Pienaar may heal in time for Chiefs

2010-02-03 00:00

A DECISION on whether Springbok Ruan Pienaar will play for the Sharks in their Super 14 opener, against the Chiefs in Durban on February 13, will be made by the end of the week.

Pienaar underwent knee surgery following the Springbok end-of-year tour to Europe and has made a full recovery, accor­ding to Sharks team doctor Craig Roberts.

“He is doing really well,” Ro­berts told The Witness yesterday, “and had an excellent week of rehab when we were in Cape Town last week.”

“He is ahead of schedule, in fact, back training with the squad this week, and we are hoping he will be ready for the Chiefs game. But we won’t make a call until later this week.”

While Pienaar may be fit for the Chiefs game, he would have to take the field without any match practice, and it seems more likely that he will be eased back into action by playing off the bench.

Head coach John Plumtree has also to decide whether he will stay with his original plan — until Juan Hernandez went home — of returning Pienaar to scrumhalf or field the talented ball player at flyhalf.

This may depend on how quickly and effectively Steve Meyer, who has been signed as a replacement for Hernandez, slips into the flyhalf role in the weeks ahead.

Roberts said the other injured Sharks players were all making excellent progress.

Loosehead prop Deon Carstens, back in full training, has made a complete recovery from his knee surgery and will be available for selection against the Chiefs.

“Adi Jacobs suffered a slight [grade one] hamstring strain on the eve of the friendly against the Force last week, and is in the final phase of recovery. He should be ready for the Chiefs match,” Roberts said.

Louis Ludik, the Sharks’ dispu­ted signing from the Lions, is also making a quick recovery from his knee operation in December, but he will not play in the first two games (against the Chiefs and the Cheetahs).

“We won’t rush him back and we are planning to take him on the five-match tour [to New Zealand and Australia] on February 20.”

Meyer, who arrived in Durban from Perpignan, France, a week ago, is in good shape, said Roberts.

Meyer has battled with injury in the past ,but Roberts said the flyhalf had played 12 matches on the trot for Perpignan before returning to the Sharks.

“He only had 20 minutes for the Sharks against the Stormers and then suffered a cut to the face. By the time we had stitched him, the game was just about over.”

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