The Sharks’ injury list just got longer with confirmation that a quintet of capped Springboks will miss their crucial next match because of injuries.
The Sharks are chained to the foot of the URC table after suffering three defeats (against Munster, Leinster and Ospreys) in their opening three games of the season.
They are now out to shrugged off that losing streak when they take on Zebra in Parma, Italy on Friday; but the Sharks’ preparation and ultimately team selection took a hit when their already lengthy injury list was extended to 12 players.
SHARKS COUNTING THE COST OF SPRINGBOK INJURIES
World Cup-winning trio Makazole Mapimpi (facial fracture), Bongi Mbonambi (knee) and Vincent Koch (knee) have all returned to the franchise from RWC duty, and could well all be unavailable for selection beyond the compulsorily three-week post-World Cup break.
Additionally, two more Springboks — Curwin Bosch and Francois Hougaard — have also suffered injury setbacks, with the former nursing a concussion and the latter recovering from a knee knock.
The above mentioned Springboks join the likes of Eduan Keyter (knee), Kerron van Vuuren (knee), Le Roux Roets (knee), Muller du Plessis (knee), Nevaldo Fleurs (knee), Reniel Hugo (shoulder) and Vincent Tshituka (chest wall) on the Sharks’ list of crocked players.
As a direct of result of the injury ravaged squad, Plumtree has picked a young team to front Zebre on Friday night.
He made just two changes from last weekend’s Sharks starting line-up, with George Cronje replacing Sikhumbuzo Notshe at No 8 and Boeta Chamberlain taking over from Bosch at flyhalf.
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TEAM TO TAKE ON ZEBRE IN ROUND FOUR
Sharks — 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Boeta Chamberlain, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 George Cronje, 7 Phendulani Buthelezi, 6 James Venter, 5 Emile van Heerden, 4 Corne Rahl, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Dylan Richardson, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu.
Replacements: 16 Daniel Jooste, 17 Khwezi Mona, 18 Hanro Jacobs, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Marnus Potgieter.
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