Plumtree backs Steyn to come good

Tue, 19 Mar 2013 15:13
Large frans steyn training630 Large francois steyn sharks trai2 Large john plumtree sharks gestur Large francois steyn   patrick la Large keegan daniel   francois st

Sharks' coach John Plumtree has defended struggling centre Frans Steyn after his indifferent start to the Super Rugby competition.
 

Sharks' coach John Plumtree has defended struggling centre Frans Steyn after his indifferent start to the Super Rugby competition.

However, the Kiwi coach said he could shift the Springbok star to fullback over the coming weeks.

Steyn has looked out of sorts in the No. 12 jersey during the opening four games of the season, with criticism mounting about his performances, especially in the side's 29-10 humbling by the Brumbies in Durban at the weekend.

"It doesn't take a brain surgeon to work out that he's not quite at his best," Plumtree said on Tuesday.

"He's a quality player and that won't just dry up and go away. I think he has a bit of work to do and he'll admit that himself. It was only two months ago the guy was at 118 kilograms. He'd comeback from a bad ankle injury and he hadn't played for months.

"Now we've got him down to 110kgs and his best fighting weight will be 105 or 106kgs."

Steyn's innocuous form has coincided with a struggling Sharks' attack that has scored just one try in their four outings thus far, while their defence was torn to shreds against the table-topping Brumbies.

They named an unchanged match 22 during their three-match unbeaten start, before making some alterations against the Australians, some partly through injury.

Plumtree's side are still without centre Tim Whitehead, who was a key backline figure last season, because of a broken arm.

"We are clearly missing a guy like Tim Whitehead in midfield. He'll be back soon and so will Frans," the coach said.

"I'm keen on playing him. He's been out of Super Rugby for a long time playing overseas for three years, so it's going to take him a little while."

Asked whether he would consider shifting the 25-year-old World Cup winner from centre to fullback, Plumtree said it could happen as soon as this weekend.

"I could if Louis Ludik's not fit on the weekend, which he might not be, then we'll possibly put him there," Plumtree said.

Ludik, who has a shoulder injury, was one of three players with an injury cloud hanging over their heads ahead of the clash against the Rebels.

Springbok prop Jannie du Plessis has a thigh problem, while lock Anton Bresler (shoulder) is also doubtful.

All three have not taken part in training this week, although they might participate in some sessions closer to the game.

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
Sat, 03 June 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 02h35 Christchurch
Chiefs v Waratahs 05h05 Hamilton
NZ Barbarians v B&I Lions 07h35 Toll Stadium
Brumbies v Rebels 09h45 Canberra
Force v Hurricanes 11h35 Perth
Sun, 04 June 2017
Ireland U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v France U20 07h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Australia U20 v Samoa U20 09h30 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
England U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 54 | 10
Sat, 27 May 2017
Jaguares v Brumbies 15 | 39
Munster v Scarlets 22 | 46
Sharks v Stormers 22 | 10
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 20 | 23
Bulls v Hurricanes 20 | 34
Rebels v Crusaders 19 | 41
Highlanders v Waratahs 44 | 28
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 7 | 47
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 5 0 7 28
Waratahs 12 4 0 8 19
Force 12 4 0 8 17
Reds 12 3 0 9 16
Rebels 12 1 1 10 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 13 13 0 0 59
Hurricanes 12 10 0 2 48
Highlanders 13 10 0 3 45
Chiefs 12 9 1 2 45
Blues 13 6 1 6 33
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 0 5 34
Cheetahs 13 3 0 10 16
Bulls 12 3 0 9 15
Sunwolves 12 1 0 11 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 12 0 1 56
Sharks 13 9 1 3 42
Jaguares 12 5 0 7 24
Kings 12 4 0 8 19