Ndungane twins back from injury to meet in Sharks-Bulls match-up

2013-08-28 00:00

YOU just cannot separate the Ndungane twins. They not only look alike and both play on the wing, but they now also share the same injuries and the timing of their recovery.

Odwa Ndungane, who plays for the Sharks, and his brother Akona, the Blue Bulls wing, have been sidelined with hamstring injuries in recent weeks. This week, the two former Springbok wings returned to training in Durban and Pretoria, and they will be in opposing teams in the Currie Cup match at King’s Park on Saturday evening.

Odwa was being used at fullback when he tweaked his hamstring against the Golden Lions a fortnight ago, but Sharks coach Brad Macleod-Henderson said yesterday he would return on the wing.

“We want Odwa back for his experience and ability, and he is obviously comfortable on the wing.

“SP Marais has recovered from his injury [against Free State on Friday night] and he gives us something different at fullback.”

Macleod-Henderson said none of their Springboks had been released by Heyneke Meyer for the weekend, but added that the Sharks had been fortunate with injuries and there would be some rotation.

He said that some players who had been on the bench were given their opportunity and there could be as many as four changes.

The lively Cobus Reinach is likely to start at scrumhalf and partner the 20-year-old Fred Zeilinga at halfback, while hooker Craig Burden and lock Peet Marais will also be starting.

Macleod-Henderson said they were fortunate to have two quality players at both scrumhalf (Charl McLeod and Reinach) and flyhalf (Zeilinga and Butch James).

“We are using some rotation. Fred played well against the Cheetahs and gets another chance. Reinach came on and did well and Charl [McLeod] started in the first three games. This week, it will change around.”

The Sharks coach said it was tough to get the right balance between rotation and maintaining momentum.

“If you get the win, then you probably got the balance right.”

Macleod-Henderson said that Jacques Botes, rather than Keegan Daniel, would continue at number eight and as captain on Saturday.

“We will look at the captaincy question week by week. It is great to have Keegan back [at flank] to give us another senior head.

“We don’t take the captain’s armband question too seriously. Keegan and Jacques are both leaders, as is Jean Deysel and Butch James.”

The match starts at 5.05 pm on Saturday and Jonathan Kaplan will referee.

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