Flyhalf woes for Sharks

2013-07-09 00:00

THE Sharks could be down to their fourth-choice flyhalf when they take on the Southern Kings in their final Super Rugby fixture of 2013 at King’s Park on Saturday.

Current Springbok Pat Lambie is unlikely to overcome a back injury in time for Saturday’s game, while veteran Butch James, who played at flyhalf against the Bulls at Loftus on Saturday, has copped a four-week ban for a dangerous tackle late in the game.

Meyer Bosman is third flyhalf in line, but he is returning from an extended injury break. If he is ruled out, or selected at inside centre, the Sharks’ two coaches, Hugh Reece-Edwards and Grant Bashford, will choose between current fullback Riaan Viljoen or Vodacom Cup flyhalf Fred Zeilinga.

Bashford said yesterday that the Sharks hoped to have both Bosman and Springbok wing J.P. Pietersen up and running this week.

“They still have to pass fitness tests but there is a very real possibility that both will be available.

“Butch [James] is definitely out and Pat [Lambie] is getting his back scanned. He is not very comfortable so it’s not looking great for him.”

Lambie left the field in the closing minutes of the Loftus game and moments before the unfortunate Viljoen, in the absence of the errant James, was press-ganged into kicking, and missing, the final penalty.

Bashford said the forwards had come through the physically demanding contest without serious ­damage.

“Willem Alberts may not train until Thursday but we’ll assess him during the week.”

He said that the Sharks had seven backs [Frans Steyn, Tim Whitehead, Paul Jordaan, Butch James, Pat Lambie, Meyer Bosman and JP Pietersen] either sidelined or facing fitness tests. This not only complicated selection but broke the continuity in the backline.

Bashford said the Sharks came through a major test of character at Loftus with flying colours.

“When we heard before the Loftus kick-off that the Cheetahs had won, and that we were out of the playoffs, there was a definite change in the mood of the team.Being alive in the tournament had been part of our talking the whole week, but then it was suddenly over.

“So our game against the Bulls [who were playing for top spot] became all about character and the most pleasing thing was the manner in which the players stood up.

“No one can say there was any lack of effort out there and, if anything, we did all the playing. There were lots of positives — our intensity was awesome and the commitment shown from one to 22 was outstanding. It is just unfortunate that, on the day, it came down to the missed kicks, which cost us 16 points.”

He said there was a positive mood in the Sharks camp in spite of the 20-19 loss.

“We really felt that we had played better than them and we were proud of our efforts.”

He said that the strategy (in fielding backrower Jean Deysel ahead of Keegan Daniel) had been “to start with the big boys” and then add pace off the bench at the finish.

“It all went according to plan until the final minutes of the game.”

Bashford said there would again be little but pride at stake against the Kings.

“But the players showed against first the Blues and then the Bulls that they are a proud bunch.”

The match against the Kings kicks off at 5.05 pm and Jonathan Kaplan will be the referee.

• The Sanzar judicial hearing into the allegation of foul play against Bulls lock Wilhelm Steenkamp has been postponed until today.

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