Jean Deysel out after physical clash

2009-03-02 00:00

TAUPO - Barn-storming flank Jean Deysel will return home this week following a knee injury sustained early in the Sharks' 22-15 victory over the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday night.

At this early stage, Deysel is expected to be out for about six weeks pending further testing, and Justin Downey who played for the Sharks XV in the Vodacom Cup match against Boland, will fly out to join the squad at their Taupo base ahead of Saturday's Super 14 match against the Blues in Auckland.

With over 300 tackles made in the clash with the Chiefs at Waikato Stadium on Saturday night, defence was the difference as the Sharks managed to hold the home side at bay for long periods in the latter stages of the match.

They will certainly savour this win, not only for what it means to their title aspirations but because of recent history and playing them in the first week of tour.

Afterwards John Smit told the players to savour victory in Hamilton - it was first time he has tasted victory there for the Sharks.

There were some sore bodies afterwards, but the victory was sweet and coach John Plumtree admitted afterwards how much pride he has in his side for achieving a very difficult task.

"A team like the Chiefs can break through from anywhere, and they did," he said, "and I was just so proud of the way we held our line."

Traditionally, the first game on tour is always tough as the players need to adjust their body clocks and fight the fatigue factor associated with jetlag. In the Sharks' case, it came after the Durban sauna.

"Physically, last week's huge game in Durban against the Lions took a lot out of us. With the travel, we kept it light in training this week. We looked a bit flat at times during the game, but this was a very gutsy performance which typified the character of this team."

Chiefs coach Ian Foster was livid afterwards, citing the numerous TMO decisions that did not go his team's way.

"I'm very disappointed," he said. "They obviously looked and looked to find a reason not to give the tries, but in saying that, I'm very proud, the guys worked really hard in preparation for this match, so it was a huge effort.

"I don't think the game was won or lost on errors, but rather on TMO decisions and their kicking behind us and our lack of cover. Overall, we had a great game, put them under huge pressure and probably deserved to come away from the game with a little bit more."

After three consecutive losses, the pressure is mounting on a Chiefs side who have had to play three of last year's semi-finalists (including two of the finalists) in successive weeks.

"Any loss is frustrating, but at least we put points on the board. You have to keep getting up from a loss, there were good signs there. You just have to keep improving, the challenges keep coming."

He also paid tribute the Sharks.

"They defended really well. We had to be patient and grind away and the fact that there were so many TMO decisions shows how tight the game really was."

The Sharks took a two-hour trip from Hamilton to Taupo yesterday and will return to Auckland on Thursday ahead of their match against the Blues on Saturday.

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