Sharks injury free after weekend win

2008-03-10 00:00

THE Sharks emerged from their head-on collision with the Auckland Blues at the weekend with only light injuries and they will have close to a full squad available for Saturday evening’s game against the Lions at Ellis Park.

Team doctor Craig Roberts said last night that the Sharks suffered only slight cuts and bruises in downing the previously unbeaten Blues 22-17.

“We were concerned about the fitness of prop BJ Botha [shoulder] on Saturday night, but the injury is not as serious as we first thought and he will be assessed during the week.”

Roberts said that in-form hooker Bismarck du Plessis had “felt” the rib injury that kept him out of the Bulls game at Loftus, “but we expected that and he should be fine for Saturday”.

Flyhalf Fredric Michalak, who at one stage went down with an injury after a heavy tackle on Saturday night, is also fit for the weekend.

“He took a lot of contact against the Blues but came through strongly,” said Roberts.

Further good news for Sharks coach Dick Muir is that Springboks Ruan Pienaar and AJ Venter will be back in the mix this weekend after being sidelined by injury, while Bok prop Deon Carstens played for the Wildebeest on Saturday after an extended injury break and, like lock Steven Sykes, now needs only to work on his match fitness.

Scrumhalf Scott Mathie also saw action for the Wildebeest, while Roberts said that promising young tighthead prop Pat Ciliers, now over his serious knee injury, should be making his return to the game within the next week or two.

Muir said after the Blues win that there will be some rotation of players for the Lions game.

“This in no way implies that we are taking the Lions challenge lightly. Any side in the Super 14 can win on their day, that’s just the nature of this competition, and we are wary of the Lions. But we have to manage our players carefully.”

Roberts said that the Sharks have divided the Super 14 season into three phases and the first ends with the Lions game on Saturday before the bye on March 22. The second will include the Reds game on March 29 and then the five games in New Zealand, Australia and New Zealand (again) on their tour.

“We reckon that no player should play seven games on the trot and, if we can rest some players on the way, then that is a bonus.

We have been fortunate with injuries so far and we just hope it stays that way this weekend and we can come back after the bye with a full squad,” Roberts said.

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