Plumtree backs Steyn to come good

Tue, 19 Mar 2013 15:13
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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
Sun, 23 July 2017
Pumas v Golden Lions 12h30 Nelspruit
Fri, 28 July 2017
Lions v Hurricanes 22h00 Ellis Park
Golden Lions v Griquas 17h00 Johannesburg
Sat, 29 July 2017
Crusaders v Chiefs 22h00 Christchurch
Sharks v Pumas 12h30 Durban
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 22 July 2017
Stormers v Chiefs 11 | 17
Lions v Sharks 23 | 21
Crusaders v Highlanders 17 | 0
Fri, 21 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 47 | 12
Brumbies v Hurricanes 16 | 35
Sat, 15 July 2017
Sharks v Lions 10 | 27
Bulls v Stormers 33 | 41
Force v Waratahs 40 | 11
Hurricanes v Crusaders 31 | 22
Chiefs v Brumbies 28 | 10
Sunwolves v Blues 43 | 21
Fri, 14 July 2017
Kings v Cheetahs 20 | 21
Rebels v Jaguares 29 | 32
Highlanders v Reds 40 | 17
Sat, 08 July 2017
Stormers v Sunwolves 52 | 15
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28