Sharks will not consider those Boks who need break

2009-08-13 00:00

THE Sharks, if they wanted to be shirty, could play all 10 of their current Springbok squad members in the Currie Cup match against the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday evening.

Sharks head coach John Plumtree, who has been waiting to find out just who is available and fit for the Johannesburg trip, will only name his team today and, of course, he will not consider fielding Springboks who have been heavily involved in the Tri-Nations over the past three weeks.

But he could if he wanted to. The Sharks pay the players’ wages and, according to an International Rugby Board ruling (Regulation 9,9), provinces have only “to release players five clear days prior to an international match or international tour”.

The Springboks only play their next Tri-Nations match against the Wallabies in Perth on August 29 and only leave for Australia on August 24. Indeed, according to the regulation, their Boks should also be available for the Currie Cup game against the log-leading, unbeaten Griquas in Durban on August 22 because “if an international tournament [the Tri-Nations] is not played on consecutive weekends then the five clear day period shall commence five days before each match in the tournament”.

While Bok regulars like John Smit, Bismarck du Plessis, Beast Mtawarira and company deserve a break and are obviously not going to be considered by the Sharks, there are a number of players who have been on the reserve bench in recent weeks, desperately short of rugby.

Jannie du Plessis, Ruan Pienaar and Adi Jacobs have played just bit parts in recent Tests and they could spend another few weeks on the sidelines on the Tri-Nations tour.

Number eight Ryan Kankowski and wing Odwa Ndungane, who were this week included in the 27-man Bok tour party, will be released to the Sharks, but Plumtree also needs to boost his backline as his halfbacks, Argentinian Juan Martin Hernandez and Rory Kockott, are likely to miss the Ellis Park game because of injury.

This could result in the inclusion, perhaps on the bench as back-up, of Jacobs and Pienaar.

As one Sharks official said last night: “Sanity should prevail here. Springboks who are tired must be rested, but those short of match practice should play.”

The match kicks off at 5 pm on Saturday and will be televised by SuperSport.

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