Kanko with plenty to prove

Tue, 25 Jun 2013 13:42
Large kankowski630 Large ryan kankowski training Large john plumtree   ryan kankow Large yan kankowski sharks look

With Pierre Spies out for the season, fit-again Ryan Kankowski has got everything to play for in the next few weeks.

With Pierre Spies out for the season, fit-again Ryan Kankowski has got everything to play for in the last three games of the Sharks' Super Rugby season.

The loss of Spies has left the Springbok No.8 berth wide open and Kankowski is no stranger to the jersey even though he seems to have fallen out of favour at the Sharks.

It is no secret that Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer rates Kankowski very highly. He invited him to both Springbok training camps this year even though he was dropped by the Sharks for their overseas tour.

Kankowski was shocked at his omission from the Sharks overseas squad but did not say anything about there being an issue between him and outgoing coach John Plumtree. Kankowski has been playing on the flank for a lot of the season and captain, Keegan Daniel has been occupying the No.8 position.

The issue for Kankowski was that he felt that he was playing out of position but did not use this as an excuse for his axing from the squad, although it would have frustrated him.

There really are not many other experienced options to play at the back of the Springbok scrum for the Rugby Championship with Willem Alberts being the only other player in the greater Springbok squad that has played there in recent times.

Duane Vermeulen is expected back at the end of the Super Rugby season and the speculation will be whether Meyer would throw Vermeulen straight back into the Springbok mix for the Rugby Championship.

The availability of Kankowski for the Sharks and the Springboks could put him back in the pound seat as the cover for the Bok No.8 position in the absence of Vermeulen - if he is going to be held back.

The Sharks host the Blues in Durban on Saturday in their first Super Rugby fixture since they lost to the Bulls on May 25.

Commenting on the upcoming game, Sharks captain Keegan Daniel said: "The Blues have quite a bit of x-factor in their team, we know they are dangerous from anywhere on the field. We need to focus on ourselves, we want to go out there and express ourselves.

"The calibre of players we have returning from Springbok duty is a massive boost for us. We also had guys playing against the Lions who put their hands up and players returning from injury. We just want to play some great rugby," Daniel added.

The Sharks Team Doctor, Dr Alan Kourie, released the medical update which would encourage both the Sharks and Bok coach Meyer.

Players that are expected back for the Blues game are Cobus Reinach, Jacques Botes and Kankowski. Reinach returns after a fairly lengthy lay-off and will be it will be a welcome return for the exciting scrumhalf.

Andrew 'Butch' James and Heimar Williams will be subjected to fitness tests later in the week to judge whether they will be fit enough for selection.

Players on the mend and returning in the next few weeks are Craig Burden, JP Pietersen, Meyer Bosman and Tim Whitehead. Whitehead has not had a taste of any Super Rugby this year after he fractured his arm in a preseason game.

Tighthead prop Wiehahn Herbst, utility back Francois Steyn, flank Francois Kleinhans and lock Jandre Marais are players that are still in rehabilitation.

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sun, 26 June 2016
United States v Russia 02h00 Sacramento
Canada v Italy 16h00 Toronto
Fri, 01 July 2016
Chiefs v Crusaders 07h35 Hamilton
Brumbies v Reds 09h40 Canberra
EP Kings v Griquas 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Blue Bulls v Boland 17h00 Loftus Versfeld
Sat, 02 July 2016
Jaguares v Blues 22h00 Buenos Aires
Sunwolves v Waratahs 05h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Blues 07h35 Wellington
Rebels v Stormers 09h40 Melbourne
Free State Cheetahs v Falcons 10h05 Bloemfontein
Golden Lions v Griffons 12h05 Johannesburg
Western Province v Eagles 13h00 Newlands
Namibia v Border 13h00 Windhoek
Cheetahs v Force 13h00 Bloemfontein
Sharks v Leopards 15h00 Durban
Kings v Highlanders 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Lions v Sharks 17h10 Johannesburg
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 8 0 4 34
Waratahs 12 7 0 5 34
Rebels 11 6 0 5 27
Reds 13 3 1 9 16
Force 12 2 0 10 12
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 10 0 2 45
Chiefs 12 9 0 3 42
Hurricanes 12 8 0 4 40
Highlanders 12 8 0 4 38
Blues 12 6 1 5 30
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 1 4 36
Bulls 12 7 1 4 32
Cheetahs 12 3 0 9 17
Sunwolves 11 1 1 9 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 9 0 3 42
Sharks 12 7 1 4 35
Jaguares 12 2 0 10 14
Kings 12 2 0 10 9