Kanko back in town
Mon, 04 Feb 2013 10:45
It's about getting that first contact in
Springbok No.8 Ryan Kankowski will bolster the Sharks when he arrives back in Durban this week.
Sharks coach John Plumtree, speaking on the team's website, confirmed that the 27-year-old loose forward will arrive back from Japan - where spent the second half of last year turning out for Toyota Verblitz.
That move robbed him of a chance to add to his 20 Test caps, with Bok coach Heyneke Meyer revealing that Kankowski would have been part of the national team set-up if he had not ruled himself out by signing with the Japanese club.
However, the Sharks will benefit from his early return, although it is uncertain if he will feature in the first of two pre-season trial matches - against the Leopards Woodburn Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Friday, February 8.
It is more likely he will be part of the matchday squad when the Pumas host the Sharks next week.
Plumtree said the first priority for the Sharks players is getting game time under the belt in these two outings.
"We'll look at giving most guys an opportunity in those two warm-up games, that's important," Plumtree said on the team's website.
"It's the first hit-out really and it's about getting that first contact in."
He also added that Bok flyhalf Patrick Lambie will not rotate between No.10 and No.15 as much as last year.
In 2012 French pivot Fred Michalak played so well at flyhalf, that Lambie featured in a number of games at fullback in a strategy devised to accommodate both world class players.
However, this year Lambie's focus will be on the flyhalf position.
"It was good to see him play those [year-end] Test matches at flyhalf, but I think it's also important to understand that the Boks play a different style of rugby to us," Plumtree said of Lambie.
"I think the Boks play more off the scrumhalf and we generally play more off No.10 so he'll have more responsibility with The Sharks.
"But he started playing really well at flyhalf in last year's Super Rugby competition before he got injured, and then obviously Fred came into that role.
"I think people forget that Pat picked up quite a few injuries last year, so he didn't have a great season in Super Rugby from an injury perspective. But hopefully the injuries will stay away this season and he'll be able to get a good run of games in that position."
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