The Sharks Director of Rugby, Gary Gold has selected a 27-member squad that departs, this Saturday, for the Australasian leg of Vodacom Super Rugby tournament.
Commenting on the squad selected and the tour, Gary Gold said: “I have gone for 15 forwards and 12 backs, my selection was based on who is fit and healthy, but the nice thing is that there are a lot of guys who can play in different positions.
“We are looking forward to this tour. Tours are funny things, I’ve seen teams in far worse positions than us fight to get back and we not giving up the fight. I believe in this group of guys and I am keen to work with them in adverse times – that’s when you see true warriors come out.
“That’s our challenge: we are down but we’re not out and now is the time to stand up and fight back. If we come back fighting in the last six games, we’ll salvage a lot of respect”, he added.
The return of the 2 experienced Springbok props, Beast Mtawarira and Jannie du Plessis, are the only things that the Vodacom Bulls should take for granted about the Cell C Sharks team they will clash with in their Super Rugby derby in Durban at the weekend.
The Sharks did not train on Monday, as was the case the previous week, and at Tuesday’s training session those who watched it struggled to make out what director of rugby Gary Gold is planning for Saturday – except that the 2 Bok props will definitely be back.
No 8 Ryan Kankowski missed last week’s clash with the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg after pulling out following the captain’s practice. He is fit to face the Bulls but apparently he and Renaldo Bothma, who played at No 8 against the Lions and did well there, rotated during the training session. It is also not clear if JP Pietersen, the other fit Bok to miss the Lions clash, will be back in the starting team.
What does appear clear is that hooker Kyle Cooper and fullback SP Marais, 2 stalwart foot soldiers at the Sharks over the past few seasons, have fallen out of favour. Even though Bismarck du Plessis is out suspended and will be for another week, Cooper did not feature in the match day 23 last week – and it looks like he will miss out again for the Bulls.
The Cell C Sharks can count on 3 Springboks who return to the side to take on the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday evening in what is shaping up to be a massive South African Conference derby.
JP Pietersen and Frans Steyn have returned from Japan and no time has been wasted introducing them to the starting line-up, while Willem Alberts has been given the all-clear to play after spending time rehabbing an injury.
JP Pietersen and Frans Steyn have also proven themselves at training and they form a new centre partnership.
Ryan Kankowski will join the elite group of Vodacom Super Rugby centurions when he plays in his 100th game for the Cell C Sharks, in a loose-forward bolstered by the return of Albert, especially in light of the kind of talent that lurks at the back of the Stormers scrum in the shape of SA Rugby Player of the Year in 2014, Duane Vermeulen.
Good news appears to suddenly be coming in clusters for the Cell C Sharks, who have followed on from their opening Vodacom Super Rugby win against the Emirates Lions with what for director of rugby Gary Gold will be a pleasing wave of important players returning to the mix.
On Sunday morning, the day after his team scored what he called a “relieving” win over the Lions, Gold received the news that the 2 Japanese clubs that backline kingpins JP Pietersen and Frans Steyn play for were both knocked out of their competition this past weekend. That means they will be back sooner rather than later, and will probably be available for the crucial game against the Stormers in Cape Town the week after next.
“I suppose it’s not nice for those players to lose but it is good news for us,” grinned Gold.
Then on Monday a man that Gold would really like to see in action as soon as possible as he is such an important cog in the forward machine, Willem Alberts, took part in full training for the first time. He could also be ready for the Stormers game.
Also at the 2-hour middle of the day training session on a Kings Park outerfield was Ryan Kankowski. The former Springbok No 8 is now into his 2nd week back from Japan and will be available for Saturday’s clash with the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus.
Ryan Kankowski’s former agent has launched a lawsuit against the Sharks player for a claim of R 340 000.00 in commission allegedly due.
In 2010, Touch Sports Management launched a High Court action in Durban against the No 8 to recover the money it claimed he owed.
However, nothing came out of it with the matter being postponed indefinitely. Now it has come out that the parties have agreed to take the arbitration route, according to Touch Sports Management lawyer Riaan Venter.
The Cell C Sharks, through their very vocal Director of Rugby / Coach, Jake White, certainly bombards us with news on their endeavours!
It is reported that Tonderai Chavanga now trains with the Sharks squad, in an attempt to revive his Super Rugby aspirations.
In other news, Jake White describes Ryan Kankowski (Kanko) as a player with X-Factor.
Whilst the Cell C Sharks take on the Lions in a double-header of clashes at Ellis Park on Friday, the Sharks website have declared that the Cell C Sharks are ready for the season of Super Rugby.
This is the fourth article in the series of Cell C Sharks Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2014. We do 2 articles per week per South African Super Rugby participating franchise.
We discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.
In this Article we look at the contenders for LOOSE FORWARDS in the Cell C Sharks 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.
It may not be a squad of superstars, but Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu can announce a squad of virtual allsorts to mould into a World Cup-winning team on Monday.
Out of favour Sharks No 8, Ryan Kankowski may leave South Africa after playing for the SA Sevens team at the upcoming World Cup.
Sharks coach John Plumtree has made seven changes to the Sharks team to face the rebels this coming weekend, Poor performances by some have forced the coach’s hand and it has led to the good performances by youngsters getting rewarded with a start.
In this Article we look at the contenders for LOOSE FORWARDS at the Sharks 2013 Super Rugby group.
Loose Forward is a set of 3 positions where the Sharks have abundance of, but much will depend on the coaching staff’s game plans and which combinations to use accordingly and as we have seen with John Plumtree, you could very well see someone like Willem Alberts playing a game or two at lock.
But before I continue, let me get this out of the way first! The biggest problem at the Sharks at Loose Forward is the lack of a FETCHER and as many great Loose Forwards that they have, not having a fetcher is that one huge weakness. All one has to do is look back at the Currie Cup Final of 2012 and see how it hurt them as a team, specially with Bismarck du Plessis being out injured, because it is common knowledge that Bismarck du Plessis fulfills that role for the Sharks.
According to reports in various newspapers, CJ Stander is heading to Munster, after the Currie Cup of 2012. The promising Bulls loose forward, and former Junior Bok captain, has decided not to renew his contract with the Bulls. CEO of the Bulls, Barend van Graan, admitted, that they simply couldn’t match the Munster offer.
The 4th and Article in the set discussing the Sharks Super Rugby players for 2012.
In this Article we look at the contenders for LOOSEFORWARDS in the Sharks 2012 Super Rugby group, and what their worth will be in Super Rugby terms.