Coaching staff spice it up for Sharks

2008-04-21 00:00

The Sharks have proved innovators once again as they turned a training session from hard work to fun work.

Week four of a five-week tour is traditionally the hardest. There is still another week before they can start winding down to go home and, if there is one thing that induces negativity, it’s the daily grind of living out of a hotel room.

While the Sharks are always happy tourists, the weather in Sydney has been poor and they have not seen a day of sunshine during their stay here. While the spirit in the camp is high, the idea is to make training a lot more fun this week.

“The whole basis was to look at how to break up the daily and weekly routine, because week four of a five-week tour can become really monotonous … ,” said Mark Steele, the Sharks’ strength and conditioning coach.

“The activities are also a really good way to get the guys to do some really hard work without thinking about it.”

The mixture of activities ranged from a soccer match, a game of touch rugby and finally an action-packed game of cricket between the forwards and backs (won by the forwards in a tense finale).

It was all about having fun while keeping active, and it certainly had the desired effect. “It’s really important that you learn … more about your team-mates away from rugby-related issues, so activities like this are vital,” said Steele.

“It’s about five weeks on tour and there is a job to do, but it’s not easy being away for so long.

“You look at the Australasian teams. They only tour for three weeks … But in saying that, the Sharks do travel well and we accommodate them by being flexible. That’s important.”

On the injury front, both centre Brad Barritt (shoulder) and Steven Sykes (ankle ligaments) seem certain to miss Saturday’s game against the Waratahs in Sydney (11.40 am, SA time).

Both left the field in the first half against the Brumbies.

Francois Steyn is expected to take over from Barritt at inside centre and AJ Venter is likely to take over from Sykes at lock.

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