We are des­per­ate to play – Sharks boss

Cape Argus - - CLASSIFIED­S - MIKE GREENAWAY mike.greenaway@inl.co.za

FOUR weeks on Fri­day the Cur­rie Cup is due to com­mence, but with no green light yet from the gov­ern­ment, rugby ad­min­is­tra­tors are get­ting ner­vous.

The first week­end in Septem­ber is just round the cor­ner but as of yes­ter­day the coun­try’s unions had not re­ceived an in­di­ca­tion that the com­pe­ti­tion will, in fact, start as sched­uled.

Sharks chief ex­ec­u­tive Ed­uard Coet­zee says he is await­ing news from SA Rugby, and if they are not con­vey­ing any­thing to the unions it is be­cause they, in turn, are wait­ing on gov­ern­ment di­rec­tion.

“There are a lot of stake­hold­ers need­ing to know what is go­ing on,” Coet­zee said.

“We would love to be send­ing out fix­tures lists, for ex­am­ple, asap. Mean­while, all we can do as pre­pare as best we can.”

If the re­turn-to-play date is pushed too much later into Septem­ber, it could have a knock-on ef­fect on Spring­bok coach Jac­quie Niean­aber’s stip­u­la­tion that the Boks can­not go to New Zealand for the Rugby Cham­pi­onship un­less they have at least six Cur­rie Cup games un­der their belts.

“We are just des­per­ate to play,” Coet­zee said.

“The young tal­ent that we have is go­ing to sur­prise a lot of peo­ple.”

While the Sharks did lit­tle re­cruit­ing dur­ing lock­down, they did let go a hand­ful of se­nior play­ers so that op­por­tu­ni­ties could be cre­ated for ex­cit­ing young­sters.

The po­si­tion of scrumhalf is a good case in point, where the Sharks re­leased Louis Schreuder and Cameron Wright, which opens the door for an ex­cep­tional tal­ent in 20-year-old Jaden Hen­drikse, who last year was nom­i­nated as one of four play­ers for the World Rugby Un­der-20 Cham­pi­onship ‘Break­through Player of the Tour­na­ment’ award af­ter a bril­liant in the in­ter­na­tional show­piece in Rosario.

And this is bear­ing in mind that Hen­drikse would be still be be­hind Sanele No­hamba, one of the bright lights for the Sharks in Su­per Rugby ear­lier this year. The Sharks’ “third” scrumhalf is the ex­cit­ing Grant Wil­liams, the Paarl Gim­na­sium prod­uct.

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