Sharks sign Dixon for rest of Currie Cup

2012-08-29 00:00

THE Sharks have signed former Western Province and Bath hooker Pieter Dixon for the rest of the Currie Cup season. Dixon, who was at the Sharks’ practice at King’s Park yesterday, is expected to be in the match squad of 22 for Saturday evening’s Currie Cup game in Durban.

Sharks manager Rudolf Straeuli confirmed the signing of the 34-year-old Dixon last night.

“We need cover in the Sharks squad after the injury to Bismarck du Plessis and the Springbok call-up of Craig Burden,” he told The Witness.

“We were happy with Monde Hadebe on Saturday [against the Bulls] but we do need options and back-up.”

Straeuli said the Sharks’ coaching staff was satisfied with Dixon’s condition. “He has kept himself fit and will add a huge amount of experience to our squad. We also see him playing a mentoring role and helping the young hookers in the province.”

The Zimbabwean-born Dixon, the nephew of the former South African cricketer Vince van der Bijl, has travelled the rugby world.

Educated at Maritzburg College, he captained SA Schools in 1996. He played Currie Cup and Super 12 rugby for WP and the Stormers before signing for leading English club Bath in the 2005-6 season.

He impressed locals with his mobility and skilful play and twice had his contract renewed before leaving the club at the end of the 2011-12 season.

The 105-kg Dixon, who was married in the KZN midlands in June, has now settled back in his home province.

He played in John Smit’s testimonial game at King’s Park at the end of June, but ahead lie far more testing challenges as he is rushed back into the unforgiving world of Currie Cup rugby.

The Sharks, meanwhile, will not be able to call on any of their Springboks against Free State, said coach John Plumtree.

Bok coach Heyneke Meyer yesterday delayed by 24 hours the announcement of his squad but it is expected that Burden will again be included. There has been some speculation that Sharks captain Keegan Daniel could return to the Sharks with fit-again Duane Vermeulen replacing him in the Boks.

The Sharks suffered no fresh injuries against the Blue Bulls and Plumtree is hoping that centre Meyer Bosman, who missed the Pretoria trip, will be passed fit today.

Plumtree cited the Sharks’ shoddy defence and poor ball-handling as reasons for their defeat by the Bulls

“We’re looking for a major improvement in those areas against the Cheetahs,” he said. “There is no excuse for leaking 42 points.”

The Free State’s prop Trevor Nyakane is out with a broken thumb.

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