Sharks flyhalf Frederic Michalak has started the Currie Cup with a bang, playing a vital role in both the Durban side's victories, but a hamstring injury may prevent him from taking on the Cheetahs this weekend.
The French playmaker, who won the Currie Cup with the Sharks in 2008, has made a big impact on the competition so far - scoring tries in both of his team's games - but coach John Plumtree says that he is adequately covered should Michalak not recover in time to face the Men from Bloemfontein in Durban on Saturday.
Plumtree explained: "We're hoping to get Fred right, but if we don't, we have Jacques-Louis Potgieter plus Meyer Bosman is pretty comfortable in that position as well, so we're lucky to have a lot of depth in that position.
"Potgieter hasn't had a lot of opportunities, it's against his old team, I'm sure he'll be up for it," he said.
The only other injury concern for the Sharks is veteran centre Marius Joubert who hurt his ankle in the Sharks' heart-stopping victory over the Pumas in Nelspruit last week but Plumtree was confident that he will be in the mix this weekend.
"Marius Joubert has looked better today, he should be right for Thursday's training, it didn't look serious. Hopefully both Fred and Marius will make it on the weekend," commented the Sharks boss.
Plumtree is expecting a fierce onslaught from the Cheetahs who will be keen to bounce back after a disappointing second half cost them the game at Loftus Versfeld last week.
He said: "They could have beaten the Bulls easily last week but slipped off the money a bit in the second half, so they will talk about coming out with an 80 minute performance against us. We certainly have to come up with that as well."
The Sharks coach has been impressed with the way the Cheetahs have approached the competition and is looking forward to an open game at Kings Park this weekend.
"What's impressed me about them – like us – is the enthusiasm they're showing with the opportunity they have got, some of those young loose forwards, their young loosehead prop, these guys will be household names in a couple of years, and they really look like they're enjoying themselves. That enthusiasm and excitement is positive," said Plumtree.
The Kiwi coach thinks that the teams are in a similar position, with both squads set to be bolstered later in the season by the return of players who are currently on tour with the Springboks.
"They are in a similar boat to us, they’ve lost a fair bit of experience amongst the forwards, but have experience in the back, a similar scenario to us. It looks like they're going to be in a position where their depth is added to by the end of the Currie Cup. They still have some players to come back in a couple of weeks, and so do we.
"If we do get a few Boks back, obviously that will help. We will be resting players up and keeping everyone on edge, because when they are playing week after week, complacency can slip in, so we will be giving some player opportunity to rest up," he added.
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