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VIDEO: Sharks reveal dramatic recovery of Bok stars

The Sharks revealed that they will be able to call on the services of a couple of World Cup-winning Springboks sooner than expected.

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Neil Powell, Director of Rugby at the Sharks, told @rugby365com on Tuesday that they are looking forward to welcoming back hooker Bongi Mbonambi and prop Vincent Koch in the next two to four weeks.

Mbonambi was forced off the pitch in the opening few minutes of the World Cup final between South Africa and New Zealand.

The initial prognosis was for the Bok hooker to miss the entire season. But he seems to have recovered from his knee injury much sooner.

Other players who have been on the injury list and are ‘almost ready’ to make a return to the training field include Vincent Tshituka, Reniel Hugo and Dylan Richardson.

“We are lucky that we have quite a few players coming back from injury over the next two to four weeks,” Powell said.

Powell, who is standing in for coach John Plumtree, believes the bulk of these players may even be ready when the Sharks start preparing for the United Rugby Championship game against the Stormers on February 17.

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“Vincent Koch is one, Bongi Mbonambi, Dylan Richardson and Vincent Tshituka. Reniel Hugo is also coming back from injury, so all the injuries we had since the start of the season.

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“We will probably be really strong when we come back and we prepare for that Stormers week. We should have the majority of our squad back, especially the likes of a Bongi, Vincent Tshituka and Vincent Koch,” he confirmed.

“We are keen to see how they are going into the final phase of their rehab and how they are getting back into the team in the next few weeks.”

The Sharks travel to Newport on Tuesday for their Challenge Cup clash with the Dragons at Rodney Parade on Saturday.

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Powell also touched on the fact that the Sharks have been doing much better in the EPCR competition compared to the URC, where they’ve only managed one win and sit last on the table.

“It’s a bit of a focus shift for us because at this stage we don’t do well in the URC and I think with the EPCR only starting about a month ago, we’ve already played about five or six URC games.

“It was almost an opportunity for us to start all over again.

“I think sometimes when we get into a certain mode, it’s difficult to change our focus.

“However, with a new competition there is almost a new carrot in front of us knowing that, if we win the Challenge Cup, we get automatic qualification into the Champions Cup.

“So the motivation is there for us to make a step up in the Challenge Cup.

“From a URC perspective and the goal we set out for ourselves there, it’s probably based on the fact that we want to qualify for the Champions Cup next year, meaning we have to finish in the Top Eight of the URC.

“So hopefully this is the turning point for us, not just in the Challenge Cup, but also in the URC,” the coach said candidly.

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