Deysel is Sharks’ only injury concern

2011-01-12 00:00

BURLY flank Jean Deysel, fighting his way back from a serious knee injury, remains the Sharks’ only injury concern ahead of the Super 15 tournament.

Sharks assistant coach Grant Bashford told The Witness yesterday that Deysel’s recovery is on track following surgery in the early weeks of the Currie Cup competition.

“He is likely to miss the first two Super 15 games (against the Cheetahs and the Blues in Durban) but should be back in time for the tour to Australia and New Zealand.”

Five weeks of preparation remain before the Sharks open their campaign against the Free Staters on February 19, but the players, who returned to training last week after their Christmas break, will be kept busy.

“We are heading to Rustenburg on Sunday for a six-day camp,” said Bashford, “and we will be based at the Bafokeng Sports Campus [where England were based for the Soccer World Cup].”

The Sharks will then take part in the triangular friendly series in Cape Town, playing the Lions on February 1 and the Stormers on February 5.

New signing, Springbok centre Meyer Bosman, is back in training after groin surgery and a number of players who were sidelined at the end of last season, among them John Smit, JP Pietersen and Ross Skeate, are “all looking good,” said Bashford.

Sharks head coach John Plumtree said that the squad will be cut back from 33 to 27 players for the pre-season camp in Rustenburg .

“The players are getting there in terms of their conditioning, although we have a few guys who need to lose a bit of body fat before the start of the season.”

With the Sharks playing a faster, high intensity game, Plumtree is looking to raise the fitness levels in the squad.

“Getting the Boks back after a month off means they aren’t yet where they need to be,” Plumtree told the Sharks website.

“But there are also some players who did a massive conditioning block before Christmas. A player like Stefan Terblanche has put on about six kilograms of muscle and added like 0,1% body fat, so that gives an idea of where he is at.

“Louis Ludik is also in great shape, as is JP Pietersen. John Smit is also looking really good.”

Plumtree said that Smit has to lose about two more kilograms to be in peak condition.

“John has worked really hard because he has a huge year in 2011. By the time the pre-season Tri-Series starts in Cape Town, he would have lost about seven or eight kilograms — and that’s after having a neck operation late last year.”

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