Steyn in dramatic semi comeback

Tue, 15 Oct 2013 13:31
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World Cup-winning Springbok utility back Frans Steyn will make a dramatic return to the playing field on Saturday.

World Cup-winning Springbok utility back Frans Steyn will make a dramatic return to the playing field in the Currie Cup semifinal on Saturday.

Sharks backline coach Sean Everitt confirmed to this website that Steyn is set to start in the midfield, alongside Louis Ludik, in a revised backline for the showdown with the Free State Cheetahs in Durban.

The 26-year-old has been sidelined since he underwent surgery in May for a lower leg injury, diagnosed at the time as 'compartment syndrome'.

Steyn, who has played 53 Tests since making his debut in 2007, the same year he won the World Cup as a 19-year-old, will replace Heimar Williams in the No.12 jersey.

Other changes in the backline will see Louis Ludik coming in for Tim Whitehead at outside centre, while Patrick Lambie will start at flyhalf ahead of Fred Zeilinga - after playing off the bench in the final regular-season match against Western Province last week.

It has not all been good news for the Sharks.

Veteran Bok prop Jannie du Plessis suffered a hand/wrist injury at practice on Monday and will not play against the Cheetahs.

However, the Sharks assistant coach, Everitt, is confident Du Plessis will be fit for the Final - if the Sharks advance.

Willem Alberts also still remains sidelined due to a neck injury he suffered against New Zealand in the Rugby Championship.

Wiehahn Herbst is set to come in for Jannie du Plessis.

The rest of the team will be unchanged when it is formally named on Wednesday.

Everitt felt the Boks, who first returned in the 13-17 loss to WP last week, have no settled in better.

"We are very happy with them," he said on their returning international stars, adding: "They all performed very well last week - they put their hands up and took responsibility for their roles.

"This week it will be a lot easier for them, because there won't be so much pressure on them to learn all the calls."

He felt the Sharks can look forward to another good performance from their Bok contingent, which bring with them substantial experience of winning big games and play-off matches.

"We do have a lot of experience in that regard [play-offs] and a guy like Frans [Steyn], even though he hasn't played in a while, will offer us a lot as far as experience is concerned, as well as Louis [Ludik] in the midfield.

"Those other Springboks will also be of huge value to us."

By Jan de Koning

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Free State Cheetahs 12 6 0 6 31
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Griquas 12 4 0 8 26