Injured Bok creates midfield crisis

Tue, 21 May 2013 15:43
Large jp pietersen sharks ball 63 Large bismarck du plessis shark2s Large tendai mtawarira injured Large jp pietersen sharks train2 Large bismarck du plessis and joh

Sharks coach John Plumtree has to deal with a midfield crisis as he prepares his team for the arrival of the Bulls on Saturday.

Sharks coach John Plumtree has to deal with a midfield crisis as he prepares his team for the arrival of the Bulls on Saturday.

The South African conference leaders, on a five-match winning streak, have not lost on SA soil this year and are fancied to claim one of the prime positions in Super Rugby's July play-offs.

However, Plumtree has to deal with the news that seasoned Springbok JP Pietersen will require surgery, after sustaining a groin injury against the Western Force last week.

Pietersen, who was moved to centre in the wake of a series of crippling midfield injuries, looks set to be ruled out for the rest of the season - including the June internationals and most likely also the start of Rugby Championships in August.

His injury comes in the wake of setbacks that ruled out talented young stars Tim Whitehead (fractured arm) and Paul Jordaan (knee), as well as Springbok Frans Steyn (lower leg) who saw his season come to a premature end in the loss to the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Although the Sharks were still awaiting the results of further medical assessments on Pietersen, Plumtree has resigned himself to the fact that he will be field yet another new midfield combination against the powerful Bulls outfit.

It was also confirmed that veteran Bok Marius Joubert, who fractured his hand in a Vodacom Cup semifinal loss to the Lions, will not be available this week.

The good news is that fellow Bok Meyer Bosman, who fractured his nose in the win over the Force last week, trained with the team on Tuesday and will be available to face the men from Pretoria.

However, the outside centre position is a major poser.

Piet Lindeque, unwanted in Durban till the injuries started and now on loan from Varsity Cup champions Pretoria University, may well start in his preferred position of centre - after playing out on the wing since he joined the Sharks on tour.

The real good news for the Sharks is that Bok stalwarts Bismarck du Plessis (knee), Tendai Mtawarira (calf) and Andrew James (knee) all trained with the team on Tuesday and can be considered for selection.

James can play at inside centre, but having not seen any action for almost a year, the same length of time that Du Plessis has been absent, means it will be a huge risk to rush him back into the starting XV.

Du Plessis looked in great nick at training and could also feature, although he will run the same risk as James if he is rushed into the starting XV without any game time under his belt.

However, given the Sharks' dire situation - sitting in 11th on the standings with six wins from 12 starts - they may well risk the two Bok veterans, even off the bench.

Mtawarira is much less of a risk, as he has been sidelined for just over a month.

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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