Kanko’s Bok call-up a setback for Sharks

2011-08-10 00:00

THE uncertainty over Ryan Kankowski’s availability has complicated the Sharks’ selection ahead of Friday night’s Currie Cup game against Western Province at Newlands in Cape Town.

Coach John Plumtree said earlier in the week that he would choose all his available Springboks for what will be a major challenge in Cape Town but Kankowski’s subsequent call-up to the Tri-Nations squad had muddied the waters.

The rangy number eight is on stand-by for injured Springbok loose forwards Pierre Spies and Willem Alberts but both could still be cleared to play against the Wallabies, allowing Kankowski to return to the Sharks.

Sharks assistant coach Grant Bashford said the return of the seven touring Boks had been a boost for the squad.

Plumtree only played three of them off the bench in Kimberley but Bashford said they were over their jet lag and would be available.

“We rewarded the guys who got us into the position that we were in, and unfortunately it didn’t go very well for us on the weekend [the Sharks lost to Griquas]. The Boks we rested will all be available for selection and we’ll pick the best team that we can to go down there and do the job.”

Bashford said that the young players could not be blamed for the Kimberley defeat.

“It wasn’t one thing in particular but more the collective effort. We battled to get our game going, and then when we did, we’d make an error which cost us.”

Bashord said it was important to react positively to the setback, the Sharks’ first defeat in the Currie Cup this season.

“We have a big game in Cape Town on Friday night and we haven’t had a lot of success down there in the last couple of games, so the challenge is up for us. We know if we get it right, play well and hang on to the ball for long passages of play, we can win, but it’s really up to us …”

Neither side, he added, could take the game for granted.

“After beating them well in the Currie Cup final, they gave us a hiding in the Super Rugby match in Cape Town, so it’s a bit of cat and mouse between us. Both teams play with the right intent but we just need to go down then and get the ship back on the right course.

“We’ve both come off away weekend losses and both want to get back on track. It’s a home game for them and they’ll be desperate not to lose at Newlands.”

The game kicks off at 7.10 pm and Lourens van der Merwe will referee the game.

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