Griquas will test frustrated Sharks

2008-07-29 00:00

JOHN Plumtree has lost four Springboks, but hopes to have two other internationals — flyhalf Frederic Michalak and prop BJ Botha — in his line-up for Saturday’s testing away Currie Cup game against Griquas.

Plumtree said yesterday that Michalak, with a bruised hip, should be fine while he hopes tighthead Botha, also sidelined by injury, will be cleared to play.

Four Boks, Odwa Ndungane, Ruan Pienaar, Tendai Mtawarira and Ryan Kankowski, saw action against the Lions on Saturday, but they are back in the national squad with four other Sharks.

Plumtree also confirmed that centre Brad Barritt and Rory Kockott are still injured.

“There could be as many as five or six changes, and that’s not ideal. Continuity is a problem and we have now had four or five different flyhalves. But it is the hand we have been dealt and we must get on with it.”

He said the presence of players like Jean Deysel and Botha, if cleared to play, adds to the physicality of the Sharks pack, adding that the Sharks have adapted the game plan according to personnel.

“We’ve lost some to the Boks, but we have to go with a plan that suits the group we have, and then it’s up to them to perform.”

He said Griquas will be a major threat, particularly as they will be fresh after a bye last week.

“Griquas have a lot of experience, even if they do not have big names. They have some talented players and physical forwards.

“We will need to be disciplined. If they dominate us physically, it will be a long day. We have to go up there confident and ready to play to a plan.”

The Sharks coach said there is frustration in the squad about the kind of rugby they are playing.

“But I think the public needs to understand this is a different group … and that the win against the Lions, a fairly experienced Super 14 team, was significant.

“The expectations from everyone are that if we don’t win by 30 points, it hasn’t been a good day. But that’s not realistic.”

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