Ash cloud, injury worry Sharks

2011-06-21 20:01

Gavin Rich - SuperSport

Johannesburg - The challenge of beating the Crusaders in Nelson in their qualifying match for the Super Rugby Finals Series on Saturday was intensified before the Sharks' departure for New Zealand by two things.

The first was the ash cloud hanging over Australia courtesy of a volcano in distant Chile which on Tuesday forced the closure of Sydney airport, which is the route the Sharks are taking on their journey to Nelson via Wellington.

When the Sharks flew out on Tuesday night they weren't entirely sure where they were going to land as the airport was still closed at the time of departure and the flight was only allowed to leave because it was anticipated the cloud would have cleared by time of arrival. If it doesn't, the flight will be diverted to Brisbane, which will present its own logistical challenge for the Sharks management as they are booked onto a connecting flight from Sydney to Wellington.

The other happening before departure that added to the challenge was lock Steve Sykes' failure of a fitness test. The first choice front lock missed the Loftus win over the Bulls because of an ankle injury, and seeing as he is continuing his career in Ireland after the Super Rugby season ends, he may now have played his last game for the Sharks.

Sykes would probably have played off the bench in Nelson if he had been declared fit as Gerhard Mostert was excellent in the 26-23 win over the Bulls, but the stalwart is nonetheless a big loss to the Sharks in that his style of play suits the anticipated conditions.

"Steve would have been handy in New Zealand given the expected conditions, with rain and cold predicted for the game, but then Alistair Hargreaves and Gerhard Mostert had really big games against the Bulls," said coach John Plumtree at a pre-departure press conference in Durban.

The Sharks conducted a couple of fitness test on players before departure. While Sykes is missing out on the trip, which could become a three week sojourn if they win through their various knock-out games, wing Odwa Ndungane has now recovered from the hand injury that has kept him out for the past few weeks and left with the team.

Jacques Botes is also back in place of Marcell Coetzee and is likely to play off the bench. Eugene van Staden, who missed the Loftus match, is also back in the group to swell the number of players travelling overseas to 24. It is unlikely though that Plumtree will change the winning formula from Loftus, although he says conditions should be markedly different to Pretoria.

Plumtree said that the late departure of the team - they would normally have flown out as soon as possible after their last league game - was down to them wanting to try something different based on what had worked for the Bulls and the Springboks in recent years.

"We will stay on South African time for the duration of our visit. For a farm boy like me it is a very foreign thing but maybe the players will be more used to going to bed at 2am and waking up at noon," said Plumtree.

The problem of course is that while the leave it as late as possible policy has indeed worked in the past for the Bulls and Boks in a first tour match, it often catches up with them in the second week. However the Sharks have probably rightly reasoned that it is worth a gamble as their will be no second week or second match if they don't beat the Crusaders.


  • The Dutchman - 2011-06-21 20:19

    Go Sharkies!! Make us proud!

      Scaramouche - 2011-06-21 20:29

      Even though I am not normally a Sharks' supporter, I wish them the best of luck!

      Grayman - 2011-06-21 21:47

      @scaramouche - Thanks pal, it is great to have support from all quarters. @Bambie - Hey, look on the bright side. At least we have reason to make excuses. Um...where's your team?

      Theuns - 2011-06-21 22:00

      My team is having off time with their families... How many cups has your team won again...pfff pls....

      Grayman - 2011-06-21 22:12

      @Bambie - so you're a Reds supporter? pfff. Hey, the Bulls, Cheetahs, and Lions players are all having time off with their families too.

      Theuns - 2011-06-21 23:29

      No my friend... I'm a SA supporter but hence your team is getting coach by KIWI and you team employ a Frenchman I prefer not to support them at all... I am a Bulls supporter but as my team is out i will be cheering for the Stormers, but for the Sharks... NEVER...and that is a soft expression...

      Grayman - 2011-06-22 08:12

      Ah Bambie, that makes me feel MUCH better. For a moment I thought you might be a Stormer and was able to pass comments from a position of local conference log leaders. Wouldn't it be great if the Sharks can pull it off agains the Saders and the Reds, and the Stormers go through to set up an all SA final!

      Frik - 2011-06-22 13:33

      Ek sou meer geworry het oor die game... maar lyk my die sardyne het klaar gewen...

      Theuns - 2011-06-22 15:56

      @Gray...yes that would be good but i won't be cheering for them(Sharks...Spits..almost Kots when i said that name..) so sorry... Come Saturday it's just going to be VIS KOTS....

      Couch Critic - 2011-06-22 19:03

      @ Bambie - uncool attitude dude - you would rather a kiwi team beats a South African team. Surely we should be supporting our country despite our own personal preferences. Your attitude epitomises the problem with SA supporters. Damn, I am so glad we beat those dutchmen in Pretoria last week

  • Ace Ventura - 2011-06-21 20:25

    The heading should read: Ash cloud, injury & Sonny Bill worry Sharks.

      ikey_tiger - 2011-06-21 20:38

      @Ace: I have an extra ticket to the bulls game, do you want to go?

      Ace Ventura - 2011-06-21 20:43

      Next year February is still a long way away, a lot can still happen. Thanks for the offer though.

      Ace Ventura - 2011-06-21 23:46

      Bambie, dis 'Wedwow'.

      Marcell - 2011-06-22 03:21

      Wedwow wat in die son gestaan het.

      terry - 2011-06-22 07:46

      Hey Ace & Bambie - why don't you two exchange phone numbers and have your silly little chat off-line where the rest of us don't have to see your stupid comments - and you can talk proudly about how well your team would have done if the (a) Ref didn't cheat (b) someone from the Bulls wasn't injured (c) whatever else you feel that cheated your great team from once again winning the trophy. FACT: The Stormers and the Sharks won through to the knock-out stage of the S15 - and the Bulls didn't. If you have nothing positive to add to the conversation - just STFU.

      Ace Ventura - 2011-06-22 08:12

      What does STFU mean?

      Frik - 2011-06-22 13:31

      I thinks it is a sexually transmitted diseases hey...

      Theuns - 2011-06-22 16:01

      LOL.. @ Terry... no your team is still nowhere...but the Stormers they are still in the competition with a home Semi... you still have a game before you can claim anything... It just annoy me that NEWS24 take our comments of i'm sure these administrators are a bunch of Shark supporters... STFU... SILLY TERRY F£$K3D UP...again...

  • SharkNel - 2011-06-21 21:00

    If the sharks beat the crusaders that i beleave they can the cup will stand then in SHARKS country

      Grootbroer - 2011-06-21 21:08

      Its not the final... its only the 1/4 finals....!!! Sharks will need to win two more iow. (which I doubt).

      Sharkie - 2011-06-21 21:20


      Theuns - 2011-06-21 21:48

      As daai dag aanbreek...dan skop ek my TV m03r-t03...gelukkig sal dit nooit wees nie...

      Marcell - 2011-06-22 03:22

      As die as wolk nie beweeg nie daan val die klomp in die see.

      MarkusNicholas - 2011-06-22 08:10

      @Bambie & Marcell: Have you two prize pricks heard of Nuus24? Please take your BS there where you might find someone who is interested. Talk about bad losers! Pathetic!

      Theuns - 2011-06-22 16:08

      @Markus... How about you shut ur trap... and secure ur FB page pls..anyway by looks of your age you should be between 80 and biltong..our what we call an oxygen thief... I'm more than aloud to comment here. if you don't like it go some where else...pricks...pffff...

  • Grayman - 2011-06-21 21:49

    I hear that it's all good on the plane. They are serving the team Klipdrift ... Met ash, ja. Met ash.

  • John.L - 2011-06-22 00:52

    @Bambie - where did you crawl out of bra?? Typical Moftus sore loser! Love it when BB fans get so sad! No cups? How about the CC?

      Theuns - 2011-06-22 01:54

      @ bulls is the second team with the most first team is the WP but in recent years it was the Bulls who won the majority CC...Talking about CC how many S15 cups do you team have again??? My friend I'm not a sore team is out so i'm aloud to express myself like your supporters do week in and out... Nothing personal so don't cry now ok....

      Theuns - 2011-06-22 01:57 ...go read i see you have won 2 in the last 10 years where the bulls has won 4....

      Grayman - 2011-06-22 08:31

      Fact 1: Most Currie Cup wins - WP Fact 2: 2nd most CC wins - NP/Bulls. (Round of applause please ... clap, clap, clap. Thank you.) Interesting comment on SA history: The two major seats of government are Cape Town and Pretoria. The two major military HQs are Cape Town and Pretoria. In the many years of conscription during the so-called amateur era of the sport any South African white male conscript that showed any talent or aptitude for rugby was whipped out of his regiment and taken to either Pta or CT. After national service the more talented the player the more lucrative the 'soft' job offers to stay in Pta or CT and play for the local team. I was just wondering if there is any connection between the success of these two provinces and conscription. Oh, and before there are howls of protest about the professional era, traditionally strong rugby schools were spawned in that era and are now have deep pockets to buy in promising players from weaker schools.

      Theuns - 2011-06-22 16:19

      @Gray.. True what you said... I also feel that the Police in the old day supplied a lot of players, but in recent years none of that has happened... Now that the force and the police are slowly getting more and more corrupt and useless i wonder where they going to get the youngsters from. Must be the universities... Pukke, Matties, Rhodes Tuks..bla bla...

  • EFFEL - 2011-06-22 07:46

    Wens dat ek kan verdwyn in die ash cloud en nooit weer van gehoor word nie

  • Rob van den Heuvel - 2011-06-22 07:50

    Back to the article above; Gerhard Mostert had a good game against the Bulls. Resting Skykes may not be a bad thing, have him fit for the Semi. Sharks player management has been top notch this season, good to see Jacques Botes and Eugene v Staaden back in the mix. Go Sharks, go!

  • Byron - 2011-06-22 07:59

    the bulls can still make the semis!!!!!! they just need to go bye tickets!!! bwahahahahaha!!!!

  • JoffeyCampino - 2011-06-22 08:17

    Crusaders and Blues win = Reds vs Blues, Stormers vs Crusaders Sharks and Waratahs win = Reds vs Sharks, Stormers vs Waratahs Crusaders and Waratahs win = Reds vs Waratahs, Stormers vs Crusaders Sharks and Blues win = Reds vs Sharks, Stormers vs Blues. If I have my calculations correct.

  • Hagar - 2011-06-22 08:28

    Sharks for ever, we have the power up front for the Crusaders and with Lambie at the back breaking the line now and again, Crusaders beware.

  • Anneleen - 2011-06-22 08:28

    ...there is one thing Sharks do not need to worry about...their fan base! Go SHARKS...forever!!!!!

  • Kok - 2011-06-22 09:20

    Why don't they just fo the honorable thing and ask the captain to turn the plane around and come back to SA. They wasting precious time with this no-results trip to Nelson.

      terry - 2011-06-22 10:17

      Let me guess - another bitter Bulls supporter!

      Frik - 2011-06-22 14:30

      Let me guess - the only wise Sharks supporter!

  • pages:
  • 1