Sharks director of rugby Gary Gold has explained the rotational changes that he’s made for Friday night’s game against the Bulls at Loftus.
With the Sharks unbeaten so far this season, Gold has opted to hand scrumhalf Michael Claassens, prop Lourens Adriaanse and hooker Kyle Cooper their first starts, while fit-again Lwazi Mvovo also returns on the wing. The one injury-enforced change sees Philip van der Walt come in for Jean-Luc du Preez.
Considering the Sharks have a gruelling schedule ahead, he said the changes were based on a carefully thought out player management plan.
‘The issue is not so much about resting the guys now, because they could play another week or two, but it’s about three or four guys getting a break now, and in three or four weeks’ time doing it with other guys. So by week 12 or 13 or 14, when the competition starts to get really rigorous, the guys don’t feel that the load is too much to manage.’
Gold said he didn’t foresee any disruption to the Sharks’ momentum that has been built up after three successive wins.
‘It’s not going to take 15 guys to win games week in and week out for the Sharks – or any Super Rugby franchise – it’s more likely a group of 25 or 30 players. We have players who haven’t yet had a chance, they’re chomping at the bit and you want them to put the other players under extreme pressure to continue to produce performances like they have been.
‘It’s a headache for the coaches, but one I’m very happy to have. Let that be the biggest problem in my life right now, that I have five or six loose forwards all playing outstanding rugby, and I have to pick three of them.’
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