Hargreaves out but Skeate included in line up

2011-04-06 00:00

THE Sharks’ consistent lock Alistair Hargreaves will miss Saturday night’s Super Rugby clash against the Lions but will be back in action before the end of the month.

Hargreaves, the Sharks’ lineout specialist, has suffered a shoulder injury and the former Western Province lock Ross Skeate has been drafted into the 22-man squad.

“Alistair is our only injury concern after the Stormers’ game,” head coach John Plumtree said yesterday. “A scan showed a hairline fracture in his AC joint and he’s probably out for two to three weeks and we hope no longer than that.”

The lineout was a major cause of concern last Saturday when the Sharks went down to the Stormers and the absence of Hargreaves obviously compounds the problem.

“We analysed the lineout performance after the Stormers game,” said Plumtree, “and we found that wrong options were taken and our execution was poor. So it was our own doing. We know we have a lineout call that can win ball so it’s just about making sure the right options are taken and then executed properly.”

The Sharks coach said that Hargeaves’ absence would provide others with opportunities to shine.

“Steven Sykes can now show what he can do in that area. He’s been around for a while and partnered Albert van den Berg and Johann Muller previously, so we hope he can do a good job for us.

“Ross (Skeate) will come into the 22 this week and he’s had a fair bit of experience in that area.”

Skeate has not been involved with the Sharks over the past six weeks following a finger injury and Plumtree said the lock had first been involved in a conditioning programme before playing for the Sharks XV over the past fortnight.

“But it is hard to expect him to just come in and solve our problems.”

The towering Gerhard Mostert, at two metres and weighing 120kg, replaced the injured Hargreaves on Saturday and he will probably start as Sykes’s partner against the Lions.

“He’s a big target and we hope he will be able to help out on Saturday.”

Another making his way back to Super Rugby is powerful flank Jean Deysel following serious knee surgery.

“I will leave him playing Vodacom Cup at this stage,” said Plumtree. “In terms of his rehab, this is a crucial step, and he’s pretty happy with that. It’s been a long road for him after being out for 11 months with wrist and knee injuries. We are all hoping this is the end of his injuries.”

Plumtree defended the performances of the Sharks’ new flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter, who replaced the injured Pat Lambie against both the Crusaders and the Stormers.

“There was a lot of pressure on him last week and the Stormers’ umbrella defence was most effective against us and shut us down out wide.

“We were quite naïve about that and played into their hands at times, especially in our own half. They did their homework on us and how we want to play the game. This made it hard for our flyhalf who is pretty new to what we’re doing and when he had no one helping him out.”

Plumtree said that the long goal-kicks missed by Potgieter were not easy.

“He’s following in the footsteps of a local youngster (Lambie), the golden child of rugby here, so it’s going to be hard for him. But, at the end of the day, we trust him. We think that if we all play well around him and lay a good platform for him, he’ll do a good job for us.”

News from the Lions’ camp is that coach John Mitchell will bring in a kicking consultant after flyhalf Andre Pretorius’ missed four of nine attempts in their 30-25 defeat by the Reds at the weekend.

“We are basically going to start that programme as soon as we can,” Mitchell said.

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