Kockott keeps his spot

Sharks scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar will not play against the Blues on Saturday.

Pienaar has failed to recover from a collar-bone injury, which means Rory Kockott will wear the No 9 jersey again. Kockott has been impressive for the Sharks this season – both in general play and kicking at goal – so Sharks coach Dick Muir won’t be too concerned by the news.

But Muir is still not sure whether hooker Bismarck du Plessis (rib) and the experienced AJ Venter (infected leg wound) will be passed fit. A decision on the Springbok duo will be made later in the week.

Meanwhile, the Blues have been training with wet balls to counter the expected slippery conditions in Durban.

The Auckland-based side has struggled with their handling on previous trips to the Shark Tank at this time of the year, and are determined to get a grip on the situation. Practicing with wet balls is a ploy used by Blues flyhalf Nick Evans and assistant coach Greg Cooper when they were with the Highlanders.

“We trained out there with a slippery ball and we aren’t looking at those kind of natural factors to put us back and not allow us to play the game that we can play,” Evans told RugbyHeaven. “We have a lot of talent and the boys believe they can back their skills for the conditions that are there. There’s no doubt that the ball will be slippery – we know that and we will take the right precautions and maybe give ourselves a bit more time.”