Durban – The Sharks have delayed their final assessment on injuries to Jannie du Plessis and Jean Deysel until Wednesday, coach Brad Macleod-Henderson said in Durban on Tuesday.
“There is a bit of doubt on Jean, and with Jannie we will have to see how he goes tomorrow,” Macleod-Henderson said.
“We'll select our team after that injury update.”
The 24-hour delay in announcing the team came after doubts grew over their availability for Saturday's Currie Cup final against Western Province in Cape Town.
Front-rower Du Plessis missed the 33-22 semi-final victory over the Cheetahs with a hand injury, while loose forward Deysel was forced off early with a hamstring problem.
Macleod-Henderson admitted that losing the pair would be tough on the Sharks.
“It's always a big blow to lose two Springboks like that.
“But we're very fortunate that Wiehahn Herbst did very well for us on Saturday and there's the possibility that Willem Alberts will play, so we're lucky to have such quality players.”
Alberts and Tendai Mtawarira were both declared fit on Monday.
Bismarck du Plessis was also available to play after a Saru judicial committee found him not guilty of stamping in the semi-final.
“It's fantastic news and we were really relieved to hear it this morning,” Macleod-Henderson said.
Meanwhile, veteran flanker Jacques Botes relished the rare instance of the Sharks going into the domestic rugby final with the underdog status.
Province were considered favourites to retain the crown, which they surprisingly won in Durban 12 months ago.
“It's nice to have a little bit of an underdog tag for a change,” Botes said.
“The last few years we have been the favourites, even resounding favourites on some occasions, even though it didn’t work out in our favour. Hopefully this time it will work out better.”
Botes also insisted there was no mental block among the players to overcome the final hurdle after having lost the last two finals, as well as the 2012 Super Rugby final sandwiched in between.
“We're at least getting ourselves into good positions, which a lot of other teams aren’t, so we're obviously doing something right.
“We do perhaps need to learn from some of our mistakes in the past.
“I think with a new coaching staff and a new approach, it's a clean slate. So we're approaching it a little differently from some of the other finals in the past and we're excited about the game.” – Sapa