Forgot Password




Create your Connect ID

This will allow you to login to all DStv websites & applications

Login using

Email Reset


Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

Sharks boosted for second half

The Sharks will start the second half of Vodacom Super Rugby in a much better place from a player depth viewpoint than they did the beginning of the season back in February.

Whereas the Sharks weren’t helped in their opening two away derbies against the Bulls and the Stormers by the unavailability of key players that left them with a patchwork combination, certainly for the Stormers game in Cape Town, they are now heading back to full strength.

Beast Mtawarira, Ryan Kankowski, Odwa Ndungane and Marius Joubert all played for the Sharks XV in the Vodacom Cup last weekend and will be considered for a role in Saturday’s crucial match against the Highlanders at Mr Price Kings Park.

“We’ve got a couple of guys back who could come in for consideration for selection, which is good for us,” said coach John Plumtree.

The Sharks have seven matches remaining after enjoying their first bye, and with their second bye scheduled for the first week after the June break for the international window, the bulk of what remains comes over the next five weeks.

“This is the crunch period. We know we have to be successful over the next five games before that June break,” said Plumtree.

“We have a massive five games coming up before the June break but our main focus right now is on the Highlanders. We have to improve and the challenge has been dished out to the players. There are certain things we need to get right internally for that to happen and it’s what we’re focusing on at the moment.

“Our preparation has to be more accurate. Its little things like that we need to work on and by working on them we hope it will make a difference at the end of the day.”

The Sharks still look a little short at lock, where Ross Skeate is still out and Alistair Hargreaves is heading to England, but Plumtree suddenly has an abundance of riches at loose-forward and it will be interesting to see if he considers retreading one of them – Willem Alberts or Jean Deysel – into a lock in the short term.

Plumtree hasn’t said anything along those lines, but he agrees that he does face a selection quandary in the back row and has acknowledged that Willem Alberts, so impressive in the early part of last year and as an impact substitute for the Springboks at the World Cup, is not sure of his place.

“Marcell Coetzee and Keegan Daniel have been the stand-outs (among the loose-forwards), the rest have been fighting for a spot and it’s up to them to take that opportunity. Jacques Botes played well against the Chiefs, Willem Alberts has been trying to find form, Jean Deysel is coming back from a nasty injury and played well last time out for the Sharks XV. Ryan Kankowski did all right in his first game back.”

Assuming Plumtree’s words mean that Coetzee and Daniel, who is the team leader, are the loose-forwards assured of their places, it leaves Kankowski, Alberts and Deysel fighting for the other position. Complicating the issue is that Kankowski is a specialist No 8 but Daniel has done well from the back of the scrum.


SA Rugby Annual 2013
SA Rugby Annual 2013: The Official Year Book of the South African Rugby Union
SA rugby annual 2014
The 2014 SA Rugby Annual is the official record of the South African season and is widely considered to be one of the finest yearbooks in world rugby


More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Live Video Streaming

Wed, 16 Apr @ 05:00
Wed, 16 Apr @ 18:30

Sports Talk

Brendan Venter
The value of versatility
With injuries a constant diet in a competition as gruelling as Super Rugby, I believe the currency...

Tony Johnson
Super Rugby mid-term report
We’re about halfway through the round robin, so a mid-term report might be in order.

Gavin Rich
It ain’t won in April...or May
One of Naas Botha’s famous comments from back when he was a player was that the Currie Cup wasn’t...

Brenden Nel
The importance of Matfield
Much has been debated about Victor Matfield’s comeback over the past few months, with opinions...

Super Wrap
So what's wrong with SA rugby?
If it is true that one learns more from defeat than from victory then this country’s rugby IQ must...

Duane Heath
Alvizo's reprieve
Alvizo Erasmus has never met Jannie du Plessis and probably never will, but these two men, who ply...