Playmaker poser for Sharks
Playmaker poser for SharksSHARE
Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White is yet to decide whether Frans Steyn or Tim Swiel will start at flyhalf against the Cheetahs this weekend.
Fred Zeilinga injured his hamstring in the victory over the Lions at Ellis Park last Saturday and was replaced by Steyn who shifted from inside centre and performed well at pivot.
Zeilinga joins first-choice flyhalf Pat Lambie on the sidelines, with his injury expected to rule him out for a couple of weeks, which leaves White with an interesting decision.
Swiel was given an opportunity when Lambie got injured early on in their clash with the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld, but they slumped to their only defeat of the season so far and Zeilinga was given the No.10 jersey for the clash against the Waratahs the following week with Swiel relegated to the Vodacom Cup since then.
Steyn showed impressive maturity as playmaker against the Lions, and with Paul Jordaan back in contention for selection, White will have sufficient cover in midfield to start the experienced Springbok utility back at flyhalf.
The Sharks boss admitted on Monday that he has not made up his mind yet, but made it clear that Swiel will get an opportunity whether in the starting line-up or off the bench.
"I haven't decided yet and it this stage there are a couple of options.
"Tim Swiel could slot straight back in at 10 as he has been doing well in the Vodacom Cup with the Sharks XV, who are unbeaten.
"Obviously Frans could also play at 10. He did that for us on Saturday against the Lions. It's a choice we have to make, but inevitably Tim will get game time against the Cheetahs. It just depends whether it is off the bench or as a member of the starting team," he explained.
White said that he is trying to keep a positive attitude about the flyhalf injuries, comparing the situation to the All Blacks' victorious 2011 World Cup campaign.
"We're now onto our fourth flyhalf, and we're not making a big issue of it, that's the nature of this competition.
"It's a good omen though – the All Blacks won the World Cup in 2011 with their fourth flyhalf," he pointed out.
The Sharks boss was delighted with the result at Ellis Park, noting how rare away wins have been this season.
"Putting our game in context, the lose ratio away from home is absolutely phenomenal this year, there have been just 14 away wins in 55 games.
"The winning percentages are low so any win there is good. We haven't beaten them for four years at Ellis Park, the last time was in 2010, which for us is a massive tick as a group," he said.
White added that the bonus point was never a priority, as he prefers to view it as just that – a bonus.
"It wasn’t going to be a bonus point game, that was not something we were just going to get.
"It’s called a bonus point because it's a bonus, it's been proven in this competition now, sides like the Force go on and beat the Waratahs, the Rebels, also new in this competition, came within two or three minutes of beating the Chiefs who are the champions.
"I'm not saying it in any way other than to point out that a bonus is exactly that, it's a bonus when you can win and score four tries and in this competition it happens less frequently than when fewer than four tries are scored," he said.