Barring the development of further Covid infections in the next week, Sharks coach Sean Everitt said on Thursday that he would have a full squad to choose from for their Currie Cup semi-final against Western Province at Newlands next weekend.
The Sharks had their last round-robin match – also against Western Province in Cape Town – cancelled after several positive Covid tests in their camp, but the outbreak would now appear to be over as the whole squad tested negative this week.
“At the moment no-one is ruled out and as things stand we will have a full squad to choose from for the semi-final,” Everitt said.
“And I’m extremely confident that it will stay that way because the players have really tried hard to isolate at home, and I believe the other three teams are the same. Nobody wants to miss out on a semi-final and potential final, and we control what we can.
“We have had a good week’s training, although some guys still need to work through the Covid protocols and will only return to training later. The return-to-play is a different process for the number of guys that tested positive and some of them will only return to training on Saturday. The severity of symptoms vary, but we’re in a pretty good space at the moment.”
The Sharks had just notched a highly-impressive win over the Bulls when the virus struck their camp, leading to weakened teams being well beaten on the road by the Lions and Free State Cheetahs.
But the KwaZulu-Natalians bounced back with a commanding 47-19 win over Griquas in their last outing on January 2, and Everitt believes they have the potential to carry that momentum all the way in this year’s Currie Cup if they can eliminate individual errors.
“Since those defeats we’ve been able to get the show on the road and prepare properly, and when we’ve been able to pick our best team, we’ve been able to deliver a performance,” he said.
“Obviously our rhythm has been disrupted, but we came back strongly after our last break to beat the Bulls. We have a full squad to select from and the guys are raring to go.
“It’s always easier going to Cape Town than playing on the Highveld and if we can eliminate the individual errors, then I’m not too concerned about whatever conditions we’ll face.
“We all know Western Province have a good set-piece, and I’m sure they’ll try and use their strengths to dominate us, but if we get that right then I’m sure we’ll have a very good chance of winning.”