Durban - The Sharks welcomed Springbok loose forward Jean Deysel back in their squad on Monday as they prepare for Saturday’s Super Rugby match against the Brumbies in Canberra.
With Willem Alberts and Marcell Coetzee both putting in excellent performances of late, it is likely that Deysel, who has played just one game this season - for the Sharks XV in Friday night’s 51-38 Vodacom Cup defeat of the Free State - will come onto the bench as he builds match fitness.
He last played for the Sharks in the Currie Cup final when he aggravated a troublesome knee ligament and has been in extensive rehab ever since, but looks to be back to first class health after captaining the Vodacom Cup side to a very good win in Bloemfontein.
“Jean Deysel came through the game perfectly fine,” Sharks doctor Ewoudt van der Linde told Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick
“He played 75 minutes with no problems at all. He is joining us and will be here on Monday afternoon (Australian time).”
He also added the good news that the Sharks suffered no other injuries of note in the Waratahs match.
“Pat Lambie is just struggling with a tooth that he injured during the game.” This happened in the first half of the game when he went down with a knee to the face as he chased a high ball. He will see a dentist to have X-rays to exclude any pathology.
With Deysel adding to the available numbers on tour, good news is that centre JP Pietersen is running well and will have to pass a fitness test on Thursday for play on Saturday. “The prognosis is good,” said van der Linde.
He added that Jannie du Plessis and Wiehahn Herbst, who both took knocks in the previous week’s win against the Reds at Kings Park, have recovered well. Both played in the match against the Waratahs, with Du Plessis starting and Herbst replacing him in the 59th minute of the game (both at tighthead prop). “Both should be okay for the Brumbies game.”
The Sharks have this strange record of not winning nearly as many games in Australia as they have in New Zealand and will target the Brumbies this weekend to produce a performance that brings reward.
Like Sydney, Canberra has not proven to be the happiest hunting ground for the Sharks. The Brumbies are currently in third place on the overall log, having won three of their four games. On the weekend, they consigned the Highlanders to their first loss, a 33-26 victory in Canberra and they will be riding a wave of confidence following a good start to the season.
For the Sharks, a win would do their hopes and confidence a great boost, not only because of the log points, but to win in Canberra.
The Sharks were just five minutes away from an historic win against the Waratahs on Saturday in a topsy-turvy match where they would pull away, only for the home side to strike back quickly, and in the final five minutes, lethally as they retained a home record that hasn’t been broken by the Sharks since 2000.
Certainly, Saturday offers a great opportunity to put an emphatic marker down about their campaign aims.