Sharks welcome return of Springbok players

2008-07-22 00:00

Springbok number eight Ryan Kankowski will be fit to take on the Lions in the big weekend Currie Cup rugby match at King’s Park.

Kankowski was one of four Springboks released by national coach Peter de Villiers for the Currie Cup, but the rangy loose forward first has to be cleared medically.

Sharks coach John Plumtree is convinced he will be fit.

“He just took a whack to the nose on Saturday and he will be fine.”

Kankowski came on in the second half of Saturday’s Tri-Nations Test in Perth for the injured Schalk Burger, but within minutes was himself briefly replaced when he left the field for treatment to his bloody nose.

Plumtree said he weclomed the return of some of his Springboks “though we might not have them for very long.”

“Anyway, it does make this week a bit easier and we will definitely use them.”

Plumtree will probably also have the powerful loose forward Jean Deysel available for action this weekend.

Deysel, contracted as a replacement for AJ Venter, broke his hand just before the start of the Currie Cup and his return will add to the physicality of the Sharks pack.

Plumtree is still concerned about a number of injured players, including French flyhalf Frederic Michalak, who has a sore hip.

But the return of Ruan Pienaar, Odwa Ndungane, Beast Mtawarira and Kankowski will provide the Sharks coach with some options.

The powerful Lions, largely untouched by Springbok call-ups and with returning World Cup centre Jaque Fourie in midfield, will field an unchanged team, one very similar to their Super 14 line-up.

The match kicks off at 5.05 pm.

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