Sharks sweat over injured Boks ahead of London trip
REACTION: The Sharks’ coaching staff will be keeping a close eye on some of their injured Springboks ahead of their trip to London to face Harlequins in Round Four of the Champions Cup.
Neil Powell’s side secured their place in the Round of 16 on Saturday with a 32-3 bonus-point win over Bordeaux at Kings Park.
However, there will still be a lot to play for in London next weekend with home-ground advantage in the knockouts being the next best prize.
That is why Powell will be hoping he will be able to take a full-strength squad up north.
There will be concerns over flyhalf Curwin Bosch and hooker Bongi Mbonambi.
Bosch was a late withdrawal from the starting team that faced Bordeaux. His place at No.10 was taken by Lionel Cronje with Aphelele Fassie coming in to provide cover on the bench.
“He [Bosch] picked up a bit of a hammy in the performance session on Thursday,” said Powell.
“We were hoping that he would pull through in the captain’s run on Friday, but unfortunately he didn’t, so we didn’t really want to risk him.
“The physios are confident that he will be back next weekend, but again it’s a case of do we want to risk him or do we want to help him recover fully before we bring him back onto the field.
“The positive is that we will have a bit of time before we depart for London to play the Harlequins, so hopefully we can do a proper assessment of all our injuries before we get onto the plane.”
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#ICYMI: The Sharks became the first South African team to book a spot in the #ChampionsCup play-offs 👇#Sharks #Bordeaux #SHAvUBB https://t.co/E7z2Va2xgF
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) January 15, 2023
It was a different case with Mbonambi, who left the field early in the first half against Bordeaux.
The Bok hooker is a key player in the squad and Powell is keeping his fingers crossed that he he will have the 32-year-old’s power against Harlequins.
“We will have to do an assessment on Monday,” said Powell when asked about Mbonambi’s injury.
“I am not a medical doctor, so we do assessments on all the players Monday morning and send them for scans and then make a decision based on that.
“I can only tell you it’s a shoulder injury and hopefully he will recover in time for that game against Harlequins.”