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Double Bok boost for Sharks

Tue, 10 Jul 2012 20:16
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Springbok stars Willem Alberts and Pat Lambie are expected to be available for the Sharks' crucial clash with the Cheetahs this weekend.

Both players injured themselves in the recent Test series against England, but they both trained with the team on Monday along with Steven Sykes and Jacques Botes who also missed the victory over the Bulls last week.

Junior Boks Paul Jordaan and Pieter-Steph du Toit are major doubts, though, with coach John Plumtree conceding that the former is "still a concern", while he rated the latter as a "long shot" to play.

Captain Keegan Daniel said there was no point trying to influence who they may or may not face in the play-off stages, adding "you have to beat the best to be the best".

By the time they take to the Kings Park field to face the Cheetahs on Saturday will have an idea of what they need to do to secure a top-six finish.

As the overall log presently stands, coach John Plumtree's sixth-placed team will travel to Canberra to play the Brumbies in the next stage, while the fifth-placed Bulls will have the unenviable task of heading to Christchurch to play seven-time champions, the Crusaders.

"For us we're going to approach it like we would to any other game," Daniel told a news conference on Tuesday.

"We'll have the same mindset, which is win the game first.

"No matter where we are, we're not going to be on the field thinking let's not score another try or we might be heading to the Crusaders.

"Obviously it's a shorter trip to Australia, but somewhere along the line you're going to have to play the top teams and win away from home to win the competition.

"This is going to be our last game at home. So we're going to have to win away from home anyway," he added.

There are several scenarios for the Sharks, who can even make the play-offs with a loss if the Reds and Hurricanes fail to take anything from their matches against the Waratahs and Chiefs respectively, while a win can take them as high as fourth if the Crusaders lose to the Force and the Bulls slip up against the Lions.

The Cheetahs on the other hand are playing for pride, but Daniel is still expecting a tough derby against the Free Staters.

"I don't think they'll change their approach much just because it's the last game and they're out of the competition," he said.

"It's going to be another South African encounter between two teams that want to dominate up front."

The Sharks turned in one of their most memorable performances in recent years when they crushed the Bulls 32-10 over the weekend to stay alive in the competition.

"That's the nature of sport, everyone just seemed to be on the same page on Friday night and it just shows what we're capable of.

"In my opinion I think it was our most clinical performance of the year, all the players really put their hands up and everyone played really well," said Daniel.

SAPA

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