Sharks working on the weak spots

2013-03-20 00:00

FRANS Steyn is out of condition and out of form but Sharks coach John Plumtree believes that a heavy dose of patience will help the burly Springbok regain his mojo.

Steyn returned to Durban from France last year and was seen as a major boost for the Sharks midfield.

But, battling back from injury, he has struggled to find form and was exposed on a number of occasions during the Sharks heavy loss to the Brumbies on Saturday evening.

Plumtree, in his weekly media briefing at King’s Park yesterday, did not dodge the issue.

“Frans has some work to do and he’ll admit that himself,” said the Sharks coach.

“He’s coming back from a bad ankle injury and only two months ago he was 118 kg. He hadn’t played for months.”

Plumtree said that the 25-year-old Steyn was now down to 109 kg and said his “best fighting weight” would be 105 or 106kg.

“He’s on the right track and training really hard. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work out he’s not quite at his best, but he’s got to be patient, we’ve got to be patient and it will come.

“Frans is a quality player and that quality doesn’t just dry up and go away. But you have to be at your best fighting weight in this Super Rugby competition because it’s so fast.

“He’ll get there, it’s just a case of hanging in there. He was away overseas for three years and he’s been out of Super Rugby for long time. The game is slower [in Europe] and he had to contend with different conditions and different coaching. It will take him a little while to come back to his best but it’s a case of everyone, including himself, being patient.”

Plumtree said that Steyn was desperate to be back at his best.

“He’s grumpy and angry. He’s a competitive guy.”

Plumtree said that injured centre Tim Whitehead was also been missed.

“But he will be back soon — and so will Frans.”

Plumtree said that Steyn could be switched to fullback for Saturday evening’s game against the Rebels if Louis Ludik failed a fitness test.

This would allow for the inclusion of Meyer Bosman, an excellent distibutor, at inside centre.

Lock Anton Bresler and Ludik are both nursing shoulder injuries and prop Jannie du Plessis (bruised thigh) also sat out training yesterday.

Pieter-Steph du Toit, Kyle Cooper and Wiehahn Herbst, who all played off the bench against the Brumbies and made a second-half impact, could challenge for places in the run-on team.

Plumtree said that the Sharks were looking for the cohesion that was a hallmark of the team’s 2010 Currie Cup title win and their advance to the Super Rugby final last year.

“We haven’t got that and that’s the challenge.”

Kick-off on Saturday is 5.05 pm.

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