DURBAN – After the Sharks’ back three combined brilliantly to tear apart the Blues for the Durban-based outfit’s opening try the last thing the fans would have wanted to see was star wing Sbu Nkosi being stretched off with a suspected head/neck injury.
The good news is that the measures taken by the paramedics in taking Nkosi off the field was more precautionary than anything. The Springbok wing seemed to charge head first into a teammate’s midriff, hurting his neck.
Chatting after the game, coach Robert du Preez did not seem too concerned about the wing, stating that he looks like he will be alright, possibly even in time to face the Stormers at Kings Park this week.
“Sbu looks okay, he had a bit of pins and needles in his arm but I think he is going to be alright,” said Du Preez.
Nkosi is a lethal weapon in a dangerous Sharks backline, and the last thing the management would have wanted was to lose their star try-scorer so early on in the season. Nkosi offers a full range of skills for the Sharks, but their stocks are quite full when it comes to back three talent.
When Nkosi left the field, Curwin Bosch came onto the park at fullback, shifting the first try scorer, Aphelele Fassi to the wing. Bosch went on to score the bonus-point try for the Sharks, near the end of the game, reading an intercept pass and sprinting nearly the length of the field.
To add to the importance of the back three for the Sharks, the final part of that puzzle, Makazole Mapimpi was named man of the match for an uncharacteristic performance. Mapimpi is a known finisher, a man who can sniff out a try from nowhere. However, against the Blues on Saturday he was a menace on defence and did incredibly well to craft the opening try.
It must also be remembered that the Sharks have veteran Springbok Lwazi Mvovo who can also slot in to add a level of calmness, should injuries call for it.
The Sharks have a strength in depth, especially in the backs, but they will be highly relieved that Nkosi’s injury looks innocuous. He will have a big part to play at the Sharks, but he will also want to work on writing his name into Bok coach Rassie Erasmus’ World Cup squad in Japan.