Sharks welcome Boks back to team

2012-10-09 00:00

THE Sharks will mix and match their returning Springboks for Friday night’s Currie Cup game against Griquas at King’s Park.

A win for the Sharks will ensure they end the round robin season on top of the log for the fourth time in five years and this would secure a home Currie Cup final if they win their semi-final on October 27.

Seven players have returned to the Sharks this week from Springbok duty. They are front-rowers Jannie du Plessis and Beast Mtawarira, flanks Willem Alberts and Marcel Coetzee, hooker Craig Burden, fullback/flyhalf Pat Lambie and wing Lwazi Mvovo.

An eighth Shark, centre Frans Steyn, is out for the rest of the year with an ankle injury.

Sharks assistant coach Hugh Reece-Edwards said yesterday that not all the Springboks would play against Griquas.

“We know some of our Springboks will come back, fit in immediately and be part of the team. But there are others who really need a break and will get it. Some will be utilised this week, but the big thing is that they fit in with the current group that has done so well.”

He said that all the players wanted to be a part of the team.

“In the past we’ve had Springboks come back into the team and everyone has assumed things would just happen and they didn’t,” he said.

“But we do see the integration process of the Springboks going quite smoothly this year.”

The suggestion is that players who have seen regular Bok action, props Du Plessis and Mtawarira, along with flank Willem Alberts, would be given a break this weekend.

The other four, Lambie, Mvovo, Coetzee and Burden, who have spent the last six weeks carrying tackle bags for the Boks around the world, are likely to be included against Griquas, either in the starting line-up or on the bench.

Reece-Edwards said it was crucial that the Sharks built on what they had achieved in recent weeks and remain on a roll, adding: “The fact that we got taken apart by Griquas in the first round means there is a fair amount of desire in this team to rectify what went wrong in Kimberley.

“We want this win badly. We want to get our game right, in fact we want to get a lot of things right, which means that this week is just as important as any other week.”

The Sharks coach said that the players had to dig deep to beat the Cheetahs in the heat of Bloemfontein on Saturday.

“We’re really happy with the result but that is now in the past and we have to look ahead. We have the next two games at home and this week helps us build to hopefully a third week [the final] at home.”

He said the statistics from the Bloemfontein game underlined how tough it was. “We only had 38% possession, we were down on territory and we had to do most of the tackling.

“We made some silly errors at times and also made some bad decisions in kicking ball away. We are still playing attractive rugby and want to play that style to score tries, but we can certainly get better and more accurate.”

Friday’s match at King’s Park kicks off at 7.10 pm.

All seven of the Blue Bulls’ Boks returned to Loftus yesterday and are likely to play in the crunch game against the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday night.

The Bulls are last on the log and could face a relegation game if they lose but coach Pine Pienaar will be delighted to have Zane Kirchner, Francois Hougaard, Morné Steyn, Arno Botha, Jacques Potgieter, Juandré Kruger and Flip van der Merwe available for Saturday.

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