Coetzee to sit out Sarries clash
Springbok flank Marcell Coetzee has been withdrawn from the Sharks' touring party for Saturday’s pre-season clash against Saracens due to injury.
Springbok loose forward Marcell Coetzee has been withdrawn from the Sharks' touring party for Saturday’s unique pre-season clash against Saracens in London due to injury.
Coetzee suffered an elbow injury during training and although it’s nothing serious, Director of Rugby Jake White is not taking any chances ahead of his first season as Sharks boss and Coetzee will thus sit out the team's first friendly as a precautionary measure.
The 22-year-old should be fit for the Sharks' second warm-up game against the Lions at Ellis Park on Friday, February 7.
No replacement has yet been accounced.
Meanwhile, newly-appointed captain Bismarck du Plessis expects a stern test at Allianz Stadium.
“In my mind they have been the form side in the English Premiership for the last few years," he said.
"It’s midway through their season so it’s going to be tough for us, but we are looking forward to it. We want to test some new combinations and tick a few boxes.”
Du Plessis said Saracens, who have several South African-born players in their ranks, share some of the strengths the Sharks are renowned for, which should make for a tough challenge.
“I would like to think we also have a strong side with some good backs and strong forwards," the hooker said, adding, "We are approaching this as the first game of our season.
"The way our season is structured, we play two games [Saracens and Lions], have a bye, play another four games, have another bye and so on, so these two games are just one segment and we’re looking forward to Saturday.”