Butch James will make his long-awaited return to rugby when he makes a substitute appearance for the Wildebeest in the Vodacom Cup this weekend.
According to the Sharks website, James will get around 20 minutes of play against the Boland Cavaliers and another run against Eastern Province a week later.
â€œButch is going on the Wildebeest mini-tour where they play Boland and then the Mighty Elephants,â€ confirmed Sharks coach Dick Muir. â€œHe will be getting a little game time in those two games and we are looking forward to seeing how it all goes for him.â€
James, however, is keeping his emotions in check having suffered previous disappointment on the comeback trail.
â€œI am hoping for some game time and am keen to be involved again,” he said. “Iâ€™ve spent a long time watching from the side, but Iâ€™ve been training for a while now and Iâ€™m ready. Iâ€™ve been told repeatedly that I would play, and then something would happen and I wouldnâ€™t. Iâ€™m looking forward to it though.â€
Meanwhile, Brent Russell will be included in the Sharks squad to face the Blues.
â€œBrent has been playing really well for the Wildebeest,â€ explained Muir. â€œThe reason why we left Brent with the Wildebeest longer than what people would have anticipated was so that he could get his confidence up and is raring to go.â€
Cedric Mkhize is also rewarded for his good form with a place in the squad, while JP Pietersen looks set to play after hurting himself against the Cats.
â€œI think JP will be fine for the weekend, letâ€™s hope so,” said Muir. “Odwa [Ndungane] has a slight groin niggle which we hope he will recover from. We have been pretty fortunate in terms of injuries. But we have the depth in the squad, and itâ€™s just ironic that when you have good depth, you donâ€™t pick up injuries. Itâ€™s unfortunate for guys knocking on the door, guys like Nico Breedt, Jaco Gouws, Grant Rees, Steve Meyer, Jodi Jenneker, they are all playing particularly well.”