Durban - Cell C Sharks director of rugby Jake White
has an almost completely fully fit squad available to select from to play the Bulls at Kings Park in Saturday’s opening Super Rugby clash, reports Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick.
“The only guy unavailable for selection out of the 39 man squad is centre Tyler Fisher who has hurt his shoulder again, but everyone else is almost fit and available,” said White.
The only other player who could miss out is Keegan Daniel
. “Keegan took a bang on the shoulder and should be ready, although it would be touch and go for him this weekend. So, to have 38 of the 39 guys available fit and available for selection is a great place to be as a coach and obviously for a team. We can literally pick our best possible team for this weekend’s match.”
White will announce his team later on Thursday, but his message to the fans is to come out in support of the team. To help fill the stadium and create the kind of atmosphere that will lift the players, who in turn will reward the fans for their support.
“There aren’t many better things in South Africa than watching a live Sharks game in Durban,” admitted White.
“It’s a fantastic stadium, a fantastic match-day experience with the post-match braais afterwards.
“Heck, the Brumbies (White’s previous team) sent their marketing team to Durban to see what a match-day experience here was all about.
“From our side, the supporters are assured that the players will try their hardest, will work the hardest and give their best. And what the players and myself are looking for is to have those days of old back, days of full-houses and people coming here and enjoying the fact that the Sharks are doing well.
“We have a relatively new coaching staff, a new CEO, new captain, new team, it’s game time at home and I think if we can get the whole Durban vibe going and the crowd here, it will play in our favour.”
The Sharks hope to get their campaign off to a winning start against South Africa’s most successful franchise (with three titles to their name), and then sustain that throughout the season.
For veteran loose forward Jacques Botes, a centurion with 114 Super Rugby caps to his name, success is built off a number of platforms.
“If you look at what we have experienced in the past, the last time we played in a Super Rugby final, we left it a bit late to be honest. You make it so much easier if you are able to win your conference, the road becomes just so much easier especially with regards to travel - there is less of it and you get to play at home.
“Ideally you want to win all your home games and pick up a number of victories away from home, and towards the end of the campaign, make sure you hit your straps in those last three or four games. This is because there is a lot of movement on the log and it’s a good time to build real confidence in your play by then. Come play-off time, anything can happen, but if you have a nice run-in to that stage of the competition, you will enjoy a lot of confidence.” Sharks 2014 Super Rugby squad:Lourens Adriaanse
, Willem Alberts
, Jacques Botes, Anton Bresler
, Dale Chadwick
, Marcell Coetzee
, Kyle Cooper
, Tonderai Chavhanga, Keegan Daniel
, Jean Deysel
, Bismarck du Plessis (captain), Jannie du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Thomas du Toit, Andre Esterhuizen, Tyler Fisher, Hansie Graaf, Monde Hadebe
, Paul Jordaan
, Ryan Kankowski
, Patrick Lambie
, Stephan Lewies
, Peet Marais
,SP Marais, Charl McLeod, Tendai Mtawarira
, Tera Mtembu, Lwazi Mvovo
, Odwa Ndungane
, Etienne Oosthuizen, JP Pietersen
, Cobus Reinach
, S'bura Sithole, Francois Steyn
, Tim Swiel, Stefan Ungerer, Jaco van Tonder, Heimar Williams