No guarantees for JP from Sharks

Mon, 10 Mar 2014 09:43
Large marcell coetzee   jp pieter

World Cup-winning Springbok JP Pietersen is expected back in the Sharks fold this week, but there is no guarantee that he will play against the Reds.

World Cup-winning Springbok JP Pietersen is expected back in the Sharks fold this week, but there is no guarantee that he will play against the Reds.

Pietersen, who has completed his commitments with his Japanese club, the Wild Knights, and may well come into the reckoning for the Super Rugby Round Five encounter in Durban on Saturday.

Given his pedigree the 27-year-old would normally be regarded as an automatic choice.

However, Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White said that call would only be made later in the week.

"If he [Pietersen] is available someone else loses out, although he's not automatically going to play," White said.

"But if he flies in and learns what we want, and he's an international player, we need him and we think it's what we need against the Reds in terms of what he can add to the game.

"If JP comes in, someone loses out, it doesn't matter who, the important thing is that this is a squad.

"There are 35 medals if you win the competition, I don't think the players are too worried about how many games or when, they just want to win."

Pietersen was recalled to the Bok squad for the year-end tour, after missing the mid-year Tests and Rugby Championships because of his Japanese commitments.

He has scored 16 tries in his 51 Tests since his debut against Australia at Ellispark in 2006.

* Meanwhile White admitted he may have made an error in bringing a rash of replacements onto the field in the second half.

Leading 30-9 White started bringing on the reserves, which he admitted disrupted matters and saw the Lions claw their way back into game - trailing just 23-30, till the a fourth try in the dying minutes denied them a losing bonus point.

"We would have kicked ourselves if we didn't give ourselves a fair chance at scoring the fourth try," White said.

"I told the players afterwards I probably jumped the gun with all the substitutions.

"We were 30-9 up and if as a coach you don't have confidence to put guys on when you're in that position on the scoreboard, when will you?

"Not taking anything away from the players who came on, I think we probably disrupted our rhythm and let the Lions in, and once they smelt they could get a result, then we defended and defended."

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