Vodacom Super Rugby
Sharks hold breath over Bok
Bismarck du Plessis (File)
Johannesburg - The Sharks trained for the first time on Monday after their return from a tough Super Rugby trip to Australia and New Zealand over the weekend, with some of their key players only partially involved.
Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis suffered various injuries in recent weeks, including a groin problem, along with quadriceps and shoulder ailments, with coach John Plumtree saying they'll make a decision on Thursday.
"Bismarck’s got a number of minor issues with his body," Plumtree said on Tuesday.
"He’s a guy that plays through injury a lot, but we’ve eventually had to take him out. He ran quite nicely today and we’ll consider him on Thursday."
Another concern for the Sharks is Marcell Coetzee (shoulder), but number eight Ryan Kankowski (finger) may return to the Vodacom Cup side.
Plumtree admits his Sharks side are still searching for that "complete performance".
"We’ve only strung together two wins in a row once, so clearly we haven’t established any sort of consistency in terms of results," said Plumtree.
The coastal side collected two wins and two losses from their tour, results that have helped them maintain control of their log position ahead of the halfway stage of the competition. They currently sit in eighth place after as many games, ahead of their clash with the table-topping Chiefs on Saturday.
Next week, the Sharks have a bye before returning to play six of their final eight games, all on home soil at Kings Park.
Plumtree conceded the team still had much to improve on to reach the playoffs.
"That’s also reflecting on our on-field play in terms of our defence and our attack. You know we haven’t been happy with all areas of our game consistently after every performance, that’s the problem.
"It’s either our set-piece that has let us down, or we haven’t defended well. We’re still looking for that complete performance, so that we can honestly go away and say 'look, we’ve had a good day here'."
Plumtree acknowledged that the last four weeks had not been the easiest, but felt they were still on course for a successful season.
"It wasn’t easy by any means, but the 11 points we collected means we’re still in the hunt, and one of only three sides who haven’t had a bye yet," he said.