Sharks: Burden's absence explained

Tue, 17 Sep 2013 13:50
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The Sharks' Springbok hooker Craig Burden is awaiting the arrival of a French visa and will board the first available plane heading to Toulon.

The Sharks' Springbok hooker Craig Burden is awaiting the arrival of a French visa and will board the first available plane heading to Toulon.

This is the official word from the Sharks camp, following confirmation that the 25-year-old will not feature in the matchday squad for the second successive week.

Burden was a surprise omission from last week's team list for the one-point (25-24) win over Griquas in Kimberley - prompting speculation in the local media that he is the latest South African on the shopping list of European champions Toulon.

And he also will not feature when the Sharks host the Cheetahs in Durban this Saturday.

Sharks assistant coach Sean Everitt confirmed to this website that Burden is in fact heading to Toulon, but that it is only a one-week trial.

"Craig has been offered an opportunity to go to Toulon," Everitt said, adding: "Initially it is just going to be for a one-week trial and then he will return to Durban.

"I don't know what the long-term standing is with Craig."

Everitt said Burden will head abroad as soon as his French visa gets approved.

He also explained the reason behind Burden not playing last week or this week.

"We thought Craig's visa would come through last week," Everitt told this website, adding: "We didn't' want to take the chance - where we select him and then he has to leave. So we left him out until such time as the visa comes through.

"It could come through today [Tuesday] or it could come through tomorrow [Wednesday]. As soon as it comes through he will be leaving."

Burden, still uncapped at Test level, was part of the Springbok squad in 2012 - following injuries to Bismarck du Plessis and Chiliboy Ralepelle.

If he secures a contract beyond his one-week trial with the French giants he will join fellow South Africans Bakkies Botha, Danie Rossouw, Joe van Niekerk, Michael Claassens and Bryan Habana.

* Meanwhile the Sharks made a few changes to the team that will take on the Cheetahs at Kings Park on Saturday.

They decided to give captain Jacques Botes, flank Jean Deysel and utility back Louis Ludik a rest.

"They have played every minute of the Currie Cup [competition] so far," Everitt said.

With Marcell Coetzee back from the Boks, he will slot in at No.6.

Lubabalo Mtembu will start at No.7 and Keegan Daniel will move to No.8. Daniel also takes over the captaincy armband.

They have also brought Heimar Williams in at inside centre and moved Tim Whitehead to No.13.

Odwa Ndungane has recovered from his hamstring strain and he will start on the right wing.

There is the continued rotation at flyhalf, with Fred Zeilinga starting ahead of Butch James

 The Sharks are waiting on the fitness test of a few players, with lock Edwin Hewitt struggling with flu.
 Peet Marais will start at lock and if Hewitt is fit he will go onto the bench.
Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Heimar Williams, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain), 7 Lubabalo Mtembu, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Peet Marais, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Danie Mienie.
Replacements: TBC

Date: Saturday, September 21
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Marius Jonker
Assistant referees: Tiaan Jonker, Reuben Rossouw
TMO: Deon van Blommestein

By Jan de Koning

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