Johannesburg – Backline coach Sean Everitt is confident there will be a smooth transition when the Springboks return to the side for the Sharks clash against log-leaders Western Province in the last of their round-robin Currie Cup matches in Durban on Saturday.
A potential home final was at stake with the winner of the match guaranteed to host the October 26 spectacle should they get through next week's semifinals, which both are already assured of hosting.
“For both teams, it’s extremely important to try get a home semi as well as the opportunity to host the final. So I doubt either side will use this week as preparation for the semi-final when so much is at stake,” Everitt said ahead of the game.
The Sharks opted to throw five of their returning Boks straight into the mix with Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Marcell Coetzee all starting. A sixth South Africa player, Patrick Lambie, was on the bench, while Willem Alberts was excluded through injury.
“We had them involved at the start of our campaign, we had them all at our preparation week and they’ve been part of our squad when the Springboks have had their byes,” Everitt said when defending the selection.
“They know exactly what’s going on. They’ve always been included and have attended a lot of our games and really been a part of our team.
“I don’t see continuity being a problem at all.”
He was convinced it would work to the team's benefit, he said.
“The Springbok players will try to get over the disappointment of losing to the All Blacks and try to move on and create some success with the Sharks.
“So our playing structures won’t change now that we are getting to the business end of the competition.”
Province coach Allister Coetzee also opted to look to his Springboks this week, by naming four in the run on XV – Juan de Jongh, Duane Vermeulen, Siya Kolisi and Eben Etzebeth – with Jean de Villiers on the bench.
He admitted it was tough on those who missed out, but felt the strongest available team had to be picked.
“There is always something at stake when you represent Western Province,” Coetzee said.
“We will be doing our best to pick up a win and finish the league phase of the Currie Cup unbeaten.” – Sapa