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Reece explains Tri-Series withdrawal

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 9 Jan 2012 at 08:31
Tagged with : , , , , , , , ,

In a recent interview with John Bishop of The Witness, Sharks assistant coach Hugh Reece-Edwards has confirmed that the side will not take part in the annual Neo Africa Tri-Series warm-up competition at Newlands later this month.

Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl was earlier reported as saying that the Sharks wanted to play more of their pre- Super Rugby fixtures at home; since playing the Tri-Series fixtures in Cape Town, along with a compulsory match against the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth on 17 February would leave the match against Boland on 10 February as the only Kings Park fixture on the calendar, ahead of the third-round clash with the Lions in Durban. The Sharks additionally play their first two Super Rugby fixtures away, against the Bulls and Stormers respectively. Reading between the lines, it sounded as though van Zyl might secretly be worried that Durban fans might lose interest if they had no chance to see the side in action before mid-March.

Reece-Edwards has added another angle to that, by suggesting that the Sharks see little value in playing two hard games within four days ahead of the strenuous season coming up, with the sub-text being that they are presumably already quite concerned about player management and attrition which is a big factor in the expanded Super Rugby competition. “We think it will be more beneficial to our planning and preparation to spread the games over two weekends, particularly this early in the season and with a long year ahead of us,” Reece-Edwards told the Witness.

With the fierce rivalry sure to dominate any match between fellow South African teams (and a few of the Sharks boys no doubt still smarting after last year’s Currie Cup Final hammering against the Lions) it would probably be prudent to steer clear of any unnecessary contact with those sides ahead of the season proper, just in case early season tensions should spill over and result in injuries or suspensions.

No further mention has been made of a mooted additional warm-up fixture at Kings Park on 3 February. Reece-Edwards revealed that the Sharks are considering playing an internal trial game, which may be earmarked for that date.


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