THE Sharks have withdrawn Rory Kockott from the Namibian Invitation XV to face the Springbok Training squad in Windhoek on Friday.
The Sharks already have 10 regulars in the national training squad and do not want to risk injury to their scrumhalf.
Free State and Western Province have also withdrawn their players and Namibian coach John Williams has had to dig deep to find replacements.
Former Springbok Danie Coetzee is one of five new names in the Namibian XV after the withdrawals, while four Blue Bulls players not involved in the Super 14 final, Marco Wentzel, John Mametsa, JP Joubert and Dries van Schalkwyk, are the others selected.
The SA Training squad assembled in Pretoria yesterday and have a number of injury problems. Players who did not participate in the first training session this afternoon were Adi Jacobs (flu) and JP Pietersen, who is recovering from a knock to his shoulder sustained in the Sharks’ match against the Bulls.
Schalk Burger, Jean de Villiers, Andries Bekker and Meyer Bosman, all returning from injury, are being managed by the medical staff and did not take part in the full session. They will be assessed over the next two days before a decision is made on their fitness. Beast Mtawarira will join the squad later today after writing an examination this morning.
The squad will have further training sessions today and tomorrow before leaving for Windhoek on Thursday morning.
Springbok coach Peter de Villiers said the main focus at this stage is to make sure that maximum benefit is gained from Friday’s match.
Revised Namibian XV: 15 Jaco van der Westhuizen, 14 Llewelyn Winckler, 13 Frikkie Welsh, 12 Wayne Julies, 11 John Mametsa, 10 Derick Hougaard, 9 JP Joubert, 8 Dries van Schalkwyk, 7 Jacques Nieuwenhuis, 6 Jacques Burger, 5 Nico Esterhuizen, 4 Marco Wentzel, 3 Ruan Vermeulen, 2 Danie Coetzee, 1 Kees Lensing (c).
Subs: 16 Hugo Horn, 17 Johnny Redelinghuys, 18 Fudge Mabeta, 19 AN Other, 20 AN Other, 21 Jurie van Tonder, 22 Chrisander Botha.
Meanwhile, the Crusaders, fresh from defeat in the Super 14 semi-final, believe that the attacking abilities of the Chiefs could bring the New Zealanders victory in Saturday’s final against the Bulls.
The New Zealand team have lost one of the most dangerous attackers in All Black wing Sitiveni Sivivatu, but the Crusaders management pointed out that the Chiefs have operated effectively without him before.
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder said that the Chiefs would have to contend with the suffocating hold that the Bulls place on their opponents at Loftus.
In round 11 of the round-robin the Bulls ended the Chiefs’ six-match unbeaten run with a 33-27 win, and it could be as close once again.
“The way the Chiefs are playing, particularly at the back, they will be dangerous,” Blackadder told reporters. “The Chiefs have got different strengths in different areas,” he added.
”But the Bulls have got a really strong set piece and the way they are playing, forcing mistakes, playing for position and kicking drops, makes them difficult to beat.”
Richie McCaw, the All Black and Crusaders captain, also gave the Chiefs a chance.
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