well, but last week he suffered a bit of a hamstring strain which isn’t too serious,” said Van der Linde.

“He will go through a final fitness test on Thursday to see if he can play on Saturday,” explained team Van der Linde.

“If he passes, he will get about 40 minutes of game time against Western Province.”

Scrumhalf Conrad Hoffmann, now back from injury, is also hoping to get game time for the Sharks’ XV on Saturday.

Captain Keegan Daniel is being troubled by an ankle injury and will undergo a scan today.

“It doesn’t look too bad but the scan will tell us more,” said Van der Linde. He said that Willem Alberts had emerged from an hour’s play against the Lions without any problems.

Plumtree said the Sharks would have to improve dramatically on their form to contain the Reds.

“The Reds are a dangerous team and they can punish you from anywhere on the field. They have yet to hit their straps but they are still unbeaten and they will be a real test.”

The Reds arrived in South Africa yesterday and are relieved to be away from playing derby games against fellow-Australians after their dour 11-6 win over the Melbourne Rebels.

The Reds are battling without the injured Wallaby Quade Cooper and coach Ewen McKenzie said utility Ben Lucas could take over at flyhalf.

Goalkicker Mike Harris would then move to inside centre against the Sharks.

“It is different brand of football in South Africa, and we do play it differently here,” he said.

“You can talk about the manner of our victories but in the end they’re all attritional-type games and we’ve got through it.”

Saturday’s game kicks off at 5.05 pm and Jonathan Kaplan is the referee.

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