DURBAN – It might only be week two of Super Rugby but the very early bye for the Sharks this week could not have come at a better time.
As odd as that may sound, with the Sharks having just shot out of the starting blocks last week against the Lions, injury complications in a few vital areas would have left the Durbanites dangerously exposed had they been playing a match this weekend.
Scrumhalf is one of the few areas where the Sharks have fragile depth and after a pre-season injury to first-choice Louis Schreuder, Cameron Wright stepped in admirably against both Racing 92 in the Hong Kong friendly and the Super Rugby opener against Lions but he was concussed late in the match.
Veteran scrumhalf Michael Claassens pulled out of the visit to Johannesburg late in the week because of a hamstring niggle meaning youngster Grant Williams was promoted to the bench.
The Rovers man, who is a product of the Stellenbosch Academy, did well in coming on late in the game for Wright for a promising debut but is obviously short of first class experience. The good news is that Springbok Schreuder could be available for next week’s first home game, against the Waratahs. He injured a hamstring in the first friendly of the pre-season, against the Bulls, and was expected to be out for a long period but his recovery has progressed well.
Wright, meanwhile, is going through the usual return-to-play protocols governing concussion and also could be available for selection next week.
Keegan Daniel was another late withdrawal from the squad to play the Lions but his tummy bug will have cleared up.
His replacement in the starting line-up last week, Dan du Preez, suffered the misfortune of a shoulder ligament tear and is set to be out for four weeks.
Replacement hooker Akker van der Merwe had to leave the field in the last minute of the match with a elbow strain, but he has recovered well.