Mixed news for Sharks

Date published: May 26 2015

The Sharks welcomed Springbok number eight Ryan Kankowski back to training this week but are likely to be without centre Frans Steyn and lock Stephan Lewies this Friday.

Gary Gold and his team face the Rebels in Durban this week in the Sharks' first game back on South African soil having finished their overseas tour with a morale-boosting win over the Reds.

They have two matches left this season with the Stormers next on the menu after a bye week.

Kankowski missed the Australasian tour through injury but he is fit again, as is fellow loose forward Tera Mtembu.

Steyn left the field in Brisbane during the second-half with a pectoral muscle injury and the Sharks were still waiting on scan results on Tuesday. His participation in the remaining fixtures this season is highly unlikely.

Lewies has been ruled for an extended period, meaning he joins fellow lock Pieter-Steph du Toit on the sidelines along with half-backs Cobus Reinach and Pat Lambie.

Mouritz Botha is likely to take over in the second-row while Andre Esterhuizen and fit-again Paul Jordaan are candidates to replace Steyn.

Better news for Sharks fans is that scrum-half Stefan Ungerer did train on Monday despite limping off after his second try in Brisbane and should start on Friday.

With such a long injury list, the Sharks will be looking forward to their bye week but will be hoping to build on the momentum gained from last week's victory.

"We didn't start the tour off well and we were really disappointed with our game against the Highlanders," said assistant coach Sean Everitt.

"But the guys knuckled down, they worked well, the energy levels were good at training and the team certainly showed improvement from week to week. So we are happy with that and that we finished the tour off on a good note –which showed the guys had remained positive over a very difficult time.

"That win was great for us purely from the fact that the guys have been putting the effort in week to week and maybe not getting the reward they deserved.

"From that point of view, a positive result always helps; it takes off a bit of pressure for a couple of days at least. They will know within themselves that they are improving and are capable of getting results.

"I think the number of unforced errors have diminished over the last four weeks which means you get more continuity. The guys have enjoyed playing with the ball in hand a little bit more and I think Lionel Cronje has played well over the last few weeks. He certainly inspired our attack and we are very happy as far as that is concerned.

“Our game management against the Reds this past weekend was the best it’s been over the last few weeks as well," he added.

"We kicked at the right times, we ran the ball at the right times and when we kicked we were able to find space behind, which put the Reds under pressure."