Tue, 02 Mar 2021

Sharks coach Sean Everitt is confident he will be able to field a full-strength team for next Saturday's Currie Cup semi-final against Western Province.

The Durbanites have been the hardest hit by Covid-19 disruptions of all the South African franchises, with two of their pool matches cancelled due to outbreaks within the team - including their final game of the regular season.

The decision to postpone the Currie Cup play-offs by a week was taken largely to give the Sharks more time to recover from the latest outbreak.

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Everitt knows his side can not afford any more disruptions, as any further positive tests within the team at this late stage will almost certainly see them have to forfeit the match.

"I'm extremely confident that we will have a full-strength team for the semi-final," he said.

"The players have really tried hard in isolating themselves at home and I believe the Bulls, Province and Lions have been in the same boat.

"No one wants to lose that opportunity of playing in a semi and possibly a final.

"We can only control what we control and, as we stand now, we'll have a full team to select from next week."

Everitt admitted his team's ability to train properly had been hampered by the late arrival of several players who were forced to self-isolate.

"We had a good week of training but, obviously, we had some guys that returned to training late this week because of Covid protocols," he said.

"It affects their return to play: if you're a contact [case] you can return to pay immediately but if you tested positive then there's a return to play process.

"We did have a number of players that tested positive last week, so some of them will only return tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday.

"The rest of the guys have resumed training, so we are in a pretty good space at the moment."

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Everitt said players respond differently when returning to training following a Covid-19 illness.

"It varies from player to player and the severity of the Covid symptoms they had," he added.

"Generally, the return to play protocols in place give the guys five days to return to full training, which helps quite a lot.

"Guys with mild symptoms are able to return to full fitness a lot quicker.

"You can be out from 10 to 21 days and the longer you're out, the longer it will take for you to get back to full fitness.

"We don't have anyone who has been ruled out at the moment but we will have testing again on Monday."

- TEAMtalk media

Source: News24

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