Steyn hopeful, BJ out of semi

2008-05-20 00:00

Sydney — Frans Steyn still has an outside chance of playing for the Sharks in the Super 14 semi-final against the Waratahs on Saturday, but BJ Botha is unlikely to be involved.

Botha has a calf-muscle injury that will probably keep the tough Springbok prop out of action until next week.

“BJ probably won’t play on Saturday,” Sharks assistant coach Grant Bashford said yesterday.

“He did not train with the team today, but had a light workout. He has had calf-muscle problems before.”

There was better news about versatile Springbok back Steyn. “Frans trained with the team, but did not take part in contact sessions,” Bashford said.

Steyn suffered a rib injury in a recent match against the Cheetahs. The Sharks, however, do not want to create an impression that they will be hard pressed to make do without him against the solid Waratahs defence.

“There is still time for Frans to recover before Saturday, but we have a number of options,” Bashford pointed out. “Brad Barritt did well against the Chiefs and may be given another chance.”

There is also some uncertainty about the fitness of Tongan World Cup star Epi Taione, who has made a surprising return to the Sharks squad.

Taione was banned for six weeks after a head-butting incident earlier in the competition and his contract with the Sharks was suspended.

However, he is back in the squad and it seems almost certain that he will play on Saturday; maybe even as a member of the starting line-up.

“Epi has been away for a while and we’ve seen him in only one practice, so it’s hard to say how fit he is,” Bashford said.

“I don’t believe he will play the whole match.”

The versatile Taione will probably be deployed on the flank, taking over from veteran Bok AJ Venter, who could be moved to lock.

Taione did not really have time to show his ability before he was suspended, but he is likely to be given an opportunity to make up for his indiscretion during a match against the Hurricanes.

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