DURBAN – Sharks coach Sean Everitt believes star fullback Aphelele Fassi will bounce back a mentally stronger player after a freakish injury in training last Thursday has condemned him to three months on the sidelines.
The 22-year-old fell awkwardly in training, and with a teammate on his back, causing his shoulder to hyper-extend. He has undergone surgery and will require 10 to 12 weeks of recovery.
“Fassi is a young player with a very positive attitude — he is one of those guys that is never down,” Everitt said. “He was in great form in Super Rugby earlier this year and he was on the brink of national selection, so obviously he is disappointed to get injured a week before the resumption of rugby, but he will bounce back — he knows he has time on his side and this setback will give time to reflect on the realities of rugby.
“From a Sharks team point of view, he is a big loss in that he brings a lot of energy to training and also to our games with his adventurous style of play, but injuries are part of rugby life and the show goes on.”
The Sharks have further complications regarding their back three depth in that wings Madosh Tambwe (hamstring) and Sbu Nkosi (sternum) were also injured in training last week and will miss this week’s Superfan Saturday match against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.
Also, Springbok wing Makazole Mapimpi leaves this week to join his Japanese club.
“It does leave us a little thin but the positive is that it means we will look at other players in those positions,” Everitt said. “Manie Libbok, Curwin Bosch and Boeta Chamberlain are versatile (fullback/flyhalves) and we have Werner Kok who can play centre and wing and (Junior Bok) Thaakir Abrahams is an exciting youngster (fullback/wing).”