Sharks could be hit by Springbok call-ups in preparation for Lions tour
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It is only about seven weeks until the British and Irish Lions arrive in South Africa and the need for the Boks to step up their preparations is soon going to impact on the Rainbow Cup SA competition.
More alignment camps are in the pipeline and then the Boks will go into camp some time before the first warm-up Test against Georgia on July 3.
The Rainbow Cup SA reaches the halfway mark on Saturday when the Sharks visit the Bulls and the Lions host the Stormers.
The four teams then go straight into the second half of the competition, each playing three matches and concluding on June 12, when the Lions travel to the Stormers and the Sharks are at home to the Bulls.
Sharks coach Sean Everitt said that the Preparation Series had proved extremely useful in testing his squad’s depth and readying the next tier of players for top flight rugby, so for now he will play his strongest possible team with no thought of rotation.
He will use his top players for as long as he can, as will his coaching adversaries, no doubt.
“We have a dozen guys that have been involved in the alignment camps — I think we have the biggest contribution, so it won’t be easy to rest our top players in such a short comp,” he said. “But any request from SA Rugby we will entertain and honour.”
In the mean time, Everitt said he will be consistent in his selections.
“We used the Preparation Series to test our depth and it was pleasing to see where we are,” he said.
“There will be times in this Rainbow Cup SA where we will have to rest our Boks who will be involved against the Lions but we have good depth and the guys that will replace the top dogs will be ready and waiting.
“This short competition of six games doesn’t allow us to rotate and test depth, it is about winning each week and performing,” Everitt explained.
“The pressure is on in every game when it is just two rounds of home and away matches. You can’t afford to drop points because then you are level pegging with the next team.
“So for us to be unbeaten after two rounds is very pleasing.”