Durban - Sharks hooker Craig Burden is happy to continue fighting for the number two jersey despite losing his place in the starting XV in recent months.
The 28-year-old is yet to start a match in this season’s Currie Cup, after enduring a frustrating Super Rugby campaign when injury and a loss of form took its toll.
His fall appears to be a major one, considering he was part of the Springbok squad last year. Although now he sits seemingly behind Kyle Cooper in the front-row pecking order.
“No (it hasn’t been a frustrating year),” he said on Tuesday when asked about playing second fiddle.
“I think Coops (Cooper) has been playing really well.
“So there’s going to be a fight for the jersey every weekend, from every player.”
Burden, who was tipped to start the Currie Cup encounter against the Bulls in Durban this week, insisted the fight for his jersey, and the general competition for places at the Sharks, made the Durban outfit a strong place to be.
“There’s a lot of depth in the squad and
“There’s a lot of depth and players wanting to prove themselves. I think that’s one of the strengths of this team and you just have to go out there and do it.
“You have to make the most of the opportunities you get.”
The Sharks beat the Cheetahs 18-15 in a tough contest in Bloemfontein last week to make it two wins from two, after a disappointing home loss to Griquas on the opening weekend of the competition.
Their opponents this week suffered an embarrassing 62-23 loss to the Lions at Loftus Versveld last weekend.
“We know the Bulls will be coming out firing after what happened to them,” Burden said.
“They’ll have something to prove as well, so we’re expecting a full 80 minute game, a really tough one. We’re looking forward to it.”
Burden felt the result against the Cheetahs was a total team effort and they would need a similar effort against the men from Pretoria.
“It was a great team effort against the Cheetahs, I think everyone pulled through.
“It was a tight game where the defence really carried us through at the end. I think it’s going to be a similar case this weekend with the defence playing a big role.”
The Sharks were also set to have their backline bolstered in time for the clash, after veteran back Odwa Ndungane was declared fit again after a hamstring injury.
Another back, SP Marais, also trained on Tuesday after leaving the field with a knee injury, 20 minutes into the game against the Cheetahs.
“Odwa and SP both trained today and will be fine,” coach Brad Macleod-Henderson said.