Sun, 13 Jun 2021

  • Sharks coach Sean Everitt said he'll accede to requests to rest his Springbok players despite the short and intense nature of the Rainbow Cup SA.
  • The Sharks have a large Springbok contingent that includes captain Siya Kolisi and Lukhanyo Am.
  • The Sharks recorded their second consecutive Rainbow Cup SA win when they dispatched the Lions 34-26 at Kings Park on Saturday.

Sharks coach Sean Everitt said he'll accede to any request to rest his Springbok players during the Rainbow Cup SA in preparation for the forthcoming British and Irish Lions series.

The Sharks, who have World Cup winners in Bok captain Siya Kolisi and centre Lukhanyo Am in their ranks, beat the Lions 34-26 at Kings Park on Saturday to keep their unblemished Rainbow Cup SA record.

Those players, along with Thomas du Toit, will come in handy for the British and Irish Lions series, with Warren Gatland having announced his 37-man squad this week.

Everitt said resting his Bok players won't be a big issue for him as he has depth to cover for the absentees.

"It is a request from SA Rugby and one we will entertain and honour. We've got a dozen guys who have been involved in the alignment camps," Everitt said.

"We've got the biggest group of players that's going to be involved with the Springboks, so it's not going to be easy in a short tournament like this one to rest top players.

"Our preparation games gave other guys an opportunity and we have players who haven't been on the field in the past two weeks that are capable of coming in and doing a good job for us."

Kings Park won't be hosting a Test for the first time since the first professional era Lions tour in 1997, but the Sharks will get their taste of Lions flesh when they host them on 10 July.

This week's Lions squad announcement gave the South African team proper rugby context and the Sharks/Lions game was played with the purpose that was missing from the Preparation series and Super Rugby reloaded.

Everitt said the British and Irish Lions squad announcement buzzed around the squad, but it hasn't derailed them from their weekly Rainbow Cup SA rugby task.

"It's been good chat in the squad because there are some young players who idolise some of the guys who play for the British and Irish Lions," Everitt said

"There've been some chats over coffee with regards to the team they've selected. We'll be playing against them and I think every one of the guys are hoping to be involved in that game and that will include the Springboks."

"Some of them may not get the chance to play against them in a Test, so there's a lot of excitement, but it hasn't taken away from our weekly job."

Source: News24

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