Coaches juggle injury lists ahead of Crusaders’ clash with Sharks

2013-04-02 00:00

SPRINGBOK wing Lwazi Mvovo has joined the Sharks’ list of walking wounded and has undergone surgery to his hand.

Hugh Reece-Edwards, the Sharks’ assistant coach, last night confirmed that Mvovo would probably be out of action for six weeks.

Mvovo played with the injured hand in the Sharks last game against the Rebels and it was hoped that surgery could be delayed until later in the year.

But it was decided last week that treatment should be done sooner rather than later and he has joined five other players (Bismarck du Plessis, Willem Alberts, Butch James, Jean Deysel and Tim Whitehead) on the sidelines.

Deysel and Whitehead were expected to be back for the big Super Rugby game against the Crusaders, the seven-time champions, at King’s Park on Friday night, but Reece-Edwards said their return had been delayed.

“We had hoped they would be ready this week, but they are not yet right,” he said.

The good news is that Odwa Ndungane, another Springbok, is a ready-made replacement for Mvovo while Test flank Marcell Coet­zee has recovered from the “mild concussion” which forced him from the field during the lop-sided win over the Rebels.

The Sharks, who had a bye over the Easter weekend, were back at practice yesterday and Reece-Edwards said there were no other problems.

Head coach John Plumtree’s most difficult choice is at loose forward where he has four players (Keegan Daniel, Ryan Kankowski, Jacques Botes and Coetzee) vying for three places, but he has also to decide whether he should start with Springbok Frans Steyn or play him off the bench again while he works on his conditioning.

The Crusaders, 19-14 victors over the Stormers in Cape Town at the weekend, have injury problems of their own.

They travelled to South Africa without All Blacks Dan Carter and Keiran Read while Test fullback Israel Dagg was a late withdrawal in Cape Town as he battled a hamstring problem.

He hopes to be ready to face the Sharks this weekend.

International prop Owen Franks is expected to miss the Sharks’ game because of a rib injury but the most serious injury is to wing Johnny McNicholl, who broke his ankle at Newlands and he will miss the rest of the Super Rugby season.

Telusa Veainu will join the squad as cover.

Friday’s match kicks off at 7.10 and South African referee Lourens van der Merwe, who handled the Rebels’ game, will again be the referee.

The Sharks, with four log points for their bye, head the South African conference with 21 points followed by the Cheetahs (18), Bulls and Stormers (both on 15).

The Sharks meet the Crusaders, Stormers (at Newlands) and Cheetahs (in Durban) over the next three weekends before leaving on their four-match tour of New Zealand and Australia.

This weekend’s fixtures

(home team first, SA times):


Blues vs Highlanders, 8.35 am.

Brumbies vs Kings, 10.40 am.

Sharks vs Crusaders, 7.10 pm.


Hurricanes vs Waratahs, 8.35 am

Force vs Rebels, 10.40 am.

Cheetahs v Stormers, 5.05 pm

Byes: Bulls, Chiefs, Reds.

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