Rugby 24.4.2015 05:44 pm

Kankowski ruled out of Sharks tour

FILE PICTURE: Ryan Kankowski of the Cell C Sharks during the Super Rugby match between Cell C Sharks and Chiefs at Growthpoint Kings Park on March 21, 2015 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

FILE PICTURE: Ryan Kankowski of the Cell C Sharks during the Super Rugby match between Cell C Sharks and Chiefs at Growthpoint Kings Park on March 21, 2015 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

Bok number eight Ryan Kankowski was ruled out of the Sharks’ squad on the eve of their departure for their tour to New Zealand and Australia.

Kankowski had been unable to return to fitness since picking up an injury before his side’s clash with the Lions two weeks ago.

It brings the number of injured or suspended Sharks players to six that will miss the tour. Among the lengthy list of sidelined players in addition to Kankowski are Pieter-Steph du Toit, SP Marais,Tera Mtembu, Paul Jordaan and Jean Deysel who is suspended.

Stephan Lewies and JP Pietersen have been included in the 27 man touring group after spending periods of time on the sidelines, recovering from their respective injuries.

The Sharks will play the Highlanders and Hurricanes in New Zealand on their first half of the two-leg tour, before heading over to Australia to take on the Waratahs and Reds.

The coastal outfit occupy fourth spot on the SA conference with 21 points from 10 outings behind a resurgent Lions team, and the much-fancied Stormers and Bulls sides.

Director of rugby Gary Gold, however, had not ruled out an unlikely comeback for his Sharks team.

“Tours are funny things, I’ve seen teams in far worse positions than us fight to get back and I’m not giving up the fight in any way, shape or form,” said Gold.

“I’m keen to work with these guys in adverse times – that’s when you see true warriors come out. That’s our challenge: we are down but we’re not out and now is the time to stand up and fight back. If we come back fighting in the last six games, we’ll salvage a lot of respect.”

Sharks touring squad: Backs: Lionel Cronje, Andre Esterhuizen, Conrad Hoffmann, Waylon Murray, Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, JP Pietersen, Cobus Reinach, S’bura Sithole, Francois Steyn, Stefan Ungerer, Fred Zeilinga. Forwards: Lourens Adriaanse, Willem Alberts, Renaldo Bothma, Dale Chadwick, Marcell Coetzee, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Stephan Lewies, Franco Marais, Beast Mtawarira, Lubabalo ‘Giant’ Mtyanda, Etienne Oosthuizen, Matt Stevens, Marco Wentzel.

 

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