Article Published: Thursday 10 January 2013
Edited by: Rugbyweek.com.
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The Sharks have revealed that Springbok back Frans Steyn is on track to play in the opening rounds of Super Rugby but Bismarck du Plessis may return a little later.
The Sharks returned to training this week after their Christmas break under the watchful eyes of the conditioning and coaching staff.
“The first week is always really tough as the guys get back into it, there’s a lot of hard work to be done with Super Rugby just around the corner and we obviously want to get out of the starting blocks as quickly as possible,” explains captain Keegan Daniel on the Sharks site.
Daniel said that despite the extreme weather conditions (summer heat) and preparatory work everyone returned to the camp excited for the season ahead.
“The mood was good and there’s a buzz with all the guys catching up again, but we all know why we are here and what we want to achieve this season.”
The Sharks have a largely settled squad for the 2013 Super Rugby season but there are a few new but familiar faces who have joined the squad.
“Butch (James) has been around, he’s been here before and will fit back in easily and will add a lot of value and it’s also good to have (Lions lock) Franco (van der Merwe) here, he will add invaluable experience to the second row. “
“He’s obviously played a big role at the Lions and been in the Springbok squad recently, so it’s good to have someone like that in the tight five.”
Frans Steyn missed the second half of the 2012 Rugby season due to injury but is looking good to start this season while Bismarck du Plessis’ rehab is ongoing.
“Frans ran this morning and is doing pretty well, he’s right on schedule but Bismarck will take a bit longer, he had a big injury, but the medical team is working hard with him.”
The Sharks had one of their best seasons ever in 2012 and played in both finals (Currie Cup and Super Rugby) and Daniel says that they have learnt some lessons from their experience.
“We were consistent in the fact that we made finals, but in terms of our performances we probably weren’t as consistent as we would have liked,” he says.
“We slipped up at times in the last competition, which put us under pressure towards the end. We want to be a lot more consistent in the way we perform in the games early on this season.”
Speaking about the Sharks squad depth in 2013 Daniel explained that potential and success are not necessarily inextricably linked.
“You can look at any squad and say it’s a great squad with good depth, but at the end of the day you’ve got to put it all together on the field. But we do have some good young players who’ve come through nicely and spent one or two seasons playing Currie Cup or Super Rugby.
“Then the likes of Butch and Franco are just going to add to that” he added.
Daniel said that the Sharks have the benefit of having a settled squad with many experienced players in the camp.
“It helps immensely,” he admits “it’s easier to come up with strategies and coming up with plans about what you want to achieve when guys have been around a while and understand the way the coaches do things.”
On his personal growth as captain Daniel said that there has been growth, but there is room for more.
“I learnt quite a bit and grew as well, but I continuously want to keep on learning and growing as a leader. A new season comes with new challenges, and I’m keen to meet them head on. “
“But like Jean (de Villiers) always said, you can’t steer the ship on your own, you need support, and I think there is a good support group below me.”
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