Pienaar not called up for Sharks

2009-08-14 00:00

SHARKS head coach John Plumtree has complied with the wishes of the Springbok coaching staff and omitted Ruan Pienaar from his team to face the Lions in the Currie Cup match at Ellis Park tomorrow evening.

Plumtree has included three current Springboks — Ryan Kankowski, Odwa Ndungane and Jannie du Plessis — in the Sharks squad of 22 for tomorrow, but Test reserves Pienaar and Adi Jacobs have not been called up.

Plumtree has lost Argentinian flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez and scrumhalf Rory Kockott to injury and the selection of Pienaar, who was on the bench for the Tri-Nations international against the Wallabies at Newlands last Saturday and has played only briefly this season because of injury, would have served the interests of both the Sharks and the Springboks.

“Personally,” said Plumtree yesterday, “I believe Ruan needs the rugby, but Peter de Villiers [the Bok coach] doesn’t want to risk him and I respect his decision.”

The Sharks, according to International Rugby Board (IRB) regulations, were entitled to select their Springboks as the next Test — against Australia in Perth — is only on August 29.

But Plumtree said there never was any question of refusing De Villiers’s request.

“We would never go against the wishes of the Springbok coach,” said Plumtree. “That’s not the relationship we have with the Springboks.”

Jacobs, like Pienaar, has recently returned from injury and he is De Villiers’s next choice in the Bok midfield if either Jaque Fourie or Jean de Villiers is injured.

Ndungane, over the hamstring injury that kept him out of the Leopards game, and Kankowski were part of the Sharks squad until the 27-man Tri-Nations squad was selected this week and they have been released for the Currie Cup game. Tighthead Jannie du Plessis has been sitting on the Bok bench for the Tri-Nations, but he has been released by De Villiers. He certainly needs more game time and Plumtree has named him among his reserves as back-up to props Deon Carstens and Patric Cilliers.

Flyhalf Monty Dumond takes over from Hernandez at flyhalf, while Charl McLeod is again at scrumhalf in place of the injured Kockott.

Plumtree has again rotated selections on the flank (Jacques Botes for Keegan Daniel) and hooker (Craig Burden for Skipper Badenhorst).

Three former Sharks — wings Henno Mentz and Dusty Noble and flyhalf Herkie Kruger — have been included in the Lions backline for tomorrow’s game.

The team shows three changes to the team that beat Boland last weekend, with Noble in for Shandre Frolick on the wing and Kruger starting at flyhalf in the place of Ruan Boshoff. The only change at lock sees Willem Stoltz replace another former Shark Johan Snyman.

The match kicks off at 5.05 pm and will be refereed by Jonathan Kaplan.

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