The Pumas have answered the Sharks call to play against them in a Super 14 warm-up match to replace the match that had been cancelled against the Cheetahs.
The Sharks were due to face the Bloemfontein team in Dubai this weekend at the start of the onfield part of their preparation phase to the southern hemisphere competition, but it was cancelled when the sponsors pulled out due to financial pressure created by the credit crunch.
Sharks coach John Plumtree was angered when the Cheetahs then organised a match against Griquas rather than agree to an alternative venue to their scheduled clash.
On Monday, however, the Pumas came to the Sharks aid by agreeing to host them in Witbank on Saturday.
The match wont provide quite the same intensity the Sharks may have been hoping for from a game against the Cheetahs, but the switch in plan may be a blessing in disguise as it offers Plumtree an opportunity to run a line through the several young players who are coming through the system in Durban.
It may not be the same intensity as a game against the Cheetahs, but we do have a game against the Bulls scheduled for the following week anyway, so we should get the required intensity from that, said Plumtree on Monday afternoon.
There have been several High Performance Centre players who have really impressed me in the past few months of the off-season, and this will be a great opportunity for me to see them play in match conditions.
Plumtree said that up to 12 of the top Sharks players will sit out the Pumas match, which means the Witbank exercise will provide the franchise with a great test of its depth. But the young players will not be completely without star teammates from whom they can learn.