Daniel back as captain

2012-09-13 00:00

KEEGAN Daniel is back as captain of the Sharks, lock Steven Sykes has been signed by the Southern Kings and Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies could be moving to Durban.

That was the news swirling around the Sharks squad yesterday as coach John Plumtree confirmed that Daniel, who led the squad in the Super Rugby competition, would replace Jean Deysel as captain for the rest of the Currie Cup campaign.

Plumtree emphasised that there was nothing sinister in the switch.

“The decision is one made for the team as well as for Jean Deysel’s benefit,” said Plumtree.

The Sharks coach said that Deysel, who plays a high-impact role in every game, was often involved in rehabilitation early in the week and forced to miss team work.

“For this reason, and no other, I have decided to go back to Keegan as the captain. Keegan is more than happy to lead the side, he is the Super Rugby captain, and that change will be from this weekend.”

The Sharks meet Western Province at King’s Park on Saturday night (7.10 pm) and Plumtree confirmed that centre Paul Jordaan (concussion) would not be considered for this match.

“But Tim Whitehead is back and that’s good news. He’s built a bit of extra muscle in the time he had off, he’s worked hard to get back and it was almost like a nice little pre-season break for him.”

The Sharks will be losing their former Springbok lock, Steven Sykes, at the end of the Currie Cup season. Sykes, who returned from Ireland on a one-year contract this year, has signed for the Southern Kings, the Super Rugby newcomers.

The principal reason for the move is that the 28-year-old Sykes wants to be closer to his family farm near Cradock.

The Sharks have already lost Ross Skeate and Alistair Hargreaves this year, but they have a number of promising young locks, among them Anton Bresler, Pieter-Steph du Toit and the Marais brothers, Jandre and Peet, in the squad.

And it was reported from Johannesburg yesterday that the Sharks and the Stormers are chasing Elton Jantjies, the Lions playmaker, for next year’s Super Rugby competition.

Plumtree has already indicated that Pat Lambie will be the first-choice flyhalf next year, but with Freddie Michalak back in France he has no specialist back-up.

Jantjies has an escape clause in his contract that would allow him to play Super Rugby for any other franchise now that the Lions have been relegated.

The Stormers have reportedly already made Jantjies a lucrative offer, but Sharks officials were in Johannesburg yesterday, presumably to meet the player and his agent.

Jantjies has been in the Springbok squad this year, but was dropped when Free Stater Johan Goosen was chosen for the Rugby Championship games in Australia and New Zealand.

Jantjies’s agent, Jason Adams, told reporters there was no decision on the player’s future, but a number of offers had been made.

Western Province have meanwhile made one change to their starting line-up for the Sharks’ game in Durban. Injured flank Rynhardt Elstadt is replaced by Tyrone Holmes in the only change to the team that beat Free State at the weekend.

Prop Frans Malherbe, who this week travelled all the way to Auckland to join the Boks and seems certain to watch the Test from the grandstand (along with Craig Burden), was on the WP bench in Bloemfontein.

Western Province team: Gio Aplon, Gerhard van den Heever, JP du Plessis, Marcel Brache, Damian Allende, Demetri Catrakilis, Nic Groom, Jebb Sinclair, Tyrone Holmes, Deon Fourie (captain), De Kock Steenkamp, Don Armand, Brok Harris, Scarra Ntubeni, Deon Carstens.

Replacements: Steven Kitshoff, Tom Botha, Wilhelm van Sluys, Helmut Lehmann, Louis Schreuder, Kurt Coleman, Joe Pietersen.

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