Durban - The Sharks will rest some of their Springbok stars for Saturday’s Super Rugby clash against the Southern Kings at Kings Park (19:30 kick-off).
Assistant coach Sean Everitt told the Sharks’ official website that the timing is right for them to make some changes.
Springbok players need rest and other squad members are in need of game time, the coach stressed.
“We do have injuries this weekend, but at some stage we do have to rest our Springboks so the plan was always to rest them this weekend anyway,” Everitt said.
“Certainly not because we’re underestimating the Kings, but because of the games we have ahead of us which will then take us into the bye. That counts as another rest week which means we can have some continuity going into the second stanza of the competition.”
The changes aren’t so much enforced as part of the grand plan, but wouldn’t be possible if the coaching staff didn’t have trust in the abilities of those who will be asked to step up this weekend.
“We back the young guys. Fortunately, we’ve trained with a big squad and every one of the players has put his hand up for selection. We had two pre-season friendlies where they all got an opportunity to show their hand and they all came out with flying colours. We don’t have an issue about who gets to play, they all know their roles and now they have the opportunity to gain a starting position.”
Everitt admitted that captain Pat Lambie’s back injury was a huge blow, but they have to work around that.
“The team is extremely disappointed for him, he’s had some bad luck over the last few years. This is the fourth year that he’s had an injury. But whether he gets injured or not, we know he can’t play all the games because of his Springbok contractual obligations, so we do have a back-up plan with good youngsters in Benhard Janse van Rensburg, Inny Radebe and Garth April who can fulfil that role.”
Looking at this past weekend’s match between the Stormers and Kings as a yardstick by which to judge the Kings, Everitt warned that they are going to be a tough prospect.
“They are a team on the rise. They had a slow start but they have some old heads. Lionel Cronje is playing some good rugby and they’re obviously relying on him to direct the traffic. They were in the game against the Stormers this weekend until about the last 10 minutes. The Stormers were under pressure and we certainly won’t be underestimating them.”