Dickie’s big call

Sharks coach Dick Muir says his side will beat the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday.

Muir’s optimism is based on the return of several key players to the squad, including Tony Brown at flyhalf, John Smit at hooker, Warren Britz on the flank, Henno Mentz on the wing, Adrian Jacobs at centre and scrumhalf Craig Davidson on the bench.

“We will beat the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday. No question about it. We will do it,” Muir told the Mercury. “I believe we are blending together nicely as a team. We have not been too far off the money in our recent games – we have just lacked experience in key positions, and that is because injury dealt us that hand. We made the best we could of it, but now it looks like we will be able to field somewhere near our optimum combination.

“Honestly, I believe we will win this one. We started our tour off well against the Crusaders, took a step backwards against New South Wales and now we are coming together nicely for this one.”

Meanwhile, Brumbies fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper will spend up to three weeks on the sidelines after an MRI scan revealed minor ligament damage to his left ankle.

Ashley-Cooper was injured shortly after scoring his second try in as many matches during the early stages of last Friday’s victory over the Cats.

Rather than opting to re-shuffle his backline for this Saturday’s clash with the Sharks, coach Gandalf Fisher has opted to bring in a recognised No 15 to replace his in-form fullback.

“There was the option to shift Mark Gerrard off the wing, but he’s been playing some outstanding football on the left wing so we’ve decided to bring in a recognised fullback in Ben Batger,” he said.

Batger started his Super Rugby career in stunning fashion last season when he crossed for a try with his first touch of the ball in the Brumbies’ three-point victory over the Stormers at Canberra Stadium.