Currie Cup

Whitehead champing at the bit

2013-08-08 22:38
Tim Whitehead (Gallo Images)
Durban - Sharks centre Tim Whitehead hopes to put all the setbacks behind him as he prepares himself for his first match for the Sharks since February.

According to the Sharks official website, prior to the start of the Super Rugby competition, Whitehead broke his arm in a warm-up game against the Leopards, and the healing process, generally supposed to be three months, took way longer due to the failure of the bone to knit back together properly.

But the disappointments are a thing of the past and he looks forward to running out onto the field at Kings Park on Friday evening when the Sharks host Griquas.

"It’s been nearly seven months since I suffered my injury and the most difficult thing during that time was constantly getting bad news every time I went and visited the surgeon," explained Whitehead.

"But it’s great to back on the field now and it was really important to get through a warm-up game last Friday and get some confidence back.

"I’m so happy to have been given the green light."

He points out the inner mental battle he was fighting during the course of the tournament, of the hope and expectation being dashed with each visit to the specialists, and how difficult a time he had while trying to remain positive.

"When you are sitting on the sidelines, you desperately want to be contributing and playing.

"So I’ve been itching to go, and it’s been really difficult to not be involved.

"It was difficult to remain upbeat, but the whole medical team was great at keeping me in the right frame of mind.

"I saw the surgeon four times before he told me on the fifth time that I was getting better, so you can imagine the frustration when you end up being sidelined for seven months with an injury that should have only taken three months to heal.

"It was a patience game, but I’m so glad to be back."

With the new coaching setup ('Change is inevitable, but it can also be healthy,') he explains that the team is positive and energised for the competition.

"There have been some changes and the energy has been great, so I think there are good things to come for the Sharks."

Added to that, he points out that certain things they do will now be done in a different way, although there won’t be too much digression away from the Sharks traditional attacking intent.

"We have discussed different forms of attack from different parts of the field.

"If an attack is on from our tryline and we have a good chance of breaching the opposition defence, then we’re going to go for it.

"You also have to be a bit more structured and conservative at times, but when we are in the opposition half we are going to attack really hard, and the nice thing about our game-plan is that the centres will be very involved, so I’m keen to get my hands on the ball."

As a backline player, he now spends a lot of time with coach Sean Everitt and admits that he is enjoying it.

"I’ve known Sean for a while and I really enjoy working with him and his style of play, he likes to attack and have a go.

"He’s a great coach, and individual skills are very important to him and working well as a unit together."

He also looks forward to building a successful partnership with Louis Ludik at outside centre, with the pair named together for Friday’s clash.

"Louis is hard as nails and has a great skills set, I think he can pretty much play anywhere, so I’m really looking forward to linking up with him in the midfield."

Finally, he casts his eyes to their opponents, who he warns are a tough outfit, one they respect, but a challenge they are looking forward to meeting.

"Griquas can be a difficult side to read," he explains.

"Sometimes they will run everything and on another occasion they will front up physically and maul and kick everything.

"We’re expecting them to drive and kick a lot, but we have been preparing for that.

"They always bring a big physical challenge and we are ready to front up."

Kick-off is at 19:05.



15. Odwa Ndungane, 14. Sizo Maseko, 13. Louis Ludik, 12. Tim Whitehead, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Butch James, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Keegan Daniel (captain), 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Brynard Stander, 5. Marco Wentzel, 4. Edwin Hewitt, 3. Wiehahn Herbst, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Dale Chadwick

Substitutes: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Rayno Gerber, 18. Peet Marais, 19. Tera Mtembu, 20. Cobus Reinach, 21. Fred Zeilinga, 22. Jaco van Tonder

15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 JP Nel, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 PJ Vermeulen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Jacques Coetzee, 8 Burger Schoeman, 7 Jaco Nepgen, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Ligtoring Landman, 4 Hilton Lobberts, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Ryno Barnes (captain), 1 Steph Roberts

Substitutes: 16 Matt Dobson, 17 Nick Schonert, 18 Jonathan Adendorf, 19 Carel Greeff, 20 Marnus Hugo, 21 Du Randt Gerber, 22 Rocco Jansen

Read more on:    sharks  |  currie cup  |  tim whitehead  |  durban  |  rugby

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