Sharks back SARU request, insists Gold

    2015-03-20 08:57

    Durban - Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold insists they back the South African Rugby Union’s request to rest top Springboks in this year's Super Rugby competition.

    SARU met with the South African Super Rugby franchises in pre-season where it was agreed that top Springboks would not be utilised for more than five games on the trot in this year's competition.

    SARU on Wednesday confirmed that it was not a legally binding agreement, but that the franchises would do their best to adhere to it where possible, considering it's a Rugby World Cup year and the management of top Springboks is of essence.

    However, when the Sharks on Thursday named their team for this weekend's match against the Chiefs they included three key Springboks for a sixth week in a row.

    Flank Marcell Coetzee, scrumhalf Cobus Reinach and flyhalf Pat Lambie were all named in the starting team for Saturday's clash against the Chiefs. The trio started in all five of the Sharks' Super Rugby games to date.

    Gold on Thursday defended his decision to include the trio but admitted there was a balancing act between resting his team’s Springboks and the need to win games in the Super Rugby tournament.

    “I want to make it known is that our view here at the Sharks is that we’re 100% behind the Boks in resting players, I think it’s the right thing to do,” he told the Sharks’ official website. “I think we need to do it, we’ve agreed to a plan.

    “From our point of view, we have a different challenge on our hands with respect that other unions don’t have. We have the most number of Boks and our first bye is only in week 11. So when other teams get that bye, they have the break within the five weeks. From our point of view in terms of meeting commitments to resting players, if Bismarck (du Plessis) needs three weeks off, I think we will be able to manage it and we are committed to it.

    “Where it becomes problematic, is not being able to meet that five week period this week, as an example. We haven’t been given the benefit of a bye where three of the five South African franchises have already. But as of last week, we’re the only team to have rested Boks.

    “It’s a challenge but it’s something we’re committed to. It’s the right thing to do, I think the Springboks do need to get some rest time, and I want to make it very clear that we’re committed to that agreement.

    “As they said, if they achieve 90% of what they want to achieve, then it’s a 100% improvement on last year.

    “No-one wants the Springboks to win this Rugby World Cup more than me after going through the disaster of 2011.”

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