Home Sport Rugby Sharks No 10 swap may be unwise

Sharks No 10 swap may be unwise

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Du Preez has remained out of form, so it would be a travesty if Bosch is relegated to fullback and Fassi to the bench.

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IF THE way the Sharks team ran at training yesterday is anything to go by, Robert du Preez Jr looks set for a return to the starting line-up at flyhalf for Saturday’s away match against the Jaguares, in place of Curwin Bosch, in a move that would be highly controversial.

Of course, it is not set in stone that the team that runs in training is the one that will play, but it would not make sense to train with one team and then change it for the match when the Sharks only have a few sessions before Saturday’s must-win in Buenos Aires.

Bosch ran at fullback and Aphelele Fassi on the wing in place of Makazole Mapimpi, who was being rested from the session because of a slight injury. Mapimpi was in the 25-man squad that left for Argentina yesterday, so it is expected that he will be OK to start, in which case, Fassi, another in-form player, will revert to the bench should Du Preez indeed start.

Bosch has been the starting flyhalf for the Sharks’ last five games, taking over from the out-of-form Du Preez for the tour opener against the Waratahs, with coach Robert du Preez Sr bringing on his son at the three-quarter mark of that match and the subsequent ones.

In his games off the bench, Du Preez has remained out of form, so it would be a travesty if Bosch is relegated to fullback and Fassi to the bench.

A welcome inclusion in the tour squad is 33-year-old Craig Burden, who is at last set to make his comeback for the Sharks. With Akker van der Merwe still on the injured list, Burden replaces Cullen Collopy, who covered for starting hooker Kerron van Vuuren in last weekend’s match against the Hurricanes.

The Sharks looked to bolster their hooker reserves by signing Burden in early March, only for him to suffer a series of unlucky injuries in training over the last three months. That prevented him from making his comeback after last playing for the Sharks in 2013, having started at the Sharks in 2006 as a wing before then coach Dick Muir converted him to hooker.

After leaving Jonsson Kings Park, the burly hooker spent two seasons at Toulon before a short spell with Montpellier, and he has been at Stade Français for the past three years.

Burden returned to Durban for his wedding and was set to return to France to continue his career when the Sharks came knocking.

In late March he was named on the Sharks’ bench for their home match against the Bulls but pulled a hamstring in the captain’s practice.

After recovering from the hammy, he was again included in the match-day squad before tearing a bicep muscle, which required surgery and a long lay-off.