Injuries no 'train smash' for Sharks

Tue, 25 Mar 2014 07:02
Large sp marais.jpg630

Injuries to halfbacks Patrick Lambie and Cobus Reinach will not be detrimental to the Sharks' Super Rugby campaign, according to fullback SP Marais.

Injuries to halfbacks Patrick Lambie and Cobus Reinach will not be detrimental to the Sharks' Super Rugby campaign, according to fullback SP Marais.

Flyhalf Lambie has been sidelined for the rest of the season with a torn bicep, while scrumhalf Reinach is set to miss the next eight weeks with a fractured hand - both injuries suffered when the Durban side fell to a first loss of the season against the Bulls over the weekend.

"I don't think it's a train smash," said Marais.

"It's unfortunate to lose players of that quality, but it's an opportunity for other players to prove themselves.

"And this is Super Rugby where we have great depth in our squad.

"It will be tested, but I think we've got good enough cover and we'll show that this weekend," he added.

Their leading backup players for the roles are the Currie Cup-winning combination of Fred Zeilinga and Charl MacLeod, and Marais was adamant the pair would be able to step up.

"I won't say it's an area where we don't have depth, I think people will be surprised by the depth we really have," said Marais.

"We have flyhalves in Tim Swiel, in Fred Zeilinga, who was Vodacom Cup player of the year last year and was nominated as Currie Cup player of the year.

"So I don't think we're concerned about it.

"We're all professional athletes here and we all need to slot in when it matters.

"So it's not a big fuss."

Despite the 23-19 loss at Loftus Versfeld, the Durban side remained top of the Super Rugby table ahead of their weekend clash against the fifth-placed Waratahs in Durban.

The Sydney outfit have been the outstanding attacking team in the competition to date, although a key part of their attack, Israel Folau, has been ruled out due to a throat problem.

The Waratahs have lost just one game so far and have a game in hand.

"They stumbled a bit when they faced the Brumbies, but they're definitely playing very good rugby at the moment," Marais said.

"They have an attacking game plan mixed with good balance.

"So it's going to be a titanic battle.

"The challenge for us will be to try and stop them from running around us as they've done with all the other teams that they've faced.

"So it's a different beast and we'll have to fight them differently."

The Sharks fullback also insisted they were fully focused on bouncing back strongly this week ahead of their second bye of the competition next weekend.

"Luckily Super Rugby is quite a long competition and we're only thinking about the Waratahs, not the bye week.

"At least if we finish the job this weekend, we get a proper opportunity to rest.

"We've broken down the tournament into stages and this is the last game in the second part of the journey."

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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
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Chiefs 12 9 0 3 42
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Highlanders 12 8 0 4 38
Blues 12 6 1 5 30
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Kings 12 2 0 10 9