Sharks lose Steyn

2009-05-04 00:00

Springbok utility back Frans Steyn has been lost to the Sharks for the rest of the Super 14 season while slap-happy scrumhalf Rory Kockott will miss Saturday’s big game against the Waratahs in Durban.

Steyn limped from the field late in Saturday’s game against the Highlanders and there were initial fears that he had damaged his cruciate ligament, which could have sidelined him for six to eight months.

Steyn underwent a scan yesterday and then consulted a specialist and Sharks team doctor Craig Roberts said that the news, although devastating for the Sharks, was “just about as good as it could have been for Frans”.

“He has a grade two sprain of the inside ligament and a small tear of the knee cartilage,” said Roberts.

“He will have a scope tomorrow [today] to clean out the cartilage and we are hoping that he will be back in about six weeks.”

Roberts said that it would be a race to have Steyn ready for the British Lions tour with the first Test in Durban on June 20.

Kockott appeared before a disciplinary hearing yesterday after the Sharks scrumhalf was sent off after slapping Highlanders flank Adam Thomson in the 76th minute of the match following an off-the-ball tackle. Match referee Phillip Bosch, with the support of touch judge Craig Joubert, red-carded Kockott.

The Sharks player was represented by lawyer Stephen Weyers and Sharks team manager Trevor Barnes and the case was heard by Sanzar judicial officer, advocate Dekker Govender.

Kockott pleaded guilty to the charge of striking Thomson and the defence argued that a red card was sufficient punishment. Govender ruled that although Kockott’s action was not a punch, it was a reckless, open-hand slap and imposed a one-week suspension.

The suspension means Kockott misses the Sharks’ Super 14 match against the Waratahs in Durban on Saturday. He will be back for the final league game against the Bulls on May 16.

With Steyn also sidelined, it is likely that head coach John Plumtree will replace Kockott with Charl Mcleod at scrumhalf.

Roberts had more encouraging news about the Sharks’ other injured players. The Sharks doctor said that Bok centre Adi Jacobs had reacted positively to treatment for his shoulder injury “and he might well play on Saturday”.

“We will make a decision on Adi on Thursday,” he said last night.

Opinion had been divided whether Jacobs should undergo shoulder surgery, which would sideline him for three months, but the improvement under treatment suggests that surgery is no longer necessary.

Roberts added that Bok flyhalf Ruan Pienaar, who came on in the second half as a replacement on Saturday, had emerged without any problems and he would be ready to start in Steyn’s place on Saturday.

A week ago Plumtree had said he was hoping for some continuity in his backline selection. On Saturday he will have a new scrumhalf (McLeod for Kockott), a change at flyhalf (Pienaar for Steyn) and a return to the midfield pairing of Riaan Swanepoel and Jacobs (if he is passed fit).

The match kicks off at 3 pm and it is a must-win for both the fourth-placed Sharks and the fifth-placed Waratahs if they are to reach the semi-finals.

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