Kanko with plenty to prove

Tue, 25 Jun 2013 13:42
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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
Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
RESULT SCORE
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 18 | 56
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 13 | 22
Mon, 20 February 2017
UJ v UP-Tuks 18 | 11
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16 | 10
Maties v NMMU-Madibaz 35 | 16
UWC v Rhodes 88 | 8
TUT v WSU 13 | 17
NWU-Pukke v UCT-Ikeys 20 | 15
Sun, 19 February 2017
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 46 | 31
Sale Sharks v Wasps 34 | 28
Sat, 18 February 2017
Connacht v Dragons 14 | 9
Ospreys v Munster 23 | 25
Leicester Tigers v Bristol 50 | 17
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 37 | 17
Bath v Harlequins 22 | 12
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 1 0 0 1 0
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Blues 1 1 0 0 5
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 0 0 0 0 0
Bulls 0 0 0 0 0
Cheetahs 0 0 0 0 0
Sunwolves 0 0 0 0 0
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 0 0 0 0 0
Sharks 0 0 0 0 0
Jaguares 0 0 0 0 0
Kings 0 0 0 0 0