Alberts fit, considered for Force clash

2012-05-08 00:00

THE Sharks are in rude health ahead of Saturday’s Super Rugby outing against the Western Force at King’s Park and all the current squad members — even discarded Springbok flank Willem Alberts — will be available for selection.

Sharks team doctor Ewoudt van der Linde said yesterday that, by way of a change, none of the players would face a fitness test later in the week.

“It’s all good and there are no injuries. We had some players who returned from injury on Saturday and they came through fine against the Highlanders.

“Beast [Mtawarira] played 80 minutes and the ankle went well. Ryan [Kankowksi] was also fine afterwards, and other than that there were just the usual bumps and bruises and we came through a tough game really well.”

Van der Linde said lock Ross Skeate, who has been out for most of the season, would only be ready again in about six weeks, while reserve prop Julian Redelinghuys, who suffered a fractured ankle at the start of the season, faced another fortnight on the sidelines.

Coach John Plumtree has confirmed that Alberts, who has struggled since recovering from his serious shoulder injury, had been omitted on form from the team that faced the Highlanders.

“He is fit and he will be considered for the Force game this week, but we have six loose forwards in contention and they can’t all play.”

Plumtree said again that Keegan Daniel and Marcell Coetzee were the pick of the Sharks’ loose forwards at present and Jean Deysel, Alberts, Kankowski and Jacques Botes were fighting over the remaining backrow position.

While flyhalf Pat Lambie is being widely tipped to play at fullback for the Springboks in next month’s Tests against England, Plumtree said national coach Heyneke Meyer had not spoken to him about moving the talented young player to the last line of defence for the Sharks.

“I don’t think that Heyneke would want to try and influence our selection in any way. He has coached too much Super Rugby himself to do that. He knows that we [the Sharks] are fighting a battle here. Next month he will be fighting his battle and I’ll be resting.”

But Plumtree said that there would be no problem at all for Lambie to switch to fullback for the Springboks.

“It would be a seamless move for Paddy because he has played so much rugby at fullback. But at the moment he is the Sharks’ flyhalf.”

Lambie, who scored all 28 points in the Sharks win at the weekend, said he would play wherever he was selected whether it was at Super Rugby or Test level. He said he was delighted the Sharks had prevailed against the Highlanders.

“It went well, but we now need to string a few wins together. There’s lots to look forward to,” he said.

Kick-off against the Force is at 5.05 pm on Saturday and the Sharks are hoping that their weekend win will attract a bigger crowd that the 19 000 who attended the Highlanders’ game.

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