Boks to bolster Sharks ranks
Sean Everitt and Brad Macleod-Henderson (Gallo Images)
Durban - The Sharks have been bolstered by the return of a number of Springboks following the conclusion of the Rugby Championship ahead of Saturday’s final Currie Cup pool match at Kings Park against Western Province.
According to Sharks website editor, Michael Marnewick
, the home team, despite already securing a home semi-final, will be backing their chances to overcome this season's only unbeaten side to top the final standings and potentially seal a home final, should they win their semi-final next week.
Sharks backline coach Sean Everitt explained that all the Boks were raring to go with only Willem Alberts unavailable.
"We feel that Jannie, Bismarck and Beast will add a bit of beef upfront for us and Pieter-Steph du Toit comes in as well," Everitt confirmed.
"He’s done really well when he’s played for us and hasn’t had much rugby, so it will be good for him to play.
"It also gives him an opportunity to prove himself to Heyneke Meyer.
"Unfortunately, Willem Alberts is injured.
"He went for a scan on his neck and we will know the extent later in the week."
He added that Pat Lambie would most likely play off the bench.
"This gives him an opportunity to learn the calls as we are very flyhalf orientated.
"But he will definitely start in the semi-final.
"We hadn’t considered Pat at fullback because SP Marias has done really well for us, he has a good left boot which offers us another option and he has been attacking well so we’re not going to tamper with that.
"At the same time, Pat’s also in contention for the Springbok number 10 jersey at the end of the year so selecting him at fullback would be an injustice to him."
With as many as seven Boks available, he shrugs off any concerns that they could be a disruption to the team, or that they will lack motivation.
"We had them all involved at the start of our campaign at our preparation week and they’ve been part of our squad when the Springboks have had their byes.
"They know exactly what’s going on, they’ve always been included and have attended a lot of our games, including Friday night’s match against the Bulls, so they have really been a part of our team.
"I don’t see continuity being a problem at all.
"A concern some might raise would be the fatigue of the returning Springbok players, but the Currie Cup players have actually played more than the Springboks, so I don’t think that will be too much of a problem.
"I honestly cannot see that our returning players are going to be demotivated playing for the Sharks.
"If anything, they’ll try to get over the disappointment of losing to the All Blacks and try to move on and create some success with the Sharks.
"Jannie and Beast, despite starting every Test, returned with a wonderful attitude.
"And so too the rest of the Boks, we’re looking forward to having them back.”
Asked about the opportunity to work with former Springbok and Brumbies coach Jake White who was yesterday confirmed as the Sharks Director of Rugby from the end of the Currie Cup, he said that, "Coming in as relatively inexperienced Currie Cup or Super Rugby coaches, it’s a wonderful opportunity for us to work with Jake.
"We all know what he can do, he has a Rugby World Cup winner’s medal behind him, so we look forward to that.
"It’s a huge opportunity for us to learn from someone with his expertise and at the same time, we’ve learned a lot from Brendan, he’s brought a lot to the party.
"The results speak for themselves and the environment that’s been created here is awesome.
"We’re very fortunate to be able to work with coaches of this calibre."