Butch return boosts Sharks

Former Bok flyhalf Butch James will be fit for the Sharks opening match of the Vodacom Super 14.

According to the Weekend Argus, James took part in the Sharks’ first training session of 2006 earlier this week and although he didn’t take a full part in the session, Sharks management believe he will be back in action by the end of January.

James is quickly regaining his fitness after a long stint out with troublesome knees and is looking a lot trimmer now than he did before Christmas.

Meanwhile, new Sharks recruit Tony Brown was expected in Durban last Monday but failed to pitch up after his Japanese club made it through to the knock-out stages of the tournament. The New Zealander has requested permission to stay with the side until their challenge ends.

In more good news for the Sharks, Craig Davidson is back to full fitness and is ready to battle it out with Ruan Pienaar for the No 9 shirt. Sharks management said they would not be considering Pienaar for the flyhalf position and that he would be expected to play scrumhalf in the Super 14.

Former Bok winger Dean Hall has also put his injury woes behind him, after playing just a couple of games for the Sharks last season, as has loose forward AJ Venter.

The Sharks kick off their Super 14 campaign against the Chiefs in Durban on 11 February.