Returning Boks boost Sharks

Date published: March 4 2015

The return of Springboks Willem Alberts, JP Pietersen and Frans Steyn this week has provided a huge injection of energy for the Sharks.

Sharks vice-captain Tera Mtembu says the returning trio have lifted the squad ahead of their Super Rugby encounter against the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday.

Loose forward Alberts, who has been training for the past two weeks but is now match-ready, returns from injury, while backs Steyn and Pietersen began training on Monday following club commitments in Japan.

"It's awesome to have a guy like Willem back," said Mtembu.

"Renaldo's (Bothma) done well for us since he arrived but Willem is raring to go and is looking to smash a few okes.

"JP and Frans are world-class players. They've fitted in nicely and they bring a different dimension to what you're trying to achieve."

With Alberts back, it means that competition for places among the loose forwards is big, although the Sharks also confirmed on Tuesday that Jean Deysel would be out for up to six weeks following a small procedure on his ankle.

Mtembu, who did not play in the 43-35 loss to the Bulls at the weekend, admitted it was a good problem for the coaches to have as he looked to fill the void left by Deysel.

"Every guy that has stepped in has done well, which is a good headache for the coaches," he said.

"We've got a quality squad, especially among our loose forwards.

"Whoever has come in has fitted in. If I get my opportunity this weekend, I'll look to take it with both hands."

The Sharks were still reeling from defeat to the Bulls over the weekend – their second loss in three games after they also lost to the Cheetahs in Round One.

Their only win so far has been at home to the Lions and Mtembu thought there were some harsh lessons learnt.

"We were obviously disappointed with the result, but there have been some positives we have taken out of it," he said.

"There's a few areas we have been working on the last couple of days, so we'll be looking to rectify them on the weekend."

Mtembu, the Sharks' Currie Cup captain last year, believed some of their biggest problems so far in 2015 have been their decision-making and consistency.

"We just need to play smarter, we need to play in the right areas and make smart decisions," he said.

"We've worked hard on that. We also need to be more consistent, which is key to the next few games."