Double blow as Sharks lose Paul Jordaan

2014-03-12 00:00

THE Sharks’ backline has been dealt a double blow after it was announced yesterday that outside centre Paul Jordaan is expected to be out after undergoing a scope to his knee.

This followed on the news that wing Odwa Ndungane had been granted compassionate leave and had returned to the Eastern Cape following the untimely death of his father. Along with scrumhalf Cobus Reinach, Jordaan and Ndungane have been the Sharks’ leading try scorers so far this season with two apiece.

Jordaan was part of a successful centre pairing with the dazzling Frans Steyn for the Sharks in their first two games. The late withdrawal of Pat Lambie last week saw Steyn moved to flyhalf, and Jordaan was joined in midfield by Heimar Williams.

It’s not all doom and gloom for the men in black and white as Lambie has started training again, and is expected to be available for selection against the Reds.

The withdrawal of Jordaan could open up a gap for S’bura Sithole, who Sharks coach Jake White talked up considerably after they demolished the Lions in a pre-season warm up game in Johannesburg.

“S’bura Sithole at 13 was unbelievable. He was phenomenal actually. That bodes well for us because we are probably a bit short in the centres, especially at outside centre, so for him to have played the way he did and to put up his hand as he did was obviously very pleasing,” White was quoted as saying after the Sharks’ final warm-up game against the Lions.

JP Pietersen, who returns to Shark Country from his Japanese adventure, is also an option in the number 13 jersey. But, with Ndungane also sitting out the game, Pietersen could also see himself starting on the right wing. Of course, there is the possibility of Pietersen getting the nod at 13, and Sithole starting at 14.

Inside centre Williams, who looked solid in his first Super Rugby start last week against the Lions, is another player that White could consider starting in the number 13 jumper.

The Sharks’ much talked about depth was tested last week, and they came through with flying colours as Steyn dictated play in the absence of General Lambie.

Steyn’s performance at flyhalf was given the thumbs up by lock Pieter-Steph du Toit.

“Frans is a quality player and you can hear Coach speaking of him during the week, and I think it’s wonderful to have a player like that in our team as well,” the 21-year-old Du Toit told reporters from the Sharks’ gym on Monday afternoon.

Despite the potential shifts in the backline, the action will still be in the forwards as White’s troops look to make it four wins from four against the James Horwill led Queensland Reds.

“The Reds are a quality forwards pack. They have James Horwill there, the captain of the Australian captain, so he’s definitely going to be a good competitor in the lineouts again, so we have to be sharp,” Du Toit told The Witness.

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