Springbok captain John Smit needed just 40 minutes of Vodacom Cup rugby to convince regional Sharks coach Dick Muir he was ready to play in the Super 14.
The Sharks, with just the one win from four games, still have three more away games in Australia and New Zealand. It could get ugly and captain AJ Venter urged his teammates to show courage in negotiating a schedule that is the most demanding yet experienced in Super rugby history. The Kiwis talk of the challenge in playing three successive matches in South Africa. It shows the imbalance of the competition.
The attrition rate after four rounds is starting to show and Muir had to send home five players in the last 48 hours. Fortunately, he can replace them with an all-international cast of Smit, Henno Mentz, Adrian Jacobs, Warren Britz and Craig Davidson.
Brent Russell, Solly Tyibilika, Brent Moyle, Sandile Nxumalo and Craig Burden all returned to Durban following the 31-16 defeat against the Waratahs.