Sharks still not at 100% for Cheetahs

2008-07-14 00:00

THERE were a number of notable absentees from yesterday’s Sharks training following the Valke match on Friday night. Fortunately for the Sharks, they have a longer week’s preparation, thanks to the extra two days turn-around of last Friday’s game followed by the Cheetahs match this Saturday.

Jean Deysel could potentially get some game time following a hand fracture in preseason, but it looks likely that he will be held back for another week or so.

Also missing from training were Stefan Terblanche, Steven Sykes, Deon Carstens and BJ Botha, the latter three all considered doubtful, while Rory Kockott and Bradley Barritt are still being assessed. There is a slight possibility of them being ready for the game, but their progress will be keenly watched this week.

Free State have lost two games on the trot and will be hurting — last year they lost just one pool game — and at home must be considered worthy and respectable opposition.

Wings Wesley Bodmer and Chris Jordaan have done enough to warrant further game time and the only other question-mark is Bradley Barritt, with Andries Strauss his likely replacement if not passed fit.

With the Sharks able to field two specialist flyhalves — Monty Dumond the other — Bradley Barritt looks set to remain at inside centre — his preferred position. Rory Kockott is expected to replace Scott Mathie if selected. Amongst the forwards, there are not too many changes expected.

There could be a new starting flyhalf in the form of Frederic Michalak who will also be monitored. Should he be comfortable, there is a good possibility of him starting the match.

His injection of creativity into the backline was almost instantaneous and underlines how invaluable and creative he is.

“Fred made a huge impact and it was great to see him back on the field,” said assistant coach Bashford. “He’s a wonderful player and character and it was good to see him having fun out there, he really enjoyed himself.

“We wanted to give him 20 minutes against the Valke and he came through really well. We will see how the knee has responded to taking hits, making tackles and we would love to get him going as soon as possible. He could start against Free State this week.”

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