Jacobs in doubt for Lions

2009-04-28 00:00

SPRINGBOK centre Adrian Jacobs, who is nursing a shoulder injury, may have to undergo surgery that will rule him out of the series against the touring British Lions.

Jacobs, one of the most consistent performers in the Super 14, damaged a shoulder against the Crusaders and has failed to recover. Sharks head coach Johnh Plumtree said yesterday that a scan has been taken of the injury and “he could be out for just this week against the Highlanders or he may be side-lined for three moinths”.

There are fears that Jacobs may have to have an operation on the shoulder and that would side-line him for the three Tests against the Lions in June and July. With Stormers captain and inside centre Jean de Viliers also on the injured list, the Boks could have problems in their midfield.

Plumtree has a number of injury concerns among his backs ahead of the Highlanders’ Super 14 game on Saturday, but he is hoping Ruan Pienaar will be back at flyhalf.

“We have still to make a decision whether he starts or plays off the bench. He did pull up right after training on Monday night, and said he was feeling stiff, but the grass on the field at Northwood is thick and we are hoping that is the reason, and that he will be ready by the weekend.”

Plumtree said that Waylon Murray, also returning from injury, is only about “85% fit and hopefully he’ll play some role in the Sharks XV game (in the curtain-raiser) on Saturday.”

Plumtree said the injuries are a setback “as we are trying to get some form of continuity going in our backline”.

“If Ruan makes it, we will have Frans Steyn and Andries Strauss in the midfield but, if Ruan drops out, we’ll be a playmaker or two short.”

Plumtree said the final three games — against the Highlanders, Waratahs and Bulls — are against teams “with solid forward packs with game breakers in their backs”.

“So everyone needs to step up. It’s like a new season for us now after our bye week. Everyone is refreshed and now it’s really time to perform. We’re fourth with three home games remaining, and that’s not a bad position, but we hope we can select consistently over the next few weeks and pick the backline we want.

“We have good depth among the forwards, but now we need continuity amongst the backs.”

Plumtree admitted that throwing Pienaar straight back into the starting line-up would be tough on the young flyhalf.

“It will be hard on Ruan who hasn’t played in a long time, about seven weeks now, and there is a lot of expectation surrounding him with all this talk of him playing at flyhalf against the British Lions.

“We need to be patient with him, because it will take some time for him to get back on top of his game after an extended break.”

Plumtree said Saturday’s game will be like a final — “because we have to win if we are to control our own destiny in this competition”.

“We have a lot to play for, and who knows what twists are still in store? We’ve seen surprises all over the place and that could happen again, though hopefully not to us.

“We’ve had our scares for the season.”

Saturday’s match kicks off at 3 pm.

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