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Plumtree's frustration grows as top Bok undergoes surgery

SPOTLIGHT: Sharks head coach John Plumtree has opened up on his frustration with injuries in his camp as they prepare to face the Stormers in their United Rugby Championship clash in Durban.

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The Sharks are currently sitting at the bottom of the URC standings with just one win from their nine games after battling to find consistency all season.

Plumtree’s side has suffered some big injury blows to top players and on Tuesday he revealed that Eben Etzebeth will spend some extra time away from the game after having a knee operation.

Etzebeth’s last outing for the Sharks was off the bench against Oyonnax in the Challenge Cup on January 13.

“We know that we got a really strong pack, but I haven’t been able to put that pack on the park,” Plumtree told reporters.

“We got injuries to key players and that has probably been the biggest frustration for me.

“We probably had six operations to tight-five players. It’s been really tough to have the depth that we needed up front.”

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Plumtree added: “It’s a long season and I do feel like I have been handicapped by the fact that I have had a lot of injuries.

“We are now in February and it is Bongi’s [Mbonambi] first game coming up and he is our No.1 hooker.

“Eben Etzebeth has started playing and now he had a knee operation, so he is only getting back in a few weeks.

“It has been a bit frustrating that I haven’t been able to put out the pack that I want to.”

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Besides Mbonambi, Vincent Koch is also expected to return to the playing field after a lengthy lay-off since the World Cup.

However, when pressed to reveal which Boks will be playing against the Stormers, Plumtree said: “I’ll name the team on Friday but I will say there are Springboks rested and there are Springboks still injured.

“Lukhanyo [Am] is playing. It [rest period] is not ideal but we understand the importance of it because we have a long season of playing Northern Hemisphere rugby and Southern Hemisphere rugby, which is crazy

“So, until the South African players are playing in one hemisphere and committed to one hemisphere, there is going to be a lot of disruption.

“Hopefully, that will happen over the next couple of years.”

@rugby365com

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