Without a doubt, our Boks need the break
The Sharks, heading into what they have termed 'unchartered territory', have decided to place all their Springboks on ice.
Sharks assistant coach Grant Bashford has revealed that all the players who were involved in the three-Test Series against England have been given a full week off, as the team from Durban has a Super Rugby bye.
"The Boks have come back and undergone their medical assessments," said Bashford about a group that includes Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Keegan Daniel, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Ryan Kankowski, Patrick Lambie, Tendai Mtawarira, Lwazi Mvovo and Frans Steyn.
French star Frederic Michalak is another returning from international duty, with Bashford adding: "They will now be rested until next week, and they need that break.
"For the remainder of the squad, there were three hard days of training from Monday to Wednesday before they take the rest of the week off and then return on Monday."
The Sharks, courtesy of their bye, will collect four log points this week, before they complete their league fixtures against the Bulls (in Durban on July 6) and the Cheetahs (in Durban, July 14).
They are nine points down on the table-topping Stormers in the South African conference and just four points behind the second-placed Bulls. On the global standings they are seventh - with the Hurricanes just edging them out of the play-off spot on points difference.
That means the Durban-based franchise could be in the top six heading into the final fortnight of league action.
"If you look at the log, there are about eight or nine teams vying for those six qualifying positions and we are one of them," said Bashford.
"Each game is going to be vital and there are some big derby games coming up, so it's going to be a real fight for play-off positions that will probably go right down to the wire.
"For us, it's just about getting our house in order and doing whatever we can do to ensure we have the best possible chance of reaching the knockout stage."
The mid-season break is a new concept to Super Rugby. And Bashford is not sure how it will affect the team in the latter stages of the season.
"We are really in unchartered territory now, after having this break," he said.
"It will be interesting to see how a side like the Bulls go after getting a lot of Boks back - who will all go straight into Super Rugby again.
"Without a doubt, our Boks need the break, quite a few were involved quite heavily in the Test series.
"But we'll only be able to really assess what affect the break has had after our game against the Bulls."
Bashford admitted that he was looking forward to having the whole team back next week. "I know when the entire squad gets back into training next Monday it will be like the reuniting of the family."